Claire Blanchard KC

Claire Blanchard KC has a specialist commercial practice. She is known for her robust advocacy, skillful cross examination and pragmatic, forthright approach.  Experienced across a broad range of commercial disputes, both in Court and in arbitration (LCIA, ICC, LMAA, ad hoc), Claire has particular expertise in matters relating to energy  and natural resources, insurance and reinsurance, international trade and shipping. With “a stellar intellect” and an “amazing” ability to “focus and drill down to the issues”, she has a “wonderfully reassuring yet creditable manner with clients”.

Claire’s clients have included state owned entities, financial institutions and other major commercial corporations and high net-worth individuals. She also accepts appointments as an arbitrator.

Claire is a contributing editor to Arnould: Law of Marine Insurance and General Average 17th Ed (2008), 18th Ed (2013), 19th Ed (2018) and 20th Ed (2021). She is also an experienced advocacy trainer and former Master of Advocacy at Gray’s Inn.

What others say

Chambers and Partners 2022, Energy & Natural Resources:

“She is utterly on top of the technical aspects of difficult cases.”

Legal 500 2022: Energy & Natural Resources:

“A popular silk who has an impressive manner in court.”

Chambers and Partners 2021, Energy & Natural Resources:

“Clients are very impressed and give very positive feedback.”

Chambers and Partners 2021, Insurance:

“She’s a bright, hard-nosed advocate.” “She has a strong insurance practice and is well recognized in the market.”

“A very good, strong advocate.”

Chambers and Partners 2021, Shipping & Commodities:

“She is brilliant. She is direct, straightforward and gets to the heart of matters.”

Legal 500 2021, Shipping 2021:

“Marvellous to work with; a tough and effective advocate even in the most difficult cases.”

Legal 500 2021, Energy 2021:
“A popular silk who has an impressive manner in court.”

Legal 500 2021, Commodities 2021:

“An experienced advocate, both in court and in international arbitration.”

Chambers and Partners 2020:

“She is a very forceful opponent.” “She is great – she does a lot of oil and gas work and has a strong collection of clients.”

“She’s terrific – very user-friendly, very forthright and practical.” “She has great expertise in insurance.” “Claire is not afraid to form a view and go for it, which is invaluable to clients because it provides clarity.”

“She is extremely bright and quickly understands technical and legal issues.”

Legal 500 2020:

“Highly recommended.”

“Highly recommended, impressive on her feet.”

“A star of the commercial Bar.”

Commercial Litigation and International Arbitration

Instructions include disputes relating to anti-suit injunctions, conflicts, jurisdiction, applications under the Arbitration Act 1996, LCIA, ICC, LMAA and ad hoc references, warranties in sales of businesses, professional negligence, guarantees, sale of aircraft, damage to and sale of fine art, product liability and supply of goods and services.

Cases include:

P v A (Dubai arbitration): parent company guarantee of purchase price of fashion industry goods – issues of KSA company law

P v A (Commercial Court): sale of fashion industry goods – authority to contract

E v B (Arbitration): long-term contract for the sale of (defective) consumables for use in the mining industry

T v T (Singapore – advisory): injunction to restrain dealing with shares of disputed ownership

HC Trading v Tradeland Commodities [2016] EWHC 1279 (Comm), [2016] 1 WLR 3120: dismissal of claim for declaration of validity of arbitration agreement – 1996 Act ss.30 & 32

P v X (Commercial Court): asset purchase agreement – breach of warranty – misrepresentation – negligent misstatement – claim on parent company guarantee

P v V (QBD): guarantee claim – obligations of recipient of services of a racing driver

S v H (Singapore – advisory): conspiracy to cause loss by unlawful means

S v J (Arbitration): supply of services to state owned entity – unjust enrichment

Miller v Experience Hendrix LLC [2014] EWHC 2695 (Ch): setting aside judgments obtained by fraud – reverse summary judgment – civil restraint order

I v I (Commercial Court): breach of warranty in share sale agreement

Bush v Bank Mandiri [2014] 1 WLUK 291 (Commercial Court): guarantee claim – breach of bank’s duty to surety – security for costs

L v M (QBD): obligations of warehouseman

Perca Shipping v Cargill Inc [2012] EWHC 3759 (QB) (Commercial Court): s12 application to extend time to commence arbitration

L v R (Commercial Court): impact of mitigation effort on measure of loss

“R” (Arbitration): rights of minority shareholder & issues as to expert share valuation

K v V (Arbitration): BOT contract – reconstruction of state-owned factory – unjust enrichment

WLPS v Total [2008] 2 CLC 258: extent to which litigation privilege can attach to an investigation into an explosion

WLPS v Total [2008] Lloyd’s Rep IR 688: jurisdiction of Court to order disclosure of a party’s insurance policy where not relevant to the pleaded issues

Artibell Shipping v Markel [2008] EWHC 811 (Comm): striking out of proceedings under CPR for delay & abuse of process

Samengo-Turner v Guy Carpenter [2008] ICR 18 (Court of Appeal): anti-suit injunction to restrain proceedings brought in the USA in breach of EC right of employee to be sued in country of employment

Cadre v Astra [2005] All ER (D) 286 (Nov): anti-suit injunction to restrain proceedings not brought in breach jurisdiction or arbitration clause

Snow Fox v (1) Lloyd’s Register (2) Others: duty of care of classification society

Renewable Energy Co v Thames Water Utilities: dispute as to pricing under long term electricity supply contract

Youell v Kara Mara [2000] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 102: anti-suit injunction to restrain proceedings under Texas Direct Action statute

SBJ Stephenson v Mandy The Times 21 July 1999 (Court of Appeal): injunction to restrain breach of restrictive covenants

Energy & Natural Resources

Instructions include disputes relating to offshore construction, long-term supply, industry equipment, MOPU, FPSO and other offshore units, exploration and field development, resource exploitation and marketing and contingency/supply disruption planning including issues of price.

Cases include:

Y v N (Arbitration): Long-term gas sales agreement – US$60m short supply claim – force majeure – damages in lieu of contract renewal

T v N (Arbitration): Long-term gas sales agreement – US$160m short supply claim – force majeure – claim for contract renewal or US$180m damages in lieu

Re MX (Advisory): Long-term gas sales agreement – short supply – force majeure

Re M (Advisory): Long-term gas sales agreement – short supply – exclusion of loss of profits

P v N (Arbitration): Long-term gas sales agreement – US$80m short supply claim – force majeure – specific performance – renewal option

C v N (Arbitration): Long-term gas sales agreement – US$100m short supply claim – RTT Protection Against Unfair Competition Act – exemplary damages – force majeure – renewal option

N v N (Arbitration): Long-term gas sales agreement – US$60m short supply claim – RTT Protection Against Unfair Competition Act – exemplary damages – force majeure

Re N (Advisory): Supply issues under suite of long-term gas purchase agreements upstream and long-term gas sale agreements downstream

D&C v R (Arbitration): Multi-billion dollar claim for damages for loss of the chance to develop gas fields in the Middle East, caused in breach of an obligation of confidence – field exploration and development – resource exploitation and marketing

M v N (Arbitration): US$90m offshore construction dispute – pipeline

Buncefield tank farm explosion (Commercial Court): third party claim against equipment manufacturer – high level switch

Insurance and Reinsurance

Instructions include disputes relating to marine (hull & cargo) and non-marine policies, P&I cover, reinsurance and Lloyd’s RITC, plus related arbitral and jurisdictional issues.
Cases include:

  • Vessel “S” (Advisory 2013): pollution mitigation measures and general average
  • Vessel “O” (Advisory 2013): s39(5) MIA 1906
  • N v C (Commercial Court 2012): claim on CAR policy
  • Global Process Systems v Syarikat Takaful Malaysia “The Cendor MOPU” [2009] EWHC 637 (Comm); [2009] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 72, [2010] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 243 (Court of Appeal) & [2011] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 560 (Supreme Court): relationship between inherent vice and perils of the sea in a marine
    insurance policy
  • Vessel “S” (Advisory 2010): claim on cargo policy for cargo seized by pirates
  • “G” (Advisory 2010): loss of high value consignment
  • R v M (Arbitration 2009): reinsurance, subrogation expenses
  • XL London Market v Acott & Tilley Capital [2004] EWHC 1182 (Comm), LTL 8/6/2004: pre-action
    disclosure where no explanation given for substantial release from RITC premium
  • Interpart v Lexington Insurance Co [2004] Lloyd’s Rep IR 690 : cargo policy, duty of utmost good
    faith/fraudulent claims rule
  • Agapitos v Agnew (No 2) [2003] Lloyd’s Rep IR 54 : breach of warranty & waiver of breach
  • Agapitos -v- Agnew “The Aegeon” [2002] Lloyd’s Rep I.R & [2003] QB 556 (Court of Appeal): total loss of vessel : duty of utmost good faith / fraudulent claims rule
  • Nima Sarl v Deves Insurance Co “The Prestrioka” [2003] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 327 (Court of Appeal): total loss of vessel: application of s44 MIA to phantom ship
  • Matalan v Tokenspire 18 May 2001: contractors’ negligence policy, meaning of recklessness
  • Wood v Perfection Travel [1996] LRLR 223 (Court of Appeal): insurer’s right to intervene in proceedings against insolvent insured

International Trade and Transport, Ship Sale, Building and Finance, and Shipping and Commodities

Instructions include disputes relating to charterparties, bills of lading, ship/yacht building, ship/yacht sale, ship finance (mortgages, guarantees and assignments), ship brokers, shipping pools, casualties, oil pollution, FPSO & other offshore vessels, general average, P&I calls, marine insurance, duties of classification societies, formal investigations and limitation of actions, plus related arbitral and jurisdictional issues.
Cases include:

  • Vessel “TR” (Arbitration 2014): bareboat charter – obligations on redelivery
  • Metall Market OOO v Vitorio Shipping, The “Lehmann Timber” [2012] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 73 (first instance) & [2013] EWCA Civ 650: piracy & general average, general average security & liens for expenses
  • K v M (Arbitration 2013): commodities sale – Sale of Goods Act implied terms
  • K v P (Arbitration 2013): commodities sale – exercise of right of rejection
  • Vessel “T” (Arbitration 2013): bareboat charter – condition of ship on redelivery
  • Yacht “P” (Arbitration 2013): yacht hire – obligations under MYBA standard form
  • Vessel “E” (Advisory 2013): shipowners’ lien on cargo
  • Vessel “R” (Arbitration 2012): new building dispute
  • Vessel “W” (Advisory 2012): shipowners’ lien on sub-freights
  • Vessel “E” (Advisory 2012): seller’s obligations under Norwegian Saleform
  • Vessel “S” (Arbitration 2012): demurrage
  • Vessel “S” (Arbitration 2010, Appeal 2011): termination of head charter
  • B v C (Commercial Court, 2011) : damage to oil terminal berth
  • Vessel “J” (Arbitration 2011): responsibility for shipboard fire
  • Vessel “M” (Arbitration 2011): responsibility for shipboard explosion
  • Vessels “O” (Arbitration 2011), Vessel “S” (Arbitration, 2011) & Vessel “I” (Advisory, 2011): sugar charter issues
  • Vessel “P” (Arbitration 2010), Vessel “G” (Arbitration, 2010), Vessel S (Arbitration, 2009) & Vessel “M” (arbitration, 2009): off-hire
  • P v S (Commercial Court 2010): damage to oil rig
  • E v M (Commercial Court 2010): commodity sale
  • N v S (Commercial Court 2010): claim on guarantees of shipbuilding instalments
  • DSND v OSA “The Botnica” [2007] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 37 : effect of absence of signature on validity of charterparty
  • The Re-Opened Formal Investigation into the Loss of the MV Derbyshire (Final Report 2000) & [2002] CLC 1304 (costs)
  • Union Trans-Pacific v Orient Shipping [2002] EWHC 1451 (Comm), TLT 17/7/2002: effect of dissolution of company on arbitration clause & reference
  • China Offshore v Giant Shipping “The Posidon” [2001] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 697: charterparty, obligation to load full & complete cargo
  • Marinplex v Compagnie de Gestion “The Ambor/Once” [2001] CLC 138 : shelltime 4: illegitimate last voyage
  • Rank Enterprises v Gerard [1999] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 666 & [2000] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 403 (Court of Appeal): guarantee in Norwegian Sale Form
  • BUA International v Hai Hing Shipping “The Hai Hing” [2000] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 300: setting aside extension writ for non-disclosure
  • Mahavir Minerals v Cho Yang Shipping “The MC Pearl” [1997] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 566: restraining proceedings in breach of exclusive jurisdiction clause.

Examples of Notable Cases

Notable cases include Metall Market OOO v Vitorio Shipping, The “Lehmann Timber” (Court of Appeal); Global Process Systems v Syarikat Takaful Malaysia, The “Cendor MOPU” (Supreme
Court); Commercial Court actions and arbitrations relating to the petrochemical industry, including offshore construction and the litigation arising from the Buncefield tank farm explosion;
shipbuilding, ship finance and ship sale disputes; shipping and commodities cases, raising a diverse range of issues relating to contracts of sale, bills of lading and Charterparties and
Arbitration Act 1996 applications.


1991: LLB (Hons), Liverpool Polytechnic
1992: Bar Vocational Course, Inns of Court School of Law