Simon Birt QC

Year of Call: 1998 Silk: 2015

Clerk: Julian Hawes

Simon Birt QC

Year of Call: 1998 Silk: 2015

Clerk: Julian Hawes


"An extraordinarily thoughtful, bright barrister whose drafting is excellent. A very, very smart guy who has great advocacy skills."
- Chambers & Partners 2015

"completely brilliant and pragmatic”
- The Legal 500 2012


Simon’s practice covers all aspects of commercial litigation and arbitration, including banking and financial services, insurance, civil fraud, professional negligence and shipping. He is listed in the legal guides as a leading junior in the fields of commercial dispute resolution and banking and financial services.  He acts as an advocate and in an advisory capacity, and has appeared both on his own and as part of a team in a wide variety of cases in the Commercial Court and in arbitrations.

practice areas


Simon has recently been involved in the multi-billion dollar DeutscheBank v Sebastian Holdings dispute, the trial of which took place during 2013, and the claims arising in relation to a Single Tranche CDO in JPMorgan v BVG (which went to trial in early 2014).  Other recent examples of Simon’s work include the Fiona Trust v Privalov fraud case and Slocom v Tatik and Sibir (a dispute in the Chancery Division, and in the Court of Appeal, concerning the proceeds of sale of a villa in the South of France formerly owned by a Russian oligarch). Simon has previously been involved in the Masri litigation, the Buncefield trial in the Commercial Court, acting for Swindon Town Football Club (successfully defending a claim for return of funds claimed to have been lent to the club), "The Paragon" (an appeal from an arbitration award establishing that a clause in a time charter was an unenforceable penalty), and Standard Life v Oak Dedicated (concerning insurance claims arising from the mis-selling of mortgage endowment policies).

Simon’s cases include:

  • Slocom Trading v Tatik, Sibir and Maritime [2014] EWCA Civ 831, [2012] EWHC 3464 (Ch)  (and [2013] EWHC 1201 (Ch))
  • Deutsche Bank AG v Sebastian Holdings Inc [2013] EWHC 3463 (Comm)
  • Masri v Consolidated Contractors International [2011] EWHC 1780 (Comm)
  • Fiona Trust v Privalov  [2010] EWHC 3199 (Comm) (and at [2011] EWHC 715 (Comm), [2011] EWHC 664 (Comm) and [2011] EWHC 1312 (Comm))
  • Colourquest v Total UK: the Buncefield litigation [2009] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 1
  • Lansat Shipping Co v Glencore Grain BV, The "Paragon" [2009] 2 Lloyd's Rep 688
  • Datasat Communications v Swindon Town Football Company Limited [2009] EWHC 859 (Comm)
  • Standard Life v Oak Dedicated [2008] 1 Lloyd's Rep I.R. 552
  • Fiona v Privalov [2008] EWHC 1748 (Comm)
  • Real Estate Opportunities v Aberdeen and UBS [2007] 2 All ER 791
  • Ecuador v Occidental Exploration & Production Company (No.s 1 & 2) [2005] EWHC 774 (Comm), [2005] All ER (D) 06 (May), [2005] 2 Lloyd's Rep 240, CA: [2005] EWCA Civ 1116, [2006] 1 Lloyd's Rep, [2006] QB 432
  • Masri v Consolidated Contractors International (UK) Ltd; Masri v Khoury & ors (Comm Ct), [2005] EWHC 944 (Comm), [2005] All ER (D) 254 (May); Court of Appeal: [2005] All ER (D) 275, [2006] 1 WLR 830
  • Yukos v FSA [2006] EWHC (Admin) 2044
  • Linelevel Ltd & Ors v Powszechny Zaklad Ubezpieczen SA (Comm Ct), [2005] EWHC 421 (Comm), [2005] All ER (D) 289 (Mar), [2005] 2 Lloyd's Rep 534
  • Bonner v Cox (Aon 77) [2004] EWHC 2963 (Comm)
  • Corporate Aircraft Dispatch v MBI Aviation [2004] EWHC 587 (QB)
  • Sodeca SA v NE Investments & Ors, Commercial Court [2002] EWHC 1700
  • Normans Bay v Coudert Brothers [2003] All ER (D) 248; CA: [2004] EWCA Civ 215
  • Mousaka v Golden Seagull [2001] 2 Lloyds Rep 657
  • ABTA V. British Airways [2000] 1 Lloyds Rep 160
  • Various Arbitration proceedings in fields of Insurance, Reinsurance and Shipping


MA (Oxon), First Class (first in year)

BCL, First Class

Brasenose College, Oxford

Other scholarships and prizes include:

Reid Scholarship (Gray's Inn)
Du Cann Prize for Excellence in Advocacy
Prince of Wales Scholarship (Gray's Inn)
Martin Wronker prize for the best overall performance in Finals (Oxford University)
Senior Hulme Scholarship (Brasenose College)

Directory Quotes

  • "Simon is an excellent barrister. He is extremely intelligent, user-friendly and someone who fully grasps complex details." "Immensely hard-working, very bright and a real team player." (Chambers & Partners 2018)
  • "He is extremely intelligent, user-friendly and he always has a full grasp of complex details." "A brilliant draftsman, who is very measured and very methodical." (Chambers & Partners 2018)
  • "His ability to convey a point succinctly and clearly is second to none." (The Legal 500 2017)
  • "Simon Birt QC impresses clients with his “dedication and incredible work ethic”. He is known to be “very bright and analytical” with the ability to “remain calm under pressure and always demonstrates great common sense.”" (Who's Who Legal - UK Bar: Banking & Finance 2017)
  • "He is a great example of the new generation of top silks - he's not as bombastic as the old breed while still producing a brilliant work product." "He is extremely intelligent, highly user-friendly and always has a full grasp of the complex details in any given case." (Chambers & Partners 2017)
  • "Simon's great strength is that nothing ever fazes him. Throughout twists and turns in proceedings, he is calm, collected and analytical." "He is brilliant: incredibly hard-working, approachable, responsive, fantastic on paper and very good with difficult clients." (Chambers & Partners 2017)
  • “Simon Birt QC is “one of the best commercial barristers around” and is widely praised for his “deep legal knowledge, business nous and enthusiastic and committed approach” to cases. He was “especially impressive” on the multibillion-dollar DeutscheBank v Sebastian Holdings dispute according to peers.” (Who's Who Legal UK Bar 2015)
  • "An extraordinarily thoughtful, bright barrister whose drafting is excellent. A very, very smart guy who has great advocacy skills." "Unbelievably hard-working, he was a pleasure to work with on a super-stressful case." (Chambers & Partners 2015)
  • "He has an inner drive and confidence and provides superb technical analysis of legal issues." "He's extremely hardworking and incisive."  (Chambers & Partners 2015)
  • “A junior with a thriving reputation. Many sources draw attention to his intellectual prowess and he is lauded by peers for his written work and the quality of his analysis.” (Chambers & Partners 2015)
  • "Masses of stamina and unfailing good cheer in the midst of high drama and stress." (The Legal 500 2014)
  • "A hugely impressive barrister, who produces work of exceptional quality." (The Legal 500 2014)
  • "He is extremely intelligent and user-friendly, and always has a full grasp of complex details. He is unquestionably one of the top commercial juniors."  "Very impressive in his written work and analysis." (Chambers & Partners 2014)
  • "Simon Birt is ‘an excellent junior', who attracts praise for ‘the fullness of his grasp of complex details'" (Legal 500 2013)
  • "Among the juniors, Simon Birt is ‘one of the best senior juniors at the Bar', and his ‘intellectual grasp is formidable'" (Legal 500 2013)
  • "extremely intelligent and always has a full grasp of complex details" and "Incredibly incisive" (Chambers & Partners 2013)
  • "completely brilliant and pragmatic" (Legal 500 2012)
  • "user-friendly and responsive" (Legal 500 2012)
  • The "super-clever" Simon Birt is a rising star" (Chambers UK 2012)
  • "a 'clear-minded, talented junior' ", " 'studious, hard-working and effective' " (Chambers & Partners 2011)
  • "a pragmatic lawyer who is a pleasure to work with, ... one of the set's brightest juniors" "an extremely competent insurance junior, ...excellent performance in advising on insurance aspects of recent Buncefield-related litigation matters." (Chambers & Partners, 2010)
  • "distils complex issues and presents them coherently" (Legal 500, 2009)
  • "wonderful brainpower" (Chambers & Partners, 2009)
  • "squarely asserted himself in the insurance field" (Chambers & Partners, 2009)
  • "impressive" (Legal 500, 2008)

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