Instruct Nick

To instruct Nick please contact our clerks on +44 (0)20 7842 5555 or email [email protected].

Nick Vineall KC was called to the Bar in 1988 and took silk in 2006.  He has a broad commercial, FS, shipping, and offshore construction practice and has appeared at all levels of UK Courts and in arbitrations all over the world.  He sits as an arbitrator, and sat as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Commercial Court and the TCC from 2017 to 2022.

Nick is ranked as a leading silk in the directories (UK, Global and Asia-Pacific) in six practice areas: Commercial Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration, Financial Services, Shipping and Commodities, Energy and Natural Resources, and Construction.

Nick was joint head of chambers from 2017 to 2022, and was Chair of the Bar of England and Wales in 2023. He is a Bencher of Middle Temple.

  • A superb advocate. Excellent judgment and very pragmatic.
  • The highest quality of silk. If your back is against the wall you want him on your side.
  • Quick, clear, insightful and very easy to work with.
  • A really brilliant advocate who is good at working with judges and on delicate cases.
  • Gets his head round complex and technical issues very quickly.
  • Beautifully clear.

Nick has been instructed in many of the leading cases at Court of Appeal and Supreme Court level on the process of dispute resolution by courts, in arbitration, and by mediation.

Featured Law and Practice of Dispute Resolution cases

Nick appeared for the Bar Council in the Court of Appeal case of Merthyr Tydfil v Churchill, which considered whether the earlier CA case of Halsey was right to suggest that compulsory mediation could never be lawful.

In Haliburton v Chubb [2020] UKSC 48,  the leading case on arbitrators’ duties of disclosure, Nick represented the LMAA in the Supreme Court.

Nick acted for the FCA in the Supreme Court in FCA v Sinaloa Gold 2013 UKSC 11, the leading case on cross-undertakings in damages when regulators seek freezing order relief.

RBRG Trading v Sinocore, [2018] EWCA Civ 838 is the leading case on the public policy exception to enforcement of foreign arbitral awards on the ground of fraud. Nick acted for the Chinese company successfully pursuing enforcement despite having forged bills of lading in an attempt to secure payment.

As a junior he appeared in the leading (pre-CPR) case on resiling from admissions, Gale v Superdrug [1996] 1 WLR 1089, and, in the days of automatic striking out of County Court cases, Anderton v Clwyd 2002 EWCA Civ 933 on the date of deemed service.

Nick has acted for sanctioned entities challenging sanctions, and for businesses threatened by sanctions imposed on their counterparties, and acted for the so-called Maduro Board in the long-running dispute over $4bn of Venezuelan state-owned gold held at the Bank of England.

Featured Sanctions and International Law cases

Nick led the Supreme Court team in Maduro Board v Guaido Board of the Central Bank of Venezuela, [2021], which is the leading case both on the concept of Recognition of foreign states or Presidents, and on the scope of the doctrine of Foreign Act of State.

Nick acted for the Iranian Bank Mellat’s shareholders, and then for Bank Mellat following the successful appeal to the Supreme Court which established that the Bank had been unlawfully sanctioned. The damages claim against the UK government was settled for €91m, thought to the largest sum ever paid for a breach of convention rights-  Bank Mellat v HM Treasury [2013] UKSC 39.

Nick recently acted for a Norwegian ferry company which was having four large ferries built in Turkey, financed by a Russian bank.  When the bank was sanctioned, the ferry company was not allowed to maintain its loan repayments. Nick led the team that secured injunctions and declaratory relief preventing the bank from foreclosing and permitting the vessels to be delivered and to continue to trade-  Havila Kystruten v STLC [2022] EWHC 3166 (Comm).

Nick has over 30 years’ experience acting on FSMA (and before that FSA and Banking Act) claims across a broad range of authorisation and enforcement proceedings involving the regulator, as well as consumer claims against providers and related professional negligence claims for and against advisers and promoters.

Featured Financial Services and Fraud cases

Nick has extensive experience of urgent interlocutory relief, and recently acted on behalf of private Chinese family fund who needed to secure funds they had invested in very questionable investment vehicles.  He also acted for victims of the Fifth Avenue Partners investment fraud orchestrated by Michael Brown, in their claim against Lloyds Bank.

Nick has acted on claims in relation to the collapse of the Woodford funds, the collapse of the Arch cru Funds, pension transfers, tax mitigation schemes, interest rate swaps, collective investment schemes, death bonds, Ponzi frauds, landbanking and boiler room frauds, in addition to the mis-selling of rather less exotic products. He frequently advises on perimeter points concerning investment and/or insurance products, and has advised on the regulatory status of Sharia-compliant investment products.

Nick represented Robert Tchenguiz in litigation with both IG Index and CMC Spreadbet.

Nick acted for the FCA in the two leading CA cases on pension transfers and the interpretation of RAO 25,26 and 53, Adams v Options SIPP [2021] EWCA Civ 474 and FCA v Avacade [2021] EWCA Civ 1206.

Other appeal cases include:

  • in the Supreme Court, FSA v Sinaloa Gold (Barclays Bank plc intervening) [2013] 2 AC 28 which established that public authorities need not give a cross-undertaking in damages to defendants or third parties when seeking injunctive relief;
  • in the Supreme Court, Bank Mellat v HM Treasury [2014] AC 700: Representing the shareholders of Bank Mellat in the successful Supreme Court challenge to a Treasury order sanctioning the Iranian bank on the grounds of involvement in nuclear proliferation activities;
  • in the Court of Appeal, CGL Group Ltd v Royal Bank of Scotland Plc [2017] EWCA Civ 1073, which decided that Banks owed no duty of care to investors when administering a redress scheme;
  • in the Court of Appeal Burns v FCA, [2017] EWCA Civ 2140; on conflicts of interest and breach of fiduciary duty by non-executive directors;
  • in the Court of Appeal FSA v Canada Inc [2013] EWCA Civ 1662, representing the providers of an algorithmic trading platform accused of market manipulation.

Much of this work has been in international arbitration and Nick has very extensive experience of ship and rig building disputes, mostly in LMAA arbitration, and has acted on a number of arbitration act appeal including for the successful Respondent in Mur Shipping v Louis Dreyfus [2020] 2 Lloyds 153 which deals with time bars in the NYPE form, and in Sun United v Kasteli Marine [2014] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 386, an Arbitration Act appeal from a charterparty dispute establishing that section 67 appeals are not available where an issue has been submitted to the tribunal but not resolved by it.

He has dealt with many claims on both performance and refund guarantees and was on the Respondent’s team for the Supreme Court in Shanghai Shipping v Reignwood until the claim settled.

Featured Shipping, Shipbuilding and Offshore Construction/Engineering cases

Most work is in arbitration, so details are confidential. Examples include:

  • Instructed by the MoD on the defence of a £100m+ claim by a major contractor in relation to the construction of a floating jetty for berthing the UK’s fleet of nuclear submarines, let on an MPTC contract. The case involved the regulation of design and construction of nuclear implicated structures and systems.
  • Acting for Owners on two disputed rig terminations at a Singapore yard
  • Instructed on a very large number of newbuild disputes for both buyers and yards, involving shipyards from all over the world, and a wide range of vessels including FPSOs, drill rigs, pipelay vessels, survey vessels, ferries, chemical tankers, and cargo and container ships.
  • Acting on shipbuilding related refund guarantee disputes including SIAC arbitration application to restrain call on a performance guarantee.
  • ICC arbitration for a Chinese client concerning a substantial port craneage installation
  • Acted for Awilco on two commercial court claims for charterhire of a North Sea drill rig (Crine Logic terms).
  • Acting on a harbour construction scheme on NEC3 terms.
  • Acted against Petrobras on the P36, P40, and P41 projects:  [2007] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 629, [2008] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 305 CA.
  • UNCITRAL rules arbitration of a delay claim arising from drilling in the Bonga oil field in Nigeria
  • ICC arbitration concerning a major oil installation in Turkmenistan.
  • Advice on an offshore wind installation dispute.
  • Instructed on a major wood pellet cargo fire claim
  • HKIAC arbitration on a $10m cargo claim arising from damage to poorly packaged water pipes.
  • Instructed on a CoA dispute between Chinese aluminium exporter and HK shipping line.
  • Advising on pool agreement disputes.
  • Charterparty disputes.

There is obvious overlap here with offshore engineering work.  Nick particularly enjoys cases raising technical scientific or engineering issues, likes cross-examining technical experts, and even likes Excel spreadsheets.

Featured Energy and Natural Resources cases

  • Advising on a Hong Kong reverse takeover of a PRC exploration company.

  • Acting for rig owners on a threatened North Sea drill contract cancellation.

  • Acting for rig owners on a disputed drill contract cancellation (LCIA arbitration).

  • Advice for insurers on the multiparty settlement of a major fire loss to an oil rig.

  • UNCITRAL rules arbitration of a delay claim arising from drilling in the Bonga oil field.

  • ICC arbitration of major oil installation in Turkmenistan.

  • Advice on an offshore wind installation dispute.

  • Advice on off-spec product claim concerning Nigerian FPSO.

  • Acting for Vitol on a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation concerning a mineral supply contract with a Chilean mine.

  • Acting against Petrobras on the P36, P40, and P41 projects [2007] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 629,  [2008] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 305 CA.

  • Acting for Sembawang in the Solitaire arbitration concerning a DP pipelay vessel.

  • Acting as expert witness in Kazakhstan proceedings concerning a Chinese farm-in agreement.

Nick sits as an arbitrator as well as acting as Arbitration counsel, mostly in Dubai, Hong Kong or Singapore.  About half of his work is in arbitral tribunals, predominantly LCIA, ICC or LMAA.

He has appeared in a number of cases concerning arbitration practice and procedure including Halliburton v Chubb [2020] UKSC 48 in the Supreme Court on arbitrators’ duties of disclosure,  RBRG Trading v Sinocore [2018] EWCA Civ 838 in the Court of Appeal on fraud as a bar to enforcement on public policy grounds,  Mur Shipping v Louis Dreyfus [2020] 2 Lloyds 153 which deals with time bars in the NYPE form, and  Sun United v Kasteli Marine [2014] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 386, an Arbitration Act appeal from a charterparty dispute establishing that section 67 appeals are not available where an issue has been submitted to the tribunal but not resolved by it.

Nick Vineall KC awarded ‘Social Mobility Bar Champion of the Year’ at the Legal 500 ESG UK Awards 2024

We are delighted to announce that Nick Vineall KC has been awarded ‘Social Mobility Bar Champion of the Year’...

Members of 4 Pump Court to attend IPBA Tokyo

Jeremy Nicholson KC, Nick Vineall KC, Robert Scrivener and Carl Wall will be in Tokyo from 22nd April attending the IPBA...

The Legal 500 Asia Pacific Guide 2024

4 Pump Court has again been recognised in The Legal 500 Asia Pacific Guide, receiving set rankings for 'Construction,...

Court of Appeal Clarifies Compulsory Mediation: lawful so long as “the very essence of the claimant’s right to proceed to a judicial hearing is...

Earlier this week, the Court of Appeal (CoA) handed down the much-anticipated judgment in Churchill v Merthyr...

Instruct Nick

To instruct Nick please contact our clerks on +44 (0)20 7842 5523 or email [email protected].

  • Deputy High Court Judge 2017-2022
  • Chair of the Bar of England and Wales 2023
  • CMAC panel arbitrator
  • KLRCA panel arbitrator
  • SCMA panel arbitrator
  • LCIA member
  • LMAA Supporting member
  • Dip Law (City)
  • MA (Cambridge) Natural Sciences
  • MA (Pittsburgh) History and Philosophy of Science (Harkness Fellow)
  • LMAA Supporting member; LCIA member; panel arbitrator for CMAC, KLRCA and SCMA

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Call: +44 (0) 20 7842 5555

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