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Commercial Litigation

Commercial Litigation Set of the Year

Legal 500 Awards 2017

The members of 7 KBW practise exclusively in commercial law, giving chambers strength in depth across all areas.

All members work day-to-day on the preparation and presentation of cases for litigation and arbitration. They recognise that what commercial clients usually want, however, is a cost effective resolution of their disputes.  At the outset of disputes, members will therefore advise as requested on the legal merits of a client’s position; will help to devise settlement strategies; will prepare position papers for mediations and, where appropriate, will represent their clients at mediations and in other ADR procedures.  Where no reasonable settlement is possible, they will prepare for and represent clients in court or in arbitration hearings – conducting cross-examinations and presenting written and oral arguments as required. Members of 7 KBW have long enjoyed an exceptional reputation for their conduct of hearings, and members are regularly instructed in the largest and most complex cases proceeding in the Commercial Court and in London arbitration.  By way of recent example:


  • Jonathan Gaisman QC acted on behalf of Petrosaudi in Petrosaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Ltd v Novo Banco SA & Ors. A case in which the Court of Appeal has reaffirmed the autonomy of a letter of credit, and its independence from the underlying transaction to which it stood as security.
  • Members have also been instructed on both sides in Orb and ors v Ruhan, a complex and high value multi-party commercial fraud dispute, presently scheduled for trial in November 2016.
  • Five members of 7KBW have been instructed, on both sides, in Suez Fortune Investments Ltd and anr v Talbot Underwriting and ors, the Brillante Virtuoso; a claim, exceeding US$80m, on a marine war risks insurance, following the loss of the vessel by fire.  The claimants assert that the fire followed an abortive hijacking of the vessel by pirates or terrorists in the Gulf of Aden.  The defendant underwriters contend that it was contrived by the vessel’s owners.  A trial is scheduled for April 2017.
  • A team from 7KBW represented the defendant in Republic of Djibouti v Boreh [2016] EWHC 405 (Comm), in which Djibouti asserted that one of its former public officials, Mr Abdourahman Boreh, took bribes and abused his public position to make secret profits.  Mr Boreh was completely exonerated at trial, with all of Djibouti’s allegations against him being abandoned or dismissed, and indemnity costs awarded.  At an earlier stage, the case also gave rise to a high-profile interlocutory judgment, when a freezing injunction obtained by Djibouti was discharged.  It was proved that the court had been deliberately misled by Djibouti and one of its solicitors when granting the injunction: see [2015] 3 All ER 577.
  • Five members of 7KBW were instructed at various times for the claimants in Cattles v PWC, a £1.6bn auditors’ negligence claim which followed the collapse of the Cattles Group (formerly one of the largest providers of consumer finance in the UK).  The case had significant implications for financial service regulation. 
  • In a well-publicised case, Ritz Hotel Casino Ltd v Safa Al Geabury [2015] EWHC 2294 (QB), Clive Freedman QC successfully represented the Ritz Casino seeking recovery of £2m of gambling debts incurred by Mr Al Geabury.  Mr Al Geabury claimed that he suffered from gambling addiction, but cross-examination of the factual and expert witnesses demonstrated that he had had no gambling addiction at any time.  Indemnity costs were awarded.
  • Three members of Chambers represented the claimant in Lakatamia v Nobu Su [2014] EWHC 3611 (Comm), a case involving oral agreements to sell and then re-purchase (at fixed price) positions on the forward market in freight rates in July 2008.  In breach of the agreement, the freight futures had not been re-purchased when the market crashed in late 2008.
  • Members were also instructed on both sides in Excalibur Ventures v Texas Keystone, in which Excalibur claimed to have been improperly deprived of participation in a bidding process for oil exploration concessions in Kurdistan.  Excalibur’s claim, valued by itself at US$1.6bn, was comprehensively rejected at trial [2013] EWHC 2767 (Comm); and indemnity costs were subsequently awarded against it and its funders.

“pound for pound it is easily the best chambers at the commercial Bar”
Legal 500, 2014

Latest Commercial Litigation News

Teekay Tankers v STX O&S

[2017] EWHC 253 (Comm) Stephen Hofmyer QC and Gavin Geary were instructed on behalf of Korean shipbuilders, STX O&S, successfully resisting a claim for about $180 million in this Commercial Court trial.  In April 2013 STX&OS entered into an Option Agreement with Teekay Tankers, providing for the construction and delivery of, in Teekays’ option, up […]

February 15, 2017

Petrosaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Ltd v Novo Banco S.A. & Others

[2017] EWCA Civ 9 This is a case in which the Court of Appeal has reaffirmed the autonomy of a letter of credit, and its independence from the underlying transaction to which it stood as security. The claimants Petrosaudi entered into a drilling contract with PDVSA for the performance of drilling services in Venezuela. The […]

January 26, 2017

WR Berkley Insurance (Europe) Limited & Another v Teal Assurance Company Limited

[2017] EWCA Civ 25 On 25 January 2017, the Court of Appeal upheld Eder J’s ruling that a payment of money into escrow was not an insured loss under a programme of liability insurance. The payment was not an ascertainment of liability for the purpose of the rule in Post Office v. Norwich Union and […]

January 25, 2017