Richard Waller QC

Richard Waller QC

Silk: 2012 | Call: 1994

"A real powerhouse in court." "He is very persuasive, and a fearless advocate and ferocious cross-examiner."

Chambers & Partners

Practice Profile


Richard specialises in commercial litigation and arbitration, acting both as an advocate and in an advisory capacity. His practice covers all areas of commercial law, with an emphasis on insurance, reinsurance, shipping, civil fraud, banking and finance, energy, professional negligence and general commercial disputes. He has acted in a wide spectrum of cases of different types and sizes and has extensive experience of litigating in the commercial court and representing clients in all forms of arbitration, including shipping arbitrations before the LMAA, insurance arbitrations under the ARIAS Arbitration Rules and international arbitration before the LCIA. He has acted in three of the heaviest pieces of litigation seen in the Commercial Court in recent years: in 2012/2013 he acted for the successful defendant in the high value, one billion US$, Excalibur case relating to oil exploration rights in Kurdistan; in 2014/2015, he acted for the successful defendant in the high profile Republic of Djibouti case involving fraud and alleged misfeasance in public office; in 2019, he acted for the successful defendants in a $100 m insurance claim involving the fraudulent scuttling of an oil tanker off Yemen .

The Legal Directories recommend Richard as a leading  silk in his practice areas and is described as “a very powerful advocate”, “hard-working, imaginative and polished” and “a ferocious cross-examiner.”

In 2012/2013, Richard spent the majority of his time working on the high value Excalibur litigation. A key aspect of the litigation concerned investment banking and finance.

Selected cases:

  • Excalibur Ventures LLC v Texas Keystone [2016] EWCA Civ 1144 [2013] EWHC 2767: energy and banking and finance

In terms of his civil fraud practice, in 2015/16, Richard was involved in a high profile and heavy piece of commercial court litigation and a related arbitration concerning allegations of bribery and corruption in relation to various high value infrastructure projects in Djibouti and the expropriation of a construction firm.

In 2019, Richard acted for insurers in a high value and heavy piece of commercial court litigation in which insurers proved that Owners had fraudulently scuttled their vessel.

Selected cases:

  • Brillante Virtuoso [2019] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 485: a claim involving a war risk policy in which Owners were proved to have fraudulently scuttled their vessel
  • Boreh v Djibouti [2015] EWHC 769 Dishonesty; Equitable principles; Freezing injunctions; Full and frank disclosure; Professional conduct; Solicitors
  • Orb ARL v Ruhan [2015] EWHC 262  Breach of trust; Particulars of claim; Service out of jurisdiction

Richard is experienced in a wide range of commercial law disputes including: agency, conflicts of laws, energy, injunctions, international trade, jurisdiction issues and sale of goods.

In 2012/2013, Richard spent the majority of his time working on the Excalibur litigation relating to oil exploration in Kurdistan. This US$1.6 billion case was one of the most significant cases to be tried in the Commercial Court in 2012/13. Following judgment in the main action, Richard successfully obtained judgment against the third-party litigation funders for indemnity costs.

In 2015/16, Richard represented the defendant in a commercial court action brought by the Republic of Djibouti for an alleged abuse of public authority arising out of the development of the Djibouti free zone.

In 2019, Richard represented war risk insurers in a 5 month commercial court trial.

Selected cases:

  • Brillante Virtuoso [2019] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 485: a claim involving a war risk policy in which Owners were proved to have fraudulently scuttled their vessel.
  • Excalibur Ventures LLC v Texas Keystone [2016] EWCA Civ 1144 [2013] EWHC 2767: No party costs order against Funders
  • Boreh v Djibouti [2015] EWHC 769 Dishonesty; Equitable principles; Freezing injunctions; Full and frank disclosure; Professional conduct; Solicitors
  • Excalibur Ventures LLC v Texas Keystone [2015] EWHC 566 Costs orders; Third Party Litigation funders; Indemnity basis; Interest rates; Interim payments

In 2012/2013, Richard spent the majority of his time working on the Excalibur litigation relating to oil exploration in Kurdistan. This US$1.6 billion case was one of the most significant cases to be tried in the Commercial Court in 2012/13. He also regularly advises in relation to off-shore construction insurance disputes.

Richard’s insurance and reinsurance practice is wide ranging. He is a key player in political risk insurance and reinsurance arbitrations including disputes involving Egypt, Argentina, Chile, Azerbaijan, Libya, India, Indonesia, Venezuela and Colombia. He has recently been involved in a large scuttling trial in the commercial court. He advises on all types of insurance disputes, including in relation to hull and machinery marine policies, war risk policies, off-shore construction policies, D&O covers, property and business interruption policies, contingency insurance policies, trade credit insurance, product liability policies (including Bermuda form) and professional indemnity policies.

Richard has acted in a wide range of cases in this area. Cases in which he had been involved in this area include:

  • Richard has acted in a large number of political risk insurance and reinsurance arbitrations in the last few years involving projects in Egypt, Argentina, Chile, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Venezuela, Colombia and Dubai.
  • Brillante Virtuoso [2019] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 485: a claim involving a war risk policy in which Owners were proved to have fraudulently scuttled their vessel
  • H v Reinsurers [2014]: for reinsurers in an international arbitration under ARIAS Rules concerning a quota share reinsurance treaty
  • Lincoln v LMA [2014]: for LMA in relation to letter of request dispute
  • BL v Insurers [2013]: for insurers relating to a claim arising out of the cancellation of a music festival
  • J v Insurers [2012]: for insured in a complex trade credit insurance dispute
  • M v Insurers [2011]: for insurers in a Bermuda Form arbitration involving manufacturer’s liability for allegedly making and distributing defective pace-makers.
  • N v Insurers [2010-11]: for reinsurers in property and business interruption claim arising out of hurricane Katrina in relation to US shipyards in Gulf Coast.
  • G v G [2010]: for reinsurers in a complex high value ($16 m) reinsurance arbitration under ARIAS Rules arising out of the Witch Creek wildfires in California in 2007.
  • Ace Capital v CMS Energy Corporation [2009] Lloyd’s Rep. IR 414. Anti-suit injunction. This case concerned the interplay between arbitration clauses and service of suit clauses in Lloyds’ policies issued to US-based insureds. Richard, acting for various Lloyds’ syndicates, obtained an anti-suit injunction preventing the insured bringing its claim before a jury in the United States.

Richard’s international arbitration practice is wide ranging. In recent years, Richard has been engaged in numerous international arbitrations, including (a) a $70 m business interruption arbitration arising out of Hurricane Katrina (b) a $80 million political risk arbitration under the LCIA Rules involving alleged expropriation by the Indonesian Government (c) a $16 m reinsurance arbitration under ARIAS Rules arising out of the Witch Creek wildfires in California and (d) a large value political risk arbitration involving arms sanctions in Libya.

Richard has acted in a wide range of cases in this area specialising in broker negligence claims.

Richard has acted in a wide range of cases in this area. Richard has acted and continues to act in a large number of shipping cases both in the commercial court and in arbitration including bill of lading, charterparty, bunker, crane damage, piracy,  cancellation,  ship  sale  and  shipbuilding disputes.

Selected cases:

  • ST Shipping and Transport Inc v Kriti Filoxenia Shipping Co SA [2015] EWHC 997 (Comm) Cancellation; Contract terms; Laytime; Loading; Nomination; Voyage charters
  • The Crudesky [2013] 1 All E.R. (Comm) 415.Detention of oil tanker in Nigeria. Contravention of foreign law and force majeure.
  • Congentra Ag v Sixteen Thirteen Marine SA (The “Nicholas M”) [2008] 2 Lloyd’sRep. 602. Freezing Injunction. Owners obtained a Rule B attachment order in New York. Richard, acting for Charterers, obtained a freezing injunction in aid of wrongful attachment claim in English arbitration.
  • Ravennavi SPA v New Century Shipbuilding Co Ltd [2007] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 24. Shipping. The effect of an entire agreement clause in a shipbuilding contract.
  • The Charlotte C [2005] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 626. Unsafe berth case.
  • The Marseilles [2003] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 503. Recovery of Settlement Loss (Commercial Court).
  • East West Corporation v DKBS 1912 [2002] 2 Lloyds Rep. 182; [2003] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 239 (CA). Shipping. Misdelivery; title to sue under Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992.
  • Cenargo v Astilleros (2002) CLC 1151 (CA). Shipping. Newbuilding RoRo Ferry. Liquidated damages.
  • The River Ngada (2001) LMLN 570. Shipping. Cargo damage. Mitigation.
  • The “Yellow Star” [2000] 2 Lloyds Rep. 637. Application of time-bar in context of failure to supply supporting documents for demurrage claim.
  • The Hai Hing [2000] 1 Lloyds Rep. 300. Incorporation of Hague Rules.
  • The Rio Assu [1999] 1 Lloyds Rep. 115 (CA); [1999] 1 Lloyds 201. The meaning and effect of P&I Club’s letters of undertaking.
  • “A good, bright, hard-working barrister.” Chambers UK 2021
  • “He’s very impressive on his feet and has the ability to tailor his advocacy. He reads the tribunal well.” Chambers UK 2021
  • “Richard Waller is a big name in shipping.” Chambers UK 2021
  • “A very powerful advocate” who is “fiercely bright and thinks around the issues.” Chambers UK 2021
  • “He is an incredibly hard worker and clearly very, very intelligent. He doesn’t miss anything. He is very much a no-nonsense, cut-to-the-chase barrister who has confident, capable and polite advocacy with the tribunal.” “He’s a clever, articulate operator.” “Richard Waller is brilliant.” Chambers Global 2021
  • “A very quick-witted and compelling advocate who carries judges with him.” Chambers Global 2021
  • “A very polished advocate with an understated but very effective manner.” Chambers Global 2021
  • ‘A great silk.’ Legal 200 2021
  • ‘Delegates effectively but always remains on top of the detail, he is a pleasure to work with.’ Legal 200 2021
  • ‘Incredibly bright – destined to be one of the best advocates at the bar and is a great leader to juniors on cases. Delegates effectively but always remains on top of the detail.’ Legal 200 2021
  • ‘Incredibly bright and destined to be one of the best advocates at the bar.’ Legal 200 2021
  • ‘Incredibly bright and destined to be one of the best advocates at the bar.’ Legal 200 2021
  • “He’s brilliant. He does a lot of insurance work and does it very well.” “He’s an effective performer and very keen on very detailed analysis.” “Extremely bright, diligent and very user-friendly.” Chambers UK 2020
  • “He is very well prepared and appears to anticipate every argument that could be made against him.” “A fearless advocate and ferocious cross-examiner.” Chambers UK 2020
  • “A very polished advocate with an understated but very effective manner.” Chambers UK 2020
  • “He is an incredibly hard worker and clearly very, very intelligent. He doesn’t miss anything. He is very much a no-nonsense, cut-to-the-chase barrister who has confident, capable and polite advocacy with the tribunal.” “He’s a clever, articulate operator.” “Richard Waller is brilliant.” Chambers UK 2020
  • “A very quick-witted and compelling advocate who carries judges with him.” Chambers UK 2020
  • “Incredibly impressive.” Chambers Global 2020
  • “A very confident and persuasive young silk.” Chambers Global 2020
  • ‘Excellent for commercial and insurance matters.’ Legal 500 2020
  • ‘An excellent advocate with very good court and client management skills.’ Legal 500 2020
  • ‘He is fantastic on complex disputes.’ Legal 500 2020
  • ‘A very well-regarded arbitration counsel.’ Legal 500 2020
  • ‘He is very able and is an excellent advocate.’ Legal 500 2020
  • “Incredibly impressive.” Chambers UK 2019
  • “Very clever and a calm but strong advocate.” Chambers UK 2019
  • “Very persuasive in court.” “Brilliant on his feet.” Chambers UK 2019
  • “Extremely clever and very good on his feet. A real pleasure to work with.” “An excellent advocate who is responsive and user-friendly.” Chambers UK 2019
  • “A very confident and persuasive young silk.” Chambers UK 2019
  • ‘An excellent barrister.’ Legal 500 2018
  • ‘A heavyweight: cool under pressure and fights very hard for his clients.’ Legal 500 2018
  • ‘Very knowledgeable and clearly an expert in this field.’ Legal 500 2018
  • ‘A brilliant advocate and cross examiner.’ Legal 500 2018
  • ‘One to have in your corner for a tough case.’ Legal 500 2018
  • “Has a really great style on the stand, is very practical and has very good knowledge of the law in complicated areas.” “He’s a very confident and persuasive young silk.” Chambers UK 2018
  • “Very persuasive in court. A ferocious cross-examiner.” “Very on top of things. A stylish advocate who made very good points persuasively.” Chambers UK 2018
  • “Absolutely fantastic, easy to deal with and extremely knowledgeable.”  “A very good advocate. He is incredibly measured, concise and brilliant.” Chambers UK 2018
  • “Extremely bright and energetic. Clients love him as he fights their corner hard but is very approachable and charming. A ruthless and effective cross-examiner.” Chambers UK 2018
  • “A much-in-demand barrister. He is impressive on his feet, in his written advice and in his case strategy.” “Very capable.” Chambers UK 2018
  • Able to cut across the issues to get to the heart of the matter. Legal 500 2017
  • Top-drawer on paper and in court. Legal 500 2017
  • He swiftly cuts through reams of paper to address the key issues. Legal 500 2017
  • A brilliant cross-examiner and lovely to work with. Legal 500 2017
  • He cuts across the issues to get to the heart of the matter. Legal 500 2017
  • “A real powerhouse in court.” “He is very persuasive, and a fearless advocate and ferocious cross-examiner.”  Chambers UK 2017
  • “Has excellent analytical and advocacy skills and is very easy to work with. Richard is proactive and flexible and gets on well with clients.” Chambers UK 2017
  • “He’s very smart and very commercial.” Chambers UK 2017
  • “He rolls up his sleeves and is a terrific cross-examiner. He’s brave and doesn’t give up.” Chambers UK 2017
  • “He is excellent in every department, very bright, incredibly hard working and really obtains the faith and trust of clients.” Chambers UK 2017
  • “Always adopts a very sensible and practical approach. He keeps calm and is good fun to work with.” Chambers UK 2017
  • “A fine barrister who does an exceptional job for clients.” Chambers UK 2017
  • A top-flight advocate, who is prepared for every eventuality. Legal 500 2016
  • An excellent advocate; he is very quick and compelling and carries the judges with him. Legal 500 2016
  • He demonstrates an impressive ability to analyse and master detail. Legal 500 2016
  • He gets to grips with all of the factual and legal issues, and drafts excellent pleadings. Legal 500 2016
  • “He has a ridiculous work ethic and is really incredibly bright.” Chambers UK 2016
  • “He has very clear, clever drafting. He gets the points and puts them across neatly.” Chambers UK 2016
  • “He is very impressive both in terms of his written submissions and his advocacy.” Chambers UK 2016
  • “While a natural leader, he is also very receptive to ideas from the wider team. He is a talented and intellectually robust advocate who is able to distil complex legal argument.” Chambers UK 2016
  • Refreshingly unstuffy, always calm and fearless yet charming in court. Legal 500 2015
  • He is lovely to work with and never dismissive or too important to help with the spadework. Legal 500 2015
  • He exerts a complete mastery of the facts Legal 500 2015
  • “He is extremely good on his feet and outshines the opposition.” Chambers UK 2015
  • “He is calm under pressure and can come up with persuasive arguments when it looks like we are in a pickle.” Chambers UK 2015
  • “He’s excellent on his feet,” and “he’s not afraid to point out the difficulties in a case to his instructing solicitor.” Chambers UK 2015
  • “He’s excellent on his feet” Chambers Global 2015
  • Richard is noted for “his keen eye for detail” Legal 500 2013
  • Richard is “enjoyable to work with, as he’s both patient and capable. He has an excellent grasp of tricky technical issues” Chambers UK 2013
  • “great lawyer and advocate” Legal 500 2010
  •  “displays a very effective rapport with judges in court.” Chambers UK 2010
  • “extremely hard working” Chambers UK 2010
  •  “a standout rising star.” Chambers UK 2010
  • “technically strong, hardworking, easy to work with and responsive.” Legal 500 2010
  • “incisive and clear.” Legal 500 2009
  • “leaves no stone unturned.” Chambers UK 2009
  • “very commercial and shows fine attention to detail.” Chambers UK 2009
  • “A star in the making”, the “brilliant”. “A talented advocate”. “He creates mischief in his clients’ interest.” Chambers UK 2008
  • “extremely bright, hard-working and resilient.” Chambers UK 2008