Ciaran Keller

Ciaran acts in international arbitrations across a wide range of commercial and chancery disputes under various institutional rules (LCIA, SIAC, UNCITRAL, DIFC-LCIA) as well ad hoc arbitrations. Ciaran also has expertise in claims to enforce or resist enforcement of foreign awards (including against states and state entities) in England and multi-jurisdictional litigation to enforce English awards overseas. He has also acted in a number of claims for and against states and state entities (for which he has been described as “the foremost junior on questions of sovereign immunity at the Bar”).

Ciaran’s practice encompasses the full range of commercial and commercial chancery disputes and has exceptional knowledge and ability to navigate disputes involving: civil fraud, banking and financial services related litigation, company, partnership and insolvency matters, energy and minerals, fiduciaries and professional negligence. He is regularly instructed in complex, large-scale international disputes (including enforcing and challenging arbitral awards, international debt recovery and obtaining and resisting freezing orders) and cases involving questions as to the appropriate choice of law or jurisdiction.

Before being called to the Bar (2004), Ciaran was a HM Fast-Stream Diplomatic, serving at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London and overseas at the United Nations in New York and the British Embassy in Lisbon (1998-2002). Ciaran was called to the bar in British Virgin Island in 2013 and regularly appears.  He is referred to within directories as “assertive in a charming and diplomatic way. He is also enormously intelligent” “Ciaran shows great judgement and self-possession” and “absolutely phenomenal and has excellent judgement” (Chambers & Partners 2024).  He was also awarded Commercial Dispute Resolution Junior of the Year in 2023 by Chambers and Partners.

Languages: Portuguese (Proficient); French (Proficient)

Stuart Cribb

Stuart specialises in international commercial litigation and arbitration. As an advocate, he has argued at all levels of the English judicial system, including before the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. In arbitration, he has advised and acted in disputes seated in various jurisdictions, and has experience of cases under the ICC, UNCITRAL, LCIA, LMAA, CIARB, SIAC and CIETAC rules.

Stuart has a particular interest in arbitrations with a connection to:

  • The Caribbean (where he is called to the bar of the British Virgin Islands, and has acted in disputes connected with the BVI, Nevis, the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago);
  • Africa (where he has acted in disputes connected with Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Egypt); and
  • The Middle East (where he has acted in disputes connected with Dubai, Kuwait, Qatar, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Iran).

Stuart has substantial experience of litigation and arbitration, with a key focused on energy and natural resources. His cases have spanned issues of force majeure relating to interruptions in supply under long-term gas sale contracts, gas pricing, production sharing agreements, and litigation arising out of catastrophic oil spills. Energy disputes in which Stuart is involved typically involve difficult technical issues of expert evidence, including in relation to the extraction, marketing and behaviour of hydrocarbons or other natural resources.

Stuart also appeared as counsel in the leading English case on challenges to arbitration awards for serious irregularity under section 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996, Therapy Beach Club Incorporated v RAV Bahamas Limited & Bimini Resort Management Limited [2006] 1 A.C. 221.

Helen Morton

Helen is an experienced lawyer with an established practice spanning the full range of commercial disputes. She acts as both sole and junior counsel and regularly appears in the Business and Property Courts and in arbitration.

Helen is particularly experienced in heavy commercial litigation, civil fraud, private international law, shipping, insurance and data protection. She acts in both the advisory and contentious contexts at all stages of the dispute resolution process, from initial advice to trial and enforcement actions.

She is currently acting in the notable s.69 arbitration appeal, Fimbank Plc v KCH Shipping Co, in which the Commercial Court determined in September 2022 that the Article III Rule 6 time-bar in the Hague-Visby Rules applies to misdelivery of cargo post-discharge. The position was previously undecided with debate in the caselaw, commentaries and international community going both ways. As the point arises frequently across the industry, the decision has considerable commercial significance and is currently being appealed to the Court of Appeal.

Other recent work highlights include acting:

  • For the defendants in US$ 2 billion fraud proceedings (Suppipat & Ors v Nop Narongdej & Ors), a multi-party conspiracy claim concerning the shares of Thailand’s largest renewable energy company;
  • For the claimant in one of the high-profile proceedings against the SFO (ENRC v The Director of the SFO, Gibson & Puddick) which includes claims for breach of confidence, misfeasance in public office and unlawful means conspiracy;
  • For the claimant in a major class action in relation to largescale data breaches by a global social media platform (SMO (A child) v TikTok); and
  • On behalf of the UK Government in a long running multi-billion pound damages dispute (Bank Mellat v Her Majesty’s Treasury) in which the Court of Appeal issued an important judgment on disclosure where there is an alleged risk of foreign prosecution.

Helen is co-author of the forthcoming edition of ‘The Common Law Jurisprudence of the Conflict of Laws, Hart’ which is due to be published in May 2023. Her chapter, ‘The Mixed Blessing of Vita Food Products: The Impact and Influence of the Privy Council’s Decision’, addresses issues in the conflict of laws and shipping.

Freddie Onslow

Freddie has a broad commercial practice and is developing expertise in shipping and employment disputes.

She has appeared unled in the High Court (QBD and Chancery Division) seeking urgent injunctive relief; in applications in the Chancery Division; in week-long trials in the employment tribunal; in an LCIA arbitration and in applications in the Circuit Commercial Court.

As part of a team of counsel, she has appeared in the Commercial Court, the Chancery Division, arbitrations (LMAA and LCIA), including in lengthy trials. Her recent work includes:

  • Representing the Man Group in Public Institution for Social Security of Kuwait v Man Group, featured in The Lawyer’s “Top 20 Cases of 2020”, concerning allegations of large-scale bribery.
  • Acting in a multi-phase LMAA arbitration claim for damages of c. US$250m following the shipment of a dangerous cargo.
  • Acting on behalf of an insurer defending claims relating to the alleged detention of aircraft in Russia.
  • Acting in a 2-week LCIA arbitration arising out of the decommissioning of oil wells.
  • Representing a global consulting firm in an ongoing LCIA arbitration against a former employee.
  • Krishna v Gowrie and others – a 6-week trial, in which Freddie acted for the petitioners / claimants in an unfair prejudice petition involving allegations of asset stripping from a joint venture.
  • Acting for the respondent in a multi-week employment tribunal hearing, successfully defending allegations of discrimination on the grounds of race, sex and perceived disability.

Freddie has a particular interest in scientific and technical disputes given her background in materials science.

Freddie is a co-author of The Encyclopaedia of International Commercial Litigation, Anthony Coleman & Simon Bryan (Ed) and has contributed to Supperstone, Goudie and Walker (ed), Judicial Review (6th edition, 2018), Chapter 15: European Union Law.

Anna Dilnot KC

Anna actively accepts arbitration appointments and has over 20 years commercial litigation experience.  Anna qualified as a commercial litigation solicitor in 2002, becoming a solicitor advocate before being called to the Bar in 2008, and taking silk in 2021.

Who’s Who 2023 notes that Anna draws widespread recommendations for her asset recovery expertise, with commentators endorsing her as “an absolutely excellent silk”. Anna was also recognised as an expert (global and national leader) in Who’s Who Legal Asset Recovery 2018 – 2022, she is described as having a “super sharp mind”, being both a “persuasive advocate” and “very impressive on her feet in complex proceedings”. For 2023, Anna is also recognised as a leading silk for commercial dispute resolution and asset recovery in Chambers & Partners and Legal 500.

Anna has a broad commercial and commercial chancery practice, with specialisms in conflicts of laws and civil fraud. She is experienced as an advocate in both court proceedings and international arbitration (ad hoc, LCIA, ICC, GAFTA and SIAC). Anna is also accustomed to applying laws other than English law, with recent experience in the laws of Thailand, Russia, Kazakhstan, BVI, France and Spain.

Paul Key KC

Paul Key is recognised as one of the leading silks at the Commercial Bar, specializing in complex, cross-border and high-value disputes.

He wins praise from clients for combining strong analytical skills (“intellect of an Einstein“, “you bring him in when you have a case which needs a lot of the grey matter to be applied to it“, “incredibly bright and hard-working“, “incisive and insightful“, “supremely intelligent“) with powerful advocacy (“astonishingly good advocate“, “the go-to advocate for important cases“, “amazing ability to get the most difficult tribunal on his side“) and a teamwork ethic (“a definite inclusion when compiling a dream team for a case“, “approachable and responsive“, “seamlessly slots into the wider team and provides spot-on insights“, “a team player who is very switched-on, very good with clients, and user-friendly“).

As well as appearing as sole counsel in Courts and in arbitrations, Paul also acts as a member of larger teams in heavyweight disputes, including 14 separate cases in recent years valued at over US$1billion. In addition to acting for and against high net-worth individuals  regularly acts for and against States and State-entities (e.g. China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Russia, Singapore and the USA).

Paul’s litigation work has seen him win complex and very substantial cases for his clients at all levels of the English Court system, including the Supreme Court (“secured a huge victory for us in a very difficult case“, “superb courtroom advocate“, “having an extremely high-profile year“, “his knowledge of English law is phenomenal“, “clear, concise, confident and easy to work with“).

Paul has been widely recognized for his specialism in arbitration, both international commercial arbitration (including ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, SCC and ARIAS) and investment treaty arbitration (including ICSID). He has been ranked in the top-tier (band 1) rankings for arbitration for over 10 years and has consistently been identified as one of the leading figures in that field (“a real arbitration expert“, “few can rival his expertise, ability and knowledge in the field of investment arbitration“, “he has established an impressive case portfolio“, “the first port of call for important arbitration disputes“, “an arbitration guru“, “when working on a huge international arbitration, he seamlessly slots into the wider team and provides spot-on insights“). He has appeared as advocate in over 300 major international arbitrations worldwide, as well as appearing regularly before the English Courts (at all levels) and foreign Courts on arbitration matters. In addition to his extensive experience in international commercial arbitration, he is one of the very few English Silks to have real expertise in investment arbitration. He has been lead counsel in a very large number of BIT / investment arbitrations, acting both for and against States.

He is Visiting Professor in international arbitration law at King’s College, London, and has lectured and published widely in this field. He has been a long-standing representative of the UK on the ILA International Commercial Arbitration Committee and is also a delegate for the UNCITRAL Working Group on Arbitration.

His practice spans a vast array of fields in international and domestic law, including very substantial experience in each of the following subject-matter areas: foreign investment; international trade; civil fraud; energy; joint ventures; power and other large scale infrastructure projects; offshore disputes; oil & gas; telecommunications; shipping; agency and distribution (including commercial agency); conflict of laws; and public international law (largely in the investment context).

Prior to taking Silk, Paul won the Chambers & Partners Award for “International Arbitration Junior Barrister of the Year” and was also nominated for this award in commercial dispute resolution. He was recently nominated (as one of three) for Silk of the Year in Projects and Energy.

Jeffrey Gruder KC

Jeffrey Gruder KC, having graduated at Cambridge with a First Class with Distinction in law, has developed a high-profile arbitration practice both as advocate and arbitrator. He has vast experience of acting as Chairman, Sole and Party Appointed Arbitrator in a large variety of commercial arbitrations including LCIA, ICC, Swiss Chamber, UNCITRAL, SIAC, HKIAC, LMAA and ad hoc arbitrations. He is a sought after and well-regarded arbitrator. Jeffrey Gruder is consistently recommended as a leading arbitrator in both Legal 500 and Chambers Directories. Recent comments include:

Chambers UK Bar Guide

“Distinguished for his expertise in acting as an arbitrator in a number of high-value international disputes.”

Strengths: “Extremely impartial, efficient, on the ball and very well prepared.”

“Leading observers hold Gruder’s talents in the highest esteem, praising his “astounding intellect and great mastery of technical matters.”

“… Extremely able and thorough … with an extraordinary knowledge of the law.

“Very experienced and very bright.”

“”A very able and well-respected arbitrator who is very clever and hard-working.” “Very efficient at dealing with everything and a delight to work with.”

Legal 500

“First Class” “Strong attention to detail; incredibly responsive; collegiate and very easy to deal with