S J Phillips QC

S J Phillips QC

Silk: 2009 | Call: 1993

Practice Profile


Stephen Phillips practices exclusively in commercial law, both as an advisor and at trial and appellate level, often leading large multi-disciplinary teams. Known for his cross-examination skills, he is acknowledged as one of the leading advocates in high value cases in both the Commercial Court and international arbitration, where much of his work lies. Extensively experienced in shipping, insurance and reinsurance, he was recently named as Barrister of the Week by The Lawyer following a lengthy Commercial Court trial involving long and complex cross-examination exposing a €27 million conspiracy.

He was appointed as a Recorder of the Crown Court in 2009 and sat as a Member of Parliament between 2010 and 2016. He has acted pro bono as an advisor to various governments, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as an expert witness in the United States and elsewhere. He accepts appointments as a sole or party-appointed arbitrator and has also chaired a number of arbitration tribunals sitting in England and Wales.  Stephen does not make submissions to, and thus does not appear in, the various legal directories.

  • In Re A Bankrupt [2021] EWHC (Ch) 1866 (Ch) (Insolvency – Appeal against finding of jurisdiction – Leading appellate case on domicile jurisdiction under the Insolvency Act).
  • Geoquip Marine v. Tower Resources [2022] EWHC 531 (Comm) (Offshore Geotechnical Investigation Contract – obligation to pay lump sum and standby charges – estoppel by convention/contract).
  • In Re S. [2021] EWCA Civ 1187 (Court of Appeal – Passport Order/writ ne exeat regno prevent defendant leaving the jurisdiction)
  • Lakatamia Shipping Co. v. Su [2020] EWHC 3201 (Comm) (Search Order – Anton Pillar jurisdiction – first electronic search order including social media accounts)
  • Lakatamia Shipping Co. v. Morimoto [2019] EWCA Civ 2203 (Court of Appeal – Freezing Order – proper test where jurisdiction threshold crossed in relation to wrongdoing)

Most of Stephen’s work is in confidential insurance and reinsurance arbitrations, including several Bermuda Form cases in England and overseas.  These include:

  • A US$150m claim to recover part of a US class action settlement for an allegedly defective pharmaceutical product.
  • A US$80m claim to recover part of a US class action settlement for an allegedly defective automotive product.
  • A US$ 100m claim to recover remediation expenditure as sue and labour under a policy governed by New York law.
  • A US$250m claim in relation to property damage to a generation facility.
  • A US$100m claim in relation to a factory destroyed in an explosion.

Reported cases in court include:

  • Prifti v. Musini SA [2003] (Conflict Of Laws – Jurisdiction –Council Regulation (EC) 44/2001).
  • Kuwait Insurance Corporation v. Kuwait Insurance Co. SAK (No. 2) [2002] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 252 (Summary Judgment & Interim Payment – effect of Judgment of House of Lords – pro-ration and proper construction of idemnity).
  • Kuwait Insurance Corporation v. Kuwait Insurance Co. SAK [1999] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 803 (House of Lords – Iraqi invasion of Kuwait – Loss of Aircraft and Spares – Proper Constuction of Policy – number of occurrences).
  • Lakatamia Shipping Co. v. Su & Os [2021] EWHC 1907 (Unlawful means conspiracy to defeat High Court judgment – application of economic torts and the Marex tort – Monaco law).  It was for this trial that Stephen was named as Barrister of the Week by The Lawyer.

Most of Stephen’s work is in confidential arbitration, usually under the auspices of the LMAA. His most recent reported trial is:

  • SK Shipping Europe plc v. Capital VLCC 3 Corp [2020] EWHC 3448 (Comm) (Long term time charter – misrepresentation as to speed and consumption – implied representations – recklessness – rescission and damages under the 1967 Act)