Simon is praised by clients for his strategic advocacy in international commercial disputes. He specialises in commercial litigation and arbitration (Chambers & Partners, Leading Juniors, 2020), particularly the fields of energy (The Legal 500, Tier 1 ranking 2019 – 2016), commodities (The Legal 500, Leading Juniors, 2020), shipping / shipbuilding and rig-building (The Legal 500, Leading Juniors, 2019, 2017, 2016 and listed as a “Top Ten” maritime lawyer by Lloyd’s List in 2015), infrastructure / engineering / projects and insurance / reinsurance. Simon also has extensive experience in civil fraud disputes and is increasingly instructed in fraud matters involving Russia / CIS, China and elsewhere.
“He is very enthusiastic, with Mandarin skills that are helpful when dealing with Chinese parties,” (The Legal 500, 2018), and is regularly instructed by Asian clients, in particular from China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and the wider ASEAN region. He acts as a sole or lead counsel in arbitrations under the SIAC, ICC, HKIAC and LCIA rules. He is experienced in dealing with Asian law (Chinese, Indonesian, Thai, Philippines, Kazakhstan) in commercial disputes.
Simon’s work comes highly recommended by market sources, who say: ‘He is absolutely spectacular and his drafting is unimpeachably good.’ Another source enthuses: ‘He is just a genius – his analysis is so thorough.’” (Chambers & Partners, 2020). In the commodities field he is known as “a very bright and commercially astute barrister who gets to the point quickly.” (The Legal 500, 2020). With a wealth of experience in unled advocacy work across a range of different arbitration systems rules, he “is good on his feet, thinks off-the-cuff very well, speaks confidently without notes and is dogged and determined in pursuit of the case” (Chambers Asia Pacific, 2015).
Simon’s recent cases include arbitration and court litigation arising from: an alleged fraud and unlawful means conspiracy related to a call option agreement in respect of a shareholding in Vladivostok’s commercial port; a claim by a Chinese company for alleged fraud and breach of fiduciary duty; cancellation of the contract for the world’s largest drillship (US$120 million); an oil rig contract termination dispute; an arbitration over alleged contracts for the sale of heavy fuel oil (over US$12 million); a dispute over shares in valuable ASEAN-based renewable energy companies (over US$100 million); breach of a contract for observation satellite services (US$32 million); a co-investment agreement concerning an Eastern European bank (over €25 million); a long-term electricity off-take agreement and associated commission payments (€50 million); ‘hull swapping’ at Korean shipyards (US$ 40 million); a share option dispute in the offshore services sector; a joint venture dispute over construction of a mine and associated power plant; a complex dispute over a pharmaceutical licence and distributorship agreement in Asia (subject to Indonesian law); cases at the intersection of commercial with public international law, including investment treaty disputes (where he “has notable experience in investment treaty arbitrations”, Chambers & Partners, 2020), law of the sea issues and climate change risks and liability; several reinsurance treaty arbitrations triggered by natural disasters; anti-suit injunctions; freezing injunctions; enforcement and challenge of arbitral awards and foreign judgments; numerous arbitrations relating to international sales of oil, coal, iron ore, steel, cement, chemicals, metals, and soft commodities.
Simon is admitted to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, British Virgin Islands. He acted (led by Duncan Matthews KC) in JSC BTA Bank v Mukhtar Ablyazov and others in proceedings in both the BVI and the English High Court.
Simon also regularly sits as arbitrator in London, Singapore and Hong Kong; and is a member of the SIAC reserve panel of arbitrators and the HKIAC and MARC (Mauritius) arbitrator panels.
- LCIA arbitration (over US$120 million in value) arising from cancellation of contract for the world’s largest drillship.
- Advising on potential investor-state arbitration against a state arising out of an environmental contamination incident.
- Representing oil rig construction yards in Singapore on cancellation and postponement disputes.
- Arbitration and court proceedings against a sovereign state (the Republic of Serbia) relating to a contract for the services of earth observation satellites, including state succession issues.
- Representing a well-known independent oil trading firm in relation to a long-term supply contract for the sale of low sulphur fuel oil to the Sri Lanka state petroleum company for power generation.
- Obtaining an anti-suit injunction against a Sri Lanka state-owned company.
- Joint venture dispute relating to the development of a mine and power plant in Kalimantan, Indonesia.
- Defending a claim under a reinsurance treaty on the ground that the treaty had been induced by fraudulent misrepresentations.
- Advising on contemplated proceedings under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.
- ICC arbitration relating to a co-investment by Icelandic and Bulgarian investors in a Bulgarian bank, including allegations of fraud and dishonesty.
- Junior counsel in UK and British Virgin Islands proceedings in major international litigation concerning ownership and management of a bank based in the CIS region, including Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Armenia, and Georgia (JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov and others).
- Advising a global NGO on issues of banking confidentiality relating to the controversial Adani mine/port development in Queensland Australia.
- Advising and representing victims of climate change in an international complaint before the UN Human Rights Committee.
Simon has extensive experience of representing clients in arbitration under a range of institutional rules (ICC, LCIA, SIAC, HKIAC, LMAA and ad hoc arbitrations). His recent cases include:
- An ICC arbitration relating to a co-investment by Icelandic and Bulgarian investors in a Bulgarian bank, including allegations of fraud and dishonesty.
- An LCIA arbitration claim for c. US$ 120 million relating to construction of the world’s largest drillship.
- A procedurally complex ICC arbitration on a US$ 40 million term contract for the sale of coal from Venezuela.
- A groundbreaking arbitration under the SIAC expedited procedure and the ability of SIAC arbitration rules to prevail over other terms in the parties’ contract (appeal reported as AQZ v ARA  SGHC 49).
- An ICC arbitration concerning an electricity offtake agreement involving a Romanian state hydropower company.
- An ICC arbitration arising out of a contract for earth observation satellite services.
- A LMAA arbitration concerning “hull-swapping” at a Korean shipyard.
- Several shipbuilding arbitrations for Chinese clients concerning issues of delay, technical defects and cancellations.
He also regularly acts in court proceedings connected with arbitration, such as applications for anti-suit injunctions, enforcement of arbitral awards and challenges/appeals from arbitral awards including:
- Isabella v Shagang  EWHC 1077,  1 CLC 899,  2 All ER (Comm) 461,  2 Lloyd’s Rep 61 (challenge for procedural unfairness and appeal on a point of law).
- Republic of Serbia v Imagesat International NV  EWHC 2859 (jurisdictional challenge).
- Carbon Products International v Open Joint Stock Company Kremenchug Plant of Technical Carbon (unreported) (enforcement of arbitral award).
- Golden Feng Inc v Sanko Steamship Company, 2013 Folio 385 (successfully defending shipowner against a s. 69 appeal on a point of law relating to alleged “hull swapping”).
Simon also sits as arbitrator and has conducted several arbitral proceedings up to and including the award stage.
Banking and finance
Simon has acted for various international banks, especially in cases concerning security for commercial transactions and financing of international trade. His areas of specialist expertise, in which he has acted in contentious cases, include:
- Letters of credit
- Bills of exchange
- Security documentation, pledges and liens
He has also acted in numerous disputes arising out of derivatives contracts on the ISDA 1992 form.
He also acted as junior counsel in UK and BVI proceedings in major international litigation concerning (inter alia) ownership and management of a bank based on the CIS region, including Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Armenia, and Georgia (JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov and others).
Simon also acted for the partial owner (via holding companies) of a Bulgarian bank in an ICC arbitration involving allegations of dishonest payments and breach of fiduciary duties.
Simon has wide experience in commercial dispute resolution, having acted as sole or lead counsel in disputes – mostly in arbitration – concerning:
- Commodity trading
- Infrastructure and projects
- Joint ventures and Post-M&A
- Oil rig construction
- Power plant construction
- Shipping and shipbuilding
For more details, please see under ‘Arbitration’ and ‘Energy and Natural Resources’.
Commodities and international trade
Simon has specialist experience in commodity trading disputes. He has represented clients in contentious matters including:
- Representing a well-known independent oil trading firm in relation to a long-term supply contract for the sale of Low Sulphur Fuel Oil to the Sri Lanka state petroleum company for power generation.
- Representing a different well-known independent oil trading firm in relation to alleged frustration of a contract for the FOB sale of oil on barges in the Volga river.
- Various arbitrations concerning the sale of Indonesian coal, including issues of pricing, existence of an available market and alleged economic duress.
- A dispute concerning sale of a cargo of Nigerian crude oil to a Middle Eastern national oil company.
- Arbitrations under the GAFTA and FOSFA rules concerning sales of grain and vegetable oils.
Conflicts of law and jurisdiction
Simon is well versed in conflict of laws and jurisdictional issues (also known as private international law), having acted in the following mandates:
- Obtaining an anti-suit injunction against a Sri Lanka state-owned company.
- Advising a high net worth individual in relation to a potential anti-suit injunction application (English court, subject to confidentiality restrictions).
- Advising Munich Re Capital on a complex conflict of laws issue concerning European choice of law rules in reinsurance (Munich Re Capital and others v Mareb Yemen Insurance Co., 2009 Folio 703).
- Representing a Serbian defence company in relation to a procedurally unusual ‘advisory opinion’ of the English Court on enforcement issues (Westacre Investments Inc v Yugoimport SDPR,  EWHC 801 (Comm),  1 All ER (Comm) 780).
Energy and natural resources
Simon has extensive experience in energy-related disputes and has been consistently ranked as a recommended practitioner in this field (The Legal 500, 2016; The Legal 500, 2017 – Tier 1). His recent experience includes:
- Representing oil rig construction yards in Singapore on cancellation and postponement disputes.
- Representing a Chinese shipyard in a construction dispute arising out cancellation of the contract for the world’s largest drillship, a ‘Multi Purpose FPSO’ combined with drillship.
- A joint venture dispute relating to the development of a coal mine and mine-mouth power plant in Kalimantan, Indonesia
- Representing UK contractors in a dispute regarding barges specially adapted for offshore wind farm construction work.
- Representing a well-known independent oil trading firm in relation to a long-term supply contract for the sale of Low Sulphur Gas Oil to the Sri Lanka state petroleum company for power generation.
- Representing an Indian company in a dispute over purchase of Indonesian coal (alleged force majeure and pricing issues).
Environment and human rights
Simon complements his energy-related work with an interest in disputes concerning environmental impacts. Simon recently advised a global NGO on issues of banking confidentiality relating to the controversial Adani mine / port development in Queensland Australia. He has also published articles on cross-border environmental human rights claims.
Simon has extensive experience of fraud-related disputes. He is currently acting in:
- Defending a claim for alleged alleged fraud and unlawful means conspiracy related to a call option agreement in respect of a shareholding in Vladivostok’s commercial port (led by Blair Leahy QC)
- A claim by a Chinese company for alleged fraud and breach of fiduciary duty (details confidential at present)
In 2010-11, Simon acted as junior counsel in JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov and others, in both English and BVI proceedings. In March 2010, a team of Duncan Matthews QC with Simon as his junior succeeded in having the BVI freezing injunction against the bank’s former chairman, Mukhtar Ablyazov, set aside on the basis that the case of fraud pleaded against him was too speculative. After relocating to Singapore in late 2010, Simon was retained as a member of the counsel team to continue advising on various aspects of the case.
Simon’s other fraud disputes experience includes:
- Defending a Bulgarian financial investor against allegations of fraud and dishonesty (ICC arbitration).
- Defending a German financier against allegations of fraudulent secret payments (ICC arbitration).
- Representing the alleged victims of an allegedly fraudulent property investment scheme (English law).
- Advising in relation to allegations of breach of fiduciary duty by management of a tobacco firm involving alleged diversions of cigarettes for illicit sale (English law).
- Advising a former board member of a charity in relation to fiduciary liability (English law).
Much of Simon’s practice focuses on infrastructure and projects work, especially in emerging markets, above all the Asia-Pacific region, for example:
- A joint venture dispute relating to the development of a coal mine and mine-mouth power plant in Kalimantan, Indonesia.
- EPC contracts, e.g. disputes arising from the supply of specialised components for power plant construction.
- Advising in relation to a shareholder dispute over ownership of the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
Insurance and reinsurance
Simon has specialist knowledge of insurance and reinsurance law. He has acted in numerous reinsurance arbitrations, especially in the Asia-Pacific region including arbitrations seated in the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. He also undertakes advice and advocacy work in relation to business interruption policies, directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, and contractors all risks policies and all types of marine and transportation insurance.
His recent cases include:
- Defending a claim under a retrocession treaty on the ground that the treaty had been induced by fraudulent under-statements of premium income from certain high risk markets (arbitration).
- Advising on issues of coverage under marine insurance policies.
- Representing reinsureds in reinsurance claims arising from the catastrophic Thai floods losses of 2011.
- Advising in relation to aggregation of claims under a financial advisory firm’s negligence liability insurance.
- Advised on constructive total loss under war risks insurance policy resulting from seizure of vessel by authorities in an African jurisdiction for suspected smuggling.
From 2010 to 2015, Simon was a co-author of the leading practitioner’s textbook, MacGillivray on Insurance Law (12th Ed, 2012, 13th Ed, 2015, and interim supplements).
Public international law
Simon has strong credentials in the specialist field of public international law, having studied it at Masters level at Georgetown University (ranked no. 2 in the United States for international law) and having acted as junior to Maurice Mendelson QC in Republic of Serbia v ImageSat International NV  EWHC 2859, an appeal arising from an ICC arbitration award concerned with State succession issues. Simon undertakes advisory work in relation to jurisdiction, immunities, international organisational law, treaty interpretation and international investment law.
In 2017, Simon addressed the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in oral submissions in the proceedings leading to its landmark advisory opinion on Environment and Human Rights, published in February 2018.
Shipping and transport
Simon regularly acts in cases relating to charterparties (time and voyage), bills of lading, sale of goods carried by sea and shipbuilding contracts.
He was named with Timothy Young QC as a “Top Ten” maritime lawyer (2015) by Lloyd’s List and has regularly been ranked in leading directories for shipping work.
His previous cases include:
- Isabella v Shagang, ‘The Aquafaith’  EWHC 1077,  1 CLC 899,  2 All ER (Comm) 461,  2 Lloyd’s Rep 61 concerning applicability of the White and Carterprinciple to time charters.
- The MSC Napoli group litigation (2008-2010) – bill of lading claims (eventually settled out of court) by the owners of cargo aboard the MSC Napoli which suffered a catastrophic hull failure and was deliberately beached on the English coast.
- The MSC Napoli – arbitration claims involving the salvors and recyclers of sections of the hull of the ‘MSC Napoli’ after its deliberate demolition.
- A claim under a container ship operators’ joint venture arising out of a fire caused by allegedly dangerous cargo.
- Defending claims under a general cargo ships pooling agreement.