Chambers & Partners 2022
Legal 500 2022
Legal 500 2022
Legal 500 2020
Chambers & Partners 2019
Legal 500 2018
David Allen QC is a leading commercial lawyer in high demand for his well respected court, arbitration and advisory practice.
He is described in the independent legal directories as “a truly brilliant, top quality, heavyweight commercial silk” and an “extraordinarily excellent advocate”. David is “widely respected for his capabilities in all manner of commercial disputes”, he “exudes confidence” and is “very user friendly.”
As a go-to advocate instructed in highly complex commercial cases, he is “spectacular to watch on his feet”, “very engaging, very influential and highly persuasive.” In court and arbitration he is said to be “hardcore and in control“, “a real streetfighter and the barrister you want on your side against a difficult opponent.” He is a “fearless” and “great” cross-examiner, “punchy, robust and assertive” when needs be, someone who tribunals find “engaging and interesting.”
In addition to his “formidable advocacy”, he is “regularly sought out for his quick, clear and thoughtful advice”. He is “very bright” and “a real expert when it comes to complex legal issues.” He is an acclaimed strategist “a breath of fresh air” described as a “one-off who can find and shoot the silver bullet.”
David is “very well prepared, very committed to his clients and exactly what you want.” He takes pride in devoting himself completely to his client’s cause and is praised for being “committed 110% to every case he is on.”
He has “a great rapport with his clients” being “one of the few top-quality commercial Silks who truly understands his clients’ businesses.”
David is a quadruple graduate, a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, an author with Professor Dignam of a leading company law textbook and a multiple academic and advocacy prize winner. He was formerly for over 10 years a Recorder (part-time Judge) of the Crown Court and for over 20 years has accepted numerous appointments to sit as a sole and panel arbitrator. David is Honorary Professor of Law, Queen Mary University of London. It is said that his science qualifications and experience are “a bonus offering extra value” in many highly technical commercial cases he is instructed on.
David provides talks on a wide range of commercial law matters, recently invited by the Bar Council and Law Society to speak to international lawyers in Mexico City on cross-border disputes, cross-border fraud, and ethics in commercial arbitration. Domestically, he has lectured most recently on trial advocacy and strategy in commercial litigation. David Allen QC is a member of the Bar of the British Virgin Islands.
Nearly thirty years ago, David’s first trial was against (what was then) City Merchants Bank during which he successfully cross-examined amongst others the Chairman of the Bank, the Chief Financial Officer and the Head of Securities. Since then, David has been instructed in numerous banking cases concerning bills of exchange, letters of credit, contracts of guarantee, promissory notes, documentary credits, syndicated loans, derivatives (swaps), asset backed securitisation, misleading prospectuses, fraud, forgery and malpractice.
For example, David appeared in Deutsche Bank v Highland  EWHC 730 (Comm) considering anti suit injunctions and non-exclusive jurisdiction clauses (see  EWCA Civ 725); PetroSaudi Oil v Novo Banco SA  EWHC 2456 (Comm) and  EWCA Civ 9 advising in overturning a commercial court decision injuncting presentation of a letter of credit for the fraud exception; in Saab v Dangate  EWHC 1558 (Comm) acted for the owners of the Federal Bank of Middle East in a successful action against ex Metropolitan Police Officers who had unlawfully disseminated the bank’s documents to third parties: see also Saab v Dangate  EWHC 48 (Comm) successfully applying for findings of contempt against the former police officers.
David was also asked to speak to and advise the Caribbean Development Bank in Barbados on standard form contracts, international arbitration and mediation.
David is cited by the legal directories as a recognised leader in cases involving Commercial Fraud. He is a member of the Commercial Fraud Lawyers association (CFLA) and has lectured frequently on legal and practical issues surrounding fraud. He was asked by the Bar Council and Law Society to deliver a speech in Mexico on cross-border fraud and cross-undertakings. He has lectured domestically on cross-border fraud, insurance fraud, bars to enforcement based on fraud considering JSC VTB Bank (2014), Jet Holdings v Patel (1990), House of Spring Gardens (1991), Gelley v Shepherd and AK Investment CJSC(2011).
David has conducted numerous cases over 30 years involving fraud including cases concerning scuttling (purposeful sinking of ships by their owners), fraud on insurance companies (fire lighting, explosions, mis-statement of accounts, mis-statement of profits), fraudulent breaches of data-room protocols, fraudulent banking practices, fraudulent banking instruments including cheques and letters of credit, fraudulent mis-statements of value in property transactions, fraudulent misrepresentations including about trade and value in share purchase agreements (SPAs), fraudulent representations involving charities, equitable fraud (breach of fiduciary duties), fraudulent obtaining of mining rights and government concessions, fraudulent drug taking in sport, professional fraud (solicitors, barristers, building contractors and accountants), transactional fraud, forgery, piercing the corporate veil, the ‘sham doctrine’, whether a director was personally liable or the company was in the context of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty and the unlawful interference in the transfer of money under a third party contract. David has also heard numerous cases of fraud sitting as a judge in the Crown Court.
As a very junior barrister nearly 30 years ago, David’s first unled trial involved him successfully cross-examining the chairman of a London Merchant Bank on whether he had agreed to indemnify the director of a construction company. Since then he has conducted numerous cases concerning fraud recently as leader in the most critical stage of Fiona Trust v Privalov  EWHC 2163 (Comm), in the largest LCIA London arbitration concerning the breach by a listed company of data-room covenants for profit (Euro multi billions), in LCIA arbitration concerning the copying of a superyacht for profit, PetroSaudi Oil v Novo Banco SA  EWHC 2456 (Comm) and  EWCA Civ 9 advising on overturning a commercial court decision injuncting presentation of a letter of credit for fraud, in IMS SA v Capital oil and Gas  EWHC 1056 considering whether a Chairman of an overseas commodity business was truthful when denying he had signed a counterpart to a deed, and for the Owners of Federal Bank of Middle Eastwhen ex Metropolitan Police investigators purposefully disseminated confidential documents in breach of covenants: Saab  EWHC 1558 (Comm).
David is also practised in committal proceedings for contempt of court, recently Tidewater Marine International v PhoenixTide Offshore Nigeria  EWHC 2746 (Comm) and Saab  EWHC 48 (Comm).
David is cited by the legal directories as a recognised leader in Commercial Dispute Resolution. His clients are almost always international corporations. David contributes heavily to his Chambers being “pound for pound easily the best Chambers at the Commercial Bar” and the legal directories confirm he is “one of the few top-quality commercial silks, who truly understands his clients’ businesses.”
David has been instructed to advise clients on the implications of Coronavirus COVID-19, most recently the owners of a Superyacht, a Premier League Football Club and international security services businesses as regards contract claims, SPAs, insurance / re-insurance coverage and claims.
Examples of other recent cases include Apache North Sea Ltd v INEOS FPS Ltd  EWHC 2081 (Comm) successfully appeared at trial for the Claimant in a dispute over rights to use a North Sea oil pipeline, worth over £120 million; Minera Las Bambas S.A. v Glencore (Comm)  concerning a sum allegedly due on the sale of a Peruvian mine under an SPA pursuant to a Peruvian Tax Court’s decision; Ferand Business Corp v MIHL and Ors , acting in a complex shareholders dispute; Saab v Dangate  EWHC 1558, successfully acting for the shareholders of the Federal Bank of Middle Eastagainst ex Metropolitan Police Officers who breached confidentiality agreements distributing private documents worldwide whilst trying to rely on public interest defences; Saab v Dangate  EWHC 48 (Comm) and again for the shareholders of the Bank when the Defendants contemptuously failed to comply with court orders; IMS SA v. Capital Oil and Gas  EWHC 894 (Comm) when Access bank alleged oil had been misdelivered, successfully suing receivers on a disputed Deed of Settlement; Apache v Marathon  EWHC 2504 (Comm) obtaining an expedited hearing in the Commercial Court to require joint venture partners to permit an asset sale to a hedge fund; Fiona Trust Corp v Privalov EWHC 2657 (Comm) leading this long running litigation against a fraudulent claimant seeking loss of a chance damages claim; Tidewater International Inc v Phoenixtide  EWHC 2748 (Comm) a long running series of cases (15 court appearances) resisting jurisdictional challenge, suing successfully for the unlawful interference with the payment of money under a third party contract and bringing successful committal proceedings .
David’s experience in arbitration is equally extensive including having acted as the leader on the largest (Euro multi billion) LCIA arbitration brought in London concerning a European listed utilities company and mineral exploration in Iraq.
David is constantly cited by the legal Directories as a recognised leader in Energy and Natural Resources “very strong in the energy space”. He is particularly known for “his technical flair and deep experience in the domestic and international upstream oil and gas and maritime spheres.”
He has “extensive academic and practical experience of the energy sector and particular knowledge of drilling operations. He is highly in demand as demonstrated by his involvement in numerous high-value disputes such as Global Oil v Maersk.”
His recent cases have included Apache North Sea Ltd v INEOS FPS Ltd  EWHC 2081 (Comm)successfully appeared at trial for the Claimant in a dispute over rights to use a North Sea oil pipeline, worth over £120 million; Global Oil v Maersk in which David successfully acted for Global Oil in a dispute involving construction work to a semi-sub oil rig (which involved David visiting and staying on the Rig in the Atlantic off St. John’s, Newfoundland and advising Global Oil in Houston); Tidewater Marine International v PhoenixTide Offshore Nigeria, in which David successfully acted for Tidewater Marine this long running case involving over a dozen court appearances including  EWHC (Comm) consideration of causes, of action, applicability of express terms, forum non conveniens, jurisdiction clauses, parallel proceedings and time charters;  EWHC 2748 (Comm) refusing permission to use monies subject to a freezing order for legal fees, refusing a variation to a freezing order;  EWHC 3923 (Comm) committal for contempt of court, attempted discharge of committal proceedings, committal to prison for contempt of court; LCIA arbitration concerning breach of data-room protocols and the rights to explore for oil in Iraqi Kurdistan (said to be the largest LCIA arbitration brought in London); Apache Beryl Ltd v Marathon Oil UK LLC in which David successfully acted for Apache wishing to sell North Sea Continental Shelf seabed assets to a Hedge Fund when the sale was resisted by joint-venturers including  EWHC 2258 (Comm) when David persuaded the Commercial Court to resolve the dispute on an expedited basis prior to a ‘drop-dead’ date and  EWHC 2462 (Comm) on an application considering pre-trial orders including an application to amend;  EWHC 2504 (Comm) when fresh evidence was sought; Apache North Sea Ltd v Euroil Exploration  a case the interpretation of Farm-in and Farm-out agreements, and the joint venture Joint Operating Agreements and whether there was a market cap for the provision and use of drilling assets; PetroSaudi v Petroleum of Venezuela (PDVSA) involved with advising in court proceedings concerned with whether PDVSA were bound to pay under a stand-by letter of credit and whether a director of PetroSaudi had committed fraud (the fraud exception) when certifying that payment was due: see  EWHC 2456 (Comm); and  EWCA Civ 9 (CA) and a three year arbitration on payments due under an exploration and drilling contract.
David has been recently instructed by the Owners of a Superyacht to advise as to their injunctive rights against an overseas Yard following the outbreak of Coronavirus COVID-19 and international security corporations concerning completion of SPAs.
David is very experienced in obtaining and resisting injunctions of all kinds including Freezing Orders and Search orders. Most recently David obtained an injunction requiring the delivery up of documents and other information in favour of the owners of the Federal Bank of Middle East: Saab v Dangate  EWHC 1558.
He was the first barrister to challenge the power of the court to compel a Mareva (now Freezing Order) Defendant to attend for cross-examination in respect of his assets when the answers would also go to substantive issues in circumstances when the Defendant had opted not to give evidence at trial relying on what was then the European Convention on Human Rights: Yukong Line Ltd. of Korea v Rendsburg Investments Corporation of Liberia, The Times, 22nd October 1996 (CA).
Since then, he has been leading counsel in dozens of cases involving injunctions including Tidewater Marine International v PhoenixTide Offshore Nigeria  EWHC (Comm); and  EWHC 2748 (Comm) and  EWHC 3923 (Comm), in which David successfully acted for Tidewater Marine in this long running case seeking orders to compel the Defendant to desist on the interference of the payment of money by a third party to Tidewater, see;  EWHC (Comm); and  EWHC 2748 (Comm) in which permission was refused to permit the Defendant from using frozen funds for legal fees; and  EWHC 3923 (Comm) in which the Defendant was committed to prison for contempt of court; Fiona Trust v Privalov  EWHC 2163 (Comm) in which David was appointed to lead the legal team in this seminal case at its most critical moment to determine the damages payable (including loss of chance damages) when a freezing order was improperly obtained; Apache Beryl Ltd v Marathon Oil UK LLC  EWHC 2258 (Comm) in which David successfully acted for Apache requiring joint venturers to permit the sale of North Sea Continental Shelf seabed assets to a Hedge Fund  EWHC 2258 (Comm) when David persuaded the Commercial Court to resolve the dispute on an expedited basis prior to a ‘drop-dead’ date, see also  EWHC 2462 (Comm); and Saab  EWHC 48 (Comm) in which David obtained injunctions compelling the Defendants to deliver up confidential documents disseminated to third parties in breach of an agreement of confidence (defeating public interest immunity defences); and Saab  EWHC 48 (Comm) in which David obtained orders that the Defendants were in contempt of court for failing to comply with the court orders.
David is vastly experienced advising in the context of and representing clients in international arbitration. He appears before ad hoc as well as UNCITRAL, ICC, LCIA, LMAA. David is by examination and experience a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Arbitrators, a member of the London Court of International Arbitration, Associate Member of London Maritime Arbitrators Association.
David is instructed to advise clients on the implications of Coronavirus COVID-19, most recently the owners of a Superyacht and the owners of a Premier League Football Club as regards contract claims, insurance / re-insurance coverage and claims.
Due to the confidential nature of arbitration, it is not possible to describe cases in detail but recent cases include:
Conflict of laws and jurisdiction disputes have always been a speciality of David Allen for example Deutsche Bank v Highland (alleged Texan jurisdiction)  EWHC 730 (Comm) considering anti suit injunctions and non-exclusive jurisdiction clauses (see  EWCA; Kingspan Environmental Limited and Ors v Borealis A/S and another  EWHC 1147 (Comm) (alleged Northern Ireland and Danish jurisdiction); Tidewater Marine v PhoenixTide  EWHC 2748 (Comm) (alleged Nigerian jurisdiction).
David Allen is recognised in the legal directories as a leader in product liability cases. He has conducted cases including drugs, chemicals, electronic products and software. He has extensive experience of the concept of ‘physical damage’ in the context of all commercial contracts and is currently advising clients following the outbreak of Coronavirus COVID-19.
See for example Balmoral Group Limited v. Borealis A/S and others  2 Lloyd’s Rep. 629, one of the largest product liability cases in the Commercial Court, David led the case for the Defendants successfully defending the first in a series of claims. The case concerned the international Sale of Goods, deciding UCTA reasonableness, whether goods at a holding depot were in the course of international carriage, applicability of UCTA to a foreign law contract, inter-relationship of sections 14(2) and 14(3) UCTA, incorporation of standard terms and conditions after trading had commenced, remoteness of damage when loss is increased by a subsequent change in legislation and evidence required to prove corporate losses.
David also acted for Huawei in a dispute concerning a digital motherboard, and an Austrian listed company in connection with software deficits.
This aspect of David’s practice is almost always confidential. He has however acted for decades for Olympic and Commonwealth athletes in different sports in matters of libel, slander, regulation, personal contracts, media rights and coaching rights. He has acted for Chelsea and Liverpool Football Clubs, for sporting governing bodies and for the heads of sporting bodies and in the context of drug agencies. He acted for a professional squash coach wrongly banned by Squash England from coaching (coaching permission now restored) and against the Rugby Football Union.
He has been instructed by the owners of a Premier League Football Club as to their rights following the outbreak of the Coronavirus COVID-19.
David Allen QC has practised for thirty years in the leading insurance and re-insurance Chambers. The legal directories describe him as “a highly knowledgeable insurance silk with a reputation for sharp and cutting advocacy.”
Recently, David has been instructed to advise clients on the implications of Coronavirus COVID-19, most recently the owners of a Superyacht and the owners of a Premier League Football Club, an international security company as regards contract claims, insurance / re-insurance coverage and claims.
As regards Coronavirus COVID-19, in addition to the deep experience set out below, David has extensive experience with event aggregation wordings, follow the settlements clauses, the concept of physical damage (in other words, has COVID-19 caused ‘damage’ or not).
His practice started with the vast array of Names’ litigation in the 1990s including the Lloyd’s Feltrim syndicates which reported losses of US$550 million. Since then he has had a continuous stream of seminal insurance cases including The Marel  1 Lloyd’s Rep. 624 (CA) (Marine insurance, perils of the sea); Bates v Barrow Ltd.  1 Lloyd’s Rep. 680 (Comm.) (Illegality, insurance contracts, retrospective interpretation of statute, construction of the Financial Services Act); Colonia v Amoco Oil 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 570 (Comm.) (Marine Insurance, claims by assignment); John Wyeth & Brothers Ltd v Cigna Insurance Company of Europe SA/NV and Ors  2 Lloyd’s Rep. IR 420 (CA) (New York law litigation insurance/reinsurance, whether excess layers liable where primary layers exercised “buy-out” clause, whether assured in breach of maintenance clause, apportionment of costs between insurers, whether product liability cover excluded by efficacy clause in excess policy); Audrey Jones and (2) Roger Jones v Congregational and General Insurance plc (2003) The Times, July 7, 2003 (QB) (Fraudulent insurance claim – statutory interpretation of Access to Justice Act 1999 – whether fraudulent publicly funded claimants can receive statutory protection against enforcement of costs orders); Lumberman’s Mutual Casualty Co v Bovis Lend Lease Ltd. (No. 2)  1 Lloyd’s Rep. 494 (Assured reaching settlement agreement with third party including claims and counterclaims, whether the Assured’s loss had been ‘ascertained’ – a case said at the time to be creating “Ground breaking insurance law”); Balmoral Group Limited v Borealis A/S and others  2 Lloyd’s Rep. 629 (One of the largest product liability cases in the Commercial Court, David led the case for the Defendants instructed by insurers successfully defending a claim exceeding £50 million plus costs. The case concerned the international Sale of Goods, deciding UCTA reasonableness, whether goods at a holding depot were in the course of international carriage, applicability of UCTA to a foreign law contract, inter-relationship of sections 14(2) and 14(3) UCTA, incorporation of standard terms and conditions after trading has commenced, remoteness of damage when loss is increased by a subsequent change in legislation, evidence required to prove corporate losses); Andrew Knudtzon v Michael James (on behalf of himself and Lloyd’s Underwriters)  (following a large incident in a refrigeration plant, David successfully defended the claim for an indemnity by demonstrating that the loud “bang” with accompanying rush of air heard and felt by witnesses was not an ‘explosion’ within the meaning of the policy; Biffa waste Services v. Outokumpu Wenmac AB, The Times, November 21, 2008;  EWHC (TCC) and  EWCA Civ 1257 (Court of Appeal); (David successfully overturned a decision by Ramsey J. holding his clients vicariously liable in tort for burning a waste plant down. The judgment deals with two of the most important aspects of tort law for commercial lawyers namely: (a) the doctrine of vicarious liability; and (b) the doctrine of non-delegable or strict liability for so called ‘extra hazardous’ acts); Kingspan Environmental Limited and Ors v Borealis A/S and another  EWHC 1147 (Comm) a further action in what was seen as a Borecene test case with suppliers waiting on the outcome of this claim initially made for £100 million. David was again successful for Borealis in what was a highly technical case spanning 3 months in the Commercial Court.
The majority of David’s insurance and re-insurance work is of course conducted in arbitration both in London and Hong Kong and must remain confidential.
For thirty years, David has been instructed on innumerable shipping law cases and has very extensive experience. He is recognised in the legal directories as a leading Silk in this field and described as “one of the stars of the shipping Bar”, “strong in shipping” and “a tough shipping and commodities barrister”.
In his first 5 years of practice (September 1990 to 1995) he had been instructed on over 200 shipping and cargo cases by one set of solicitors alone. He has conducted countless charterparty disputes, unsafe port cases, casualty disputes, shipbuilding disputes, dangerous cargo disputes and cases involving transhipment. Most recently he worked for an oil major following two ship explosions (2020).
Most of David’s shipping work has been in London and Hong Kong arbitration and therefore confidential, but he has also been appointed counsel in a number of seminal reported cases including those cited in practitioner textbooks for example “The Marel” (Perils of the sea); “The Golden Victory” (damages following repudiation); Zodiac Maritime (termination by Fortescue Metals Group of 17 Charterparties on one day); “The Falkonera” (transhipment); Berazovsky (agent’s entitlement to a commission on the sale of a super-yacht); IMS SA v Capital Oil (discharge of cargoes without bills of lading); and Glencore (orders for the sale of distressed cargoes of oil).
David Allen QC has been recognised by the independent legal directories as a recognised leader in many categories of commercial law.
Solicitors, clients and his peers have described his attributes in the most recent publications of Legal 500, Legal Expert, Chambers and Partners, Chambers Global and Legal Week in the following ways:
Apache v Esso: Commercial Court hands down important energy law judgment on meaning of Petroleum Act 1998
David Allen QC and Jason Robinson represent PetroSaudi in escrow dispute
David Allen QC and Jason Robinson for International Bank of St Petersburg in hearings considering the meaning and effect of undertakings given in exchange for anti-suit injunctions
Commercial Court rules on shareholder dispute
David Allen QC and Michael Ryan successful in Venezuelan fraud dispute
David Allen QC and Professor Dignam “Company Law and the Human Rights Act” published by Butterworths (Cambridge Law Journal, November  pp. 628-629; and Public Law  Winter pp. 824-826). This work remains a core authority for company lawyers and forms the basis of the United Nations Judicial Training Programme.
David Allen QC, Jason Robinson and Henry Moore “Pre-emption rights: oil and gas” published by Practical Law.
David Allen QC is a member of the Bar of the British Virgin Islands.
David was appointed a part-time judge of the Crown Court and sat in that capacity for 10 years. He has frequently been appointed as an arbitrator, both a sole and panel arbitrator, following ad hoc agreements and also through various appointing bodies.
David is Honorary Professor of Law, Queen Mary University of London.
David was invited to sit on the Commercial Court Guide Consultative Committee and the Commercial Court Users’ Committee. He has for many years been a member of the Commercial Bar Association and the Commercial Fraud Lawyers’ Association.
David is a quadruple graduate – BSc (Hons) Construction Economics (mathematics, economics, material sciences, civil engineering, critical path analysis, construction methodology, accounting and computer coding) (Prizes for ‘the most outstanding contributions’); LLB (Hons) (Best student prize); LLM (International Comparative Commercial Law); and MA (Criminology and Criminal Justice) (top Distinction). He was awarded scholarships by the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn and the Inns of Court School of Law and following international competition, the Gray’s Inn International Mooting Prize. By experience and examination, he is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
David is Honorary Professor of Law, Queen Mary University of London.