Neil Hart KC

Neil Hart has a wide-ranging practice in the field of commercial litigation and arbitration, encompassing shipping and shipbuilding (including superyacht construction, sale and charter), insurance (marine and non-marine), commodities, energy, and shareholder / joint venture disputes. He has acted as an advocate in Court (including in arbitration applications) and in UNCITRAL, LCIA, LMAA, ICC, SIAC and ad hoc arbitrations in London, Singapore and Hong Kong. He has considerable experience of advising clients in multijurisdictional disputes involving different systems of law, and related issues involving interlocutory relief and post-award enforcement. Neil is one of the editors of Arnould’s Law of Marine Insurance and Average.

Neil has strong relationships with the commercial law sector in Beirut (where he is a frequent visitor) and has recently been instructed by Lebanese firms in disputes arising in the Gulf region under the laws of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He is currently acting pro bono in proceedings before the High Court in London for victims of the Beirut Port Explosion of 4 August 2020.  Neil also has considerable experience of working with Chinese law firms and of disputes involving (parallel) Chinese court proceedings.  He acted as Counsel to the Gold Inquiry into allegations concerning donors and donations to the Conservative Party.

David Walsh

David has a broad commercial practice in both the High Court (Commercial Court and Chancery Division and appeals therefrom) and in international arbitration. He is particularly well-known for his expertise in insurance and reinsurance, commodities, international trade, energy, shipping and shipbuilding/offshore construction disputes.

David is ranked as a leading junior in the Legal 500 UK, Chambers UK, Chambers Global and the Legal 500 Asia Pacific directories, in which he has been identified as “a stellar performer at the junior Bar”. In those directories he has won praise from clients for combining:

  • intellectual rigour (“a first-rate brain”, “incredibly bright”, “super smart”, “always manages to make very complex cases easy to understand”)
  • with skilful advocacy (“his advocacy [is] formidable”, “a forceful advocate, who seems to get the ear of the judge very well”, “unflappable”, “particularly noted for his skilful advocacy”)
  • industriousness (“prodigiously hardworking”, “prepared to roll his sleeves up”)
  • and client service (“a naturally collaborative and inclusive style”, “Clients really like him”, “A very personable and approachable individual, who connects well with clients”, “really easy to engage with”, “responsive and user friendly”).

David was also recognised as one of Legal Week’s Stars at the Bar in one of its profiles of the ten most promising junior barristers. In the piece, he was singled-out for having “experience beyond his call”, for the fact that “his judgement is sound, and his advocacy measured and precise” and for possessing “quiet confidence and intellectual rigour that belie his young age”.

David is an editor of the latest editions of: (i) Arnould – Law of Marine Insurance and Average (together with Jonathan Gilman KC, Mark Templeman KC, Claire Blanchard KC, Philippa Hopkins KC, Neil Hart); (ii) Scrutton on Charterparties and Bills of Lading (together with Sir David Foxton, Steven Berry KC, Christopher Smith KC and Professor Howard Bennett); and (iii) Chalmers’ Marine Insurance Act 1906 (together with Simon Rainey KC and Guy Blackwood KC).

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.

Nigel Eaton KC

Nigel Eaton KC regularly accepts arbitration appointments with experience of both domestic and international arbitration.  He has a broad-based Counsel practice in domestic and international commercial disputes, with a particular focus on shipping, ship construction, international trade & commodities, insurance & reinsurance, energy-related disputes, and related areas. Described as “analytically brilliant and an excellent advocate”, Nigel has over 20 years’ experience before the English Courts, both at first instance (particularly in the Commercial Court) and appellate level, and before domestic and international arbitration tribunals, both ad hoc and institutional, including ICC, LCIA, LMAA, UNCITRAL, and FOSFA/GAFTA. He is ranked as a leading practitioner by professional directories, and rated as “an extraordinarily able black-letter lawyer” who “brings an intellectual rigour to cases” and is “client-friendly in his approach”.

In shipping – where he is regarded as “one of the leading KCs in the field” – Nigel’s practice includes disputes under bills of lading, contracts of affreightment, time charters, voyage
charters, and demise charters, and covers a full spectrum of legal, commercial, and technical issues, including seaworthiness, cargo claims, hire and off-hire, unsafe ports, dangerous
cargoes, and laytime & demurrage. He has extensive experience of disputes involving a wide range of both dry and liquid bulk cargoes as well as containerised cargoes, and a variety of
commercial vessel types, including bulk carriers, tankers, container ships, LNG carriers, rigs, floating storage and other specialised offshore vessels, ro-ro transporters, cruise and
passenger ships, and fast ferries. Nigel has also acted (for both builders and buyers) in numerous shipbuilding arbitrations under SAJ and CMAC and other standard-forms and
variants, including delay and cancellation disputes, actions about compliance with contractual description and quality, and refund and guarantee claims. He has experience of ship sale &
purchase disputes under the Norwegian Saleform and other contract forms. Alongside this experience of disputes involving commercial vessels, Nigel has frequently been involved in
cases relating to the chartering, construction, and sale and purchase of luxury yachts.

A “go to silk” for international trade cases, Nigel regularly acts in disputes under CIF, FOB and other forms of contract for the sale & purchase of a wide variety of goods and commodities,
including mineral oil, gas, coal, chemicals and fertilisers, steel, ores, vegetable oils, and grains and other foodstuffs. His practice includes disputes about title, quality and rejection, payment,
price and price adjustment, frustration, and the impact of sanctions, and covers long-term and instalment contracts as well as one-off sales. He also has extensive experience of legal issues
relating to financial instruments used in international trade, including guarantees, performance bonds, and letters of credit.

Nigel’s insurance & reinsurance experience covers both marine and non-marine business in areas including property, liability, P&I, and professional indemnity. He acts in disputes about
coverage, policy construction, avoidance, and causation and loss. Nigel has experience of political risks policies, including disputes relating to investments in a range of commercial and
infrastructure projects in Africa, China, South America, and other parts of the world. He was involved in litigation about the LMX spiral and claims brought by Lloyd’s names against
underwriters and agents, and has acted in disputes about both proportional and nonproportional reinsurance.

In energy, Nigel’s experience includes disputes involving joint ventures, field and operating agreements, pipeline & transportation contracts, gas sale agreements, and electricity supply
agreements. He has been involved in a number of cases about long term contracts for the supply of coal to power stations.

Siddharth Dhar

Siddharth regularly sits as arbitrator since 2010 and has experience of all institutional rules and ad-hoc arbitrations.

Siddharth also acts as an advocate and advisor in substantial commercial litigation and arbitration disputes spanning the full breadth of Chambers’ work. In recent years, he has appeared in cases before the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, all divisions of the High Court, and in very high value commercial and investment treaty arbitrations operating under a wide variety of institutional rules.

Siddharth is recognised as a leading junior barrister. He was awarded Junior of the Year (across all practice areas) at the Legal 500 UK Bar Awards in 2022.  He is the only junior ranked as a “Star Individual” for International Arbitration by Chambers & Partners; was Chambers & Partners’ International Arbitration Junior of the Year in 2015; and has been nominated for that same award three times (in 2018, 2015 and 2014). In 2018 he was also nominated as Arbitration Junior of the Year at the Legal 500 Awards.

He is regularly instructed as the sole advocate, or as part of a larger counsel team (whether that is with a Silk or leading a more junior barrister). He has been variously described by his clients as “an exceptional barrister” and “exceedingly gifted”; a “simply excellent junior” and as being “always on top of his brief and very client friendly”.

Siddharth’s Counsel practice spans three main areas: (1) commercial litigation (including arbitration-related applications to the Commercial Court); (2) commercial arbitration; and (3) investor/state arbitration. Representative examples of recent cases are given below.

Lucas Bastin KC

Lucas is a King’s Counsel with extensive experience in all forms of international disputes.  He regularly takes instructions in very large and complex commercial litigation, typically involving numerous jurisdictions (in several of which he appears directly).  In the UK, he has acted and appeared in all levels of English courts, including before the Supreme Court.  He is also admitted in Australia, British Virgin Islands, and in the process of being registered before the Singapore International Commercial Court.  Lucas also advises in litigation before the courts of Sweden, France, the US, Switzerland, Malaysia, Kenya and Ukraine.

Lucas is vastly experienced in international arbitrations, having acted in several dozen international commercial arbitrations, often with very large and complex claims. Lucas has extensive experience of all major rules, including ICC, UNCITRAL, LCIA, SCC, SIAC, HKIAC, IACAC, ICSID, ICSID Additional Facility, AAA, and others.  He has worked with applicable law from across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.  His practice has included a wide coverage of sectors in which these disputes arise, including telecommunications, oil and gas, mining, construction, power, entertainment and leisure, information technology, financial services, real estate, aircraft, airline and airport services, media, manufacturing, advertising, taxation, and others.

Lucas is also among the most experienced barristers in investment arbitration.  He has again acted in several dozen investment arbitrations, again involving very large and complex claims, and including some of the largest investment arbitration claims ever.  He regularly appears as lead counsel in investment arbitrations under the leading rules, including ICSID and UNCITRAL.  He is instructed from a wide range of regions for both the claimants and respondents in claims arising in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.  Again, he has acted across a wide coverage of sectors.

Further, an important part of Lucas’ commercial litigation experience is arbitration-related court proceedings.  Lucas has been involved in some of the large set aside and enforcement proceedings in the UK, as well as advising on the same in other jurisdictions.  Lucas is regularly asked to coordinate strategy (for claimants and defendants) across multi-jurisdictional set aside/enforcement proceedings.  This draws on Lucas’ experience not only in arbitration-related matters, but also in disputes involving asset tracing, service, sovereign immunity and interlocutory relief.

Lucas’ practice also entails significant work and expertise in public international law.  This includes instructions to appear in international courts, tribunals and other fora involving public international law, such as the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organization, the International Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, and the INTERPOL Commission.  Lucas is regularly instructed on litigation in the UK (both before commercial and administrative courts) that involves elements of public international law, such as issues of sovereign immunity, susceptibility of State assets to enforcement, WTO law, and other matters.

Lucas graduated Bachelor of Laws (Syd), Bachelor of Arts (Syd), Bachelor of Laws (Oxon), all with first class honours and several awards, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Oxon). He is Adjunct Professor of International Arbitration at Pepperdine University and Lecturer at King’s College London in Investment Arbitration.

Lucas has been described as “highly impressive in action, he is excellent with clients and a formidable advocate”, “a go-to barrister for complex quantum cases”, “one of the most agile and strategic minds in the game”, “extremely smart, commercially-minded and very good at explaining complex situations in a simple way”, and “simply superb, with vast experience in the field of arbitration; with a brilliant mind, and commercially astute”.  He has been marked out for his advocacy as well, with clients and peers noting he is “great on his feet and brutal in cross-examination”, “a superb advocate”, “a formidable advocate and brilliant strategist”, “a top cross-examiner” and a silk who “got to grips with some spectacularly difficult material, simplified it and hammered the other side”.

Professor Dan Sarooshi KC

Dan Sarooshi QC is an experienced advocate with a track record of success in high profile cases. He is a specialist in public international law, investment treaty arbitration, and constitutional and public law. He also has considerable experience in high value commercial litigation. He is a veteran of many cases in international courts (International Court of Justice, European Court of Human Rights, WTO, UN Tribunals); investment arbitrations (ICSID, ICSID AF, ECT, PCA, NAFTA, ICC, UNCITRAL, and LCIA); and the highest domestic courts in the UK, Hong Kong, and Bahamas as well as in domestic employment tribunals. In the area of international law alone he has argued 20 cases in the past three years as advocate and counsel for States, international organisations, and corporations.

His clients include 18 States (e.g. UK and USA), 15 international organizations, and corporations (e.g. BAT, Hitachi, Roche, and Tesco). Before taking Silk, he was a member of both the UK Attorney General (AG) Panel of Counsel for Public International Law cases and the AG Panel of Counsel for Constitutional and Commercial Law cases.

The independent legal directories – Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 – and client quotes say he “has the well-earned reputation to be counted among the finest in London”, is “as good as they come”, “a precious commodity” “at the top of his game”, “combines immense intelligence” with “a wealth of experience of appearing before international and domestic courts, including the ICJ and the English High Court”. “His written and oral advocacy is exemplary. It was superb and won the day. He is a natural and easy leader of a team. Clients trust him with bet-the-country/company cases.” He has “superior skill and creativity as an elite advocate in the field of public law.” He is “clearly one of the leaders at the Bar for public international law”, an “extremely bright advocate with a keen sense of strategy and excellent litigation instincts”, and is “a dream to work with”. “He has an excellent record of representing governments, international organisations and FTSE 100 companies”. His “articulation of public international law is second to none” and as “a resourceful advocate, he offered answers and avenues of recourse in situations where other UK counsel could offer none”.

His standing in the field of international arbitration was recognised by his appointment by the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee in Dec. 2020 to serve on the list of arbitrators to hear Brexit-related disputes arising from the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement. In the area of international trade, he was in 2006 appointed as a Member of the WTO Dispute Settlement list of Panellists (jointly nominated by the UK and EU).

Louise Hutton KC

Louise’s practice covers commercial and commercial/chancery litigation and arbitration, including banking and finance litigation, fraud, insolvency/restructuring and company law.  Louise has been called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (BVI) and also sits as arbitrator.

Before taking silk in March 2021, she had been recommended for many years as a Band 1 leading junior in the fields of Commercial Chancery and Civil Fraud by Chambers UK, which says she is “Sought after for her advice and advocacy in major pieces of fraud litigation incorporating the full spectrum of allegations. Many of her cases are banking-related” and describes her as “impressive in court – unflappable, persuasive in her advocacy and can carry the judges to a conclusion that she wants them to reach” and as having “very good knowledge of the law and good commercial judgment”.

She is also recommended in Chambers Global in Commercial Chancery, and by the Legal 500 for Banking & Finance and for Civil Fraud, which says that “Her combination of expertise in insolvency, banking litigation and fraud is invaluable” and that she has “a great instinct for what will and won’t matter when the chips are down”.  She was named in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2019.

In addition to her substantial experience of heavy trials, she has particular experience of applications for freezing orders and other interim injunctions, and for anti-suit injunctions (on various grounds including arbitration agreements; exclusive jurisdiction clauses; and vexation and oppression).


James Willan KC

Her Majesty The Queen has approved the appointment of James Willan to become one of the new Queen’s Counsel in March 2021.

James’ Barrister practice extends across the full range of commercial, banking and finance, fraud, conflict of laws, commercial chancery and offshore disputes.  He holds nine top-tier (band 1) rankings across legal directories which include commercial litigation, banking and international arbitration.  James is also singled out by Chambers & Partners as a “Star Individual” for civil fraud.

Before taking silk, James was recognised as one of the leading juniors at the commercial bar.  He is the only junior barrister to have been identified by Chambers & Partners as one of its “Stars at the Bar”, who have proved their excellence across a range of practice areas which is supported by the following editorial:

There are sources who say that James Willan of Essex Court Chambers is “destined for huge things”; one might say, taking his considerable achievements and our researchers’ findings in the round, that he has well and truly arrived. A junior of 16 years call at the publication of the 2021 rankings, Willan is star-rated for his civil fraud practice and is also considered one of the leading barristers in banking and finance, commercial litigation, international arbitration, offshore and commercial chancery cases working in London today. Indeed, he has become a “senior junior of choice for complex, cross-border disputes.” Sources note that he regularly appears unled against KCs and “holds his own,” and that he is “an excellent barrister at his level who will no doubt be a superstar further down the line,” declaring themselves “extremely impressed with his written submissions as well as his oral advocacy.” Others are unabashedly fulsome in their praise, with one describing him as “remarkably brilliant – an absolute superstar who is spectacular on his feet, even completely by himself.” Alongside Willan’s clear mastery of his craft, it is reflections on his intellectual acuity that resonate most. Source after source remarks on his ability to “grasp complex, detailed points very quickly” and his “wonderful way of pursuing the complicated points.” …

James’ standing across his broad range of practices is further reflected by being awarded “Junior of the Year” in three fields: Banking (Chambers Bar Awards, 2020), Commercial Litigation (Legal 500, 2017) and International Arbitration (Chambers Bar Awards, 2016).  He also appeared in The Lawyer’s “Hot 100”, which described him as “one of the big names at the bar in civil fraud and banking and finance litigation”.

James wins praise from his clients for combining strong analytical skills (“a brain the size of a planet”, “one of the most intellectually brilliant counsel you could come across”, “the brightest junior at the Bar”) with powerful advocacy (“simply astonishing in full flow, definitely a future super-silk”, “a brilliantly analytical and fast-thinking advocate”, “spectacular on his feet”, “an exceptional barrister who can read the courts and judges well”).

James most frequently appears as case leader or sole counsel (in the High Court, the Court of Appeal, and a wide variety of ad hoc and institutional arbitrations) in addition to acting as a member of larger teams on heavyweight litigation, including some of the largest cases to come before the courts in recent years.  He is equally at home in court as he is in arbitration.

James is also instructed frequently in connection with litigation globally. He has appeared in the BVI Commercial Court and the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, and has been admitted ad hoc and appeared in both the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands.  James was also a member of the Attorney General’s “A Panel” for civil counsel until his appointment was approved as silk.

Benedict Tompkins

Benedict has a broad commercial litigation and arbitration practice. He has particular experience in banking, civil fraud, private international law (including freezing injunctions), public international law (including immunity issues), shipping, and general commercial disputes. He also has an impressive investment arbitration practice, representing both investors and host states.

Benedict has acted in proceedings in the High Court (Commercial Court, Financial List and QBD), Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court, as well as in the County Courts and the Employment Tribunal. In addition to led work, Benedict has appeared as sole advocate in the Commercial Court, and in a number of general commercial County Court trials and applications.

In arbitration, he has appeared in or advised on proceedings under the ICSID, ICC, LCIA, HKIAC, SIAC, LMAA and UNCITRAL Rules, seated both in London and abroad. Benedict also sits as an arbitrator.

Highlights of Benedict’s recent or current work include acting: (i) for the primary defendant in Suppipat v Narongdej (Commercial Court), a $2 billion multi-party fraud claim arising out of the sale of Thailand’s largest renewable energy firm; (ii) for Oceanwood in Cyrus Opportunities Master Fund II, Ltd v Oceanwood Opportunities Master Fund, Financial List proceedings raising issues under the Market Abuse Regulation in relation to the trading of debt securities, (iii) for the Republic of India in Vedanta Resources Ltd v India, a multi-billion dollar claim alleging breaches of an investment treaty by way of a taxation measure, and (iv) as sole counsel for the French Republic in Buttet v Ambassade de France au Royaume-Uni, successfully asserting state immunity in respect of a claim by a former security contractor at the French embassy to the United Kingdom.

Prior to joining Essex Court Chambers Benedict qualified in New Zealand, where he prosecuted serious criminal cases before moving to commercial practice. He has appeared both led and un-led in the New Zealand courts. He tutors in international commercial arbitration at King’s College London.

He graduated first in his year from the Universities of Auckland and Cambridge.