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 as both Counsel and Arbitrator.

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).

David accepts appointments under all institutional rules and in ad-hoc arbitrations.

Recent cases include

Garantibank v DRUM: Sole Counsel for Garantibank in a US$6m Commercial Court claim against DRUM, who were acting as collateral managers of coal being shipped into Turkey. Vast quantities of coal went missing and the bank is suing to recover the losses suffered in the form of lost security for debts.

David has been involved in the full range of dry shipping disputes. He has particular experience of unsafe port claims, demurrage disputes, charterparty repudiations, termination/withdrawal/anti-technicality clauses, claims involving questions of  unseaworthiness and due diligence, claims under the NYPE Inter-Club Agreement, delivery and redelivery obligations, speed and performance claims and casualties arising out of dangerous cargo incidents. David also has considerable experience of cargo claims involving the application of the Hague/Hague-Visby Rules and of General Average disputes.

David has acted in two recent charterparty disputes for owners who have been threatened with sanctions by the US government for allegedly and unwittingly carrying Iranian-origin crude oil.

David’s commodities practice encompasses all aspects of international trade and futures, including oil trading, metals and foodstuffs. He has been involved with a number of GAFTA and FOSFA arbitrations (including appeals from those arbitrations) and has acted for many substantial trading houses in both the English courts and international arbitrations. David was
shortlisted for commodities junior of the year at the Legal 500 Bar Awards 2022.

BMCE Bank International v Phoenix Commodities & ors: Sole Counsel for the bank seeking to recover a loan of US$5m to Phoenix in this Commercial Court action.  Phoenix is resisting repaying the money on the basis that the bank did not properly handle the collateral for the loan – a cargo of steel billets, which went missing in Nigeria.

Legal Directory Rankings

“He is richly deserving of his leading reputation and practice. He is approachable, responsive, has an organised mind and works hard.” (Chambers UK, 2021, Shipping & Commodities)

He is one of the editors of Scrutton on Charterparties and Bills of Lading and was shortlisted for shipping junior of the year at the Legal 500 Bar Awards 2022.

“He has a first-rate brain and excellent judgement, and is prodigiously hardworking, urbane and perceptive.” (Legal 500, 2021, Commodities)