Richard Sarll was called to the Bar in 2005 and specialises in disputes relating to commercial and admiralty law. He is particularly well-known for his work in shipping, commodities, insurance and reinsurance, energy, and shipbuilding disputes.
Richard is ranked as a leading junior in the fields of Shipping, Commodities, and Insurance by Legal 500, who place him in their Tier 1 category of juniors for both Shipping and Commodities. In 2019 he was shortlisted by both Chambers UK and Legal 500 for Shipping Junior of the Year.
Richard has been repeatedly singled out in the legal directories for his collegiate approach (“user-friendly”, “great to work with”, “very personable”); for rigorous analysis (“very diligent”, “noted for his attention to detail”, “precise, accurate and succinct”); and for his industry knowledge (“He has made a real effort to understand the commercial realities”). He is a persuasive advocate who has acquired praise in reported decisions for “interesting and able arguments” (The “Free Goddess”) and “for the admirable way in which [a] case was prepared and presented” (Clothing Management Technology v Beazley). He has been described in Who’s Who Legal as “a very good, hard working barrister who gets great results”.
He lays claim to an impressive tally of 19 reported decisions between 2009 and 2019. Of that number, Richard argued 8 of them on his own, the others with leading counsel. It is a reflection of the confidence placed in his advocacy that he is regularly instructed to appear against QCs.
Richard appears before the Commercial Court and the Admiralty Court. He also has experience of appellate proceedings, having appeared on a number of occasions before the Court of Appeal, as well as in the UK Supreme Court. In terms of interlocutory hearings, he has experience of obtaining freezing injunctions, as well as other types of injunctive relief. He has conducted numerous multi-day trials on his own. His involvement in lengthy, multi-million dollar litigation includes the five-month long trial in the matter of the “Brillante Virtuoso”, a well-known marine insurance dispute. Much of his work is in confidential arbitration.
Richard’s cases have been amongst the most significant in his fields of expertise, and include the following.
|Carriage of Goods||The MSC Napoli Litigation||Major containership casualty, famously beached on Devon coast.|
|Sale of Goods||Vitol SA v Beta Renowable||Effect on interdependent obligations of unaccepted anticipatory breach.|
|Marine War Risks Insurance||The Brillante Virtuoso (No. 1) & (No. 2)||Evaluation of constructive total loss on figures. Trial of wilful misconduct defence.|
|Marine Cargo Insurance||Clothing Management Technology v Beazley||Constructive Total Loss due to unlikelihood of recovery of goods.|
|Loss of Hire Insurance||The Toisa Pisces||Standard and burden of proof applicable to the Inchmaree risks. Aggregation of losses.|
|Salvage||BP Thunderhorse PDQ||Salvage of semi-submersible oil platform believed to have been the largest salved fund ever to be the subject of LOF salvage.|
|General Average||The Longchamp||Supreme Court decision upon the application to ransom payments of the principle of substituted expenses.|
|Admiralty Practice||Niyazi S v Stolt Kestrel||Leading case on jurisprudential basis of the Admiralty Court’s jurisdiction in rem.|
|Private International Law||The Free Goddess||Identifying the place where the damage occurred under Art 8(3), Brussels 1 Regulation in the case of an economic tort.|
Alongside those traditional areas of commercial and admiralty practice, Richard accepts instructions in a wide variety of contractual disputes. He takes pride in finding solutions to difficult contractual problems which draw on the depth of legal analysis that has built up in these traditional practice areas.
Richard has an affinity for technical disputes, and enjoys working with and learning from expert witnesses in diverse fields. The cases in which Richard has applied these skills have been wide-ranging, spanning such areas as oil well design; fire investigation; and subsea cable laying.
As an adjunct to his successful Court and advisory practice, Richard has contributed to two major commentaries comprised within the British Shipping Law Series. He is a co-author of “Carver on Charterparties”, First Edition, in which he is responsible for a chapter concerning discharge of contract by repudiatory breach and frustration. He is also a co-editor of “Lowndes & Rudolf”, 15th Edition, the leading textbook upon the law of general average – a field in which he has a preeminent reputation and upon which he regularly gives expert evidence to foreign courts upon English law.
At the outset of his practice, Richard undertook professional training alongside his counterparts in industry, taking evening classes in shipbroking and chartering, and in average adjusting (i.e. loss adjusting under policies of marine insurance and general average). Richard holds an Advanced Diploma of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers with a concentration in the chartering of bulk carriers. He is also an Associate Member of the Association of Average Adjusters, having passed the requisite examinations in marine insurance law and practice with distinction.
Richard is the Vice-Chairman of the Admiralty Bar Group, which he co-founded in 2017. He is a member of the Admiralty Court Users’ Committee. He is also a member of the Standing Committee of the Association of Average Adjusters upon matters relating to General Average.
Before being called to the Bar in 2005, Richard attended Jesus College, Oxford University where he read French and German. He accepts documents in those languages without translation.
Outside of his practice, Richard has enjoyed collaborating with the Chelsea Society on successful campaigns to save Chelsea pubs from closure by property developers.