Benjamin Parker

Practice Profile


Benjamin Parker has a breadth of experience across a wide range of commercial law disciplines.

He is rated by the legal directories as a leading junior in all his practice areas—commercial law, insurance, shipping & commodities, and international arbitration. Leading market participants describe him as a “class act” with “star quality”, who is “always a delight to work with” and “has an excellent reputation which is fully deserved”. He “represents a triple threat: his drafting, advices and advocacy skills are all really impressive. He takes complex and detailed information and converts it into clear, sound and practical advice.”

Benjamin has significant appellate experience and has appeared in the House of Lords, the Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeal. He increasingly appears in hearings as an advocate, often acting unled against QCs. He has a substantial advisory practice on top of his litigation and arbitration work.

Recent leading cases in which he was instructed include Manchester Building Society v. Grant Thornton (Supreme Court), SBM v. Zurich Insurance (the largest insurance claim ever to come before the Commercial Court), ABN Amro Bank v. RSA plc (a leading case on coverage and brokers’ duties), Rathbone v. Novae (subrogation), BAT v. Exel Europe (a decision of the Supreme Court on international jurisdiction), and The Ocean Glory (one of the very few successful challenges to an arbitration award under s. 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996).

In 2020 he won the Chambers & Partners Bar Award for Insurance Junior of the Year.

Commercial disputes of all varieties lie at the heart of Benjamin Parker’s expertise and practice at the Bar. He is particularly experienced at dealing with multi-jurisdictional disputes, and in advising on issues relating to the “conflict of laws”. In recent years he has also had much experience of obtaining urgent relief from the courts, including anti-suit injunctions and freezing injunctions. He is well-versed in bringing committal proceedings for contempt of court.

  • Supreme Court case of Manchester Building Society v. Grant Thornton on scope of professional liability and the future of the SAAMCO test; judgment awaited.
  • Representing the defendants in SBM v. Zurich Insurance, the largest insurance claim before the Commercial Court. The case, which settled in autumn 2018, concerned the alleged total loss of an oil platform in the North Sea and its abandonment because of safety fears.
  • That litigation included SBM v. Aspen [2018] EWHC 1763 (Comm), an important decision of the Commercial Court on the ability of a party to claw back privileged documents inadvertently disclosed (CPR 31.20) and on the scope of litigation privilege and legal advice privilege.
  • Representing US energy company in long-running Commercial Court dispute with Nigerian company, arising out of the breakdown of the parties’ commercial relationship. Successful applications for urgent injunctive relief, and to commit directors for contempt of court.
  • Advising on the merits of an appeal to the Privy Council (from an appellate court in the Caribbean) concerning the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments at common law and the scope of the “public policy” defence to recognition. The dispute settled shortly before the hearing of the appeal was due to take place.
  • Excalibur Ventures LLC v. Texas Keystone [2011] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 289: dispute concerning rights to exploit oil and gas fields in the Middle East; availability of anti-arbitration injunction.
  • Webster Thompson v. JG Pears [2009] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 339: Commercial Court trial concerning the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. Important development of the law concerning satisfactory quality of goods, and referred to in Benjamin’s Sale of Goods.
  • Sinco v. Lloyd’s Syndicate 980: instructed in appeal to Court of Appeal concerning lis alibi pendens and the availability of damages for breach of a jurisdiction clause.
  • The Front Comor [2007] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 391 (House of Lords): availability of anti-suit injunctions in support of arbitration agreements.
  • Balmoral Group v. Borealis [2006] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 629: seller’s obligations as to the quality of goods supplied under international sale contracts.

Benjamin Parker is experienced in handling complex insurance and reinsurance disputes, across the spectrum of marine and non-marine business. Between 2015 and 2018 he was instructed on behalf of excess insurers to defend the highest value insurance claim to come before the Commercial Court in London. In 2020 he was awarded Insurance Junior of the Year by Chambers & Partners. His work in this area includes the following:

  • Acting for the Claimant in ABN Amro v. RSA plc and others [2021] EWHC 442 (Comm), a leading decision of the Commercial Court on policy interpretation, the duty of the utmost good faith, affirmation, and the duties of insurance brokers.
  • Representing excess insurers in SBM v. Zurich Insurance, the largest insurance claim before the Commercial Court. The case concerned the alleged total loss of an oil platform in the North Sea and its abandonment because of safety fears.
  • Representing market of leading London energy underwriters, in successful defence of claims for property damage arising out of earthquakes in the Netherlands caused by underground oil / gas drilling operations.
  • Mamancochet Mining v. Aegis. Acted for claimant in leading case on the construction and application of policy sanctions clause—claim for misappropriation of cargoes exported to Iran; order for expedited trial; claim succeeded in full. (Unavailable to appear at trial because of SBM commitment, above.)
  • Representing hull and machinery insurers in ongoing proceedings for alleged total loss of bulk carrier in South America, arising out of lengthy physical detention by public authorities.
  • Rathbone Brothers Plc v. Novae Corporate Underwriting [2015] Lloyd’s Rep IR 95: leading modern decision of the Court of Appeal on the doctrine of subrogation in insurance law, and the limitation on the availability of a subrogated claim against a co-insured. Very substantial PI insurance claim concerning allegations of breach of trust.
  • Instructed for the insured in a multi-million dollar claim for the total loss of a fishing vessel by fire/explosion in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Equitas Ltd v. Walsham Bros [2014] Lloyd’s Rep IR 398 (Commercial Court): acted for Equitas in successful claim against brokers for failure to remit payments. The case raised important issues as to the scope of duties owed by insurance/reinsurance brokers, as to the construction of the Lloyd’s R&R settlement agreements, and as to limitation. Also instructed to appear in the Court of Appeal (the case settled shortly before the hearing of the appeal was due to take place).
  • Reinsurance/retrocession dispute concerning damage to oil installations in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
  • Reinsurance arbitration concerning the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and whether very substantial contingency losses (e.g. arising out of the cancellation of the Ryder Cup / postponement of the Super Bowl) could be aggregated.
  • Advising on the construction of a major European bank’s “Crime Policy” in relation to US$80 million losses caused by dishonest employees.

Many of Benjamin Parker’s recent cases have concerned disputes relating to energy and natural resources. His instructions in this area include the following:

  • Representing excess insurers in SBM v. Zurich Insurance, the largest insurance claim before the Commercial Court. The case concerns the alleged total loss of an oil platform in the North Sea and its abandonment because of safety fears.
  • Representing market of leading London energy underwriters, in successful defence of claims for property damage arising out of earthquakes in the Netherlands caused by underground oil / gas drilling operations.
  • Representing US energy company in long-running Commercial Court dispute with Nigerian company, arising out of the breakdown of the parties’ commercial relationship. Successful applications for urgent injunctive relief, and to commit directors for contempt of court.
  • Acting for the contractor in a UNCITRAL arbitration concerning oil exploration in Venezuela and urgent interim relief for security and injunctive protection. Claim for hundreds of millions of dollars arising out of various contractual disputes.
  • Excalibur Ventures LLC v. Texas Keystone [2011] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 289: dispute concerning rights to exploit oil and gas fields in the Middle East; availability of anti-arbitration injunction.
  • Numerous claims arising out of the Buncefield gas explosion, raising issues as to the tort of private nuisance, the actionability of public nuisances, and the recovery of “pure” economic losses.

Benjamin Parker has been involved in some of the most significant shipping law and international carriage cases of the past decade, including The Rena casualty in New Zealand and the seminal decision of the House of Lords in The Achilleas (in which he represented the successful appellant). He is regularly instructed by P&I Clubs direct, and has been noted in the legal directories for his expertise in advising on the construction and effect of P&I Club rules. His instructions in the area of Shipping and Transport include the following:

  • The Achilleas [2009] 1 AC 61: leading decision of the House of Lords on remoteness of damage in the law of contract. Represented the successful Owners in their appeal to the House of Lords.
  • British American Tobacco v. Exel Europe [2016] AC 262: represented BAT in appeal to the Supreme Court concerning the jurisdiction regime under the CMR convention for claims against successive carriers and the relationship between the Judgments Regulation and specialist conventions.
  • The Rena: instructed by MSC (long-term time charterers) in relation to the grounding of the containership Rena and her subsequent loss.
  • The Ocean Glory [2015] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 67: successful challenge to arbitral award under s. 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 for failure by tribunal to act fairly, contrary to the requirements of s. 33. One of the very few successful challenges under s. 68.
  • The K Amber [2018] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 121: application under s. 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 arising out of tribunal’s dismissal of an arbitration for “want of prosecution” under s. 41 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
  • Representing owners in multi-million dollar Commercial Court dispute concerning the contamination of an oil cargo during ship-to-ship operations off the east coast of Africa.
  • Representing charterers in a multi-party arbitration concerned with the inability of an LNG carrier to perform cargo liftings as a result of being shut out of a loading terminal following an adverse SIRE inspection.
  • Defending owners in an arbitration claim in excess of US$100 million arising out of the grounding of a bulk carrier in Australia; allegations of unseaworthiness and incompetence of the master.
  • Numerous disputes under shipbuilding contracts, including representing the shipyard in a series of successful arbitrations arising out of the transactions which were considered by the Supreme Court in Rainy Sky SA v. Kookmin Bank [2011] 1 WLR 2900.
  • Numerous disputes under MOAs for the sale of vessels and superyachts. These include an arbitration concerning allegations of fraud and forgery against a Russian purchaser of a superyacht, and an arbitration raising complex legal issues as to the effect of Clause 9 of the Norwegian Saleform and the nature of statutory liens in Admiralty.
  • VTC v. PVS [2012] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 527: Commercial Court decision concerning the construction of a tanker time charterparty, and the application of a warranty of fitness to the “slop” tanks.
  • Author of “Liability for incorrectly clausing bills of lading” [2003] LMCLQ 201 (an article cited in Carver on Bills of Lading and Voyage Charters), and other journal articles on shipping law / international trade.

Much of Benjamin’s Parker work concerns international arbitration across the whole spectrum of commercial disputes. He is also experienced in making applications to the English courts in relation to arbitrations, and succeeded in making one of the few successful challenges to an arbitration award under s. 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996. Recent work in this area includes:

  • Acting in ICC arbitration concerning long-running dispute between investment fund and corporate group regarding share acquisition and rights of pre-emption. The case raises complex questions of arbitrability and the international enforcement of arbitration awards.
  • The Ocean Glory [2015] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 67: successful challenge to arbitral award under s. 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 for failure by tribunal to act fairly, contrary to the requirements of s. 33. One of the very few successful challenges under s. 68.
  • The K Amber [2018] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 121: application under s. 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 arising out of tribunal’s dismissal of an arbitration for “want of prosecution” under s. 41 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
  • Numerous arbitrations under shipbuilding contracts, including representing the shipyard in a series of successful arbitrations arising out of the transactions which were considered by the Supreme Court in Rainy Sky SA v. Kookmin Bank [2011] 1 WLR 2900.
  • ICC arbitration in Hong Kong, concerning the impact of the global financial crisis on the performance of a long-term international sale; complex issues under the Vienna Convention on the International Sale of Goods as to the right to suspend performance.
  • Acting for the contractor in a UNCITRAL arbitration concerning oil exploration in Venezuela and urgent interim relief for security and injunctive protection. Claim for hundreds of millions of dollars arising out of various contractual disputes.
  • Excalibur Ventures LLC v. Texas Keystone [2011] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 289: dispute concerning rights to exploit oil and gas fields in the Middle East; availability of anti-arbitration injunction.
  • ABN Amro v. RSA plc and others [2021] EWHC 442 (Comm): leading decision of the Commercial Court on the duties of insurance brokers.
  • Supreme Court case of Manchester Building Society v. Grant Thornton on scope of professional liability and the SAAMCO test; judgment awaited.
  • Equitas Ltd v. Walsham Bros [2014] Lloyd’s Rep IR 398 (Commercial Court): acted for Equitas in successful professional negligence claim against brokers for failure to remit payments. The case raised important issues as to the scope of duties owed by insurance/reinsurance brokers, as to the construction of the Lloyd’s R&R settlement agreements, and as to limitation. Also instructed to appear in the Court of Appeal (the case settled shortly before the hearing of the appeal was due to take place).
  • Several disputes concerning fraudulent devices used in support of insurance claims.
  • Multi-million dollar Commercial Court dispute in which personal claims are brought against directors for losses caused by their company, relying on the wrongs of “dishonest assistance”, conspiracy, other economic torts. Obtaining urgent freezing injunctions and other urgent interim relief, and committal proceedings for contempt of court.
  • Author of article “Fraudulent bills of lading and bankers’ commercial credits” [2003] LMCLQ 1.

Benjamin Parker is experienced in dealing with disputes falling within the jurisdiction of the Admiralty Court, and with maritime litigation and arbitration of a “wet” variety. He was instructed for MSC in the well-known Rena casualty in New Zealand. He has dealt with numerous collision actions, claims for salvage, and claims in general average.

  • “He’s very responsive and sets clear time scales in order to manage clients’ expectations accordingly.” “An excellent junior who is very thorough, knowledgeable and hard-working.” Chambers and Partners 2021
  • “He is user-friendly and quick.” “He is excellent overall, a really bright and hard-working barrister.” Chambers and Partners 2021
  • “Benjamin represents a triple threat: his drafting, advices and advocacy skills are all really impressive. He takes complex and detailed information and converts it into clear, sound and practical advice.” Chambers and Partners 2021
  • “He is an excellent junior who gives good, constructive advice quickly.” “He’s incredibly accessible and the documents he produces are very succinct and clear. He has a reputation for being a very academic person you can go to on a very difficult point.” Chambers Global 2021
  • “Extremely practical and a joy to work with, Benjamin is a tremendously perspicacious legal adviser and an utterly compelling and skilful advocate.” “He is very calm under pressure.” Chambers Global 2021
  • ‘A tremendously perspicacious legal advisor, he is an utterly compelling and skilful advocate.’ Legal 500 2021
  • ‘A very bright and effective junior.’ Legal 500 2021
  • ‘The go-to problem solver for any commercial, shipping, or insurance dispute.’ Legal 500 2021
  • ‘A very good barrister.’ Legal 500 2021
  • “Clearly very bright.” “He puts things clearly in a way that can be explained to a client. He provides very commercial, practical advice.” Chambers and Partners 2020
  • “He is an excellent junior who gives good, constructive advice quickly.” “He’s incredibly accessible and the documents he produces are very succinct and clear. He has a reputation for being a very academic person you can go to on a very difficult point.” Chambers and Partners 2020
  • “Extremely practical and a joy to work with, Benjamin is a tremendously perspicacious legal adviser and an utterly compelling and skilful advocate.” “He is very calm under pressure.” Chambers and Partners 2020
  • “He is highly intelligent and extremely responsive.” Legal 500 2020
  • “Ferociously intelligent, extremely practical, and an absolute joy to work with.” Legal 500 2020
  • “He is very responsive.” Legal 500 2020
  • “An excellent draftsman and someone who’s unflappable when in court” Chambers and Partners 2019
  • “Very bright. Always a delight to work with. He is very strong on the law and commercial and practical in his approach. His drafting skills are excellent. He has an excellent reputation which is fully deserved.” Chambers and Partners 2019
  • “Extremely bright and hard-working. Very easy to get on with, extremely measured in his advice and excellent on paper.” Chambers and Partners 2019
  • “Extremely diligent, acute forensic analysis of issues, and user-friendly” Legal 500 2018
  • “Easy to work with and excellent at drafting” Legal 500 2018
  • “He has great attention to detail” Legal 500 2018
  • “He’s excellent, very easy to engage with, very ready to assist and excellent on the law.” “Hard-working and diligent, he’s a pleasure to work with.” Chambers and Partners 2018
  • “Very bright and super-quick in turning around work. He is commercial, thinks outside the box and is very easy to work with.” “Ben Parker is extremely bright and hard-working, and is also extremely responsive to clients’ demands. He explains complex issues clearly and is meticulous in his attention to detail.” Chambers and Partners 2018
  • “Very clever and very responsive. Totally excellent.”  Chambers and Partners 2018
  • Very knowledgeable, user-friendly and a pleasure to work with. Legal 500 2017
  • He is extremely responsive, and provides sensible and thorough advice. Legal 500 2017
  • User-friendly, very clever, legally and commercially astute. Legal 500 2017
  • “A rising star and a class act. He has a superb grasp of detail, provides excellent advice and support quickly and efficiently and is, quite simply, a delight to work with. Chambers and Partners 2017
  • “A master of the detail” and a well-regarded junior who is at ease on his feet. Chambers and Partners 2017
  • “A very knowledgeable, detailed and smart lawyer.” Chambers and Partners 2017
  • “Good at condensing complex issues into a much more manageable format.” Chambers and Partners 2017
  • “Very good on the legal side and an absolute pleasure to deal with.” Chambers and Partners 2017
  • “He has a calm and measured style.”  Chambers and Partners 2017
  • “He applies intellectual rigour to his work and combines it with a commercial approach.” Legal 500 2016
  • “Diligent.” Legal 500 2016
  • “He has an excellent written style.” Legal 500 2016
  • “Very bright and produces very clear and well-structured written and oral submissions.” Chambers and Partners 2016
  • “He applies considerable intellectual rigour to his work.” Legal 500 2015
  • “Diligent, intellectual and user-friendly.” Legal 500 2015
  • “He is astute and has a practical approach” Legal 500 2015
  • “He is very knowledgeable and able” Chambers and Partners 2015
  • “Highly experienced in shipbuilding arbitrations and provides an excellent service” Legal 500 2014
  • “Great attention to detail” Legal 500 2014
  • “Incredibly thorough in his approach” Legal 500 2014
  • “He is a popular choice with solicitors and handles an array of work” Chambers and Partners 2014
  • “He is very academically sound and gives great opinions…His main virtue is that he is very conscious as to where the rights and wrongs in a case are.” Chambers and Partners 2014
  • “Wins full market support…Benjamin Parker…is an expert in both wet and dry shipping matters. Parker is widely regarded as one of the Shipping Bar’s rising stars, and has been involved in a number of the sector’s leading cases”. Chambers and Partners 2013
  • “User friendly, has great attention to detail, and combines good drafting skills with commercial nous” Legal 500 2013
  • “Extremely assiduous and thorough” Legal 500 2012
  • “Benjamin Parker is tipped to become one of the future stars of the Shipping Bar. Sources comment that he “has star quality” not to mention “a brain the size of a planet.” He has been involved in some of the most high-profile shipping and commodities cases over the past few years…” Chambers and Partners 2012
  • “An extremely able and knowledgeable junior who provides invaluable support” Legal 500 2011
  • Queen Mother Scholar of the Middle Temple

    MA (Jurisprudence) University of Oxford (First Class).

    BCL University of Oxford (First Class).

    MA University of Cambridge (by incorporation).

    Whilst at the University of Oxford, Benjamin Parker was awarded numerous university and college prizes, including the Sweet & Maxwell Prize for the best performance in his year, the Gibbs Prize, the Hurry Prize for the most distinguished first in finals, the Prize for International Trade, and the Prize for Corporate Insolvency.

    General Information

    Between 2001 and 2007 Benjamin Parker held a Fellowship in Law at St John’s College, Cambridge.

    He was also a University Lecturer in Commercial Law and Assistant Director of the University’s Centre for Corporate and Commercial Law.

    He has extensive experience of undergraduate and postgraduate lecturing in Commercial Law, International Sales, the Law of Agency, and Tort Law.

    He was a member of the Editorial Committee of the Cambridge Law Journal between 2003 and 2007.

    He is the author of numerous publications on commercial law, including Jack on Documentary Credits (a leading practitioner work on international financing mechanisms).

  • COMBAR

    LCLCBA

    Languages: French, German, Italian, Spanish

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