Siobán practises commercial law including arbitration, insurance and reinsurance, international carriage of goods and commodities, shipping, professional negligence, conflict of laws and jurisdiction disputes, and banking.
Siobán acted for the lead Claimants in the litigation arising out of the Buncefield explosion and for the appellant reinsurers in Wasa v. Lexington, one of the last ever judgments to be given by the House of Lords.
She is retained in several unrelated Commercial court actions involving allegations of professional negligence by insurance brokers and solicitors. Siobán acted for insurers in the long-running Metro litigation. She has also been involved in the film finance insurance litigation.
In recent years Siobán has been instructed in a number of insurance disputes relating to political risks and trade credit insurance, directors’ and officers’ liability, mis-selling of financial products, construction risks, the Lloyd’s market, alleged brokers’ negligence and commodity and shipping and arbitration appeals.
She is frequently involved as an advocate or arbitrator in insurance, reinsurance, maritime and sale of goods arbitrations and mediations, and in advisory work in relation to commodity arbitrations where legal representation at hearings is not ordinarily permitted. During the last year her shipping and commodities practice has included disputes under charterparties and bills of lading, shipbuilding and ship sale contracts, sale of goods contracts and related financial transactions.
Since taking silk in 2010 Siobán has been recommended by the Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 Directories as a leading silk in the fields of insurance and reinsurance, international arbitration, shipping and commodities, professional negligence and commercial litigation, having been consistently recommended as a leading junior in those fields before she took silk.
Siobán was Chambers & Partners’ Insurance Junior of the Year 2009, having previously been short-listed for the Award in 2007 and 2008.
Areas of practice
Siobán has a broad commercial practice, with particular expertise in advocacy and advisory work in the following areas:
Insurance and reinsurance; Professional negligence; Shipping; International carriage of goods and commodities; Conflict of laws and jurisdiction disputes; Arbitration; Commercial contracts and Banking.
Siobán also regularly acts as an arbitrator in insurance and reinsurance, international trade and shipping and general contractual disputes and has experience of arbitrating under UNCITRAL, ARIAS, LCIA, SIAC and ICC rules. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a member of ARIAS(UK)’s panel of arbitrators, a member of SIAC’s and AIAC’s panels and of the CAS Panel.
Insurance and reinsurance form a major part of Siobán’s practice.
Shortly before she took silk, Siobán was described by Chambers & Partners as: “undoubtedly amongst the top ranks of leading juniors”. “An insurance wizard who knows her subject back to front’, she regularly handles high profile matters.” Siobán was Chambers & Partners’ Insurance Junior of the Year in 2009, having previously been short-listed for the Award in 2008 and 2007. Since taking silk in 2010 Siobán has continued to be recommended as a leading practitioner in the field of insurance and reinsurance by Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500, with Chambers 2013 noting that “she comes highly recommended by a number of her peers”.
Siobán has been involved in much of the major insurance and reinsurance litigation which has taken place over the last 20 years such as that involving Lloyd’s Names, the LMX and PA spirals, and film finance contingency insurance.
She regularly advises in relation to and appears as an advocate in insurance brokers’ e&o disputes, both for and against brokers.
Current and recent work includes acting for insured or insurer in relation to political risks and trade credit insurance, directors’ and officers’ liability and company reimbursement insurance, insurance of large construction risks, property damage and business interruption insurance and reinsurance; advising on coverage, attachment, aggregation, notification and double insurance in professional indemnity, products liability and property damage insurances; acting for London reinsurers in jurisdiction disputes; and acting for a London broker in litigation concerning terrorism exclusions.
Siobán’s experience as a director of the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Ltd over 15 years has given her an additional insight into insurance business. Siobán frequently acts as an arbitrator in insurance and reinsurance disputes and is a panel member of the Insurance and Reinsurance Arbitration Society (“ARIAS(UK)”).
Many of the insurance and reinsurance disputes in which Siobán is retained are determined in arbitration or settled before trial. A selection of reported cases concerning insurance and reinsurance in which Siobán has appeared is set out below.
A large percentage (and in some years, the majority) of cases in which Siobán is instructed across all of the fields in which she practices involve disputes which are referred to arbitration rather than proceedings in court. Siobán is recommended as a leading silk by Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500 in the field of international commercial arbitration. Recent directory comments concerning her arbitration practice include: “a rising star” who “always does a good job”, “her recent instructions demonstrate the breadth of her expertise.”, “accurate, precise and extremely able.”, “She is bright and thorough, and quickly gets to grips with the legal and factual issues at hand”; “has a ‘very sharp mind; excellent at providing high-quality pleadings very quickly’.”
Current and recent arbitration instructions as counsel include acting for London and overseas insurers and reinsurers in disputes regarding trade credit and political risks insurance in Singapore and South East Asia, advising London reinsurers on a Peruvian arbitration arising out of a professional liability dispute, representing London based political risk insurers of a South American hazardous waste treatment plant in an LCIA arbitration; representing shipowners in a charterparty arbitration concerning rights and obligations relating to civil unrest in Syria, acting for London insurers in a Lithuanian arbitration concerning property damage and business interruption to a Lithuanian industrial plant; acting for Swiss buyers of Indonesian coal in an LCIA arbitration; acting for owners of a Panamax vessel in an LMAA arbitration concerning alleged failure to maintain RightShip approval; acting for insurers in a Cayman arbitration concerning hurricane damage; and acting as arbitrator in several LCIA disputes concerning alleged breaches of commodity supply contracts and related charterparty disputes.
Siobán has also appeared as an advocate in litigation connected with the arbitration process, including numerous appeals from arbitration awards and The “Mass Glory”  2 Lloyd’s Rep. 244 Moore-Bick J. which concerned the application of the principles of remoteness of damages to string arbitrations.
Siobán also frequently acts as arbitrator in both domestic and international arbitrations. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
See a list of examples below in the Arbitration & Mediation section, listing Siobán’s recent involvement in arbitrations as an arbitrator and as counsel.
Many of the commercial disputes in relation to which Siobán is retained involve one or more parties from outside the jurisdiction, carriage of goods or insurance of liability, property or other risks located overseas, and potentially conflicting foreign laws. As a result, Siobán has extensive experience of advising and appearing as an advocate in relation to difficult jurisdictional issues and conflicts of law. This ranges from providing advice at an early stage of a dispute as to choice of a forum in which to commence litigation or arbitration to advocacy in the appellate courts on complex points of conflicts of law.
Professional negligence is one of the areas in which Siobán has developed a strong reputation, acting both for and against a variety of professionals, most notably insurance brokers, solicitors, accountants and surveyors.
According to the legal directories, Siobán “has extensive experience of running difficult and complex professional negligence trials”; “when you need somebody to deal with nasty, complex, large matters, she’s the one to call”. She is: “enthusiastically recommended for the indemnity aspects of professional negligence actions.” and “Top-quality junior Siobán Healy continues to win recognition for her brokers’ defence work.”.
Current and recent instructions include: acting for two firms of solicitors in unrelated disputes concerning alleged negligence in relation to sale and purchase transactions, acting for solicitors in a dispute with their professional indemnity insurers, representing solicitors in Commercial Court litigation concerning the setting up of film finance tax deferral schemes, advising a range of professionals on notification provisions in professional indemnity policies following the Kidsons litigation; acting for the lead Claimants in the Buncefield litigation who successfully alleged negligence in the operation of the tank farm at Hemel Hempstead leading to an explosion of catastrophic proportions; advising accountants facing professional negligence allegations arising out of tax advice and audit work; advising on attachment and aggregation issues in relation to insurance of veterinary professionals; and acting for a London insurance broker in Commercial Court litigation concerning the use of terrorism exclusions in insurance policies in the aftermath of 9/11.
Siobán has specialised in shipping, international trade and commodities since qualifying as a solicitor in 1990 and these areas have formed a core part of her practice at the Bar ever since, with Siobán being consistently recommended by the legal directories as a leading junior in these areas prior to taking silk in 2010. She is now recommended by Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500 as a leading silk.
Recent directory comments include: “one of the true shipping and commodity specialists at the bar”, “highly recommended for her “no-nonsense, get-to-it attitude.” She has a “big fan club” of lawyers who rely on her expertise in shipping, international trade and commodities disputes.”; “Outstanding”; “well respected …, widely admired for the strength of her marine insurance practice and for her ‘fantastic expertise in commodities.’”.
The majority of disputes in the shipping and international trade fields are referred to arbitration rather than litigated in Court. Siobán regularly appears as an advocate at shipping arbitrations conducted in accordance with the rules of the London Maritime Arbitrators’ Association.
The subject-matter of current and recent instructions on shipping law includes safe and unsafe ports, dangerous cargoes, oil major and RightShip approval, seaworthiness, off-hire, nominations, cancellation and termination, damages following the decision of the House of Lords in The Achilleas, laytime and demurrage, bills of lading, misdelivery, letters of indemnity, disputes under shipbuilding and ship sale contracts.
Siobán has acted for buyers and sellers in commodity trading disputes involving coal, cobalt, coffee, cocoa, sugar, oils, gas, metals, rice, grains, soyabeans, frozen seafood and many other commodities. She is experienced in representing clients either as an advocate (or, at trade arbitrations where legal representation is not permitted, an advisor) in commodity arbitrations before most of the London-based commodity trade associations such as LME, GAFTA, FOSFA, and RSA.
Increasingly, she is instructed as an advocate or appointed as arbitrator in relation to shipping, commodity and trade finance disputes before international arbitration tribunals in accordance with LCIA, ICC, SIAC or UNCITRAL arbitration rules.
Recent work includes advocacy for the respondent in the arbitration appeal proceedings in Carboex v Louis Dreyfus  2 WLR 754, advice in relation to commodity-related derivatives agreements such as SCoTA and other agreements based on the ISDA Master Agreement; representing a party in Commercial Court litigation concerning a force majeure clause in a petcoke supply contract; and acting as advocate for sellers in two LCIA arbitrations arising out of coal supply contracts and an LME arbitration concerning supply of copper under an agreement incorporating the Vienna Convention.
Siobán accepts arbitration appointments in relation to disputes falling within her areas of expertise, in particular insurance and reinsurance, shipping, international trade and commodities, conflicts of law and professional negligence. She has been appointed as arbitrator in arbitrations conducted in accordance with the UNCITRAL, ARIAS, LCIA, and ICC Rules as well as ad hoc international arbitrations.
Sioban is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a member of the ARIAS(UK) Panel of Arbitrators, a member of the LCIA, a supporting member of the London Maritime Arbitrators’ Association and is on the CAS panel of arbitrators and an Arbitration Panel Member of Sport Resolutions UK.
Please see below for a list of examples of Siobán’s recent arbitral appointments:
Siobán Healy QC, FCIA: details of involvement in arbitration
[NB: Party names and other confidential information have been removed]
A. Examples of recent arbitration experience as arbitrator
B. Examples of recent arbitration experience as counsel for one of the parties
Chambers & Partners 2007-2021
Shipping and Commodities:
Legal 500 2007-2021
Insurance & Reinsurance:
Who’s Who Legal 2016
Sport Resolutions appointment
A tale of Cocoa, Cargo Insurance, and Credit Risks
Sioban Healy QC appointed by the Premier League to its new Judicial Panel
Sioban Healy QC appointed by the Premier League to its new Judicial Panel
7KBW features in The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2020
Before joining chambers Siobán was a solicitor and trainee solicitor with Richards Butler from 1988-1993. She specialised in commodity and shipping arbitrations and litigation, insurance disputes and also gained extensive experience of general commercial court litigation.
Siobán was a Director of the Bar Mutual Indemnity Fund Limited and a member of the Board’s investment committee from 1995 – 2010. In 2011 Siobán was appointed a member of the Bar Standards Board’s Professional Conduct Committee.
She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a member of ARIAS(UK)’s panel of arbitrators, a member of Combar, a member of the LCIA, a supporting member of the London Maritime Arbitrators’ Association, a member of the London Shipping Law Centre, a member of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre panel and a member of British Insurance Law Association.
Sioban Healy QC is a member of the Premier League Judicial Panel.
Brasenose College, Oxford BA Jurisprudence
Oxford University Prize (Martin Wronker prize) for 1st place in Administrative law; Brasenose College Law Prize
Northwestern University School of Law LL.M
Fulbright Scholar; James Nelson Raymond International Fellow; BUNAC Award; Dean’s List
Admitted as a Solicitor in 1990.