Stephen Du

Stephen Du

Call: 2012

A real star in the making

Legal 500

Practice Profile

Stephen is an experienced practitioner in commercial litigation and arbitration, with a particular focus in insurance, shipping and commodities, and civil fraud. He has been described in the legal directories as “a rising star”, “exceptional”, having “a powerful intellect”, and having a “very quick and sharp strategical mind, but also commercially adept”.

As well as appearing before the English courts, Stephen has experience appearing before tribunals sitting in England, Hong Kong and Singapore. He is a fluent Chinese speaker, and is particularly sought for his language skills.

  • Lakatamia Shipping Co Limited v Nobu Su [2021] EWHC 1907 (Comm). Acted for the Claimant in a four-week trial against Madam Su, the mother of the former billionaire shipping magnate, who was found to have conspired with her son to dissipate over €27m in assets.
  • Net Insurance SpA v Torzi [2021] EWHC 26 (Comm). Acted with Richard Southern KC on behalf of an Italian insurance company against its investment managers who had allegedly misappropriated in excess of €26m of securities belonging to their principal.

Stephen has experience with arbitrations involving all major governing bodies such as ICC, CIETAC, LMAA, LCIA, SIAC and HKIAC and has conducted hearings in many foreign jurisdictions. Stephen has appeared as sole counsel, as well as lead by KCs and has appeared in a number of arbitrations unled, against KCs.

Recent examples of work are as follows:

  • Acting as junior counsel in a HKIAC arbitration defending claims worth around US$700m brought against one of the largest cryptocurrency exchange companies in the world concerning a joint venture agreement to set up an exchange in Korea.
  • Acting as junior counsel in a SIAC arbitration concerning a joint venture agreement for the construction and operation of two offshore platforms with a combined price in excess of US$600m.
  • Acting as junior counsel in a LCIA arbitration concerning the termination of a 10-year Gas Sales Agreement in West Africa.
  • Acting as sole counsel in an ICC arbitration bringing claims on behalf a Dutch offshore construction company concerning the rental of offshore piling equipment in Romania.
  • Acting as sole counsel in a SIAC arbitration defending claims brought by a major financing company under various contracts of sale of iron ore which are alleged to be sham contracts.
  • Acting as junior counsel in a Commercial Court claim worth over US$100m concerning late payments for oil deliveries from Nigeria to the national refinery of Cameroon.
  • Instructed by a major Chinese corporation in an LMAA arbitration claiming in excess of US$20m relating to the delivery of steel slabs.
  • Appeared as sole counsel in a HKIAC emergency arbitration hearing in Hong Kong on behalf of a buyer seeking urgent interim relief in a dispute regarding the sale of coal.
  • Acted as sole counsel on behalf of Chinese buyers in a CIETAC arbitration regarding a series of contracts for the purchase of US corn and DDGS.
  • The Russian Aviation Litigation. Instructed by Aircastle and FTAI, two major aircraft leasing companies, in claims in excess of US$500m regarding aircraft detained in Russia and Ukraine following the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
  • Greensill Bank v Zurich Insurance. Instructed to defend claims of around US$400m brought on behalf of Greensill Bank under a credit risk insurance policy following its high profile collapse in March 2021.
  • Acting in an LCIA arbitration with Robert Bright KC in a US$15m claim under a credit risk insurance policy arising from the financial collapse of a Russian refinery.
  • Acted with Peter MacDonald Eggers KC and Sarah Martin on a marine insurance claim concerning the detention of The Badr in Burgas, Bulgaria through fraudulent means.
  • Instructed as junior counsel in a LMAA arbitration by the buyers in a claim concerning the construction of a US$500m semi-submersible drilling unit delivered with various defects.
  • Instructed as junior counsel in a LMAA arbitration by a Chinese state-owned enterprise defending a claim in excess of US$9m for hedging losses arising from the non-delivery of marine fuel.
  • Appeared as sole counsel against a KC in a LMAA arbitration hearing concerning the chartering of a Floating Storage Regasification Unit and a claim for over US$45 million in hire and related expenses.
  • Acting as sole counsel for a buyer against a KC in a LMAA arbitration concerning the construction of a crane vessel claiming damages in excess of US$16m.
  • Glory Wealth Shipping Pte Ltd v Flame SA [2016] EWHC 293, [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 571. Appeared with Richard Southern KC in an arbitration appeal concerning breach of a contract of affreightment and whether the owners had suffered substantial loss.
  • “Stephen is technically outstanding and very easy to work with. His work product is of the highest quality and his client-handling skills are impeccable.”
  • “Stephen is very responsive and good on the detail.”#

     Insurance, Chambers UK Bar 2024

  • “Stephen shows a remarkable ability to revert quickly on complex issues with clear advice.”
  • “He is very capable and delivers advice in a very user-friendly manner.”
  • “Stephen is an extremely skilled barrister who provides a prompt and diligent service.”

    Shipping & Commodities, Chambers UK Bar 2024

  • ‘Stephen is excellent.  Legal analysis/advice is second to none.  Drafting is short and to the point (an underrated skill).’

    Shipping & Commodities, Legal 500 2024

  • ‘Exceptionally good. Very responsive throughout. Very careful and diligent and very good detail.’

    Insurance And Reinsurance, Legal 500 2024

  • “Stephen’s legal knowledge seems to know no bounds, and his written submissions are razor sharp.” Chambers & Partners 2023
  • “A driving force behind cases.” Chambers & Partners 2023
  • “A bright and decisive legal mind with a calm and measured approach.” Chambers & Partners 2023
  • “Stephen is creative.” “He thinks outside the box and is clearly very bright.” Chambers & Partners 2022
  • ‘A rising star. Incredibly quick at distilling complex cases to clear legal principles. Unparalleled drafting skills and particularly effective at presenting oral arguments.’ Legal 500 2022
  • ‘Clear direct and concise delivery of legal advice. A very quick and sharp strategical mind, but also commercially adept – gets straight to the heart of the matter.’ Legal 500 2022
  • A thoroughly modern barrister who combines a powerful intellect with a no-nonsense and professional approach. Legal 500 2021
  • A real star in the making. Legal 500 2020
  • A Chinese-speaking barrister instructed in shipbuilding arbitrations. Legal 500 2020 Asia Pacific
  • He is very bright and able. Legal 500 2018
  • A Chinese speaker instructed directly by Mainland firms. Legal 500 2018 Asia Pacific
  • Exceptional. Legal 500 2017
  • 2007-2010 Trinity College, University of Oxford     BA Jurisprudence (First Class Honours)

    2010-2011 Trinity College, University of Oxford     BCL

    2011-2012 College of Law, Birmingham     BPTC (Outstanding)


    • Lady Astbury Memorial Prize, Trinity College, Oxford 2008 (best College performance in first year exams)
    • Colin Nicholls QC Prize, Trinity College, Oxford 2008 (best College performance in Criminal Law paper)
    • Lovells Prize, Trinity College, Oxford 2009
    • Mowat Scholarship, Trinity College, Oxford 2009
    • Finals Prize, Trinity College, Oxford 2010
    • RA Knox Memorial Prize, Trinity College, Oxford 2010
    • College of Law prizes for best performance in Civil Litigation and Criminal Litigation papers
    • Hardwicke Entrance Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
    • Lord Denning Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
    • Buchanan Prize, Lincoln’s Inn
    • Sunley Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn

    Languages: Mandarin Chinese (fluent)