One Essex Court

Energy & Natural Resources Department

UK
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Viewed by commentators as the pre-eminent commercial set at the Energy Bar, thanks to its vast array of talented barristers. Members are particularly strong at advising on oil and gas disputes, notably in relation to issues affecting upstream, midstream and downstream operations, transportation, distribution and operating agreements. They also have considerable experience of electricity, nuclear and renewable energy disputes, especially those involving contractual and regulatory issues. All aspects of litigation and international arbitration are catered for and individuals frequently act for some of the strongest players in the energy industry. One market source says: "When dealing with One Essex Court, I'm very confident that if my first pick is not available, then someone they recommend will prove to be absolutely top drawer."

Client service

"They are very responsive, particularly when we need advice at short notice." "The clerks are responsive, constructive and easy to deal with." Darren Burrows is the highly experienced and very well-respected senior clerk at the set.

Strengths

Alain Choo Choy QC
Eminent figure in the energy market, who operates both domestically and internationally across a spectrum of commercial energy matters, with a particular focus on cases concerning the financing and ownership of large projects and resources. Key areas of expertise include mining and the upstream oil and gas industry. He frequently appears in both international arbitrations and court hearings, including those before the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands and the BVI Commercial Court.
"Very bright and very enthusiastic, he's someone you definitely want on your side at trial or at a hearing. He's quite creative and always fizzing with ideas on how to deal with things." "He's fiercely bright and very constructive in his dealings with solicitors and clients."
Recent work: Acted in a dispute concerning the cancellation of a long-term contract of affreightment in respect of the transportation of all the petroleum products needed in Mauritius.

Strengths

Alexander Gunning QC
Well regarded by peers and solicitors for his effective style of advocacy. He has been involved in a range of energy infrastructure cases, and has acted for contractors in disputes concerning the mining, drilling and transportation of natural resources. Gunning frequently represents clients from Central Asia and China.
"He marshals tons of documents, evidence and information in the shortest time and responds in clear, user-friendly language. He's a highly impressive advocate for the largest, most complex cases." "Has a calm and highly persuasive style of advocacy."
Recent work: Acted in an arbitration at the LCIA concerning a USD500 million claim arising out of an investment in a Central Asian oil field project.

Strengths

Anthony Grabiner QC
One of the biggest names at the Bar, with a stellar reputation across a variety of commercial law areas. He brings esteem and gravitas to the biggest, most difficult cases and is noted for his work as an arbitrator. Grabiner has the capacity to handle the largest commercial disputes pertaining to the oil and gas industry
"Combines a detailed understanding of how the law has developed, and the application of that law, with a willingness to explore all the issues in a case in a highly imaginative way." "He'll turn a pile of refuse into something that looks great; it's an absolute art form."
Recent work: Acted for Northern Gulf Petroleum Pte in UNCITRAL arbitration proceedings relating to a joint operating agreement for the development and operation of a petroleum-producing oil field in the Gulf of Thailand.

Strengths

Conall Patton
Widely regarded as being at the vanguard of juniors in this field, he is capable of dealing with both the commercial and regulatory aspects of energy work. He has experience in advising and representing clients both in court and in arbitration, and acts for high-ranking developers and facility operators, as well as commodity traders. Patton is equally capable of handling disputes relating to the oil and gas, renewable energy or mining sectors.
"Very smart and produces work of an extremely high quality." "He is very hard-working, always on top of the details and very well thought of."
Recent work: Acted in EFO v J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corporation, acting for a seller of fuel oil in relation to a dispute about liability for import duty.

Strengths

Daniel Toledano QC
Widely respected as an established and robust silk, he exhibits a winning manner in the courtroom and with clients. He is known for his sharp analytical skills and strong sense of commitment, both of which he demonstrates when representing large industry bodies in a broad range of commercial disputes involving complex contractual and regulatory issues. Toledano has a particular aptitude for handling North Sea oil and gas disputes.
"An incredibly effective and tenacious advocate; he's a very bright man who rolls his sleeves up and gets into the details." "He is fluid and persuasive in his advocacy."
Recent work: Acted for Eni in a claim arising from the purchase of a company that owned an interest in the Hewett Field in the southern North Sea.

Strengths

Emma Jones
Draws impressive praise from solicitors for her work across commercial energy matters. She has particular expertise in cases relating to contractual matters, especially those with contract for difference agreements. Jones focuses on acting for clients in court hearings and arbitrations in the oil and gas and alternative energy sectors.
"Can process a large amount of information extremely quickly and weave it into a very well-presented narrative." "She has an incisive legal mind and the quality of her legal analysis is excellent."

Strengths

Jeffery Onions QC
Acclaimed for his undoubted intellect and fierce commitment to complex commercial cases, many of which have a regulatory or environmental angle. He exhibits deep energy-sector expertise and acts for heavyweights in the oil and gas industry. His practice spans advisory and advocacy work, and sees him handling both arbitrations and High Court litigation.
"He is incredibly hands-on and user-friendly for a very senior counsel, and his ability to synthesise arguments and present them effectively is very impressive." "He is a very thorough, very courteous and utterly reliable advocate."
Recent work: Acted for Ancala Partners in an expedited trial in the Commercial Court relating to the proposed purchase by Ancala of significant infrastructure assets in the North Sea. The case raised issues as to reasonable consent to transfers, pre-emption, decommissioning costs and the reliability of financial models of future earnings from the transportation of gas.

Strengths

John McCaughran QC
Outstanding advocate with a widely acknowledged thoroughgoing sector specialism. He is an experienced litigator and arbitrator with great expertise both domestically and internationally, and is admitted to the Bar in the BVI and Cayman Islands. His clear focus is the oil and gas industry, and he acts for a range of major energy and utilities players in the upstream and midstream markets. McCaughran has an in-depth knowledge of the workings of a number of institutions, including the LCIA, SCC and UNCITRAL.
"He is someone who has a splendid reputation at the Energy Bar and has a genuine knowledge of the industry. He produces sensible, considered views on difficult points of contractual interpretation." "An intellectual and a brilliant advocate who uses quiet but firm questioning to elicit the required answers."
Recent work: Acted for BHP in a dispute concerning the termination of a gas sales agreement.

Strengths

Laurence Emmett
Well-regarded senior junior who has an impressive repertoire of energy cases, especially in relation to the upstream and downstream oil industries. He earns praise for handling regulatory and commercial cases relating to both traditional and non-traditional sources of energy. His practice spans both domestic and international cases, and he has recently handled a number of North Sea disputes.
"Has the rare combination of being bright, responsive and practically minded. He adds significant value with his input into a case." "He's very engaging; he gets to grips with the issues and really puts the work in."
Recent work: Acted for Hess in a dispute over the allocation of decommissioning costs in a North Sea oil field.

Strengths

Laurence Rabinowitz QC
A dominant presence in the commercial energy arena, who has a reputation as a go-to resource for an array of litigation and arbitration matters worldwide. Solicitors turn to him for his ability to take on the highest-stake cases, and he deals with contractual disputes surrounding some of the biggest energy deals in the market. His areas of practice range from traditional oil and gas to alternative energy. He is equally comfortable handling both domestic and international disputes.
"An excellent advocate; in addition to his experience and judgement, he has a really nice manner with tribunals." "He's a frighteningly clever fellow who is very forthright and an excellent cross-examiner."

Strengths

Michael Watkins
Popular with instructing solicitors and corporate clients, he tackles a broad range of work in the oil and gas industries, and has significant experience in international arbitration. His caseload includes large contractual disputes, as well as regulatory matters. He has recently handled significant arbitrations under the ICC and LCIA rules.
"He's very smart and a good draftsman who is extremely easy to work with."
Recent work: Acted for Centrica in relation to a claim for breach of contract and/or unjust enrichment concerning overcharging by the defendant, the operator of a number of interlocking offshore gas fields in the North Sea.

Strengths

Nehali Shah
Highly regarded junior with a strong practice advising clients on all aspects of upstream and downstream oil and gas disputes. She regularly appears in commercial litigation and arbitrations, both domestically and internationally, and a number of her cases focus on the financing aspects of projects.
"Phenomenally hard-working and quick to get to grips with complex background facts and issues of foreign law." "She shows superb attention to detail and is wonderfully proactive."
Recent work: Acted for Macquarie Capital in its claim for financial advisory fees relating to the EUR1.6 billion of equity and debt financing raised for the Meg I/Merkur German offshore wind farm project in the North Sea.

Strengths

Sa'ad Hossain QC
A prominent commercial barrister frequently involved in energy issues, including disputes over the rights and responsibilities associated with natural resources and infrastructure. He frequently acts in cases in the oil and gas sector, with downstream utility supply a particular area of strength. His practice also involves advising clients on operating, transportation and capacity agreements, as well as drilling rig and FPSO operations.
"His softly spoken eloquence masks a razor-sharp intellect. Importantly, he is also very down-to-earth and client-friendly, effortlessly summarising difficult legal issues into digestible nuggets." "He's very clever, very charming and receptive. If he promises to give you something he always does; he'll never let you down."
Recent work: Acted for Teesside Gas Liquids and Processing in relation to a North Sea oil and gas field dispute with Ithaca concerning the commencement of gas processing obligations under send-or-pay arrangements.