Francis Hornyold-Strickland

Francis Hornyold-Strickland

Call: 2012

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    Education

    BA (Dunelm) – First Class (third in year); MA (University of London) – Distinction; GDL (City University); BPTC (College of Law)

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    Introduction

    Francis has a broad commercial practice, with a particular emphasis on international arbitration, civil fraud, shipping, art, media and entertainment disputes.  He is ranked as a leading junior in the legal directories 2024.

    He is regularly sought after for advice on particularly complex cases and has a thriving advisory and advocacy practice both in the English High Court and overseas. He is co-author, with Professor Charles Debattista, of the practitioner text Debattista on Bills of Lading in Commodities Trade and the lead author of the website Strickland’s Shipping Guide. More recently, Francis has developed a busy practice in sanctions related work, particularly in light of the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine. He is involved in several cases concerning UK, EU and US OFAC sanctions and their effect on contractual performance and termination.

    Francis practices both as counsel and as arbitrator.  He accepts arbitral appointments in both ad hoc and institutional arbitrations. As counsel he acts in a wide range of commercial disputes, both unled and led, in high court litigation, and arbitration. He is familiar with all major international rules including: LCIA, DIAC, DIFC-LCIA, ICC, UNCITRAL, SIAC, HKIAC, the Swiss Arbitration Rules, and LMAA rules. Francis is also a registered practitioner in the DIFC Courts in Dubai and the ADGM Courts in Abu Dhabi, where he appears regularly including, most recently, in a US$160,000,000 anti-suit injunction in the ADGM.

    Prior to joining Monckton Chambers Francis practised as an associate in the world-leading international arbitration practice at WilmerHale, where he worked on a range of high value, complex commercial arbitrations alongside some of the world’s top international arbitration practitioners, including Franz Schwarz and Gary Born.

    • News
    • Art, Media and Entertainment

      Francis is regularly instructed to deal with cases in the art, media and entertainment industries.  This includes for auction houses, art galleries, music labels, DJs, actors and guilds, and casting agencies. His experience ranges from contractual, to property, licensing, employment, and intellectual property disputes.

      Francis’ recent experience includes:

      • Sole counsel in two licensing disputes relating to sister nightclubs in London. (2023).
      • A mediation concerning the structuring of a sale and purchase agreement relating to art purchased from a contemporary art gallery in London (2022).
      • A negligent misrepresentation/misstatement claim against an auction house for the sale of antique vases. Value: GBP 2million (2022).
      • Advice for an actor in a Netflix series relating to complex restraint of trade issues (2022).
      • Advice to a casting agent, regarding a potential contract of employment for a BBC Series (2022)
      • Sole counsel in a dispute concerning an international fraud relating to the sale and purchase of numerous works of art by an art dealer (ongoing).
    • Banking & finance

      Francis is regularly asked to advise on banking and finance-related cases, especially in the sphere of international trade. He has particular expertise in the field of documentary credits and bills of exchange.

      • Katrin v Chopra & Others. Sole counsel for the claimant in relation to a series of securitised bridging loans where the defendants defaulted. The dispute involves related claims under guarantees and indemnities, charges on property, contractual choses-in-action and claims against a solicitor for professional Value: c.£6million.
      • Francis advised a Dubai-based “confirming bank” whether it was obliged to pay out under three standby letters of credit, totalling US$9.3million. The underlying contracts were between Irish companies and sanctioned Russian entities (in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine) relating to lease agreements for three Airbus aircraft. The case concerned whether US export controls made the performance of those lease agreements illegal and, if so, whether the English Courts would apply the provisions of US law to standby letters of credit governed by English law. In other words, did the US export provisions constitute mandatory foreign law, for the purposes of Article 9 (Rome I), and/or was it illegal in the place of performance to perform the SBLCs (Ralli Bros/Foster v Driscoll). Value. US$9.3million.
      • Francis acted both as led and sole counsel in a US$1.5billion banking trial concerning two syndicated loan facilities to five related Indian-incorporated borrowers. The case concerned questions including whether Covid-19 banking moratoriums in India constitute mandatory overriding provisions of Indian law for the purposes of Article 9(3) Rome I and whether the repayment of the sums allegedly due under the facilities would have been illegal consequent on those moratoriums. Value: US$1.5billion.
      • Sole counsel for a US$15million DIFC-LCIA international arbitration concerning the meaning and effect of a “guarantee cheque”, which was used to provide security for payment of the balance of a cargo of gasoil and gasoline. Key questions included whether the instrument was just a cheque; akin to a guarantee; or akin a demand bond; or a bill of exchange (or something else entirely) and the circumstances in which it could be presented. Instructing Solicitors: HFW Dubai. Value: US$15million.
      • Treefrog v (1) John Gillespie (2) Giorgio Vallesi. Sole counsel in DIFC Court litigation concerning a failed joint venture, governed by English law. The case involved questions of the validity of loan deeds, constructive, resulting and Quistclose trust, and unjust The claim settled favourably towards the client. Value: AED600,000.
      • Niaz Ahmad Rafique & Others -v- Blumarble Property Ltd. Francis acted in a claim against a charitable trust for a £2m case concerning a securitized bridging loan, which was guaranteed by two of the school’s The case concerned questions relating to: (1) trustees’ want of authority; (2) solicitors’ want of authority; (3) the Charities Act; (4) solicitor’s negligence; (5) constructive trusts; (5) Quistclose trusts; (6) fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation; (7) negligent misstatement.
    • Civil & commercial fraud

      Fraud disputes are a central and increasingly significant component of Francis’ practice. His recent experience includes:

      • A US$300,000,000 SIAC international arbitration concerning gross negligence and fraud in relation to the construction of a dam in Central Asia which collapsed, killing over fifty people and displacing thousands of families.
      • A EUR15,000,000 LMAA international arbitration. The case concerns the hire of two tugboats under four related charterparties. It involves allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation/misstatement by the charterer, to induce the owners to enter follow-on charters.
      • A AED 5,000,000 fraud claim in the DIFC Court of First Instance, in Dubai, relating to an F&B joint venture.
      • A £2.5million fraud claim, relating to the management of a hotel in England. The claim concerned alleged fraudulent misrepresentations/misstatements relating to a variation of contract between the hotel owner and their online travel agent (“OTA”) manager.
      • A claim relating to the import of personal protective equipment (“PPE”) from China during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic. The case involved questions of breach of contract, breach of s.14 of Sale of Goods Act 1979 and fraud. Value: EUR 1.5million.
      • A claim by a joint venture partner (and their wholly-owned company) against other joint venturers and related companies for: (1) fraudulent breach of common intention constructive trusts; (2) fraudulent breach of a Quistclose trust; and (3) proprietary estoppel. The case involves questions of limitation, including the statutory exemptions for fraudulent breach of trust under s.21 of the Limitation Act 1980. 2020. Value: c.£2.5million.
      • Acting on behalf of a claimant lender in relation to securitised loans including: (1) solicitors’ negligence and/or fraud and/or fraudulent or negligent breach of trust; (2) guarantors’ liability under putative guarantees; (3) 859D applications to extend the time to provide a particulars of a charge on Companies House; (4) claim under trust deeds. 2020. Value: c.£5million.
      • Acting on behalf of the owner of a Bombardier 5000 jet for the recovery of monies earmarked for the reupholstery of the aircraft that were stolen by way of a push-payment invoice fraud. This includes applications for Norwich Pharmacal relief.
      • A complex opinion for a £2m fraud and negligence High Court claim concerning a securitized bridging loan provided to a charitable trust, which was guaranteed by two of the trustees. The case concerned questions relating to: (1) trustees’ want of authority; (2) solicitors’ want of authority; (3) the Charities Act; (4) solicitor’s negligence; (5) constructive trusts; (5) Quistclose trusts; (6) fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation; (7) negligent misstatement.
      • A billion-dollar international arbitration, relating to the manufacture of potentially toxic baby milk formula. The claim related to a supplier’s alleged and continuing fraudulent misrepresentations that base powder for the manufacture of baby milk formula was safe, despite internal concerns it may concern toxic anaerobic bacteria.
    • Commercial litigation & international arbitration

      Francis has developed an impressive and diverse practice in commercial litigation and international arbitration, frequently as sole counsel against barristers or significantly higher call. He has a busy domestic practice as a commercial barrister in England and Wales, where he acts in both the High Court and in English-seated international arbitrations. Francis is also highly sought-after further afield, particularly in the DIFC Courts in Dubai and the ADGM Courts in Abu Dhabi, where he acts in both Court proceedings and international arbitrations.

      Francis’ notable experience includes:

      • A US$300,000,000 SIAC international arbitration concerning gross negligence and fraud allegations in relation to the construction of a dam in Central Asia which collapsed, killing over fifty people and displacing thousands of families.
      • A AED 5,000,000 claim in the DIFC Court of First Instance, in Dubai, relating to a loan to an F&B joint venture and default by the debtor’s two guarantors.
      • A EUR 15,000,000 LMAA international arbitration. The case concerns the charter of two tugboats under four related charterparties. It involves a claim in debt and also damages for fraudulent misrepresentation/misstatement by the charterer, to induce the owners to enter follow-on charters.
      • Francis is currently advising a Ukrainian company on its alleged liability to pay a Russian counterpart US$9,000,000 for payment of goods following the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine. The case concerns the application of the principles in Ralli Bros and Foster v Driscoll.
      • A £2.5million fraud claim, relating to the management of a hotel in England. The claim concerned alleged fraudulent misrepresentations/misstatements relating to a variation of contract between the hotel owner and their online travel agent (“OTA”) manager.
      • Francis acted as sole counsel in a US$1.5billion banking trial concerning two syndicated loan facilities to five related Indian-incorporated borrowers. The case concerned questions including whether Covid-19 banking moratoriums in India constitute mandatory overriding provisions of Indian law for the purposes of Article 9(3) Rome I and whether the repayment of the sums allegedly due under the facilities would have been illegal consequent on those moratoriums.
      • Sole counsel in a US$ 15,000,000 commodities dispute. The case concerned a sale contract for the sale and purchase of 20,000 MT of gasoil and 20,000 MT of gasoline. Legal issues include: (a) whether a “guarantee cheque” was a see-to-it guarantee or a demand bond or “akin” to either; (b) whether the claimant was in breach of its payment obligation and, if so, whether the respondent had a right to cancel the contract when it purported to do so.
      • Sole counsel in a multi-million-dollar oil & gas LCIA international arbitration, concerning the sale and purchase of an oil block in Pakistan. The case involved the inter-relationship between provisions in historic pre-existing arbitration legislation in Pakistan (the Arbitration Act 1940) and a new statute in Pakistan bringing the New York Convention into force ((The Arbitration Agreements and Foreign Arbitral Awards) Act, 2011). This analysis had a direct impact on the whether the Claimant had already submitted to the jurisdiction of the Pakistani Courts before bringing its LCIA references. The case also involved complex jurisdictional questions in England regarding the seat of the arbitration and the governing law of the arbitration agreements, in light of the recent Supreme Court authority Enka v Chubb. Jan – August 2021. Instructing Solicitors: Reynolds Porter Chamberlain.
      • Sole counsel for the claimant in a multi-million dollar joint venture wind farm ad hoc international arbitration, between Danish and Irish companies. The case concerned whether an employee of the Respondent could be bound to work solely for the JV during his employment or whether any contractual provision to that effect constituted a restraint of trade. It also contained complex questions relating to whether in fact the contract purported to bind the Respondent to ensure that the employee did work for the JV. The case was notable for having an incredibly tight timeframe in which the arbitration had be completed (3 months).
      • Advising on the likely rights and liabilities of various parties for remedial costs following the almost total destruction of a marina and over seventy vessels in a port following catastrophic damage caused by the “Beast from the East” in 2018.
      • Black Sea Commodities Ltd v Lemarc Agromond Pte Ltd [2021] EWHC 287 (Comm). Sole counsel on behalf of the Defendant in an application under s.67 of the Arbitration Act 1996 concerning whether an arbitration clause in a draft sale and purchase agreement had been validly incorporated into a contract agreed earlier by way of a recap.
      • Sole counsel for the claimant in a claim for repudiatory breach. The case concerned the supply of EUR1,000,000 of Ethyl Grade B alcohol, from Brazil to England during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, for the manufacture of hand sanitizer. The claim involved questions concerning applicable law and jurisdiction (in the absence of an applicable law or jurisdiction clause), the Vienna Convention on Sale of Goods, and French/Luxembourgish law. Value: EUR1,000,000.
      • Acting on behalf of an importer of personal protective equipment (“PPE”) from China during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic. The claim involved questions of breach of contract, breach of s.14 of Sale of Goods Act 1979 and fraud. Value: EUR 1.5million.
      • Acting on behalf of a joint venture partner (and their wholly-owned company) against other joint venturers and related companies for: (1) fraudulent breach of common intention constructive trusts; (2) fraudulent breach of a Quistclose trust; and (3) proprietary estoppel. The case involves questions of limitation, including the statutory exemptions for fraudulent breach of trust under s.21 of the Limitation Act 1980. 2020. Value: c.£2.5million.
      • Katrin v Chopra & Others. Sole counsel for the claimant in relation to a series of securitised bridging loans where the defendants defaulted. The dispute involves related claims under guarantees and indemnities, charges on property, contractual choses-in-action and claims against a solicitor for professional Value: c.£6million.
      • Sole counsel for the defendant, alongside a Band 1 Spanish law firm, in a EUR 5 million ICC arbitration concerning the manufacture of plastic drinking tumblers.
      • Advising the former employee of an asset management company, regarding his entitlement to 15% of the company’s gross performance and management fees for funds raised by the Value: US$14million – US$37 million.
      • Acting as sole counsel in a Dubai-based international arbitration under the DIFC-LCIA rules, relating to the sale and purchase of a wealth management company based in the UAE. Value: US$4million.
      • Treefrog v (1) John Gillespie (2) Giorgio Vallesi. Acting as sole counsel in DIFC Court litigation concerning a failed joint venture, governed by English law. The case involves questions of the validity of loan deeds, constructive, resulting and Quistclose trust, and unjust The claim settled favourably towards the client. Value: AED600,000.
      • A series of complex opinions for a US$2.7million claim relating to contracts for the sale and purchase of high sulphur fuel oil from a refinery in Lithuania.
      • Sole counsel in a three-day trial relating to an oral contract between sophisticated investors for the sale of the beneficial interest in shares in a property-development The case primarily involved questions of: (1) contract; and (2) breach of trust.
      • Led counsel in a 68 challenge and ancillary proceedings in relation to a US$14m arbitral award. Led by Elizabeth Blackburn QC.
      • Led counsel on a behalf of a Claimant seeking an injunction in relation to the putative wrongful termination of a concession agreement for the provision of a beauty salon in one of London’s most famous department stores. The case primarily concerns the law of misrepresentation of intentions.
      • Advising on: (1) whether two contracts governed by Malaysian law could be enforced in England & Wales without a Malaysian court judgment; and (2) if so could the Defendant apply to set aside the registration of those judgments in the English courts. Question ‘1’ turned on whether the contracts contained exclusive jurisdiction clauses; question ‘2’ turned on an analysis of Pt II of the Administration of Justice Act 1920, CPR 40.8A and CPR 83.7.
      • A billion-dollar ICC arbitration, defending an LNG merchant from a price review request brought by a supplier under a long-term supply contract. The case relied heavily on the correct interpretation of the relevant price review clause. It also involved questions of competition law, specifically whether an adjustment to the price under the contract would breach Article 101 TFEU by segmenting the European single market, through the introduction of a dual-pricing mechanism.
      • Francis acted as part of a team of co-counsel on behalf of a claimant pharmaceutical company in relation to a potential joint venture agreement, in an ICC arbitration. The case involved contractual claims for breach of confidence and exclusivity under a Memorandum of Collaboration, as well as non-contractual claims for negligence, fraud and unjust enrichment.
      • Research for a US$100million case, Republic of Djibouti v Mr Abdourahman Mohamed Mahmoud Boreh, pertaining to Mr Boreh’s alleged tax evasion, his alleged support of a Somalian warlord and issues of sovereign immunity.
      • Research for a US$60million claim relating to damage to a North-Sea oil rig, by rising metaocean The case turned on a dispute over the allocation of liability between the contractor and the purchaser of the rig for required upgrades.
      • During pupillage Francis worked on one of the largest cases in the High Court that year, Excalibur v Gulf Keystone Petroleum Limited. The case concerned an alleged joint venture agreement between the two disputing parties over a highly profitable oil concession in Kurdistan, Northern The claimant claimed to have been unfairly cut out from the joint venture, between the Defendant and the Kurdistan Regional Government (“KRG”), having introduced the Respondent to the ruling members of the KRG.
    • Insurance & reinsurance

      Francis works across the full range of insurance, reinsurance and retrocessional reinsurance disputes. He has particular knowledge of the Bermuda Form insurance contract. His recent work includes:

      • Francis is currently acting in a US$200,000,000 reinsurance dispute concerning the loss of seven Ukraine International Airlines aircraft, as a consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
      • A claim in the English High Court under a hull & machinery insurance policy for damage suffered to a vessel which grounded off theport of Guanta, Venezuela.
      • Advising on the likely recoverability under a business interruption policy in light of Coronavirus.
      • Advising on the likely chance of recovery for damage to a crane pursuant to a direct loss and physical damage policy; specifically whether the policy covered costs incurred for hiring a separate crane to lower the first crane’s boom and whether such costs could be claimed under a sue & labour clause.
      • Sole counsel for the insurers of a luxury yacht in relation to a claim for a full hull repaint, following damage after she was hit by another vessel. Value c.US$600,000.
      • Advising a company on the material differences between the state of English law, pre-the new Insurance Act 2015 and subsequently; and advising a defendant reinsurer on its liability for physical breach of a waste facility located on a river in the US and subsequent downstream flooding and damage;
      • Sole counsel for the insured, in an insurance claim made (in arbitration) under a Bermuda Form policy, in relation to pollution and physical damage in the United States.
      • Francis has recently advised on the merits of a partial defence to coverage based on the concept of betterment, relating to the repainting of a luxury yacht. Value c.US$600,000.
    • Interlocutory injunctions

      Francis regularly acts in interlocutory applications. He has particular expertise in: (a) freezing injunctions; (b) proprietary injunctions; and (c) anti-suit injunctions. This includes both in the English High Court, the DIFC Courts in Dubai, and the ADGM Courts in Abu Dhabi. Recent examples include:

      • Defence of a US$160,000,000 anti-suit injunction in the ADGM Courts in Led by Elizabeth Blackburn QC.
      • Successful application in the DIFC Court of First Instance for an injunction to prevent a counter party presenting a “guarantee cheque” for US$15.
      • Successfully obtained and maintained a worldwide freezing order and proprietary injunction against the fraudulent purchaser of a wealth management company.
    • Professional negligence

      Francis regularly advises on issues to do with professional negligence across a diverse range of industries, including in the financial, legal, property and shipping sectors. His experience includes:

      • A US$300,000,000 SIAC international arbitration concerning gross negligence and fraud allegations in relation to the construction of a dam in Central Asia which collapsed, killing over fifty people and displacing thousands of families.
      • Acting as sole counsel in a Dubai-based international arbitration under the DIFC-LCIA rules, relating to the sale and purchase of a wealth management company based in the Part of the case turned on whether an in-house lawyer had negligently performed due diligence on a potential buyer before signing an SPA. Value: US$4million.
      • In the shipping industry, various cargo claims pleaded in both contract and tort (see Shipping section).
      • Treefrog v (1) John Gillespie (2) Giorgio Vallesi. Acting as sole counsel in DIFC Court litigation concerning a failed joint venture, governed by English law. The case involved questions of the validity of loan deeds, constructive, resulting and Quistclose trust, unjust enrichment and partner/director Value: AED 600,000.
      • Niaz Ahmad Rafique & Others -v- Blumarble Property Ltd. Francis acted in a claim against a charitable trust for a £2m case concerning a securitized bridging loan, which was guaranteed by two of the school’s The case concerned questions relating to: (1) trustees’ want of authority; (2) solicitors’ want of authority; (3) the Charities Act; (4) solicitor’s negligence; (5) constructive trusts; (5) Quistclose trusts; (6) fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation; (7) negligent misstatement.
    • Shipping, international trade & commodities

      Francis has an impressive practice in the fields of shipping, international trade, and commodities disputes. He is the co-author of the latest edition of Debattista on Bills of Lading in Commodities Trade and the author of the website Strickland’s Shipping Guide.

      Francis’ shipping law experience includes bareboat, time and voyage-charterparty disputes (including late/early redelivery, laytime/demurrage disputes; NOR issues; and bunker disputes); cargo claims (including transhipment issues); and shipbuilding and/or insolvency disputes. Francis has worked with all the major charterparty and bills of lading standard forms including, among others: Gencon, Congenbill, NYPE, Synacomex, Supplytime, Tankervoy, and Towcon forms.

      In terms of commodities disputes, Francis regularly acts in high-value international sales contract cases, particularly those under CIF and FOB Incoterms, and those subject to specific industry standard forms, such as FOFSA and GAFTA. He regularly deals with complicated issues concerning letters of credit, guarantee cheque, demand bonds and the intersection of commodities and banking law.

      Francis’ recent cases includes:

      Commodities Disputes:
      • Advising a Ukrainian buyer under a US$9,000,000 sale contract whether they were able/required as a matter of English law to pay their Russian counterpart, where it would be illegal to do so as a matter of Ukrainian law, due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
      • Advising an exporter of household plants to a now insolvent UK high street chain whether they could stop US$8,000,000 of goods in transit from China to the UK, following the chain’s insolvency.
      • Advising on whether it was lawful for a buyer to terminate a US$10million GAFTA sale contract for the sale and purchase of grain that had been loaded onto a vessel in Odessa, in circumstances where the vessel could not be fumigated and nor bills of lading issued, due to the ongoing conflict.
      • Sole counsel in a US$ 15,000,000 commodities The case concerned a sale contract for the sale and purchase of 20,000 MT of gasoil and 20,000 MT of gasoline delivery from Fujairah CIF Nicaragua. Legal issues include: (a) whether a “guarantee cheque” was a see-to-it guarantee or a demand bond or “akin” to either; (b) whether the claimant was in breach of its payment obligation and, if so, whether the respondent had a right to cancel the contract when it purported to do so.
      • Expert Witness for a case concerning the sale and purchase of oil in circumstances where the buyer had not paid for the oil but possessed it on its ship. The case included questions concerning the passing of title including the principles under 16-20 of the SOGA 1979.
      • Lemarc v Black Sea Commodities [2021] EWHC 287 (Comm). In 2021, Francis acted as sole counsel in this leading case concerning a contract for the sale and purchase of grain on recap and GAFTA standard The case concerned questions including whether: (a) brokers’ communications had resulted in a binding contract; and (b) whether the parties had incorporated an arbitration agreement into the sale contract.
      Charterparty Disputes
      • A EUR 15,000,000 LMAA international arbitration. The case concerns the charter of two tugboats under four related charterparties. It involves a claim in debt and also damages for fraudulent misrepresentation/misstatement by the charterer, to induce the owners to enter follow-on charters.
      • A “safe port” claim between owners and charters regarding allegations that an Indian port’s customs clearance were notoriously unreliable, causing the cargo and vessel to be wrongfully detained for allegedly breaching Indian customs clearance rules.
      • Sole counsel in a charter-party hire dispute relating to whether laytime continued run during a period when the Archangelsk harbour master of ordered all vessels from their berths to avoid impending ice flows on the river Dvina.
      • Sole counsel on a charterparty dispute concerning a vessel plying her trade in the Arabian The dispute relates to whether owners of the vessel were under an implied obligation to obtain additional war risks premium (AWRP) as if they themselves were paying, or whether they could simply accept any premium charged and pass it to charterers. Additionally, the case requires expert evidence on the appropriate AWRP for the time in question.
      • LMAA arbitration defence & counterclaim submissions for a time-charterer in a dispute against owners for: (1) the alleged non-payment of hire; (2) tallying charges at the discharge port; (3) expenses incurred by owners in relation to a threatened suit against owners by receivers of the cargo. The case involves questions of: (a) jurisdiction; (b) validity of NOR; (c) a counterclaim for losses under a sale contract to pay despatch to the shipper.
      • LMAA arbitration claim for a declaration of non-liability for additional freight under a voyage The claim turns on the correct methodology to calculate a freight differential, where the charterparty permitted the charterer to nominate a different discharge port.
      • Ad hoc arbitration claim against charterers for damages for detention. The claim concerns whether charterers were using the vessel as floating storage during the Covid-19 first wave oil glut; and whether damages at large or whether limited to the demurrage rate.
      • US$1.95m claim relating to the unseaworthiness of a vessel under a voyage-charter. The case involved questions regarding: (1) recoverable damages under the second limb of Hadley v Baxendale; (2) the law regarding penalty clauses; (3) the inter-relationship between an underlying sale contract and the voyage- charter.
      • Francis advised on whether time-charterers had given legitimate orders to the master of a vessel, so that the vessel could complete the orders and meet its redelivery window in time.
      • Francis was led by Elizabeth Blackburn QC in a successful application to the High Court under s.24 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to remove the arbitrator in the case on the basis of apparent Such applications are rarely successful and the win marks a significant triumph for chambers and the team as a whole. The underlying dispute related to a dispute over breach of a charterparty.
      • Drafting an opinion on whether Notice of Readiness had ever been properly given and whether demurrage could be claimed. Value US$2million.
      • An advice on whether receivers (purchasers), charterers (sellers) or shipowners were responsible for port tariffs levied against ammonium sulphate imported to Lobito, Angola. The Charter Party – which was on a Synacomex 90 form provided that all charges against cargo were for Charterers’ Accordingly, prima facie charterers were liable for the import tariffs. The contract between the receivers and charterers was on a “LINER OUT” basis (i.e., the cost of discharge is included in the freight). Prima facie this kept liability with charterers for the tariffs. However, as the receivers had agreed to follow the outcome of the dispute between charterers and owners, they were estopped from denying liability.
      • Advice on whether a contract governed by English law between charterer and owner of a vessel stipulated which party was required to pay a new tax levied by the People’s Republic of China.
      Cargo Claims
      • Drafting a defence to an EUR82,000 claim in relation to a high court dispute concerning the spoilage of a large cargo of blueberries during transit from Chile to Rotterdam.
      • Drafting claim submissions for an ad hoc arbitration of a US$ 165,000 claim for damage to rice cargo (mould, shortages, tearing of bags and empty bags) carried from India to Liberia, pursuant to Congenbill 1994 bills of lading, incorporating the terms of an amended GENCON Charter-Party plus additional riders.
      • Advising on whether owners were liable for damage to rice cargo caused by mould during transit, due to a failure to make the vessel’s holds cargoworthy; or, conversely, whether charterer’s choice of route through hotter climes negatived owners’ liability.
      • Drafting a claim issued in the English High Court for a declaration of non-liability in relation to a contract for multimodal carriage (road and sea) of pork products from Spain to China. The Defendant contractor alleged the pork products had been damaged by a sub-contractor responsible for the sea leg of the journey and that the sub-contractor was therefore liable for c.£ 101,000.
      • Drafting claim submissions for an ad hoc arbitration of a US$139,000 claim for shortages and tearing of bags of rice cargo carried from Kakanda to Liberia, pursuant to Congenbill 1994 bills of lading, incorporating the terms of an amended GENCOM charter-party terms plus additional riders.
      • Drafting claim submissions for an ad hoc arbitration of a US$ 29,000 claim for shortages and tearing of bags of rice cargo carried from Pakistan to the Ivory Coast, pursuant to Congenbill 1994 bills of lading, incorporating the terms of an amended SYNACOMEX 90 form plus additional riders.
      Other
      • Claim against a marina for the negligent stowage of a high-performance racing yacht, which was blown out of her cradle and into an adjacent yacht.
      • Drafting eighteen separate opinions on a Defendant Korean shipbuilder’s potential liability for repudiatory breach of eighteen separate contracts, on the basis of its insolvency. This included questions regarding the enforceability of ipso facto clauses and the law regarding the impossibility of performance (a sub-species of repudiation).
    • What the directories say

      He is incredibly intelligent and a brilliant barrister” – Chambers UK, 2024

      “Incredible attention to detail and thinks outside the box. A solution focussed individual.”- Legal 500, 2023

      An extremely bright lawyer and great advocate who presents arguments with ease and confidence.”- Legal 500, 2023

      “Francis is a delight to work with. He is extremely personable, which means he is excellent at striking up a rapport with tribunals. He is very creative and imaginative in his approach to structuring a case.”- Legal 500, 2023

      Francis is very smart, a good advocate and offers great client service.” – Chambers UK, 2024

      “He is user-friendly and very much a team player.” – Chambers UK, 2024

      “Francis is a confident, assertive and fluent advocate” – Legal 500, 2024

      Very dynamic, able to respond quickly, and provide assistance in every aspect of the work. He gets involved and adds a lot of value.” – Legal 500, 2024

      “Francis is personable and has a great manner in explaining complicated matters in layman’s terms” – Legal 500, 2024

      “An accomplished advocate despite his junior level. Responsive and hard working with a solution-oriented mindset.” – Legal 500, 2024

      “He is user-friendly and very much a team player.” – Chambers UK, 2024

    • Seminars
      • Francis regularly gives introductory seminars to junior lawyers entering the shipping law profession, on the basics of shipping law.
    • Education
      • BPTC (College of Law), GDL (City).
      • City University/Falcon Chambers essay prize winner. 2011
      • Hubert Monroe Scholar (The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple). 2011
      • Blackstone Entrance Exhibitioner (The Hon. Society of the Middle Temple). 2010
      • MA. Psychosocial Studies (on the intersection of neuroscience and psychoanalysis). Birkbeck College, University of London. Distinction. 2021
      • BA (hons) English Literature, St Cuthbert’s Society, Durham University. First-class honours (third in year). 2010
    • Publications

      Debattista on Bills of Lading in Commodities Trade. 4th Ed.

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