Robert Bright practises primarily as an advocate and case-leader with experience in a broad range of commercial litigation.
He is generally regarded as one of the Bar’s leading Silks in Shipping and Commodities and has a top-tier ranking in both fields (Chambers & Partners, Legal 500). In 2021 Robert was nominated for Insurance Silk of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards. In 2016 he was nominated and in 2017 was named Shipping Silk of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards. In 2018 and 2017, Robert was nominated for Shipping Silk of the Year at The Legal 500 Awards.
Recent cases of note include successfully defending claims by ship owners in the Supreme Court in PST Energy 7 Shipping LLC v OW Bunker Malta  AC 1034, (sale of goods) described by Lloyds list as “the most spectacular shipping legal imbroglio so far this century”; The Alkyon  EWCA Civ 2760 (shipping), a landmark decision on maritime arrests; Stolt Kestrel v Niyazi S  1 Lloyd’s Rep. 125 (shipping), now the leading case on Admiralty actions in rem; Great Elephant v Trafigura  1 Lloyd’s Rep. 1 (international trade/energy), a leading case on force majeure.
Robert Bright enjoys engaging as a team-member with solicitors and other counsel and believes that the best advocates are prepared to listen as well as to speak. He relishes having an active, hands-on role in developing the best possible strategy for the client’s particular needs, alongside the client and the other members of litigation team. He regards it as his duty to commit 100% to the client; having taken on a case he will focus unswervingly on that case and will not accept professional commitments which might detract from that focus and commitment. Much of Robert Bright’s work in recent years has been in arbitrations. Recent and ongoing arbitrations include a very large number of LMAA arbitrations as well as several LCIA and ICC arbitrations, as well as appointments as arbitrator. Robert’s work as an advocate has included involvement in several international arbitrations taking place overseas, in Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Robert Bright’s practice involves a significant advisory component. He places emphasis on understanding the client’s commercial objectives, so as to be able to give advice that is both realistic and of practical use to the client.
Robert Bright also regularly sits as an arbitrator both in London and overseas. Robert is on the panel of approved arbitrators of the SCMA and the KLRCA. Robert Bright is a member of the CMI working group on wrongful arrest.
Robert Bright was the lead advocate for ING in the OW Bunker litigation. This highly complex and multi-forum dispute includes the decision of the Supreme Court where he successfully defended claims by ship owners in PST Energy 7 Shipping v OW Bunker Malta – probably the most important Sale of Goods Act case in recent years, with great significance for the use of ROT clauses and for invoice receivables finance deals. Robert has very great experience in the area, having been involved in numerous cases concerning commodities/the sale of goods. Cases are often multi-jurisdictional and frequently in international or trade arbitrations (which are confidential). In 2015, in addition to the OW Bunker litigation, Robert also acted successfully in a coal trade arbitration and various disputes involving crude oil, coal and mineral ore. In 2016 Robert acted in a US$100m claim concerning a port-service provider in Uruguay, as well as various coal and oil supply contract disputes. In 2017 Robert acted in an arbitration relating to the sale of steel from China to Lebanon, two oil-sale disputes and two separate disputes concerning long-term contracts disrupted by the Samarco tailings dam disaster in Brazil. In 2018 and currently, Robert has been acting in disputes concerning sale of fuel oil, coal contracts.
Robert Bright has been instructed in numerous insurance and reinsurance arbitrations. A particular speciality in recent years has been P&I Club cover disputes. The Standard Club, Shipowners’ Mutual Club, Steamship Mutual Club, Skuld, North of England Club and the London Club are all regular clients. A small selection of the more recent reported court hearings is given below.
Robert Bright is a very experienced advocate in all forms of arbitration. He has acted regularly in arbitrations taking place not only in London but also in Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. He is a Member of the LCIA, a Supporting Member of the LMAA, a member of the panel of approved SCMA arbitrators and a KLRCA panellist.
Robert Bright has advised and acted in a very large number of matters and court hearings concerning shipping, including carriage of goods by sea, shipbuilding and shipsale disputes. In 2016 Robert represented ING in the OW Bunker litigation in the Supreme Court successfully defending claims by ship owners – described by Lloyd’s List as “the most spectacular shipping legal imbroglio so far this century”. Cases are often multi-jurisdictional and frequently in arbitration. For example, 2018 saw Robert represent clients from UK, China, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy, South Korea and USA in various charterparty, shipbuilding and shipsale arbitrations. A small selection of the more recent reported court hearings is given below.
7KBW is delighted to congratulate Robert Bright KC on his appointment as a Justice of the High Court to the King’s Bench Division, and wishes him all the best.
Robert Bright KC to speak at LSLC event – Recent Developments in the Law of Charterparties
Lloyd’s List name Robert Bright KC No.1 Maritime Lawyer of 2022
7KBW nominated for 8 awards at the Chambers Bar Awards 2022
Court of Appeal upholds decision that owners were entitled to repossess vessels following designation of the charterers’ principal as a terrorist by the U.S. authorities
Robert Bright was born in 1964 and read jurisprudence at Oxford University, attaining First Class Honours in 1985. He gained the postgraduate BCL qualification, also at Oxford, in 1986. Robert Bright joined 7KBW in 1988, following the completion of his pupillage, and he has since practised here in all the classes of litigation frequently seen in the Commercial Court and in commercial arbitrations. He took silk in 2006.