Aerospace and aviation

We have considerable experience litigating and advising in the aviation law field, in which much of Chambers’ practice is insurance and reinsurance-based.

Members of Chambers have acted in cases involving Air France, British Airways, Canadair, Continental Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Monarch Airlines and SAS, in matters relating to events such as 9/11, the Air France Concorde 100 crash at Charles de Gaulle Airport on 25 July 2000, and Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait (including, in the latter context, the seminal aggregation decisions in Kuwait Airways Corporation v Kuwait Insurance Co S.A.K. [1999] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 803 (Jonathan Gaisman QC and Stephen Phillips) and Scott v Copenhagen Reinsurance Co (UK) Ltd [2003] 1 Lloyd’s Rep IR 696 (Dominic Kendrick QC and Adam Fenton).

Gavin Kealey QC, Stephen Kenny QC, John Bignall and Emma Hilliard were recently instructed to appear in a three-month Commercial Court trial in a £150m aviation insurance dispute (PK AirFinance US Inc v Chartis & Ors; and Blue Sky One Limited & Ors v Chartis & Ors) which has since settled. It was claimed by the alleged owners and mortgagees of three Boeing 747 aircraft that the aircraft were lost when misappropriated by an Iranian airline: see, by way of background, Blue Sky One Limited and others v Mahan Air and others [2009] EWHC 3314(Comm) and [2010] EWHC 631 (Comm).


The 2010 edition of Chambers and Partners UK describes 7KBW as 'a major presence in the shipping and commodities sector'.

Members of Chambers are steeped in the law of international trade. They have extensive experience of advising on, and acting in, disputes arising out of contracts for the sale of commodities.

They have also dealt with a wide variety of proceedings and references in the ancillary area of trade finance and letters of credit.

Members are also happy to advise on the conduct of references to arbitration under the rules of the London-based commodity trade associations (such as LME, GAFTA, FOSFA and RSA).


As specialists in all areas of contract law, members of Chambers are well equipped to advise on, and act in, disputes arising out of construction contracts. Members of Chambers accept instructions to appear in the Technology and Construction Court and are familiar with its procedures.

In line with its well-established shipping practice, Chambers has a particular specialism in shipbuilding disputes. The past couple of years have seen a large number of disputes under shipbuilding contracts referred to London arbitration and to the High Court. Members of Chambers have been instructed in many of these disputes. Members are consequently well versed in the issues that arise out of the SAJ and the AWES forms (and variations thereon). Chambers also has a flourishing practice in the relatively niche field of yachtbuilding contracts.

Energy and natural resources

Members of Chambers have experience of the whole gamut of disputes in the field of energy and natural resources: from disputes over the quality of fuel supplied pursuant to contracts of sale, to actions for negligence arising out of the Piper Alpha explosion, to disputes over oil-rig construction and financing.

Needless to say, as the pre-eminent insurance and reinsurance set, we are particularly well equipped to deal with insurance-related disputes in this sector.

General industries

For historical reasons, disputes in the fields of shipping and insurance have been central to the development of commercial law in England. For example, the leading House of Lords case on the remoteness of damages for breach of contract is The Achilleas, a case involving the late redelivery of a vessel under a charterparty (and in which, incidentally, the successful party was represented by two members of 7KBW).

Given our pre-eminence in both shipping and insurance law, we are ideally placed to advise on, or act in, almost any commercial dispute. As a consequence, members of Chambers have been instructed in a variety of cases, dealing with such diverse issues as: the right of a Formula 1 team to retain the services of one of its drivers; and the public nuisance implications of the Buncefield explosion.

No matter what the subject matter of the dispute, members of Chambers always bring the same level of intellectual rigour to bear on its analysis and resolution.

Financial institutions

7KBW is one of the pre-eminent commercial sets at the English bar. Our members have extensive experience of advising on, and acting in, all manner of disputes involving financial institutions.

Details of our unrivalled expertise in insurance and reinsurance are set out here.

As for banking law, members of Chambers have acted not only in discrete contractual disputes (involving, for example, bills of exchange, contracts of guarantee or complex financial instruments), but also in broader litigation involving the management and supervision of banks. For example, several members of Chambers were heavily involved in litigation arising out of the collapse of Barings.

Given the large amount of shipping and commodities work done in Chambers, most of our members also have experience of dealing with issues arising out of trade finance.

Insurance and reinsurance

7KBW has recently been described by one of the leading legal directors, Chambers UK, as the 'Goliath of the insurance and reinsurance world'(2010). We like to think that is a well-deserved compliment: insurance and reinsurance litigation and advisory work has formed a major part of the practice of most members of Chambers for many years, and we have unparalleled experience among commercial sets of the insurance and reinsurance industry. Our expertise in this sector have repeatedly been recognised in the legal directories and the annual Bar Awards: 7KBW has won the Insurance Set of the Year Award every year since 2005, and is the only Chambers rated in the top band for insurance by Chambers & Partners UK.

Members of Chambers have experience in virtually all types of insurance and reinsurance disputes, and have acted for a wide range of clients in the Lloyd’s and companies’ markets and worldwide. In litigious matters, we have represented clients from the insurance/reinsurance industry at all levels of the English court system, as well as in a wide range of insurance/reinsurance arbitrations (both in England and abroad) and in court proceedings in foreign jurisdictions. We have also provided legal advice on non-litigious matters for numerous clients in the industry. Coverage disputes are the bread and butter of our work in this field, but we also deal with a range of other disputes and issues, such as subrogated actions, claims against brokers, disciplinary proceedings, and advice on policy wordings.

Pharmaceuticals and healthcare

In recent years, the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry has found itself involved in an ever-increasing number of litigious disputes, often involving very large amounts of money and complex group litigation in the US and elsewhere. This has, in turn, led to an increase in litigation between companies operating in the industry and their liability insurers, often involving very substantial sums of money and a wide variety of complex coverage issues.

As the leading insurance and reinsurance Chambers in the UK, 7KBW has extensive experience of acting in and advising on insurance and reinsurance disputes involving the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare industry. Members of Chambers are regularly involved in liability insurance and reinsurance disputes arising from medical malpractice and product liability claims, in courts and arbitrations in the UK and abroad.

Shipping and transport

The shipping and transport industry has always been one of the driving forces behind the development of English commercial law, and 7KBW has been one of the leading influences in that development for many decades. Our present and former members have been involved in some of the most influential cases in this area in the last 50 years, and are still helping to shape the law in this ever-developing area. Only last year, two of our members secured a landmark victory in the House of Lords in the much-discussed case, The Achilleas, which tested the boundaries between long-established legal principle and modern industry practices.

Our members include a number of the recognised market leaders in both wet and dry shipping, and almost all of our members have extensive experience in a wide range of shipping matters. We also have specialists in a number of other areas of the shipping and transport industry, including road, rail and air transport, freight forwarding, issues relating to port and depot operation, and all aspects of insurance and reinsurance relating to the marine, aviation, rail and road transport markets.

Sport and leisure

The sport and leisure industry, like many other industries, has witnessed a marked increase in litigation in recent years. The size and diversity of the modern sporting and entertainment industry has, perhaps unsurprisingly, given rise to a wide range of commercial disputes, often involving large sums of money and complex legal and factual issues. This is precisely the type of litigation in which 7KBW specialises, and in which our Members have a wealth of experience, not only in the sporting and leisure industry itself but in many other areas of commercial life.

Members of Chambers have experience acting for individual sports men and women, professional sporting teams as well as sports regulatory bodies both in an advisory capacity and as advocates before arbitral tribunals and in the High Court. Important recent cases include representing BAR in BAR v Jenson Button and Williams Racing to retain the services of Jenson Button for the 2005 Formula One season; acting for International Motorsport in a claim against Welsh Ministers in respect of the cancellation of the Welsh world motor rally; and representing the Rugby Football Union in the Queen’s Bench Division in a dispute with premiership clubs.

As the leading insurance and reinsurance Chambers in the UK, members of 7KBW also frequently act in contingency market insurance disputes involving sporting events, music, film, television and other entertainment industries. We have also been involved in a variety of other industry-related disputes, such as copyright and trademark disputes and disciplinary proceedings against sportsmen and women.

Telecoms, media and technology

Telecoms, media and technology is the fastest-moving sector. Continuous development and greater globalisation has resulted in an increased complexity in the legal documentation commonly used in this industry sector and, perhaps unsurprisingly, in the litigation in which the industry has been involved. As specialists in all aspects of commercial litigation, with extensive experience of large-scale and complex disputes, members of 7KBW are ideally placed to advise on and act in almost all types of commercial dispute affecting the industry.

A recent example of Members of Chambers' experience is acting in an action between Deutsche Bank and Asia Pacific Broadband Telecom, a claim for some US$200m on a loan agreement.

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