Mark’s practice encompasses a wide range of commercial litigation and arbitration.
He appears regularly in the English Courts, including the specialist Commercial Court, Admiralty Court and the Court of Appeal. During the last couple of years, he has been instructed to act as sole counsel for clients on appeals to the Court of Appeal on 4 occasions. In many of his cases, Mark is and has been pitted against leading QCs. He also provides expert evidence on English law for use in foreign proceedings.
Mark has extensive experience of arbitration, having been involved with hundreds of arbitrations during his career. He appears regularly as counsel in arbitrations both in London (under various institutional rules, inc. ICC, LCIA and LMAA) and abroad (e.g. Dubai, Singapore and the U.S.). He is very familiar with the workings of the Arbitration Act 1996, and has conducted and opposed applications under many of its provisions, including s.9 (stay), s.18 (appointment), s.24 (removal), s.44 (urgent relief ), ss.30 & 67 (jurisdiction), and ss.68 and 69 (challenges and appeals). Mark also has experience of various interlocutory applications, including applications for urgent injunctive relief (such as freezing orders) both in the context of domestic litigation and also in support of foreign proceedings and arbitration.
Mark accepts appointments as an arbitrator, whether by a party, as a chairman, or as a sole arbitrator. In appropriate cases, he may be appointed as a sole arbitrator to determine lower value or simpler disputes on the basis of papers and written submissions alone. He is always willing to adopt suitable procedures designed to achieve the fair resolution of a dispute in a proportionate, cost-effective and swift manner. Please contact the clerks for further information about appointing Mark as an arbitrator.
Before commencing his career at the Bar, Mark trained as a litigation solicitor at Ince & Co focusing on shipping, trade and insurance.
Mark has been instructed in hundreds of disputes that have been referred to arbitration, both in the UK and abroad. Matters of confidentiality preclude mentioning most such disputes by name, but examples of his work include:
■■ Acting for a major Indian company in an arbitration held in Dubai regarding a significant dispute arising out of the launch and management of a new state-of-the-art hospital in Dubai
■■ Acting for buyer against a major drilling company in multi-million dollar claim arising out of the aborted sale of a Semi-Sub TenderBarge (ad hoc arbitration in Houston under hybrid of LMAA / AAA rules, QC opposition)
■■ Acting for buyers in 4 arbitrations arising out of the cancellation of 4 shipbuilding contracts for 4 multi-purpose container vessels each worth in excess of US$6million (including preliminary issues and various applications to overcome respondent refusing to cooperate in arbitrations)
■■ Acting for applicant in rare challenge against one of the 3 arbitrators, a leading commercial QC, on the basis of apparent bias under s.24 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (including drafting of a unique form of arbitration agreement involving the appointment of a substitute arbitrator and the creation of hybrid arbitration tribunals to hear different aspects of the case)
■■ Acting for in various s.44 applications for the preservation of evidence and assets
■■ Polish Steamship Company & Anr v Novel Commodities SA (Arbitration & Commercial Court): worldwide freezing order for the sum of US$5.25 million granted under section 44 of the Arbitration Act 1996; obtaining permission pursuant to the Dadourian Guidelines to enforce freezing order in Switzerland
■■ Acting on s.30 challenge to scope of jurisdiction premised on mistaken terms of reference
■■ Acting on s.30 challenge to jurisdiction on basis of ineffective notice of arbitration (including scope of power of tribunal to order security for costs of such an application)
■■ Acting on s.18 application for appointment of arbitrator when parties failed to agree sole arbitrator
■■ Acting for two parties in multi-party arbitration involving questions arising out of the misnaming of contractual parties in the chain of contracts concerned
Mark’s general commercial work is wide-ranging, as illustrated by the diversity of the following examples of his work:
■■ Bonhams v Lawson & Ors: acting as lead counsel for one of the parties against several well-known QCs in high profile multiparty case in the Commercial Court concerning the sale at Goodwood by Bonhams of a Ferrari 375 Plus Grand Prix for a price in excess of £10 million; disputes over title to the car have raged for over 20 years; jurisdictional challenge and anti-suit injunction; preliminary issues due to be heard in late 2015; major trial listed for early 2016
■■ Berezovsky v Hine & Ors: selected by Mr Justice Mann to act as his judicial assistant (to be funded by the parties) in the well-publicized and exceptionally high value ‘oligarch’ dispute between Boris Berezovksy and a number of others, including Vasily Anisimov and the estate of the late Arkadi Patarkatsishvili; Mark’s role would have been unprecedented and wholly groundbreaking, had the parties not settled the actions during the 2-day pre-trial review shortly before the 6 month trial was due to begin in the Chancery Division
■■ Progress Bulk Carriers Ltd v Tube City IMS LLC EWHC 273 (Comm),  1 Lloyd’s Rep 501: Acting in the latest reported case about the doctrine of ‘lawful act’ economic duress
■■ Acting in a dispute between high net worth individuals about the development of property in the UAE, involving complex issues of applicable law and jurisdiction arising in relation to the law of trusts, partnership, property and oral agreements
■■ Advising a guarantor in a complicated case where the debtors are subject to liquidation in the BVI and have disclaimed the relevant contracts under BVI law
■■ Gracechurch Capital v Republic of Cameroon: Acting for the Government of Cameroon in Commercial Court proceedings relating to a claim brought by an alleged assignee of significant tranches of government debt
■■ Advising a major company in the paper business in a dispute arising out of a contract for the disposal and relocation of extensive plant and machinery among group companies based in the UK, China, Spain, India and Germany
■■ Acting for a well-known internet service provider in a number of significant commercial disputes, some involving successful High Court proceedings and others involving advising / preparation for mediation
■■ Advising an international firm of solicitors facing claims of professional negligence from their former client arising out of their handling of a long term and significant arbitration on their behalf (successfully settled in mediation)
■■ Acting in High Court proceedings for the enforcement of German Judgments by way of charging orders over share holdings
■■ Pakistan International Airlines Corporation v IAA(UK): Acting for the defendants in a Commercial Court claim for US$1,5000,000 by a major airline regarding the storage and sale of aircraft parts
■■ The Car Agency (International) Ltd v Daimler Chrysler UK Limited: Acting in a dispute involving the import of a significant number of cars into the UK from the US and allegations of (inter alia) malicious falsehood
■■ JP Morgan Chase v Peraticos & Ors: Acting in Commercial Court proceedings involving claims of approximately US$11million arising out of the collapse of the Pegasus shipping group
■■ Miller Brewing v Mersey Docks & Harbour Company & Ors  FSR 81: consideration of how the rights of third parties should be protected when the court grants a party interim relief
Appointments & Memberships
■■ Chartered Institute of Arbitrators – Member (MCIArb)
■■ London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), Young International Arbitration Group and European Users’ Council
■■ London Maritime Arbitrators’ Association (LMAA), Supporting Member
■■ Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR)
■■ London Common Law and Commercial Bar Association (LCLCBA)
■■ British Maritime Law Association (BMLA)
■■ London Shipping Law Centre (LSLC)
■■ Association of Average Adjusters (AAA)
Education & Qualifications
1988-1993 Winchester College (Scholar)
1994-1997 Oxford University: BA (Hons) Jurisprudence
1997-1998 College of Law (London): Legal Practice Course
1998-2000 Ince & Co
2000 Called to the Bar (Lincoln’s Inn, Kennedy Scholar)
2001 + St Philips Stone
Mark was a scholar at Winchester College before going on to study Law at Oxford University (St Edmund Hall), graduating in 1997. He completed the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in London, and then spent 2 years training as a solicitor at Ince & Co, London, specialising in shipping, trade, insurance and general commercial litigation. Mark moved to the Bar in 2000, and was awarded a Kennedy Scholarship by Lincoln’s Inn. He completed his 1st 6 months of pupillage at Essex Court Chambers (Gordon Pollock QC) and his 2nd 6 months at Stone Chambers (Steven Gee QC). He joined Chambers as a tenant in 2001.
Banking & Finance
Mark has acted in cases involving loan agreements, guarantees and performance bond disputes, as well as trade-related finance (including documentary credits and bills of exchange). His experience extends beyond advising on the relevant agreements to include acting for institutions financing major projects that encounter serious difficulties and is therefore familiar with the longer term strategic thinking required when such parties are standing ‘behind’ the principal parties involved with the projects in question.
■■ Advising a UK bank in relation to facilities that it provided to customers operating in international commodity markets as to the proper operation under English law of mechanisms used in international trade such as ‘trust receipts’ and various negotiable documents
■■ Advising a major German bank as to its, and its customer’s rights, under instruments issued by a Chinese bank (involving as to whether the documents were guarantees or performance bonds, the effects of variations to the underlying contracts, and so on
■■ Acting for the banks standing behind the buyers in various major shipbuilding projects that have stalled, and in some cases, been cancelled (One such case involves the construction of 8 chemical tankers, each with a price of US$26.6million (total value well in excess US$200 million), and another involves a US$260 million project for the construction of 10 vessels)
Mark has been instructed in various insurance matters, and is frequently asked to advise and act for both insureds and underwriters in a wide range of
disputes. He is familiar with the workings of the London market.
■■ Acting for London underwriters in their defence of an insurance claim for in excess of US$5.6 million by the owners of the “HANDY V” relating to the failure of the vessel’s main engine
■■ Acting for underwriters seeking to recover from their insured the sum of US$1.75m following over-payments made on account
■■ Advising on claim arising from the theft of a ‘super car’
■■ Acting for cargo underwriters in a claim involving alleged breach of Class warranties, s.39(5) of the MIA 1906, and alleged breach of associated/ affiliated company warranty
■■ Advising the charterers of a vessel which suffered significant damage caused by a chemical cargo, involving claims of circa US$12million made under the relevant charters and insurance policies and raising difficult questions about (i) the inter-relationship between dangerous cargo and seaworthiness obligations, and (ii) the application of the doctrine of inherent vice
■■ Advising the insured in relation to claim for $2.4million under liability insurance, and in particular as to the operation of the “pay to be paid” clause in the policy and the proposed structure of the underlying settlement
■■ Acting for political risk insurers in claim arising out of expropriation of geothermal power station
■■ Advising cargo underwriters in respect of a general average claim, the payment of a ransom to pirates in excess of US$7 million, and the impact of ‘waiver of subrogation’ clauses in the context of K&R insurance
Shipping & International Trade
Mark’s practice has a considerable shipping component (both ‘dry’ and ‘wet’), and covers all aspects of international trade, whether it be the carriage of goods, the sale of goods, or the related financial and insurance transactions. He has been involved with some of the leading shipping cases of the
last 10 years, such as:
■■ The ‘Sea Angel’  2 Lloyd’s Rep 517 (Court of Appeal),  1 Lloyd’s Rep 335: acted for successful sub-contracting salvors in claims arising out of the large scale “TASMAN SPIRIT” casualty in Pakistan in the Commercial Court and then in the Court of Appeal involving novel and important issues relating to the doctrine of frustration of contract.
■■ The ‘Starsin’  1 AC 715 (House of Lords): acted for the successful Appellant shipowners / demise charterers on appeal to the House of Lords in one of the most important shipping cases in the last 10 years involving a wide range of issues relevant to the carriage of goods under
bills of lading.
Mark has been instructed in many significant high value disputes. This is most evident in his shipbuilding work, where he has been involved with disputes involving sums in excess of US$200 million.