Stephen Midwinter

Year of Call: 2002

Clerk: Tony Burgess

Stephen Midwinter

Year of Call: 2002

Clerk: Tony Burgess

“One of the best. He's headed for great things.” “A go-to junior, with brilliant analytical capabilities.”
- Chambers & Partners 2014

“A first-class junior, who is calm and clear thinking in his advice. Extremely impressive.” “A supremely confident and effective advocate, punching well above his call.”
- Chambers & Partners 2014


Stephen Midwinter advises on and appears in a broad range of commercial disputes, in litigation and arbitration. He has appeared in cases in the Supreme Court, the House of Lords, the Privy Council, the Court of Appeal, the Commercial Court, the Chancery Division and in the high court and county courts throughout the country. He has been recommended as a leading junior by the directories in seven fields: commercial dispute resolution, insurance and reinsurance, banking, international arbitration, energy and natural resources, civil fraud and professional negligence, and was 'Insurance Junior of the Year' at the Chambers Bar Awards 2011. In 2016 he has been nominated by Chambers & Partners as Insurance Law Junior of the Year.

A significant proportion of Stephen's work takes place in arbitration and he has appeared in and advised on arbitrations under the ICC, LCIA, ARIAS, UNCITRAL, ICSID and Stockholm Chamber of Commerce rules, as well as ad hoc arbitrations pursuant to the Arbitration Act 1996 and under the Bermuda Form.

Stephen is a member of the bar of the British Virgin Islands where he has appeared in a number of jurisdiction disputes and in a wide range of commercial disputes, including international fraud claims and insolvency disputes.

Stephen has written several articles on commercial law subjects, and writes and lectures on banking, insurance and European law and on commercial conflict of laws topics including the Brussels Regulation and the Rome I and II Regulations.

practice areas


Commercial Litigation

Stephen has advised on and appeared, led and unled, in a wide range of commercial disputes, in arbitration, in the Commercial Court and in county courts throughout the South-East and beyond. He is currently engaged in cases ranging from a US$16bn energy dispute and a $1.5bn credit crunch fraud claim to a £1m property damage action. Recent cases include Alfa Petroleum v BP International Ltd (2011, Com Ct), Telenor East Holdings v Altimo Holdings (2011, Com Ct), Russian Commercial Bank v Khoroshilov (2010, Com Ct) and NTCS v AG Jamaica (2009, Privy Council). Stephen has also acted in numerous disputes in the BVI including Transworld v Bluzwed (2005) (BVI), Sibir Energy v Sibneft (2006) (BVI) and Yukos CIS v Yukos Hydrocarbons (2010) (BVI). He was selected as one of Legal Week's commercial litigation "Stars of the Bar 2010".

Insurance and Reinsurance

Stephen's practice covers the full range of insurance and reinsurance disputes. Leading cases include Lexington Insurance v WASA and AGF Insurance [2009] UKHL 40, Cavell v Seaton Insurance [2009] EWCA Civ 1363, Markel v Higgins [2009] EWCA Civ 790, Markel v Surety Guarantee Consultants [2008] EWHC 1135 (Comm) and Korea National Insurance v Allianz [2007] EWHC 174 (Comm) and [2007] EWCA Civ 1066. He also regularly appears in insurance and reinsurance arbitrations under LCIA, ICC, UNCITRAL, ARIAS and Bermuda rules. Recent arbitrations include a $70m war risks claim, a $50m construction DSU dispute, a $50m Cat XL dispute in Bermuda, a $1m aviation coverage dispute and a £10m PA reinsurance coverage dispute.


Stephen's banking practice includes several cases arising out of the global financial crisis including Perpetual Trustee v Bank of New York [2011] UKSC 38 and Satinland v BNP Paribas [2010] EWHC 3062 (Ch). He is currently involved in the $1.5bn CDO dispute FGIC v IKB as well as the $150m CDO claim between UBS and the German water company KWL. Stephen has advised in numerous cases involving ISDA and similar agreements including market standard form forward freight agreements and commodities trading agreements.


As well as appearing in commercial and insurance and reinsurance disputes that happen to be taking place in arbitration, Stephen regularly advises on technical and procedural aspects of arbitration law. Recent cases include a dispute as to the applicability of an arbitration clause to a reinsurance dispute, and a claim to set aside a €70m arbitration award on the grounds of fraud.

Professional Negligence

Stephen has appeared and advised in numerous professional negligence claims in the Chancery Division and Commercial Court including LRI v Lawrence Graham (which settled before judgment), Convergence v Chantrey Vellacott, Stone & Rolls v Moore Stephens, Pollux v Chase Manhattan and NatWest v Weil Gotshal. He has advised on cases involving negligence by insurance brokers, solicitors, accountants and bankers.

Important Cases

  • Telenor East Holding v Altimo Holdings [2011] EWHC 85 (Comm)
  • Alfa Petroleum v BP International Ltd (1 Feb 2011, Commercial Ct)
  • Lehman Brothers Special Financing v Belmont (2011, UKSC)
  • Satinland Finance v BNP Paribas [2010] EWHC 3062 (Ch)
  • Yukos CIS Investments v Yukos Hydrocarbons BVIHC (Comm) No.85 of 2010
  • National Transport Co-Operative Society v AG Jamaica [2009] UKPC 48
  • Markel International Insurance Co v Higgins [2009] EWCA Civ 790
  • Lexington Insurance v AGF Insurance [2009] UKHL 40
  • Cavell USA v Seaton Insurance [2009] EWCA Civ 1363
  • Equitas v Horace Holman [2008] EWHC 2287 (Comm)
  • Yugraneft v Abramovich [2008] EWHC 2613 (Comm)
  • Korea National Insurance v Allianz [2007] EWHC 1744 (Comm) and [2007] EWCA Civ 1066
  • Markel International Insurance v Surety Guarantee Company [2009] Lloyd's Rep IR 77
  • Wasa and AGF v Lexington Insurance [2007] EWHC 896 (Comm)
  • EWS v E.ON [2007] EWHC 599 (Comm)
  • Sibir Energy v Sibneft (2006) BVI HC 2005/174
  • Transworld v Bluzwed (2005) BVI HCV 2003/179


A former teacher of European law, Stephen has advised and acted in a number of European and human rights law disputes including Northern Foods v DEFRA (the Melton Mowbray pork pies case) and Yukos v Russian Federation, a $98bn claim in the ECHR.

Qualifications & Further Information


BA (Hons) Law (2000) (First Class), LLM Law (Commercial) (2001) (First Class), Bar Vocational Course (2002) (Outstanding)


  • Called to the Bar by the Middle Temple, July 2002
  • Brick Court Chambers, August 2002 - Pupilmasters: Alec Haydon, Neil Calver, Tom Adam, Alan Maclean
  • June 2002-Aug 2002: Analyst, Institutional Design Ltd, working with dti on company law reform and with private clients on corporate governance reform
  • Sept 2001 - July 2002: Lecturer and examiner in contract and restitution, University of Cambridge; Supervisor in equity, Fitzwilliam and King's Colleges
  • Aug 2000- July 2001: Research assistant to Richard Hooley, working chiefly on Modern Banking Law 3rd Ed and Encyclopedia of Banking Law

Further Information

  • 'Insurance Junior of the Year' at the Chambers Bar Awards 2011
  • Selected as one of Legal Week's 'Stars at the Bar' 2010.
  • Languages:
    French (A-level standard), Italian (conversational), German (GCSE standard)
  • Called to the BVI Bar (2005)


  • Competition Litigation (2010) (contributor)
  • Butterworths' Banking Law Guide (2006) (contributor),
  • The Aggregation of Claims Arising out of One Event (2007) Insurance Law Monthly Bulletin (July),
  • After Etridge: The Endgame for Banks and Non-Commercial Sureties? (2002)Cambridge Restitution Online Resource
  • Subrogation Finds some Well-Settled Principles [2003] L.M.C.L.Q.
  • Causation, Loss and Double Recovery [2003] C.L.J. 23
  • The Great Peace and Precedent (2003} 119 L.Q.R. 180,
  • Non-disclosure and Material Rumours [2003] L.M.C.L.Q.
  • Review of Anson's Law of Contract, 28th Edition [2003], L.M.C.L.Q.
  • Cross Border Share Voting Practices ICGN Review (2002)

Directory Quotes

Chambers & Partners


  • “Engages in a vast range of insurance matters, including Bermuda Form arbitrations and major reinsurance cases. He is highly respected by peers for his capabilities.” (2014)
  • “One of the best. He's headed for great things.” “A go-to junior, with brilliant analytical capabilities.” (2014)
  • "Stephen Midwinter is a "go-to junior with a brilliant analytical capacity." He recently acted in the case of Syndicate 990 v Reliance." (2013)
  • "Stephen Midwinter was described as "one of the best juniors ever discovered" by one solicitor. Widely admired for his "spot-on insights, exemplary written work and excellent oral advocacy," he is seen as being "highly responsive and particularly effective in the way he deals with clients." Of late, he has been involved in a range of highly confidential, high-value arbitrations." (2012)
  • "Stephen Midwinter is regarded as a "rising star" with "a brain the size of a planet." Commentators appreciate "the energy with which he attacks cases," as well as his analytical skills. His major work highlights include WASA and AGF v Lexington and Cavell v Seaton Insurance" (2011)
  • "He takes most of the laurels here along with Stephen Midwinter, "one of the brightest prospects at the Commercial Bar," who has a dazzling future ahead of him. He has been particularly active in reinsurance matters, having played a key role in the Wasa v Lexington case." (2010)

Commercial Dispute Resolution

  • “A first-class junior, who is calm and clear thinking in his advice. Extremely impressive.” “A supremely confident and effective advocate, punching well above his call.” (2014)
  • "Stephen Midwinter also wins praise, with sources identifying him as a "highly intelligent, unflappable" junior who thrives on high-pressure legal conflicts. He is "able to explain complex legal points in a readily understandable way and knows how to persuade the court that he's on the right side of the argument."" (2013)
  • "The career of Stephen Midwinter continues in the ascendant. Solicitors favour him as an "efficient and proactive" lawyer who is "a pleasure to work with." " (2012)
  • "Stephen Midwinter is another up-and-coming member of the set. He has been involved in cases such as Moore Stephens v Stone & Rolls and Perpetual v Bank of New York" (2011)

Energy & Natural Resources

  • “I'm very impressed with his thoroughness and his lateral thinking.” “He is a very smart guy who expresses himself very persuasively on a page, and proves realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of a case.” (2014)
  • "Stablemate Stephen Midwinter is highly regarded for his practice in commercial disputes. Sources say he is "very bright and extremely hard-working."" (2013)
  • "Stephen Midwinter is "frighteningly bright, confident in his advice and a man of very good judgement." He was recently involved in Sierra Rutile v Reliance Insurance, a case concerning a USD40 million sunken dredger insurance claim." (2012)

International Arbitration: General Commercial and Insurance

  • “Impressively experienced junior whose handling of a wide range of commercial arbitrations and enforcement matters sees him singled out as a future star silk.” (2014)
  • “His advice and pleadings are clear, commercial and thorough.” “He certainly has the experience needed for complex cases.” (2014)
  • "Stephen Midwinter is a "go-to junior" who is considered to be "one of the brightest stars at the Commercial Bar at the moment." He offers particular expertise in insurance arbitration, and is also called to the British Virgin Islands Bar." (2013)


  • “Praised for his incisive advocacy. He is well placed to advise on civil fraud issues in the financial sector.” (2014)
  • “Quick, incisive and efficient.” “He has excellent judgement and a beautiful writing style.” (2014)
  • "Stephen Midwinter is a lawyer with an international practice who is much in demand. He has been handling work both on the Madoff-related cases and for high net worth individuals in the ex-Soviet bloc. He was described by interviewees as "a genuinely brilliant barrister who is loved by solicitors." " (2013)

Banking & Finance

  • “He works across a range of practice areas and impresses peers with his practical approach and excellent written work. He has notable experience in insurance and professional negligence claims.” (2014)
  • “A really good junior. He's very swift, deals with clients well, sees the points and sets them out succinctly and practically.”  “He produces very lean, focused and strategically astute pleadings, quickly boils down complex issues, and is clear and compelling on his feet.” (2014)

Chambers Global

  • Ranked in Arbitration (International), Dispute Resolution and Energy and Natural Resources in Chambers Global 2015. 
Legal 500

Commercial Litigation

  • “Exceptionally bright, efficient and also a very good advocate.” (2014)
  • 'first rate' (2008)


  • “Excellent.” (2014)
  • “the ‘very bright’ Stephen Midwinter” (2013)
  • "‘All-round top-notch junior' Stephen Midwinter's advice is ‘punchy and practical'" (2012)
  • "Calver led Stephen Midwinter, praised for his drafting of pleadings." (2009)
  • 'thorough' (2008)

Fraud: Civil

  • “Exceptionally clever.” (2014)
  • “The ‘commercially aware’ Stephen Midwinter” (2013)
  • "‘Powerful and persuasive advocate' Stephen Midwinter acted in the $80m Naftrans v Bonde Nielsen case" (2011)

Banking & Finance

  • “A star of the future, who is thorough, persuasive, confident and reliable.” (2014)
  • “Stephen Midwinter is ‘a tremendous junior’, and is praised for his ‘very lean, focused, and strategically astute pleadings’.” (2013)


  • “Measured in his delivery.” (2014)
  •  “Fellow junior Stephen Midwinter is also recommended” (2013)

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