“Incisive and commercial in his approach, he’s a force for the future.” “Very good on his feet.” “A star of the future.” “A first-rate junior with both a strong analytical mind and the ability to grasp the commercial realities of a case.”
- Chambers & Partners 2015
“A star of the junior Commercial Bar. He is very good on his feet.” “He is absolutely outstanding and incredibly highly thought of.” “Very good with the clients and extremely bright.”
- Chambers & Partners 2014
Fionn Pilbrow enjoys a busy and wide-ranging commercial practice, advising on and appearing in disputes spanning the full breadth of Chambers' commercial work. He is above all an advocate and a litigator. He is ranked as a leading junior in 6 different practice areas by Chambers & Partners 2015 – Commercial Dispute Resolution; Banking & Finance; Energy & Natural Resources; Fraud: Civil; Insurance; and, International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance – and 8 different practice areas by Legal 500 2014 – Commercial Litigation; Banking & Finance; Fraud: Civil; Commodities; Energy; Professional Negligence; Insurance & Reinsurance; and, International Arbitration. He is also ranked as a leading junior in Chambers Global 2015 in the areas of Arbitration (International), Commercial Dispute Resolution and Energy & Natural Resources. In 2013, he was awarded International Arbitration Junior of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards, and was also included within the inaugural Chambers 100 UK Bar list of top 100 juniors practising at the Bar of England & Wales. In 2015, Fionn won Commercial Litigation junior of the year at the UK Bar Awards 2015.
He is equally at home as a member of a team (and has been instructed in many of the biggest cases before the Courts in recent years – BSkyB v EDS, Fiona Trust, Cherney v Deripaska) or the sole advocate (and appears regularly in the Commercial Court and has also appeared in the Court of Appeal, the Chancery Division, the Technology and Construction Court, the Administrative Court and various county courts and tribunals). In recent years, much of his practice has involved arbitration work (again both led and unled), and he has particular experience of arbitrations under ICC, UNCITRAL, LCIA, ARIAS, Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and LMAA rules, and the Swiss International Rules of Arbitration, as well as ad hoc arbitrations pursuant to the Arbitration Act 1996.
Fionn Pilbrow is a well-established commercial junior. All of his work can broadly be described as commercial litigation. He is regularly instructed in commercial disputes, big and small, international and domestic, arising out of all industry sectors and professions, in both litigation and arbitration. He has particular experience of high-value, high-profile, high-pressure disputes: in recent years, he has, for example, acted for Mr Cherney in Cherney v Deripaska; for BP in its disputes arising out of its Russian joint venture, TNP-BP; for the claimant in the Fiona Trust litigation; and for the successful claimants in BSkyB v EDS. As such he has extensive experience of all aspects of the preparation and conduct of heavy trials, involving substantial factual dispute and/or extensive expert evidence, as well as of all types of jurisdictional and interlocutory dispute. He is an experienced advocate, well used to having sole conduct of trials and interlocutory matters, in the Commercial Court and other divisions of the High Court.
He is recommended by Chambers and Partners, Chambers Global and the Legal 500 as a leading junior for commercial litigation / commercial dispute resolution.
A substantial proportion of Fionn Pilbrow’s commercial practice takes place in arbitration. In recent years, for example, Fionn has acted: for an international oil company in a series of arbitrations under the UNCITRAL Rules (with a Stockholm seat); for an international energy company in an arbitration under LCIA Rules; for an aluminium company in a dispute under the Swiss International Rules of Arbitration; for an international commodity trader in an LCIA arbitration; for a major Brazilian steelmaker in an ICC arbitration; for a Russian telecoms operator in a series of arbitrations under the LCIA Rules; for a major oil trader in an LCIA arbitration; for a major insurer in connection with an ad hoc arbitration arising under the Arbitration Act 1996; a commodity trader in a FOSFA arbitration; for a major American insurance company in an ad hoc reinsurance arbitration; for a Russian entity in an ICC arbitration with a Geneva seat; for a captive insurer in an ad hoc arbitration under the Bermuda Form; for a reinsurer in a dispute under ARIAS rules; and a shipowner in an LMAA arbitration.
Banking & Finance
Fionn Pilbrow has acted in and advised in relation to numerous banking and finance disputes. He also advises in relation to non-contentious banking and financial services matters.
Recent work includes: numerous cases of claims made under security documents; acting for a lender in an appeal raising issues as to the recoverability of swap agreement break costs; acting against a major bank in substantial breach of confidence case in the Chancery Division; advising a bank acting as trustee holding legal ownership of a business worth c. £3-4 billion in relation to disputes as to the management of the business; acting against a bank at first instance and on appeal in a dispute arising under a letter of credit on UCP 600 terms; acting for a claimant seeking to recover from a financial institution under a demand guarantee; acting for a large number of high-net-worth individuals bringing misrepresentation claims against a major bank; acting for a hedge fund pursuing a breach of contract claim against a strategic investment fund.
Fionn also has experience of advising in relation to regulatory matters: in recent years he has advised both companies and advisers in respect of alleged breaches of the Listing Rules and the Takeover Code.
Fionn is recommended by both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 as a leading junior for Banking & Finance. He is also a contributor to Butterworths' Banking Law Guide (edited by Mark Howard QC and Roger Masefield).
Energy & Natural Resources
Fionn Pilbrow acts regularly in disputes arising in the energy and natural resources fields. In recent years he has acted: for BP in the TNK-BP dispute between BP and its Russian joint venture partners arising out of BP's proposed strategic alliance with Rosneft; for a major European energy company in a dispute arising out of the potential exploitation of gad fields in Kurdistan; for ENRC in a dispute relating to a Brazilian iron ore mining project; for an oil trader in a claim arising out of the supply of crude oil to Romania in the 1990s; for the defendant in a dispute relating to the sale and purchase of Tanzanian gold mining licences; for parties involved in North Sea oil disputes arising out of Farm-In Agreements and out of Capacity Reservation and Transportation agreements; for the claimant in a dispute arising out of the sale of a Nigerian oil field; for the defendants in LCIA arbitral proceedings relating to allegedly off-specification coal; in a dispute arising out of the purchase of a company owning a large portfolio of carbon credits; in an LCIA arbitration arising out of the late delivery of a quantity of coal; for the claimant in a dispute over the ownership of a platinum mine; in a dispute arising out of the delivery of Kazakh rapeseed; in a dispute arising out of a contract for the delivery of fuel oil.
Fionn is recommended by Chambers Global, Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 as a leading junior for Energy & Natural Resources.
Fionn Pilbrow has acted in numerous civil fraud matters. He is often consulted in the early, investigatory stages of fraud cases, and has experience of obtaining and resisting freezing injunctions (domestic and worldwide) and search orders. He also has experience of dealing with forensic IT and document examination expert evidence.
Recent work in this field includes the following: he appeared for the Claimants in the Fiona Trust litigation ( EWHC 3199 (Comm);  EWHC 664 (Comm);  EWHC 715 (Comm) ; EWHC 1312 (Comm), a case raising wide-ranging allegations of bribery, conspiracy and corrupt practice; he acted for the claimant in a $200 million Nigerian case in which allegations of bribery and corruption were raised; he acted for a defendant in a case in which allegations of bribery and corruption were made by the claimant against one of its employees and various of its suppliers; he advised in relation to allegations of fraud and mismanagement in a very substantial family-owned business; he acted for insurers in a case arising out of a substantial mortgage fraud; he advised a utility company in relation to industry-wide fraud, with potential losses estimated to be in the tens of millions of pounds; he acted in a Commercial Court claim arising out of a large insurance fraud, centring on allegations of breach of authority, breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy and dishonest assistance and involving numerous freezing injunctions and search orders; he advised a major supermarket in relation to a fraud perpetrated by certain of its employees in conjunction with one of its suppliers; and, he acted in a case to order for the preservation of documents and evidence in a claim against a fraudulent employee.
Fionn is recommended by both Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 as a leading junior for Civil Fraud.
Fionn Pilbrow has advised on cases involving allegations of negligence on the part of insurance brokers, accountants, auditors, solicitors, valuers, financial advisers and liquidators. In recent years, he has: acted for administrative receivers accused of breaches of equitable duty; acted for accountants alleged to have provided negligent tax advice; acted for the claimant bank in a series of over-valuation claims against surveyors; acted for solicitors facing allegations of negligent conduct (and regulatory/disciplinary proceedings) in connection with a takeover; acted for liquidators facing allegations of negligence in their conduct of a liquidation; advised financial advisers accused by a client of having given negligent advice; acted for an insured in a negligence claim against insurance brokers; acted for auditors facing allegations of negligence in their audits of various public sector/education sector entities; acted against solicitors in relation to the provision of allegedly negligent advice in the context of a ship purchase; and acted for accountants in relation to allegations of negligent advice on the tax treatment of tips.
Fionn is recommended as a leading junior in Professional Negligence by the Legal 500.
Shipping, Commodities and International Trade
Fionn Pilbrow has an extensive commodities and international trade practice, both in litigation and in arbitration. He appeared in Standard Chartered Bank v Dorchester LNG (2) Limited (the “Erin Schulte”) in both the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal – which is now the leading authority on a number of issues relating to bills of lading and letters of credit. In recent years he has: acted for Glencore in a dispute relating to the supply of crude oil; acted for a Swiss company in a $70 million arbitration relating to the supply of aluminium and prepayment obligations incurred in connection with that supply; acted for a Swiss company in a Commercial Court dispute arising out of a contract for the sale and purchase of 4 cargoes of crude oil; advised a Brazilian company in a dispute under a long-term contract for the delivery of pellet feed. He also has experience of disputes under, and cases up to the Commercial Court arising out of, various different arbitral rules, including ICC, LCIA, GAFTA and FOSFA.
He has also acted in a large number of “dry” shipping cases, arising in the Admiralty Court, the Commercial Court and in arbitration (including, amongst others LCIA and LMAA arbitrations). He acted for the claimant Russian state-owned shipping companies in the Fiona Trust litigation. Other recent work includes the following: acting for owners in a claim for misdelivery under a bill of lading; acting in an LCIA arbitration arising out of the arrest of a vessel; advising charterers in respect of a claim arising from a substantial fire on a vessel; advising Indian companies in connection with a dispute arising under a long-term contract of affreightment; advising cargo interests in connection with a general average claim; advising in relation to a dispute arising out of a ship sale purchase agreement; a dispute arising out of a contract for the disposal of decommissioned naval vessels. He has been involved in numerous disputes raising issues such as short delivery, off-spec delivery, seaworthiness, force majeure, the construction of charterparties and the like.
Fionn is recommended as a leading junior in Commodities by the Legal 500.
Insurance & Reinsurance
Fionn Pilbrow has advised on and appeared in a wide range of insurance and reinsurance disputes, both in the High Court and in arbitration. Representative experience includes the following: acting for Equitas in a claim brought against it as statutory assignee of the original reinsuring Lloyds syndicates; advising in relation to a claim against insurers and insurance brokers arising out of the burning down of the Weston-super-Mare pier; acting for insurers in a Commercial Court claim arising under the Third Parties (Rights Against Insurers) Act 1930; advising insurers in relation to substantial claims arising out of a large mortgage fraud; a dispute in relation to broker’s liability for premium; acting in a series of connected reinsurance arbitrations in Bermuda on behalf of a captive insurer arising out of fraudulent tax schemes; acting for the reinsurer in an ARIAS arbitration raising avoidance issues; acting for insurers in respect of a substantial claim arising under a binding authority; acting in a series of arbitrations arising out of a reinsurance spiral; and, BP v Aon  EWHC 424 (Comm) which concerned the establishment of a duty of care on the part of sub-brokers.
Fionn is recommended as a leading junior for Insurance & Reinsurance by Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500.
Telecommunications and Technology
Fionn Pilbrow has been involved in a number of information technology and telecoms cases. He was led by Mark Howard QC in BSkyB v EDS  EWHC 86 (TCC), which arose out of the tender for the implementation of, and the implementation of a CRM system, and he appeared, with Jonathan Sumption QC, in T-Mobile v Bluebottle and Virgin Mobile  EWHC 379 (Comm), which related to the operation of Virgin Mobile, then a joint venture between T-Mobile and Virgin. In recent years, he has: acted for a major Russian telecoms provider in a dispute arising out of its purchase of another provider; acted for a company alleged to be in breach of a software agreement; acted in a £15m dispute relating to the provision of internet services; acted for a software company that was restrained from marketing or selling its software for an alleged breach of an exclusivity agreement; advised a local council in relation to a dispute with a provider of specialist software, outsourcing and information technology services; and, advised a FTSE 100 company in relation to a dispute concerning the deployment of a large suite of software licences.
Media & Entertainment
Many of the commercial disputes in which Fionn Pilbrow is instructed arise within the media and entertainment fields. For example, he was instructed in William Hill Organization Ltd v Playtech Software Ltd  EWHC 836 (Comm), a dispute relating to an online gambling joint venture. In addition, he has: acted on behalf of Kangol in a dispute arising under an exclusive licence; represented the defendant in a dispute arising out of a failed celebrity hairdressing venture; and, advised in relation to a licensing dispute arising out of the Indian Premier League.
- Standard Chartered Bank v Dorchester LNG (2) Limited  EWCA Civ 1382
- Energy Venture Partners Ltd v Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd  EWCA Civ 1295
- Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania v Equitas Insurance Limited  EWHC 3713 (Comm);  Lloyd’s Rep IR 195
- Mortgage Agency Services Number One Ltd v Edward Symmons LLP  EWCA Civ 1590
- Energy Venture Partners Ltd v Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd  EWHC 2118 (Comm) (and  EWHC 663 (Comm) and  EWCA Civ 537)
- Standard Chartered Bank v Dorchester LNG (2) Limited  EWHC 808 (Comm)
- Cherney v Deripaska  EWHC 1781 (Comm)
- Fiona Trust v Privalov and others ( EWHC 3199 (Comm);  EWHC 664 (Comm);  EWHC 715 (Comm) ; EWHC 1312 (Comm)
- A v B  EWHC 3302 (Comm);  Bus. L.R. 1020;  2 All E.R. (Comm) 935;  1 Lloyd's Rep. 363;  2 C.L.C. 944
- William Hill Organization Ltd v Playtech Software Ltd  EWHC 836 (Comm)
- BSkyB v EDS  EWHC 86 (TCC)
- Talaris (Sweden) AB v Network Controls International Ltd  EWHC 2930 (TCC)
- BP plc v Aon Ltd and another  EWHC 424 (Comm),  1 All ER (Comm) 789,  Lloyd's Rep IR 577
- BP plc v Aon Ltd  EWHC 2554 (Comm);  1 Lloyd's Rep 549
- Marjorie Ilma Knox v John Vere Evelyn Dean and Others  UKPC 25;  B.C.C. 884
- Roche v UK (ECtHR)  20 BHRC 99, The Times, October 27, 2005
- Elmsbourne Security Ltd v Manticore Holdings Ltd  EWHC 1315 (Ch);  LLR 1295
- Roche v Secretary of State for Defence  EWHC 2344 (Admin),  All ER (D) 98 (Oct)
- T-Mobile v Bluebottle and Virgin Mobile  EWHC 379 (Comm)
- American International Speciality lines Insurance v Abbott Laboratories  EWHC 2714 (Comm),  1 Lloyd's Rep 267,  Lloyd's Rep IR 815
- ‘The Knights of the Bath: dubbing to knighthood in Lancastrian and Yorkist England’ in P.Coss and M.H.Keen (eds.), Heraldry, Patronage and Social Display in Late Medieval England (Boydell & Brewer, 2002)
- Butterworths’ Banking Law Guide (contributor)
BA (Hons) History (1998) (First Class); M Phil History (1999) (First Class, top in year); CPE/Diploma in Law (2000); Bar Vocational Course (2001); MA (Oxon) (2002).
Awards and scholarships:
- Balliol/Oxford: Fraser Scholar, James Gay History Prize, Jenkins Award, Coolidge Pathfinder Atlantic Crossing Award
- St John’s/Cambridge: University Medieval History Prize (Wood-Legh Prize); McMahon Law Studentship
- Inner Temple: Major CPE Scholarship (1999-2000); Princess Royal Scholarship (2000-2001)
Fionn speaks French and is qualified PADI diving instructor.
- “Fionn Pilbrow is a “real gem of the younger generation” and a “very talented litigator” who has been seen on numerous banking and finance disputes" (Who'[s Who Legal UK Bar 2015, Banking)
- "He's a very good lawyer and a good draftsman. He works well in a team, and is a very strong performer." "He's approachable, user-friendly and thorough." (Chambers & Partners 2015, Banking & Finance)
- “An active junior who attracts a range of high-end instructions, and has particular experience in energy and natural resources disputes. Instructing solicitors consider him to be "very good on his feet," and he often acts as sole advocate.” (Chambers & Partners 2015, Commercial Dispute Resolution)
- "His advice is clear and logical." "Incisive and commercial in his approach, he's a force for the future." (Chambers & Partners 2015, Commercial Dispute Resolution)
- "Very user-friendly and accessible, he's a delight to work with. He really rolls his sleeves up when necessary and produces brilliant work under pressure." (Chambers & Partners 2015, Energy & Natural Resources)
- "A star of the future. He has a huge capacity to get things done and is brilliant on technical matters." "His advice is clear and logical." (Chambers & Partners 2015, Fraud: Civil)
- "He turns things around very quickly and is good at getting into the detail." (Chambers & Partners 2015, International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance)
- “Tackles a diverse practice that includes some very high-value insurance work, much of which is international in nature. He is widely held to be an outstanding all-round commercial junior.” (Chambers & Partners 2015, Insurance)
- "A first-rate junior with both a strong analytical mind and the ability to grasp the commercial realities of a case." (Chambers & Partners 2015, Insurance)
- “Very able, responsive, hardworking and a good team player.” (The Legal 500 2014, Banking & Finance)
- “Fun to work with and increasingly a go-to junior.” (The Legal 500 2014, International Arbitration: Counsel)
- “Very user friendly, enthusiastic and responsive, also excellent at drafting.” (The Legal 500 2014, Commercial Litigation)
- “He has a sharp legal mind, and thinks outside the box.” (The Legal 500 2014, Energy)
- “A pleasure to work with.” (The Legal 500 2014, Fraud:Civil)
- “A strong, analytical mind.” (The Legal 500 2014, Insurance and Reinsurance)
- “Very user friendly, enthusiastic and responsive.” (The Legal 500 2014, Professional Negligence)
- “An outstanding junior with a delightful court manner and incisive analysis of legal and strategic problems.” (The Legal 500 2014, Commodities)
- “Receives strong approval from peers and instructing solicitors alike.” (Chambers & Partners 2014, Chambers Global 2014, Commercial Dispute Resolution)
- "A star of the junior Commercial Bar. He is very good on his feet." (Chambers & Partners 2014, Chambers Global 2014, Commercial Dispute Resolution)
- "He has a huge capacity to get things done and is brilliant on technical matters." "Very good with the clients and extremely bright." (Chambers & Partners 2014, Fraud:Civil)
- “Pilbrow's impressive caseload in the last year pays tribute to his ever-increasing reputation in the commercial arbitration market. His practice spans a range of shipping, insurance, banking and trade disputes.” (Chambers & Partners 2014, International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance)
- "He is absolutely outstanding and incredibly highly thought of." (Chambers & Partners 2014, International Arbitration: General Commercial & Insurance)
- “Fionn Pilbrow is ‘undoubtedly a star of the future’, who ‘wins the trust of the court by virtue of his good judgement and charming advocacy’.” (The Legal 500 2013, Commercial Litigation)
- “Fionn Pilbrow is ‘undoubtedly a star of the future’” (The Legal 500 2013, Energy)
- “Among the juniors, Fionn Pilbrow is ‘an up-and-coming star, with an excellent drafting style’.” (The Legal 500 2013, International Arbitration)
- “Fionn Pilbrow, who is ‘fantastic to deal with’, and ‘impresses clients’” (The Legal 500 2013, Insurance)
- “Fionn Pilbrow receives plaudits for being “very suave and incredibly good with clients." He recently represented Michael Cherney in his USD4.5 billion claim against Oleg Deripaska concerning a dispute resulting from their ostensible partnership in a Russian aluminium company” (Chambers Global 2013, Energy & Natural Resources UK)
- "New entry Fionn Pilbrow "has it all." Solicitors note that he is "very smart, highly responsive and very personable," as well as user-friendly " (Chambers & Partners 2013, Banking & Finance)
- "Fionn Pilbrow is highly regarded by instructing solicitors for the dedicated approach he takes to cases, and handles a broad array of commercial matters. His recent work draws on his expertise in diverse sectors including shipping, insurance and energy, and he has appeared in LCIA, LMAA and UNCITRAL proceedings." (Chambers & Partners 2013, International Arbitration: General Commercial and Insurance)
- ""Up-and-coming" junior Fionn Pilbrow has a rising profile in fraud work and is "very good, very diligent and really sharp." He has been acting in the USD4.5 billion dispute between Cherney and Deripaska, and continues to be involved in a number of matters following on from the landmark Fiona Trust litigation." (Chambers & Partners 2013, Fraud: Civil)
- "Also popular, Fionn Pilbrow receives plaudits for being "very suave and incredibly good with clients." He recently represented Michael Cherney in his USD4.5 billion claim against Oleg Deripaska concerning a dispute resulting from their ostensible partnership in a Russian aluminium company." (Chambers & Partners 2013, Energy & Natural Resources)
- ""Cerebral" junior Fionn Pilbrow "works extremely hard, is highly capable and turns work around amazingly fast." "Calm under pressure," he demonstrates "good judgment on when to make a point and knows how best to make it."" (Chambers & Partners 2013, Commercial Dispute Resolution)
- "Stablemate Fionn Pilbrow is said to be "charmingly tenacious - people don't realise until they take a step back after his performance in court that they have been well and truly stuffed." His recent efforts include acting for Michael Cherney in his multibillion-dollar claim against Oleg Deripaska." (Chambers UK 2012, Commercial Dispute Resolution)
- "Others at the set to impress include Fionn Pilbrow, who is developing a fine reputation for his work on complex cross-jurisdictional energy disputes. A recent example of his work is Too Abi Groupe v Nordic Bulk, a matter involving a USD1.75 million contract for the sale of Kazakh rapeseed." (Chambers UK 2012, Energy & Natural Resources)
- "Fionn Pilbrow has come to greater market attention lately as a result of his recent efforts in the huge Fiona Trust litigation. "He is everything you would expect a barrister to be, and is an exceptional performer given his comparatively recent call." " (Chambers UK 2012, Fraud: Civil)
- "Fionn Pilbrow has also developed a broad and thriving commercial practice, and has impressed in trials such as BSkyB v EDS and the Fiona Trust litigation. Sources say he "works extremely hard and will be a real star in the future." " (Commercial Dispute Resolution, Chambers & Partners 2011)
- “...the ‘fantastic’ Fionn Pilbrow [is] also recommended.” (Legal 500 2012, Fraud:Civil)
- “Standout juniors include ... the ‘fantastic’ Fionn Pilbrow ...” (Legal 500 2012, Professional negligence)