Michael specializes in all aspects of commercial law, including insurance and reinsurance, shipping and international trade, professional negligence (including underwriting agents, brokers and solicitors), conflict of laws and jurisdiction disputes, as well as more general commercial disputes. He appears regularly in the Commercial Court, and the Chancery Division of the High Court as well as in arbitration.
In 2018 Michael was nominated for the Chambers Bar Awards Insurance Junior of the Year. He is ranked as a leader in both Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 in Insurance, International Arbitration, Shipping & Commodities, Commercial Litigation and Professional Negligence.
Michael has been involved in many of the major issues to concern the insurance and reinsurance markets in the last fifteen years; from the film the finance litigation in the first few years of the millennium to the questions of insurance and reinsurance associated with the complicated derivative transactions that have recently come under the spotlight as a consequence of the banking crisis, and more recently to issues of aggregation associated with solicitors’ minimum terms. He has considerable experience of questions of construction of insurance and reinsurance contracts, coverage disputes, issues of non-disclosure and misrepresentation, questions of proper law and jurisdiction, issues particular to marine insurance contracts, contribution claims among insurers, the principles and practice associated with the Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 1930 and cases involving the professional negligence of brokers and underwriting agents. In addition Michael also has experience ofadvising whether particular commercial activities constitute the making of insurance contracts under what was the FSMA, with the consequent need for registration of the commercial party.
In recent years Michael has become heavily involved in international arbitrations of high value liability claims on insurance policies written on “the Bermuda Form”, and now has considerable experience in the application of the modified New York law that typically governs those policies.
Michael has substantial experience in shipping and the international carriage of goods. He has been involved in numerous charterparty disputes involving issues of seaworthiness, cargoworthiness, cargo management, dangerous cargoes (in particular liquefaction of nickel and iron ore cargoes), refrigeration systems, negligent navigation, unsafe ports, force majeure, piracy, quarantine, questions of laytime and demurrage, stowaways, stevedore damage and General Average, as well as claims by cargo interests under bills of lading. Many of these disputes were the subject of LMAA and other forms of arbitration. As a consequence, Michael also has considerable experience of the involvement of the Commercial Court in arbitration references. He has been involved in a number of freezing injunction applications, both pre-reference and post award. He has also been involved with applications for anti-suit injunctions, the enforcement of peremptory orders and the delivery up of documents by third parties, as well as appeals from arbitration awards.
Michael has been involved in a number of disputes involving the vetting of traditional tankers and LNG carriers, advising both on the meaning of the vetting clauses in charters and as to whether the requirements of particular clauses have been met.
Michael has also acted in a number of ship construction and finance cases, including the “Swallowfalls” super-yacht claims.
Michael has been involved in claims arising out of the trading of oil and gas. He has also been instructed in relation to insurance and reinsurance disputes relating to Energy risks, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition he has experience of disputes arising out of the lease of drilling wells.
Michael has experience of high value disputes arising from commercial paper programmes, collateralised debt obligations and credit default swaps. He has recently been involved in an LCIA arbitration relating to the movement of monies between Russian telecoms companies and US investors. In addition he is regularly involved in banking issues arising from guarantees, letters of credit and letters of undertaking in the context of shipping and international trade.
Michael is regularly involved in disputes relating to the negligence of solicitors, insurance brokers and underwriting agents, and has also acted for and against insurers in cases involving the negligence of engineers, remediation contractors and surveyors.
Michael has experience of high value disputes arising from commercial paper programmes, collateralised debt obligations and credit default swaps. In addition he is regularly involved in banking issues arising from mortgages, guarantees, letters of credit and letters of undertaking in the context of shipping and international trade.
Michael Holmes QC and Henry Moore secure dismissal of US$300 million+ Russian conspiracy claim
New Silks – Michael Holmes and Professor Alan Dignam
New Silks – Michael Holmes and Professor Alan Dignam
Michael Holmes successfully challenges the jurisdiction of the Commercial Court in claims made by the Libyan Investment Authority
Pan Oceanic Chartering v Unipec
He was educated at Magdalen College School, Oxford and Peterhouse Cambridge. He was a scholar in History at Peterhouse obtaining a Starred First for the top result in final examinations. He went on to study for an MPhil in Medieval History, and was awarded the Wood-Legh Prize for a dissertation entitled Norman Palermo: Conflict and Convivencia in the Central Mediterranean. He also represented the University at Rugby Union and Rugby League. He obtained the Diploma in Law at City University in 1998. Peterhouse, Cambridge, 1993-97 BA (History) 1st Class (Starred), MPhil (Medieval History), MA (Cantab) Wood-Legh Prize, Lady Ward Scholarship in History, the Makin Foster and Herbert Butterfield Prizes City University, 1997-98 Middle Temple, Queen Mother-Fox Scholar 1997, Queen Mother Scholar 1996