Chambers UK 2024
Legal 500 2023
Legal 500 2022
Keir maintains a wide-ranging practice in commercial litigation and arbitration. He has particular expertise in insurance and reinsurance, civil fraud, shipping and international trade, and all aspects of private international law.
Keir is ranked by both Chambers UK and Legal 500 for his work in insurance and reinsurance, civil fraud and general commercial litigation. He has been described in the directories as “one of the best juniors currently working at the commercial bar”, “a star of the junior bar”, and “ahead of any other junior of similar call”. He was also shortlisted for insurance junior of the year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards in 2020.
Keir has substantial experience of large-scale disputes, and he is familiar with the unique demands of heavy trials in which very large sums are at stake. He has acted in several of the most high-profile commercial cases of recent years: prominent examples include Brillante Virtuoso (marine insurance fraud), Republic of Djibouti v Boreh (alleged corruption relating to infrastructure projects in Africa) and Excalibur v Gulf Keystone (dispute over oil and gas exploration rights in Iraqi Kurdistan). Each of these disputes involved claims in excess of US$100 million and trials lasting for several months, and all attracted significant media interest.
Notable current and recent instructions include:
In addition to his practice as an advocate, Keir sits part-time as a Deputy District Judge on the Western Circuit, and will also accept instructions to give binding opinions or sit as an arbitrator.
Keir has a first class degree in Japanese from the University of Leeds and a masters degree in Japanese literature from the School of Oriental and African Studies, in both cases coming top of his year group. He read law at the University of Oxford, obtaining a first class degree and coming fourth in the year. He joined 7KBW in 2011 following the completion of pupillage in chambers.
If you are interested in instructing Keir, please contact our clerks to discuss the requirements of the case and his availability.
Insurance and reinsurance work is one of the mainstays of Keir’s practice, and he has been involved in some of the most significant issues to affect the market over the past decade, including most recently the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He was shortlisted for the insurance junior of the year award in 2020, and has been described in the directories as “the senior junior for insurance work”, who “may well be the best junior currently working in this area”.
Keir acts in a wide range of cases in this field, and has experience of most classes of business (including aviation, business interruption, construction, cyber, D&O, employers’ liability, life, marine, medical, political and war risks, professional indemnity, property and trade credit matters). His expertise covers both insurance and reinsurance disputes. In addition to having a strong advisory practice, he acts in litigation and in domestic and international arbitrations (including Bermuda Form), and also has experience of representing clients at mediations.
Keir is often instructed in cases involving civil fraud and dishonesty, including extremely heavy and complex commercial frauds with an international element. Much of his work in this field has involved the handling of very high-profile and hard-fought disputes. He also has considerable experience of freezing injunctions and related interim relief.
In addition to his specific expertise in fields such as civil fraud, insurance and shipping, Keir acts in general commercial disputes across all sectors.
Keir acts and advises in a range of shipping and transport cases, frequently as sole counsel. Much of his work in this field is resolved in confidential arbitration, including on LMAA terms.
Keir has experience of a range of energy disputes, including large-scale litigation and arbitration in the upstream and midstream oil and gas industry. He is comfortable in dealing with the technical expert issues which arise in such disputes, as well as cases which raise questions of the wider commercial and political context affecting major energy projects.
Keir is recommended in the directories for his work in commercial dispute resolution, civil fraud, and insurance and reinsurance. He is frequently noted for the quality of his drafting, grasp of complex detail, responsiveness, and a clear, accessible approach with clients.
Commercial Dispute Resolution, Chambers UK Bar 2024
Fraud: Civil, Chambers UK Bar 2024
Insurance, Chambers UK Bar 2024
Insurance And Reinsurance, Legal 500 2024
The Lawyer features 9 members in their Top 20 Cases of 2022
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Latest COVID-19 judgment: Gavin Kealey QC and Keir Howie secure summary dismissal of business interruption claim
7KBW nominated for 9 awards at the Chambers Bar Awards 2020
7KBW features in The Lawyer’s Top Appeals of 2020
Deputy District Judge (2022) – civil and private law family
Commercial Bar Association
London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association
London Shipping Law Centre
British Insurance Law Association
Commercial Fraud Lawyers’ Association
BA in Japanese and Asia Pacific Studies (first class, top in year, distinction in spoken Japanese) – University of Leeds, 2006
MA in Japanese Literature (distinction, top in year) – SOAS, 2007
BA in Jurisprudence (first class, 4th in year) – Lincoln College, University of Oxford, 2009
Bar Vocational Course (outstanding) – BPP London, 2010
Crabtree Prize (2003, 2005)
Japanese Ministry of Education Scholarship (2004)
Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society Award (2006)
Don Rimmington Prize (2006)
Gluckstein Scholarship (2008)
Queen Mother Scholarship (2009)
Baron Dr Ver Heyden de Lancey Prize (2010)
Japanese (both spoken and written).