Keir maintains a wide-ranging practice in commercial litigation and arbitration. He has particular expertise in civil fraud, insurance and reinsurance, shipping and international trade, and all aspects of private international law. He is frequently instructed in cases involving allegations of dishonesty, corruption and other serious misconduct.
Keir is ranked by both Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 for his work in civil fraud, insurance and general commercial litigation. 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:
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.
Keir is often instructed in cases involving civil fraud and dishonesty, including extremely heavy and complex commercial frauds with an international element. He also has considerable experience of freezing injunctions and related interim relief.
Insurance and reinsurance work is one of the mainstays of Keir’s practice. He acts and advises in a wide range of cases in this field, both marine and non-marine, in litigation and in domestic and international arbitrations.
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 large-scale litigation and arbitration in the upstream and midstream oil and gas industry. He has particular knowledge both of the technical expert issues which arise in such disputes, and of the commercial and political context in the Middle East.
7KBW features in The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2021
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
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Commercial Court considers public policy arguments in Novoship and Burford Capital breach of confidence claim
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).