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Shipping, admiralty & transport

Shipping Set of the Year

 Legal 500 Awards 2017

Chambers UK Bar Awards 2017

Nominated for Shipping Set of the Year at the

2018 Chambers Bar Awards

7KBW has a long history of involvement in shipping law.  Its members continue to spearhead legal developments in this important practice area.

Much of 7KBW’s work in shipping law involves confidential arbitrations, often under the rules of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association.  However, a very significant number of court cases have been contested by members in recent years, and at the very highest level.

Shipping law enjoys a reputation for producing seminal decisions which affect the law of contract generally, and this is true of a number of cases argued by 7KBW members, including The Achilleas (remoteness of loss); The Golden Victory (date for the assessment of damages); and OW Bunkers (Sale of Goods Act).

Disputes involving charterparties are the daily fare of shipping lawyers.  Notable cases involving such contracts have included The Ocean Victory, a leading decision of the Court of Appeal on the safe port warranty; The Astra, as to whether the obligation upon a charterer to make punctual payment of hire is a condition; The Kyla, regarding the alleged frustration of a time charterparty by reason of the cost of repair; and a number of decisions arising out of the breach of long term contracts following the 2008 economic crisis, including Zodiac v Fortescue and The Wren (measure of damages where no available market).

In the context of bills of lading, notable cases have included Pace v Churchgate, regarding title to sue under COGSA 1992; and MSC Amsterdam, regarding the interpretation of the Hague / Hague-Visby Rules following misdelivery of cargo.

Such disputes regularly throw up issues involving jurisdiction and conflict of laws, a prominent example of which is West Tankers v Allianz, concerning the enforcement of an award for breach of an arbitration agreement.

As regards ‘wet shipping’, i.e. matters which fall within the Admiralty Jurisdiction of the High Court, recent cases include The Rena (constitution of a limitation fund following the grounding of a containership) and Stolt Kestrel v Niyazi S, the leading Court of Appeal authority on the Court’s in rem jurisdiction.  Members of chambers are regularly instructed in collision actions and salvage arbitrations.

Shipbuilding disputes have featured heavily since the 2008 economic crisis, with members involved in numerous arbitrations representing both shipyards and buyers, typically as regards the right to cancel the contract for delay.

Members of chambers are also regularly involved in cases involving ship sale and purchase, for instance Griffon Shipping v Firodi Shipping concerning a claim for an unpaid deposit under the NSF 1993.

Outside the realm of merchant vessels, 7KBW has developed a strong reputation for involvement in super yacht disputes, both in respect of construction contracts and sale and purchase contracts, see for instance Berezovsky v Edmiston as to whether an agent was entitled to a commission.

The law of marine insurance is a closely associated area of the law, and ties in with 7KBW’s leading practice in insurance law.  Important marine insurance disputes in recent years have included The Brillante Virtuoso (constructive total loss); The Galatea (yacht insurance); Toisa Pisces (marine loss of hire insurance); and Clothing Management Technology v Beazley (marine cargo insurance).  

Leading recent cases include:

  • “Ocean Victory” [2017] UK SC 35
  • PST Energy 7 shipping LLC v OW Bunker Malta Ltd and anor [2016] UKSC 23
  • “B Atlantic” Atlas Navios v Navigators Insurance [2016] EWCA Civ 808
  • Falkonera Shipping Company v Arcadia Energy Pte Ltd [2014] EWCA Civ 713


More information on 7KBW’s admiralty barristers and important cases.


“has an exceptional reputation within the shipping and commodities markets. Its highly esteemed members have extensive experience across the spectrum of dry and wet shipping matters, and are regularly involved in the major cases of the day”

(Chambers and Partners 2016)