David Morris LCI Law

David Morriss

Partner

David is a partner of LCI Law, and practices English-law shipping and international trade dispute resolution.

David was at Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW) in London for 24 years, and was a partner there for 13 years before he joined LCI Law in 2023 to run its London office.

The majority of David’s work relates to shipping and international trade, and includes disputes under charterparties, contracts of affreightment, bills of lading, ship building, repair and sale and purchase contracts, pool agreements, insurance policies, and contracts for the sale and purchase of commodities. However David has also represented clients in a number of broader commercial disputes such as mining, banking, and Formula 1 sponsorship. In addition he regularly engages in (non-contentious) contract drafting.

David has considerable experience of handling arbitrations in London (LMAA and LCIA in particular) and in Singapore (SIAC in particular). He has also advised the Gujarat Maritime Board in India in the drafting of their own arbitration rules.

A large number of David’s clients are Indian companies based in India, Dubai, and the UK. He regularly travels to India and Dubai to see them and to give papers at conferences.

Experience

  • Emeraldian v Wellmix (The Vine). This reported case concerned the owner client’s successful claim for US$5 million of demurrage. The judgment is an important authority on the construction of force majeure clauses in charterparties, and on the enforceability of performance guarantees. It also altered the long-established definition of a ‘safe port’ for the purposes of safe port warranties that frequently appear in time and voyage charterparties.
  • Caresse Navigation v Office National de l'Electricite (The Channel Ranger). This is a reported Commercial Court and Court of Appeal set of judgments, in a complex application for an anti-suit injunction with regards to a claim worth US$1 million, in which the client was successful both in the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal. The judgments are important because they clarified the law on the incorporation of a charterparty’s jurisdiction clauses into a bill of lading, and they are referred to in the leading textbooks, Voyage Charters and Bills of Lading (Informa press).
  • The MTM Hong Kong. This is a recent reported judgment on demurrage time bars. David acted for the successful appellants against an arbitration award, under s. 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
  • Nawany v Bank of Baroda. This reported case concerned a claim for US$16 million under a suite of loan facility agreements. The hearing before the Commercial Court in London was of the client's application that the English proceedings be stayed in favour of proceedings in India. The main issue concerned the effect, under the jurisdiction clause in the loan agreements, of the fact that the bank had commenced a recovery process under the Indian SARFAESI Act.
  • An arbitration under a sale contract with claims and counterclaims in the total sum of US$4.3 million. The tribunal was chaired by Sir Bernard Eder, and the client was entirely successful.
  • A London arbitration in which the client was an operator who claimed US$1.4 million freight and demurrage from a shipper in India. The first phase of the case concerned the hearing of the shipper's jurisdiction challenge. The shipper raised various complex legal points, key amongst which was whether a FOB seller concludes a contract of carriage as principal or only as agent for the FOB buyer. In its award the tribunal, which included a silk, accepted the client's case on this and all other legal issues. The second phase dealt with the client's substantive claims and David succeeded in persuading the tribunal that the charterparty demurrage regime was incorporated into the bill of lading despite the House of Lords' judgment in The Miramar stating that such incorporation was contrary to commercial sense. The tribunal awarded the client the US$1.4 million it claimed plus interest and costs.

Education

  • 1995: Legal Practice Course, Law/ University of Law, London
  • 1994: Graduate Diploma in Law Law/ St Mary’s College, London

Memberships & Associations

Law Society of England & Wales

Languages

David speaks English (mother tongue); Spanish (conversational); and French (conversational).

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