David Edwards QC

David Edwards QC

Silk: 2006 | Call: 1989

"Undoubtedly one of the next generation of real stars"

Chambers & Partners

Practice Profile


David Edwards specialises in commercial litigation and arbitration, both as an advocate and as an advisor, in particular in insurance and reinsurance where he is acknowledged as one of the leading silks at the bar, banking and finance, professional negligence, commercial arbitration and shipping and international trade.

David Edwards was named Chambers Bar Awards Insurance Silk of the Year in 2013.  He had been previously nominated for the same award, and has been nominated twice since then in 2018 and again in 2020. He has been listed in the top tier of insurance and reinsurance silks in both Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 for many years, and is also listed as a leading silk for international arbitration and commercial litigation. The guides variously describe him as “supremely intelligent”, “a formidable advocate”, someone who is “without exception always completely prepared” and “very easy to work with, and … very collaborative”.

David Edwards appears most frequently in the Commercial Court or the Chancery Division, and on appeal in the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords (now the Supreme Court). A good deal of his work is done in confidential arbitration. His practice is international, and he has substantial experience of working together with foreign lawyers (particularly United States lawyers) and dealing with cases governed by a foreign substantive law (in particular New York law).  He is well known as an expert in Bermuda Form arbitrations. In addition to his practice as an advocate, David Edwards has sat and accepts appointments as sole or as party-appointed arbitrator in ad hoc or institutional (ICC and LCIA) arbitrations. He has also been instructed to give expert evidence on English insurance law for the purposes of foreign proceedings.

In 2017 David Edwards was appointed by the Lord Chief Justice as a Deputy High Court Judge, assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division. David has also been admitted to the Bar in Bermuda for particular matters.

David Edwards has been instructed in relation to most of the major problems that have affected the insurance and reinsurance markets over the last 20 years from the Lloyd’s litigation in the early 1990 to the plethora of E & O and D & O disputes which have arisen out of the disruption in the financial markets in 2008.  He is described in the guides as “a doyen on the Bermuda Form”, and has extensive experience of disputes and arbitrations under that form in relation to a wide variety of matters: prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals; medical devices; herbicides; automotive products; oil, gasoline and MTBE pollution; environmental liability; financial products; securities litigation; directors & officers’ insurance.

David Edwards was named Chambers Bar Awards Insurance Silk of the Year in 2013.  He had been previously nominated for the same award, and has been nominated twice since then in 2018 and again in 2020. He has been listed in the top tier of insurance and reinsurance silks in both Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 for many years.

Selected cases:

  • AIG Europe Limited v Woodman [2017] UKSC 18 Acting for the SRA in the Supreme Court, this case concerns the true construction of the aggregation contained in clause 2.5 of the Minimum Terms and Conditions (“MTC”) annexed to the solicitors Indemnity Insurance rules 2013, which must be incorporated into all solicitors’ indemnity policies.
  • acted for Bermudian insurers in a London arbitration in respect of claims arising out of injuries allegedly caused by a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug
  • acted for Bermudian and United States insurers in connection with claims for environmental pollution caused by PCBs
  • acted for Bermudian insurer in respect of claims arising out of a large underground gas leak in California
  • appeared for the Law Society as intervenor in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in a case concerning the aggregation provisions in the solicitors’ minimum terms: AIG Europe v Woodman [2017] UKSC 18
  • acted for United States medical device manufacturer in a London arbitration seeking indemnity under Directors and Officers insurance policies for sums paid in settlement of securities litigation
  • acted for Bermudian insurers in relation to claim by motor manufacturer for indemnity in respect of sums paid in settlement of claims relating to active restraint devices
  • acted for English insurer seeking to recover policy excesses from former members of insolvent firm of solicitors
  • acted for Bermudian insurers in two separate arbitrations resisting claims for indemnity for sums paid in settlement to individuals alleging zinc poisoning from over the counter denture product
  • acted for both insurers and policyholders in a variety of cases concerning liabilities for defective hip replacement and other orthopaedic products
  • acted for United States and Bermudian insurers in relation to claims made by three different oil majors concerning their liability for MTBE pollution of groundwater in the United States
  • acted for numerous insurers in relation to liabilities arising out of the “Deepwater Horizon” disaster in the Gulf of Mexico
  • acted for insurers in a London arbitration resisting a claim brought by a Canadian energy company for an indemnity in respect of the costs of remediating environmental pollution resulting from the largest on-land  oil spill in US history
  • acted for Bermudian insurer in London arbitration resisting claims by major pharmaceutical manufacturer relating to a contraceptive product
  • acted for United States and Bermudian insurers in London arbitrations resisting claims by a herbicide manufacturer for sums paid in settlement of claims for nationwide damage to conifer trees
  • acted as successful Leading Counsel for Ace and XL before Flaux J and the Court of Appeal in the first case concerning the interpretation of the Bermuda Form to be considered by the English courts:AstraZeneca v XL and ACE [2013] EWCA Civ 1660
  • acted for a major accountancy firm in a dispute with primary and excess insurers about coverage for pension and structured products mis-selling
  • acted for a US insured in two political risks arbitrations in London concerning expropriation of property in Venezuela
  • acted for a London firm of solicitors in connection with disputes with its insurers and brokers concerning the placement of its professional indemnity cover and aggregation of claims arising out of the firm’s work on a number of tax avoidance schemes
  • acted for a United States financial lines company seeking to recover against a number of excess liability insurers in respect of sums paid in settlement of a United States class action alleging breach of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • acted for Bermudian reinsurers in a London arbitration resisting a claim by a Lloyd’s syndicate under a Gulf of Mexico windstorm cover for an indemnity in respect of Hurricane Ike losses
  • acted for Bermudian insurers in a London arbitration resisting a claim brought by a United States energy company for an indemnity in respect of environmental liabilities concerning pollution of Lake Michigan
  • acted for Bermudian excess insurers in a “baseball” Bermuda form arbitration resisting a claim by a United States railroad company for payment of more than US$50 million in respect of liabilities arising out of a serious derailment and chemical release in 2005
  • acted for United States and Bermudian insurers defending a claim under a number of casualty policies brought by a United States chemical company arising out of the collapse of a merger agreement
  • acted for a United Kingdom household name insurer in successive arbitrations with a Japanese reinsurer concerning the disposal of a book of financial solutions business
  • acted for a Japanese reinsurer defending claims brought by members of an London-based aviation pool
  • acted for a United States telecommunications company in a Bermuda form arbitration seeking to recover from D & O insurers losses in excess of US$100 million arising out of securities litigation in the United States
  • acted for insurers of a United Kingdom pharmaceutical company advising on product liability claims brought by patients in relation to one of the company’s blockbuster drugs
  • acted for casualty insurers of a well-known French conglomerate advising on claims arising out of the departure of its CEO and ensuing securities litigation in the United States
  • acted for Bermudian insurers in a Bermuda form arbitration defending claims by a United States telecommunications company arising out of securities litigation in the United States
  • acted for reinsurers of the captive of a major accountancy firm in a London arbitration concerned with claims arising out of the firm’s development and marketing of tax shelter schemes in the United States
  • Law Society v Shah [2008] 3 WLR 1401; Law Society v Wemyss [2008] EWHC 2515 (Ch) – acted for the Law Society seeking to recover compensation payments from professional indemnity insurers of a firm of solicitors
  • acted for Bermudian insurers in a Bermuda form arbitration defending a claim brought by a United States healthcare provider arising out of allegations of improper and unnecessary cardiac surgery
  • acted for a United Kingdom household name insurer in a London arbitration concerning aggregation of claims against a firm of solicitors arising out of the firm’s involvement in a major legal expenses insurance scheme
  • acted for a Bermudian insurer in a Bermuda form arbitration seeking to recover from its reinsurers in respect of 2005 hurricane losses and to resist allegations of non-disclosure of its catastrophe modelling output
  • acted for a United States life insurance company in a variety of London court and arbitration proceedings arising out of its involvement in the personal accident LMX market
  • acted for a Lloyd’s syndicate in an arbitration against a catastrophe reinsurer concerning maintenance of zonal aggregates for United States hurricane and earthquake risks
  • CGU International Insurance v AstraZeneca [2007] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 142 – acted for the captive insurer of AstraZeneca in litigation against reinsurers in relation to claims concerning genetically modified crops
  • Centre Re v Freakley [2006] 1 WLR 2693 – acted for the administrators of Turner & Newall seeking to recover from insurers under a £500 million policy covering the company’s asbestos liabilities
  • acted for insurers and reinsurers of energy, satellite and re-flight guarantee business in various London court and arbitration proceedings pursing or resisting claims for indemnity
  • Absalom v TCRU [2006] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 129 – acted for a Lloyd’s syndicate in a series of disputes concerning payment of brokerage on personal accident and medical accident business
  • Toomey v Banco Vitalicio [2005] Lloyd’s Rep. IR 423 – acted for Spanish insurers of the football club Atletico de Madrid in court proceedings against their London market reinsurers
  • acted for Winterthur Swiss Insurance company in what is believed to be the world’s biggest “baseball” arbitration arising out of the sale of part of its business to XL and in related court proceedings
  • HIH v Chase Manhattan [2003] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 61 – acted for JP Morgan Chase and for Société Génerale, Royal Bank of Canada, National Bank of Canada and the Matrix Partnerships in the film finance litigation
  • HMH v CECAR [2000] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 316 – acted for Harding Maughan Hambly in a dispute between producing and placing brokers about payment of commission on a political risks placement

Many of David Edwards’ cases are dealt with in arbitration.

Selected cases:

  • acted for Bermudian insurers in a London arbitration in respect of claims arising out of injuries allegedly caused by a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug
  • acted for United States medical device manufacturer in a London arbitration seeking indemnity under Directors and Officers insurance policies for sums paid in settlement of securities litigation
  • acted for Bermudian insurers in two separate arbitrations resisting claims for indemnity for sums paid in settlement to individuals alleging zinc poisoning from over the counter denture product
  • acted for insurers in a London arbitration resisting a claim brought by a Canadian energy company for an indemnity in respect of the costs of remediating damage resulting from an oil spill
  • acted for Bermudian insurer in London arbitration resisting claims by major pharmaceutical manufacturer relating to a contraceptive product
  • acted for United States and Bermudian insurers in London arbitrations resisting claims by an herbicide manufacturer for sums paid in settlement of claims for nationwide damage to conifer trees
  • acted for a major accountancy firm in a dispute with primary and excess insurers about coverage for pension and structured products mis-selling
  • acted for the owners of a Caribbean hotel in an arbitration in Washington DC concerning a dispute with its former management company.
  • acted for a US insured in two political risks arbitrations in London concerning expropriation of property in Venezuela
  • acted for a United States financial lines company seeking to recover against a number of excess liability insurers in respect of sums paid in settlement of a United States class action alleging breach of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • acted for Bermudian reinsurers in a London arbitration resisting a claim by a Lloyd’s syndicate under a Gulf of Mexico windstorm cover for an indemnity in respect of Hurricane Ike losses
  • acted for Bermudian insurers in a London arbitration resisting a claim brought by a United States energy company for an indemnity in respect of environmental liabilities concerning pollution of Lake Michigan
  • acted for Bermudian excess insurers in a “baseball” Bermuda form arbitration resisting a claim by a United States railroad company for payment of more than US$50 million in respect of liabilities arising out of a serious derailment in 2005
  • acted for United States and Bermudian insurers defending a claim under a number of casualty policies brought by a United States chemical company arising out of the collapse of a merger agreement
  • acted for Middle Eastern clients against a United States company in an ICC arbitration concerning the breakdown of a joint venture to build US$5 billion mixed-use towers in the Persian Gulf
  • acted for a United Kingdom household name insurer in successive arbitrations with a Japanese reinsurer concerning the disposal of a book of financial solutions business
  • acted for a Japanese reinsurer defending claims brought by members of a London-based aviation pool
  • acted for a United States telecommunications company in a Bermuda form arbitration seeking to recover from D & O insurers losses in excess of US$100 million arising out of securities litigation in the United States
  • acted for Bermudian insurers in a Bermuda form arbitration defending claims by a United States telecommunications company arising out of securities litigation in the United States
  • acted for reinsurers of the captive of a major accountancy firm in a London arbitration concerned with claims arising out of the firm’s development and marketing of tax shelter schemes in the United States
  • acted for Bermudian insurers in a Bermuda form arbitration defending a claim brought by a United States healthcare provider arising out of allegations of improper and unnecessary cardiac surgery
  • acted for a United Kingdom household name insurer in a London arbitration concerning aggregation of claims against a firm of solicitors arising out of the firm’s involvement in a major legal expenses insurance scheme
  • acted for a Bermudian insurer in a Bermuda form arbitration seeking to recover from its reinsurers in respect of 2005 hurricane losses and to resist allegations of non-disclosure of its catastrophe modelling output
  • acted for a United States life insurance company in a variety of London court and arbitration proceedings arising out of its involvement in the personal accident LMX market
  • acted for a Lloyd’s syndicate in an arbitration against a catastrophe reinsurer concerning maintenance of zonal aggregates for United States hurricane and earthquake risks
  • acted for insurers and reinsurers of energy, satellite and re-flight guarantee business in various London court and arbitration proceedings pursing or resisting claims for Indemnity
  • acted for Winterthur Swiss Insurance company in what is believed to be the world’s biggest “baseball” arbitration arising out of the sale of part of its business to XL and in related court proceedings.

Much of the insurance and reinsurance work that David Edwards has been involved in is finance- related (see under Insurance and Reinsurance).  He has also been involved in more general banking work.

Selected cases:

  • acted for a private investor in a dispute over an interest rate swap taken out in connection with a commercial property transaction
  • acted for a French bank in a dispute with a German bank over termination payments due under a $600 million credit default swap and associated issues concerning hedging arrangements
  • acted for a specialist firm of hedge fund brokers concerned with withdrawal/negligence/insurance notification issues arising out of recent financial market conditions
  • Sumitomo v Banque Bruxelles Lambert [1997] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 487 – acted for Sanwa, Sumitomo and Arab Banks in court proceedings against Banque Bruxelles Lambert arising out of a syndicated lending transaction

Disputes over jurisdiction and issues concerning applicable law are a regular part of David Edwards’ practice.

Selected cases:

  • CGU International Insurance v AstraZeneca [2007] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 142 – acted for the captive insurer of AstraZeneca in litigation against reinsurers; a key issue was under which system of law the captive’s liability to AstraZeneca was to be judged
  • Deutsche Ruck v La Fondiaria [2001] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 621 – acted for a German reinsurance company successfully invoking English jurisdiction under article 5 of the Brussels Convention for a claim against a fellow member of a reinsurance pool
  • The “Winter” [2000] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 298 – acted for two bunker suppliers resisting claims by shipowners and successfully having the proceedings stayed on jurisdictional grounds
  • Source v TUV [1998] QB 54 – acted for German cargo inspectors successfully contesting English jurisdiction under article 5 of the Brussels Convention for a claim a claim brought in England in respect of an inspection performed overseas
  • The “Bergen” [1997] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 380 – acted for cargo owners seeking to maintain English jurisdiction for a claim for cargo damage following a fire on board the vessel

David Edwards has dealt with a number of cases involving claims against professionals, most commonly insurance brokers but also solicitors, accountants or other finance professionals.

Selected cases:

  • acted for a major accountancy firm in a dispute with primary and excess insurers about coverage for pension and structured products mis-selling
  • acted for a London firm of solicitors in connection with disputes with its insurers and brokers concerning the placement of its professional indemnity cover and aggregation of claims arising out of the firm’s work on a number of tax avoidance schemes
  • acted for a Lloyd’s syndicate in relation to a possible claim against a coverholder in relation to the underwriting and management of a book of professional liability business
  • Law Society v Shah [2008] 3 WLR 1401; Law Society v Wemyss [2008] EWHC 2515 (Ch) – acted for the Law Society in its efforts to recover sums misappropriated by the senior partner of a number of firms of London solicitors from other partners
  • acted for insurance brokers defending a claim for negligence in relation to advice given on placement as to policy requirements as to security systems for commercial premises which subsequently burnt down
  • acted for a London firm of solicitors defending allegations of inducing breach of contract, deceit and conspiracy in connection with a number of insurance-backed film finance transactions
  • HIH v Chase Manhattan [2003] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 61 – acted for JP Morgan Chase and for the Matrix Partnerships in the film finance litigation making claims against brokers Heaths and JLT

David Edwards has appeared in a number of reported cases (and many confidential arbitrations) concerning shipping, shipbuilding and international trade, including The “Nicholas H” – the landmark case concerning whether a duty of care was owed by a classification society.  A particular area of specialty has been disputes between Protection and Indemnity clubs and their members.

Selected cases:

  • The “Winter” [2000] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 298 – acted for two bunker suppliers resisting claims by shipowners and successfully having the proceedings stayed on jurisdictional grounds
  • The “Seta Maru” [2000] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 367 – acted for Japanese purchasers of three new-build bulk carriers seeking to recover against the shipyard in respect of serious welding defects
  • The “Lendoudis Evangelos II” [1997] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 404 – acted for trip time charterers resisting a claim by owners in respect of a voyage estimate given “without guarantee”
  • The “Bergen” [1997] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 380 – acted for cargo owners seeking to maintain English jurisdiction for a claim for cargo damage following a fire on board the vessel
  • The “Nicholas H” [1996] AC 211 – acted for the Japanese classification society, NKK, successfully arguing that the society owed no duty of care to cargo owners in respect of a damage survey performed on the vessel which subsequently sank

For many years, both as a junior and since 2006 as a silk, David Edwards Q.C. has been listed by Chambers and Partners and by the Legal 500 as a leader in insurance and reinsurance and other sectors. David Edwards was listed as one of the ‘Most Highly Regarded’ insurance silks in Who’s Who Legal 2017. David Edwards was named Chambers and Partners Insurance Silk of the Year at the 2013 Chambers Bar Awards having been shortlisted for the same award previously. The current (2020) edition of the Legal 500 lists him as a leader in insurance, commercial litigation and international arbitration. Chambers and Partners (2020) lists him as a leader in insurance, commercial litigation and international arbitration.  Recent editions comment that:

  • “An experienced advocate with a huge reputation in the insurance sector who is very clear in his advice.” “He’s brilliant. He gets into the weeds, rolls up his sleeves and works incredibly hard.” “David is an excellent advocate and a superb analyst.” Chambers 2020
  • “Extremely good legal thinker who is quick, decisive and appropriately candid.” “Wonderful on his feet.” Chambers 2020
  • “David Edwards QC is an excellent advocate who exhibits very clear thinking.” Chambers 2020
  • ‘A terrific silk.’ Legal 500 2020
  • ‘He is up there with the best at the commercial Bar.’ Legal 500 2020
  • ‘An excellent insurance silk and very responsive.’ Legal 500 2020
  • “Brilliant on paper and brilliant on his feet. He prepares thoroughly and has good judgement.” Chambers 2019
  • “His insurance expertise is very broad. He is bright and a terrific advocate. He is meticulous and prepared to roll his sleeves up and get stuck into the detail. He also has great judgement.” “Fiercely intelligent and articulate.” Chambers 2019
  • ‘A leading silk for Bermuda form insurance arbitrations.’ Legal 500 2018
  • ‘A go-to QC for reinsurance matters.’ Legal 500 2018
  • ‘An outstanding advocate.’ Legal 500 2018
  • “An incredibly intelligent, hard-working and driven individual.” “A formidable advocate who is as good on his feet as he is on paper.” “He is rightly in the premier league for insurance and reinsurance work.” Chambers 2018
  • “He is a very direct advocate who cuts through the detail in complex matters.” Chambers 2018
  • A formidable advocate, whose preparation is always meticulous. Legal 500 2017
  • Extraordinarily bright, with a photographic memory and mastery of documents. Legal 500 2017
  • A favourite silk for insurance/reinsurance work; simply an outstanding advocate. Legal 500 2017
  • The “effortlessly smooth” David Edwards QC is known among peers as an outstanding Bermuda Form practitioner and “an extremely impressive advocate”. Who’s Who Legal 2017
  • “Undoubtedly one of the next generation of real stars. His insurance expertise is very broad, he is bright, very direct, meticulous and prepared to roll his sleeves up and get stuck into the detail.” Chambers 2017
  • An outstanding silk known for his forensic attention to detail and meticulous preparation. “A formidable advocate who is as good on his feet as he is on paper.” Chambers 2017
  • “Very sharp and an excellent advocate, both in terms of his written and oral addresses to the court. An excellent cross-examiner.” Chambers 2017
  • “An excellent silk, who works extremely hard and is masterful in his advocacy.” Legal 500 2016
  • “An extremely able silk, who is approachable and user-friendly.” Legal 500 2016
  • “Recommended for international arbitration and cases governed by foreign laws.” Legal 500 2016
  • “A knowledgeable and formidable insurance silk.” Chambers 2016
  • “A very effective and forceful advocate.” Chambers 2016
  • “Incredibly pleasant, user-friendly and phenomenally sharp.” Chambers 2016
  • “He takes the time to prepare carefully and always impresses” Chambers 2016
  • “A fantastic advocate who works unbelievably hard and is great at mastering the detail.” Legal 500 2015
  • “He has an imperturbable, low-key way of cross-examining witnesses, which is very effective.” Legal 500 2015
  • “The man of the moment for Bermuda form arbitration; a forceful and compelling advocate.” Legal 500 2015
  • “extremely clear and diligent; he has a very calm and persuasive court manner and specialist knowledge of the Bermuda Form.” Chambers 2015
  • “He is a formidable advocate who is as good on his feet as he is on paper. He is always meticulously prepared and gets to the nub of the argument without fuss or waffle.” Chambers 2015
  • “He is a well-organised, clear advocate who is very good when on his feet and dealing with questions.” Chambers 2015
  • “He is without exception always completely prepared. Whilst he is very determined once he has reached his position, he is also very easy to work with, and is very collaborative.” Chambers 2015
  • “A doyen on Bermuda Form.” Legal 500 2014
  • “Precise, thorough and careful in his analysis; he adds enormous value in insurance cases.”  Legal 500 2014
  • “He’s supremely intelligent and works hard to ensure he knows a case inside out.” Chambers 2014
  • “Very user-friendly and first-rate on reinsurance matters.” Chambers 2014
  • “A silk of choice for many instructing solicitors thanks to his long-standing commercial experience.” Chambers 2014
  • “A forceful and compelling advocate, who fights hard for his client.” Chambers 2014
  • “Measured and masterful.” Legal 500 2013
  • “undoubtedly one of the next generation of real stars” Legal 500 2012
  • “a strong team player, who works well with clients and solicitors alike.” Chambers UK 2012
  • “terrific … totally reliable and approaches matters with incredible attention to detail.” Chambers UK 2012
  • “maturing into the role well” and is considered to be “one of the most respected insurance and reinsurance silks.” Chambers UK 2011
  • “a tough advocate and commands respect; a real insurance specialist.”  Legal 500 2011
  • commended for his “thoroughness in analysis and preparation, and willingness to think originally.” Legal 500 2011
  • “a real rising star.” Legal 500 2010
  • “a young but pre-eminent silk” described as a “soon-to-be leader of the insurance world.” Chambers UK 2010
  • “one of the best junior silks.” Legal 500 2010
  • “a fantastic style for arbitration.” Legal 500 2010
  • “first-rate intellect.” Legal 500 2009
  • “able to get straight to the heart of a problem and solve it” Chambers UK 2009
  • “a very smooth operator” with “impressive instincts,” “he manages to simplify even the most byzantine of cases.” Chambers UK 2008
  • “sound and commercial advice.” Legal 500 2008
  • “brilliant cross-examiner.” Legal 500 2008
  • “blessed with a fantastic brain.” Chambers UK 2007
  • “a real rising star.” Chambers UK 2007
  • “a polished advocate.” Chambers UK 2007
  • “someone who can make the implausible sound plausible.” Chambers UK 2007
  • “a brilliant cross-examiner.” Chambers UK 2007
  • “the star performer of those who made silk in 2006” Chambers UK 2006
  • prompted universal praise for being a “redoubtable star.” Chambers UK 2006