Richard Lord QC

Year of Call: 1981 Silk: 2002


Clerk: Tony Burgess

Richard Lord QC

Year of Call: 1981 Silk: 2002


Clerk: Tony Burgess

“Richard Lord QC is “wonderful to work with” and stands out as "an extremely good listener and a very deep thinker”. He is renowned for his specialism in shipping, commodities and insurance disputes."
- Who's Who Legal - UK Bar: International Trade and Commodities 2018

“"He is prudent and meticulous in his preparation of cases and is extremely persuasive at hearings."
- Chambers & Partners 2017


The core of Richard Lord's practice for over 25 years has been commercial litigation and arbitration, with a particular specialisation in dry shipping and shipbuilding, insurance and reinsurance, , commodities, energy and professional negligence claims. He has appeared in and advised on numerous cases in tribunals from The Supreme Court/House of Lords to the High Court in The British Virgin Islands. His 'home territories' are the Commercial Court in London and International Arbitrations, including ICC, LCIA, LMAA and Bermuda form arbitrations.

He acts as a mediator and arbitrator, has written textbooks on Bills of Lading and the Arbitration Act and has lectured and written extensively, as well as giving expert evidence on English law for foreign courts. Recent experience includes total loss marine insurance claims, a Supreme Court case on fraudulent devices,  numerous charterparty/COA and shipbuilding disputes  as well as more general commercial litigation primarily in the marine and energy sector.

In 2017 he was shortlisted by Chambers & Partners as Insurance Silk of the Year.

practice areas

Main specialities are dry shipping, arbitration, insurance and reinsurance, professional negligence and commodity and energy disputes. Richard also has expertise in climate change liability.


General Commercial

Richard has undertaken many more general commercial cases, predominantly in the energy/construction field or involving ships or offshore structures, and often including ancillary or preliminary issues on jurisdiction, stay or ancillary relief. Examples include

  • Proceedings for freezing and injunctive relief relating to call on guarantees re Nigerian construction project (IOT v Dangote [2014] EWCA 1348).
  • Application in the BVI on behalf of “Oligarch” for appointment of receiver
  • Fraud claim   (QBD claim plus freezing order and associated relief)  to recover sums stolen from major tour operator
  • Claims (trial and appeal to CA) arising from breach of long term haulage agreement
  • Commercial court trial (and appeal to CA) in “The Wadi Sudr” [2009] EWCA 1397, a leading case on the relationship between arbitration and court jurisdiction under the EU jurisdiction  Regulation
  • Claims arising from telecommunications project in Kenya
  • Commercial court claim for fire damage to yacht caused in Spanish shipyard
  • Arbitration re damage to specialist survey vessel caused by fire in Spanish shipyard
  • Claims arising from catastrophic loss of keel by yacht
  • High value ICC arbitration relating to detention of drilling rig in India
  • Professional negligence claim against leading City shipping firm arising from handling of shipbuilding dispute
  • Banking claim against leading bank for misspelling of swap products


Richard  has acted in a large number of dry shipping disputes including numerous bill of lading cases, cargo claims, and time and voyage charter disputes, as well as shipbuilding, ship sales, ship finance and general commercial cases with a marine element. Many of these are in arbitration. Examples  are

  • ICBCL v CGCF [2016] EWHC 1683. Commercial Court trial for Chinese bank defending claim for commission owed on ship financing transactions
  • The Ocean Neptune [2018] EWHC 163. Commercial Court appeal from arbitration award relating to time waiting for orders and demurrage
  • Arbitration for Korean shipyard defending claims for repayment of instalment of price paid – involving complex issues on law of total failure of consideration
  • Arbitration for European shipowner claiming over $55m against Chinese bank under refund guarantee
  • Numerous other disputes under shipbuilding contracts (both for and against yards)  and/or under associated refund guarantees
  • Various arbitrations involving claims by carriers against Chinese/Indian  charterers under long term COAs for coal, iron ore and other commodities
  • Arbitration claims for freight involving issues on bills of lading and incorporation of charter clauses
  • Arbitration on effect of delay to vessel caused by threats of industrial action/ITF
  • Arbitration claim involving overloaded vessel unable to transit Panama Canal
  • Claim in commercial court arising from vessel grounding on reef
  • Claim concerning effect of documents issued by bunkering vessels and whether bills of lading
  • Various claims under LOIs
  • Numerous cargo claims including ongoing high value multi-party dispute arising from cargo fire in vessel at an English port, and including a number of significant cases on the Hague Rules (The Happy Ranger [2002] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 357 and [2006] 1 Lloyd's Rep. 649 , The Antigoni [1991] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 209, The Kapitan Petko Voivoda [2003] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 1,  The Sonia [2003] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 201, The Apostolis [1997] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 241, [2002] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 336
  • Various ancillary applications for injunctive/ anti-suit relief and/or under s. 44 of the Arbitration Act 1996

Insurance and Reinsurance

Insurance and re-insurance have always been one of Richard Lord's key specialisations, especially in silk. He has advised and represented most of the leading European and UK insurers as well as numerous brokers, Lloyd's syndicates, U.S. insurers and high profile assureds/reassureds. Recent cases include several marine total loss cases, energy claims, yacht claims, as well as a number of reinsurance claims and piracy related claims.

  • Lead counsel in Supreme Court case of  Versloot [2017] AC 1, the leading case on the effect of fraudulent devices
  • Claim (subject to arbitration) under P&I insurance in relating to detention of vessel and imprisonment  of  those on board by local authorities
  • Representing hull underwriters in total loss claim arising from sinking of former passenger vessel
  • Insurance claim arising from blow out of well in Uzbekistan
  • Bermuda form arbitration (and associated anti-suit injunction) arising out of oil spill during Hurricane Katrina
  • Claims arising from poor mooring systems of FPSO
  • Claims arising from loss of turbine blades at large power station
  • Numerous cargo insurance claims under ICC clauses and others
  • Various Yacht insurance claims under IYC and other terms


Commodity and international trade experience includes sale and purchase and similar disputes involving, coal, steel, cement, oil, vegetable oils, etc. Cases include disputes under letters of credit and financing of purchases. Many of these are under GAFTA/FOSFA/RSA terms.

  • Claim relating to oil off take agreement for oil from CIS state
  • Claims relating to Ukrainian sunflower seed oil
  • Numerous claims under  sale/supply contracts (on FOB, CIF, CFR and DAS terms) for wheat, rice, soya, iron ore, sugar, cement etc including from Russia, Brazil etc to China,  India, Nigeria, Iran and other Middle Eastern destinations

Climate Change Liability

As an offshoot of his pro bono work for Oxfam and various environmental groups, Richard has developed an expertise in legal liability for climate change, and in particular “private law” liability and has written, lectured, and advised widely on this subject.


Many of the above cases have been subject to arbitration under LMAA, LCIA, and ICC terms. Richard also has much experience of arbitration law including dispute on jurisdiction, the appointment of the Tribunal, appeals and allegations of serious irregularity and other applications under the Arbitration Act

Richard is a supporting member of the LMAA, a member of the SCMA and MLAANZ and accepts appointment as an arbitrator in these and LCIA/ICC arbitrations. Recent appointments include high value charterparty disputes, a demurrage dispute and ship finance dispute as well as an LCIA disputes about feed for a chemical plant in India and an ICC appointment relating to allegations of loss of high value cargo during international carriage by air, and a dispute about alleged misdelivery of cargoes in India.


CEDR accredited mediator with experience of mediation as both mediator and advocate. Richard Lord has wide experience of mediation of commercial disputes, both as an advocate and a mediator, and particularly in the insurance and shipping fields. Experience includes disputes involving insurance claims, shipbroking, collisions at sea, rotten bananas, a valuable painting, accountants' negligence and charterparty cases.


  • Bills of Lading (2nd Edition 2016) with Sir Richard Aikens and Michael Bools Q.C..
  • Guide to Arbitration Act 1996 (1996) with Simon Salzedo.
  • Controlled Drugs - Law and Practice (1984).
  • Climate Change Liability: Transnational Law & Practice   (CUP 2011) co-editor.
  • Numerous articles, papers and seminars on fields ranging from shipping and insurance to conflict of laws and climate change litigation.

Education & Qualifications

  • Joined Brick Court Chambers in 1984 after two general common law pupillages in 1981/1982. Took silk in 2002.
  • Education Stowe School and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge

Directory Quotes

  • Richard Lord QC is “wonderful to work with” and stands out as "an extremely good listener and a very deep thinker”.  He is renowned for his specialism in shipping, commodities and insurance disputes. (Who's Who Legal - UK Bar: International Trade and Commodities 2018)
  • "He is extremely knowledgeable, thoughtful, considerate and responsive." "Richard Lord is a great team player with significant insurance expertise, particularly in marine and energy matters." (Chambers & Partners 2018)
  • "He has fantastic client management skills." "Very nice and very persuasive." (Chambers & Partners 2018)
  • "He is prudent and meticulous in his preparation of cases and is extremely persuasive at hearings." (Chambers & Partners 2017)
  • "An effective and methodical advocate." (Legal 500 2016)
  • "He is a wonderful advocate who is very client-focused." "Has an outstanding intellect which he combines with devastating charm." (Chambers & Partners 2016)
  • "Richard Lord QC is an “extremely able and popular” silk who “knows shipping law inside out”. For over 25 years, Lord has been practising arbitration and litigation, with clients stating their appreciation for his “leading abilities”." (Who's Who Legal UK Bar 2015) 
  • "impresses with his "gumption even when handling the most difficult of cases."" (Chambers & Partners 2012)
  • "has years of experience as a commercial litigator and is highly praised for his grasp of dry shipping, insurance and reinsurance and professional negligence matters." (Chambers & Partners 2011)
  • "the type of barrister a solicitor can take their clients to see with confidence" (Chambers & Partners 2010)
  • "‘very good black-letter lawyer'" (Legal 500 2010, Shipping)
  • "reliable and commercial" (Legal 500 2009)
  • "extremely pleasant, reliable and fantastic with tribunals" (Chambers & Partners, 2007)
  • "thorough and commercial' with ‘a first rate brain" (Legal 500, 2007)

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