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 QC 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.
  • Entertainment One Limited v Monex and Anr: Acted as sole counsel on behalf of a former senior executive alleged to have received bribes in exchange for entering forex contracts which resulted in losses in excess of £17m.
  • Republic of Djibouti v Boreh: acting (as junior counsel) for Mr Boreh in defending claims by the Republic of Djibouti in the Commercial Court alleging abuse of his position as Chairman of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority.

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 QCs and has appeared in a number of arbitrations unled, against QCs.

Recent examples of work are as follows:

  • Acting with Jern-Fei Ng QC 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 major LCIA arbitration concerning the termination of a 10-year Gas Sales Agreement in West Africa.
  • Acted as sole counsel in a LCIA arbitration concerning a dispute worth over US$120m arising from a Cooperation Agreement relating to the provision of a customised mobile phone web browser.
  • Acting as junior counsel in a Commercial Court claim worth over US$130m concerning late payments for oil deliveries.
  • Acted with Peter MacDonald Eggers QC on behalf of a commodities trader based in Dubai in a GAFTA arbitration regarding a contract for the sale of wheat, the cargo having been rejected by inspectors from the Egyptian government.
  • 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.
  • Instructed for the insurers in a credit risk insurance policy dispute worth around US$1bn arising from the collapse of a high-profile financing company.
  • Acting with Robert Bright QC in a US$15m claim under a credit risk insurance policy arising from the financial collapse of a Russian refinery.
  • Advised with Alistair Schaff QC on a US$60m business interruption claim by a well-known airline arising from COVID-19.
  • Acted with Peter MacDonald Eggers QC and Sarah Martin on a marine insurance claim concerning the detention of The Badr in Burgas, Bulgaria through fraudulent means. .
  • Acted with Sioban Healy QC in a SIAC arbitration concerning a US$8.5m claim by a commodities trader under a credit insurance policy.
  • Glory Wealth Shipping Pte Ltd v Flame SA [2016] EWHC 293, [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 571. Appeared with Richard Southern QC in an arbitration appeal concerning breach of a contract of affreightment and whether the owners had suffered substantial loss.
  • Acted with Stephen Hofmeyr QC in a dispute arising from US sanctions against Venezuela, for shipowners whose oil tankers were delayed in Venezuela for over 6 months.
  • Acting with Alistair Schaff QC, Stephen Phillips QC and John Bignall in a multi-million dollar arbitration concerning a dispute under three shipmanagement agreements involving a major Greek shipping family.
  • Appeared as sole counsel against a QC 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 in a LMAA arbitration concerning the construction of a crane vessel claiming damages in excess of US$16m.
  • “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

Stephen Du and Steven Zhou, King & Wood Mallesons co wrote an article called “Maritime Injunction: a proper weapon against the anti-suit injunction?”. To view the full article please click here.

  • 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)

    Awards

    • 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)