Andrew Pearson

Practice Profile


Andrew has developed an impressive and diverse commercial practise.  He has deepest experience in disputes about international trade, shipping, civil fraud, insurance and reinsurance.  Many of his cases concern very substantial sums of money.

He is valued for the practical approach he takes to achieving his clients’ goals.  This always involves developing a long-term strategic plan.  It frequently involves seeking some form of interlocutory relief.  As a result, Andrew has experience of dealing with search orders, domestic and worldwide freezing injunctions, mandatory injunctions, anti-suit injunctions, Norwich Pharmacal orders and applications to dispute jurisdiction.

Andrew’s successes over the last year include a High Court marine insurance claim in which he appeared as sole counsel (McKeever v Northernreef [2019] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 161 ) and in which he ran an aggressive and effective enforcement action (McKeever v Northernreef [2020] 4 WLUK 244), an appeal to the Court of Appeal in a high-value dispute about the shipment of iron ore (Classic v Limbungan [2019] EWCA Civ 1102), and a substantial interlocutory fight in a claim about alleged secret commissions (Besso v Bloody Bay CL-2018-000598).  He has also been instructed to appear in arbitrations under LMAA, HKIAC, ICC and LCIA rules.

He was described by The Lawyer magazine as a “star” for his part in Orb a.r.l. v Ruhan [2015] EWHC 262 (Comm).

Andrew is rapidly building a reputation as a leading commercial fraud junior at his year of call, and was described as a “Star Writer” in the field by The Lawyer magazine.  In addition to the matters below, he has advised pre-action on a number of large disputes.  Because this is an area which particularly interests him, he is willing to act pro-bono, on a CFA or for a reduced fee in the right case.

  • Agate Assets SA & ors v Banque Privee Edmond de Rothschild Europe SA & ors (CL-2015-000224)  Andrew was instructed on this €30m derivatives fraud claim following his secondment at a boutique fraud firm.  The case is expected to refine the law on when a foreign wrong can underpin an English unlawful means conspiracy claim.
  • Vneshprombank LLC v Bedzhamov & ors (BL-2018-002691)  Andrew appeared as sole counsel for the Claimant in this ongoing £1.34 billion banking fraud claim, in a hard-fought hearing arising out of the grant of a search order and WFO.
  • Besso Ltd v Bloody Bay Hotel Group Ltd (CL-2018-000598) Andrew and S.J. Phillips QC are instructed in this alleged US$9m insurance broking fraud.  Having been successful on a major preliminary issue application, they are now seeking summary judgment on behalf of their client.
  • Gulf Air v One Inflight Ltd & Ors (CL-2017-000741) Andrew appeared as sole counsel against a leading silk in this US$9m aviation conspiracy / fraud claim.  He was instructed on an urgent basis after the Claimant obtained – along with a WFO – an ex parte order that Andrew’s client hand over all his electronic devices with passwords to the Claimant. Following a full-day hearing, Andrew succeeded in having significant protections put on that unusual order: [2018] EWHC 1018 (Comm).
  • Besso Insurance Group Ltd v Trans Continental Intermediary Services (UK) Limited (CL-2017-000655) Andrew’s client was threatened with an insurance-broking fraud claim in Jamaica.  He and S.J. Phillips QC seized jurisdiction by claiming negative declarations in England, sought summary judgment on the basis that the threatened claim was tainted by maintenance and champerty, and forced a highly favourable settlement on that basis.
  • Investment Company v (1) Finance Company (2) Guarantors (LCIA Arbitration)  Andrew’s client has exercised its option under a US$60m put/call contract.  The counterparty has refused to pay, as have its guarantors: they say the contract was procured by blackmail.  Andrew is first junior counsel for his clients, as they try to vindicate their rights in what will be a substantial LCIA arbitration.
  • Kahali Energy & Commodities LTDA v International Filial Finance Europe Ltd & Ors (HC-2017-001441) Andrew had sole conduct of this claim, which arose out of a €1.8m banking fraud. He won at each stage, obtaining Norwich Pharmacal relief and a Freezing Injunction before issue, judgment for his client, and ultimately securing enforcement by way of a Third Party Debt Order.
  • Charterer v Owner (LMAA Arbitration) Andrew was instructed as sole counsel in this novel fraud claim. The case concerned a charterparty concluded through a joint broker, on whom a man-in-the-middle fraud was perpetrated. The claim has attracted academic attention: see L.M.C.L.Q. 2017 435
  • Orb a.r.l. and Ors v Ruhan [2015] EWHC 262 (Comm). Andrew appeared for the Defendant, along with Richard Waller QC and Tim Jenns, in a series of extremely heavy interlocutory applications in this £210 million dispute. The case involved complex issues of law, including trust law and tracing. Andrew was recognized as a “Star Writer” by The Lawyer magazine for his work in this case.

Andrew’s reputation as a shipping and transport junior is well-established: he has been instructed on some of the most important and valuable cases of the past few years.  They include a US$950m commodity shipping contract, a recent Court of Appeal case on the effect of force majeure clauses, and a claim relating to a US$2bn Contract of Affreightment (believed to be the largest ever), and a claim arising out of delays to one of the world’s most expensive yachts.  Many clients reinstruct him: a single major player in the dry bulk market has instructed him in five separate cases – led and unled – worth a total of US$125m.

  • Classic Maritime Inc. v (1) Limbungan Makimur Bhd (2) Lion DRI Bhd [2020] EWHC 619 (Comm).  Andrew was instructed with Richard Southern QC in this US$ 82m dispute.  It shares many facts with the dispute below, which went to the Court of Appeal, but raised different issues – most importantly whether practical considerations such as port capacity are relevant when assessing damages.  Andrew and Richard were wholly successful.
  • Head Owners v Charterers (LMAA Arbitration).  Andrew is led by Nigel Jacobs QC in this case which, unusually in recent years, arises out of a collision.  It raises issues of negligent navigation, unseaworthiness, general average and the construction of the Boxtime form.  A substantial arbitration is expected to take place shortly.
  • Purchaser v Yard (LMAA Arbitration).  A yard purchased a partially completed newbuilding.  Before construction was finished, Andrew’s client purchased the vessel.  When the time came for delivery, it was in wholly unacceptable condition.  This US$ 60m case is about who bears the risk.  Andrew has, with Richard Southern QC, won a string of interlocutory victories.  The matter is now proceeding to an expedited arbitration.
  • Mercuria v Petroineos (CL-2019-000500).  Andrew was instructed as sole counsel in this, one of the few demurrage cases to come before the English Courts.  He developed an effective strategy with his instructing solicitors, which resulted in swift settlement.
  • Sub-Charterer v Head Owner (LMAA Arbitration).  Andrew is instructed as sole counsel in this dispute, which arises out of losses sustained because a vessel could not trade on the lucrative C5 route and which raises intricate questions of damages.  Andrew’s analysis has seen off a preliminary issue application, and the matter is proceeding to a final hearing.
  • Classic Maritime Inc. v (1) Limbungan Makimur Bhd (2) Lion DRI Bhd [2018] EWHC 3489 (Comm); [2019] EWCA Civ 1102. Andrew was instructed as junior to Richard Southern QC in this major COA dispute, which arose out of the Samarco Dam disaster.  At first instance, Andrew and Richard helped their client avoid a declaration of force majeure, but were awarded nominal damages only. They successfully challenged the award of nominal damages, and defended the rest of the judgment, in the Court of Appeal.
  • Head Owner v Bareboat Charterer (LMAA Arbitration).  Andrew is instructed along with Richard Southern QC in this dispute about the redelivery condition of a product tanker.
  • Shipping Company v Mining Company (Ad-hoc Arbitration) Andrew and Robert Bright QC acted for the claimant in this dispute, which arose out of a the largest COA ever concluded: worth almost $2bn. The defendant sought to construe the long-term COA in such a way as to escape its obligations; Andrew and Robert prevented it from doing so.
  • Cargo Interests v Vessel Interests (HKIAC Arbitration) This case concerned a notorious total loss.  Andrew was instructed with Robert Bright QC.  Having been successful in a number of preliminary skirmishes, the dispute settled following mediation.
  • Builder v Buyer (LMAA Arbitration) Andrew was instructed, along with Noel Casey and Andrew Rigney QC, in this high-profile dispute arising out of the construction of one of the world’s largest yachts. The case raised issues as to the incorporation of exclusion clauses, restitution and contractual construction.  It resulted in a large award in favour of Andrew’s client.

As is to be expected from a member of 7KBW, Andrew’s practice spans the entire scope of insurance and reinsurance disputes.  He is particularly interested in claims involving insurance fraud, or where there are difficult issues of limitation to resolve.

Together with Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC, he has written the first in a series of 7KBW bulletins about the likely insurance impact of the current coronavirus pandemic.  The bulletin – which concerns business interruption insurance – can be viewed here.

Selected case are set out below.

  • Coronavirus BI Coverage Advice.  Andrew has provided coverage advice for a major insurer, in relation to how its standard Business Interruption wordings will react to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Eusider v CNA Insurance & Ors. (LM-2019-000184).  Andrew was instructed to dispute the jurisdiction of the English court in this marine insurance claim.  The challenge turned on whether the terms of an open policy take precedence, or whether those of a certificate of insurance prevail.  He was wholly successful: the Claimant entirely abandoned its English claim shortly before the jurisdiction hearing was due to take place.
  • Equitas Ltd & anor v Sande Investments Ltd & ors (CL-2019-000036).  Andrew is instructed with Timothy Kenefick in this insurance / reinsurance  broking dispute.  His strategic advice shaped the defence which is advanced to the Claimant’s historic allegations.
  • Besso Ltd v Bloody Bay Hotel Group Ltd (CL-2018-000598) Andrew and S.J. Phillips QC are instructed in this alleged US$9m reinsurance broking fraud.  Having been successful on a major preliminary issue application, they are now taking the claim towards trial.
  • McKeever v Northernreef Insurance Co S.A. ([2019] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 161)  Andrew handled this case as sole counsel from its inception to judgment, recovering a full indemnity for the Claimant following the grounding of her sailing yacht.  The analysis of various perils insured under the policy has triggered significant practitioner and academic interest.
  • Besso Insurance Group Ltd v Trans Continental Intermediary Services (UK) Limited (CL-2017-000655) Andrew’s client was threatened with an reinsurance-broking fraud claim in Jamaica.  He and S.J. Phillips QC seized jurisdiction by claiming negative declarations in England, sought summary judgment on the basis that the threatened claim was tainted by maintenance and champerty, and forced a highly favourable settlement on that basis.
  • Cortesi v ACE European Group (CL-2018-000252) The defendant insurer instructed Andrew, as sole counsel, to resist the enforcement of an Italian judgment under the Brussels Regulation while an appeal was ongoing in Italy.  While Andrew was unsuccessful at first instance, his arguments led the Trial judge to take the unusual step of granting permission to appeal his own judgment.
  • Insurer v Reinsurer (US Claim) David Edwards QC and Andrew were instructed to advise a US Reinsurer on the English law aspects of this multi-million dollar reinsurance dispute, which arose out of a US class action suit. The dispute was legally highly complex, raising particular issues as to the incorporation of claims-handling clauses from insurance to reinsurance policies.
  • Reinsurer v Reinsurer (Ad Hoc Arbitration). Along with Alistair Schaff QC, Andrew acted for a reinsurer that had purchased an Industry Loss Warranty. The reinsurer was exposed to losses following the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and claimed on the policy. The claim centred on the meaning of “original insured marine market” losses, and the factual issue of how they could be proven. Andrew and Alistair were successful in obtaining full payment of the claim.
  • AB Orlen Lietuva v Aon UK Ltd (2012 Folio 1152) (Commercial Court). Andrew was junior counsel for the Claimant, led by Gavin Kealey QC, in this US$100m brokers’ negligence claim. It raised difficult issues around the level of a broker’s duty to a sophisticated / unsophisticated insured. The claim settled in the course of the four-week trial.

Andrew has been involved in disputes relating to almost every commodity, from petrochemicals to grain.  He has particular experience in the iron ore trade, recently acting in a dispute about a market-defining US$950m ore-terminal development contract, a US$2bn dispute about a long-term commodity shipping contract, and a separate Court of Appeal case about a long-term ore shipping contract.

  • Classic Maritime Inc. v (1) Limbungan Makimur Bhd (2) Lion DRI Bhd [2020] EWHC 619 (Comm).  Andrew was instructed with Richard Southern QC in this US$ 82m dispute.  It shares many facts with the dispute below, which went to the Court of Appeal, but raised different issues – most importantly whether practical considerations such as port capacity are relevant when assessing damages.  Andrew and Richard were wholly successful.
  • Classic Maritime Inc. v (1) Limbungan Makimur Bhd (2) Lion DRI Bhd [2018] EWHC 3489 (Comm); [2019] EWCA Civ 1102. Andrew was instructed as junior to Richard Southern QC in this major iron-ore COA dispute, which arose out of the Samarco Dam disaster.  At first instance, Andrew and Richard helped their client avoid a declaration of force majeure, but were awarded nominal damages only. They successfully challenged the award of nominal damages, and defended the rest of the judgment, in the Court of Appeal.
  • Shipping Company v Mining Company (Ad-hoc Arbitration) Andrew and Robert Bright QC acted for the claimant in this commodities (iron ore) dispute, which arose out of a the largest COA ever concluded: worth almost $2bn. The defendant sought to construe the long-term COA in such a way as to escape its obligations; Andrew and Robert prevented it from doing so.
  • Port Owner v Commodities Company (LMAA Arbitration). The defendant commodities company had renounced a market-defining iron-ore shipment contract, under which the claimant stood to make profits of almost $1bn. Andrew was instrumental in the claimant’s legal strategy from the beginning; along with Alistair Schaff QC and Simon Kerr, he succeeded in obtaining declarations holding the defendant to its contract.
  • Cargo Interests v Vessel Interests (HKIAC Arbitration) This case concerned a notorious total loss arising out of cargo liquefaction.  Andrew was instructed with Robert Bright QC.  Having been successful in a number of preliminary skirmishes, the dispute settled following mediation.
  • Owner v Charterer (LMAA Arbitration) Andrew is instructed as sole counsel in a series of linked disputes relating to the carriage of oil.  Having defeated Charterers in a preliminary issue hearing about jurisdiction, he is now working to bring the case to its conclusion.

Andrew accepts instruction in every variety of commercial dispute.  In addition to the more specialist cases set out above, his recent practice has included the following general disputes.

  • Penipride I.E. Ltd v Uniserve Ltd (F00NE366) The Claimant sought an order for delivery up of goods supplied to a now insolvent high-street retailer and held by the Defendant subject to a lien.  By careful legal research, Andrew supported the Defendant’s lien and defeated the application.  The dispute settled on highly favourable terms.
  • Obeyesekere v Duncan (HQ18X02763) Andrew is instructed in this complex dispute between a retired solicitor and his former client over unpaid fees.
  • Carisbrooke Medical Centres Ltd v Hyde Housing Association Ltd (Claim No. HT-2016-000180) David Edwards QC and Andrew represented the Defendant housing association in this multi-million pound claim, which related to the delayed reinstatement of a block of sheltered accommodation after a catastrophic fire. The case was factually complex, with each side producing several experts, and required repeated re-pleading. It settled extremely favourably a few days before trial.
  • Excelmate Consulting Ltd v Care & Skill Ltd T/A Dyno-Pest Control (Claim No. B37YJ557) Andrew was instructed as sole counsel in this highly personal and hard-fought claim, which arose out of a contract to provide IT services. When he was instructed, default judgment had already been entered against his client.  Andrew had that default judgment set aside, and guided his client through the ensuing litigation to a significant recovery.

Andrew conducts international arbitrations under a wide variety of rules.  In addition to those listed in the specialist sections of his profile, he has been involved in the following:

  • Investment Company v (1) Finance Company (2) Guarantors (LCIA Arbitration)  Andrew’s client has exercised its option under a US$60m put/call contract.  The counterparty has refused to pay, as have its guarantors: they say the contract was procured by blackmail.  Andrew is sole counsel for his clients, as they try to vindicate their rights in what will be a substantial LCIA arbitration.
  • Accountancy Company v International Association of Arbitration Companies (LCIA Arbitration) Andrew was instructed, along with James Brocklebank QC, to bring an LCIA claim. By the use of the LCIA expedited procedure, Andrew and James placed sufficient pressure on the respondents to force an early and favourable settlement.
  • Consultant v Commodities Company (ICC Arbitration) Andrew was led by David Bailey QC in this dispute, which arose out of a joint-venture agreement for oil-well development in the UAE. The legal arguments were complex, focusing in particular on the circumstances in which the rule in White & Carter v McGregor can be displaced. The case settled, favourably, shortly before the award was due to be published.
  • Buyer v Builder (LMAA Arbitration) Andrew was instructed, along with Peter MacDonald Eggers QC and Charles Holroyd, for the buyer in this US$ 56m shipbuilding arbitration. The case was highly technical. It ended in complete victory for Andrew’s client, with the builder being ordered to repay the entirety of the contract price.

Andrew’s favourite type of instruction – by far – is one to seek or resist injunctive relief on short notice.  He is noted for his ability to master complex facts in a short period of time, and for his robust approach.  He frequently appears opposite significantly more experienced opponents in this area.  He also has extensive experience in developing enforcement strategies and taking all kinds of enforcement action.

  • McKeever v Northernreef Insurance Co S.A. [2020] 4 WLUK 244.  Following judgment in this matter, the defendant Uruguayan insurance company failed to pay what it owed.  Andrew was instructed to enforce the judgment.  He applied pressure by seeking and obtaining an order for examination of its directors under CPR Part 71.  It became clear that assets had been dissipated: he obtained post-judgment freezing injunctions (including on the Chabra basis), and used those to obtain a fully-secured settlement.
  • All Capital Holdings v (1) Van Der Linden (2) HSBC  Andrew was instructed to obtain disclosure of a fraudster’s bank statements from HSBC, with a view to enforcement.  Norwich Pharmacal relief was not available, because the relevant account had been opened long after the fraudulent acts.  Andrew made creative use of the non-party disclosure regime to obtain post-judgment non-party disclosure of the statements.
  • MV Zografia Andrew was instructed urgently to obtain an anti-suit injunction against proceeding in Brazil.  His work ultimately led to those proceedings being discontinued.
  • Vneshprombank LLC v Bedzhamov & ors (BL-2018-002691)  Andrew appeared as sole counsel for the Claimant in this ongoing £1.34 billion banking fraud claim, in a hard-fought hearing arising out of the grant of a search order and WFO.
  • Penipride I.E. Ltd v Uniserve Ltd (F00NE366) In this case, Andrew used careful analysis of historic acts (in particular The Factors Act 1889) to resist a mandatory injunction.  His client retained to goods, and the case is proceeding to trial.
  • Gulf Air v One Inflight Ltd & Ors (CL-2017-000741) Andrew appeared as sole counsel against a leading silk in this US$9m aviation conspiracy / fraud claim.  He was instructed on an urgent basis after the Claimant obtained – along with a WFO – an ex parte order that Andrew’s client hand over all his electronic devices with passwords to the Claimant. Following a full-day hearing, Andrew succeeded in having significant protections put on that unusual order: [2018] EWHC 1018 (Comm).
  • Kahali Energy & Commodities LTDA v International Filial Finance Europe Ltd & Ors (HC-2017-001441) Andrew had sole conduct of this claim, which arose out of a €1.8m banking fraud. He won at each stage, obtaining Norwich Pharmacal relief and a Freezing Injunction before issue, winning judgment for his client, and ultimately securing enforcement by way of a Third Party Debt Order.
  • Andrew is ranked by Legal 500 as a ‘rising star’ in both civil fraud and shipping.
  • ‘An outstanding specialist insurance and commercial advocate. He is a fearless advocate, creative tactician and strategist. His drafting is particularly good. A star of the future.’ Legal 500 2021 – civil fraud
  • ‘Unfailingly reliable, industrious, thoughtful, and a very safe pair of hands.’ Legal 500 2021 – shipping
Portfolio