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Andrew Wales QC

Year of Call: 1992
Year of Silk: 2012


Practice Profile

Andrew Wales specialises in insurance and reinsurance, energy, shipping and professional negligence.  His practice regularly involves issues of jurisdiction and conflict of laws.

His practice is increasingly that of a sole advocate.  He regularly appears in the High Court and in arbitration and has recently conducted a full appeal in the Privy Council.  He is equally at home in long trials and in arguing short points of law.

He has been recognised by the directories for his advocacy (Chambers UK, 2009) and for several years as a leading junior for his insurance and energy work.

Andrew Wales has also been appointed as a Recorder to sit in civil and criminal cases. He is a member of the international panel of maritime arbitrators of the Marine Offshore Oil and Gas Association (MOOGAS) in Singapore.

General Information

M.A. (Cantab); LL.M (University of Virginia)

Cambridge: Senior Scholar, Trinity 1989-90; Wright Rogers Scholar 1988; Slaughter and May Prize 1990;

Hamson Prize 1990.  Top first class degree in law in the University, 1990.

Gray’s Inn: Arden Scholar 1992; Prince of Wales Scholar 1991; Inns of Court Studentship.

Macaskie Award.

BACFI Prize.

Classed as ‘Outstanding’ for the BVC.

Areas of Practice

Andrew Wales QC specialises in the following areas:

Insurance & Reinsurance

Much of Andrew Wales’ work in this area over the last couple of years has involved insurance issues affecting financial institutions.  He has extensive experience of Professional Indemnity and D&O policies, especially for banks and similar institutions.

His work has required familiarity with CDO transactions, private equity investments, offering circulars, IPOs, structured finance (e.g. Enron related) and various forms of securitisation.

Selected cases:

  • David Constable v. Bedfordshire Police Authority [2008] EWHC 1375 (Comm) – insurance; public liability cover for the police; whether coverage for Riot Damages (Act) 1886 compensation
  • Travelers Casualty & Surety v. Sun Life Assurance (No. 2) [2007] Lloyd’s Rep. IR Plus 2 – insurance; global excess liability policy; applicable law; breach of warranty and late notification; claim to recover losses incurred during past business review ordered by FSA
  • Travelers Casualty & Surety v. Sun Life Assurance [2004] Lloyd’s Rep. IR 846 – insurance; jurisdiction; power to stay; appropriate forum
  • Astrazeneca v. CGU – reinsurance; proof of liability under underlying policy reinsured; appeared in arbitration (then unavailable for High Court appeal reported at [2006] Lloyd’s Rep. IR 409)
  • HIH Casualty v. Chase Manhattan Bank (HL) [2003] Lloyd’s Rep. IR 230 – Led by Jonathan Sumption Q.C.; House of Lords; film finance; rights of avoidance
  • Markel v. Sedgwick and others (2002 – High Court; Gross J.) – insurance/reinsurance; treaty covering energy construction risks; avoidance; case settled during trial
  • Commercial Union v. NRG Victory [1998] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 600 – reinsurance; proof of liability under underlying policy reinsured
  • Henderson v. Merrett Syndicates and others [1997] L.R.L.R. 247 and 265 – lead Lloyd’s long tail names action; only successful claim against Lloyd’s syndicate auditor
  • Substantial advisory and coverage work, including: advising London market insurers subscribing to the insurance of the World Trade Center towers; advising London market insurers in connection with insurances of financial institutions being sued in connection with Enron, Worldcom, Global Crossing, Parmalat, Boxclever; a CDO transaction.

Substantial arbitration practice, including significant cases arising out of the PA LMX spiral and Stirling Cooke Brown business

Sole arbitrator (2007) – Award made to resolve insurance dispute about alleged exclusion from cover.

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Energy & Natural Resources

Recently acting in Take-or-Pay dispute acting for gas purchaser (2007-8).

Selected cases:

  • Amoco v. Teesside Gas Transportation Ltd (2001) – House of Lords; led by Jonathan Sumption Q.C.; CATS North Sea pipeline dispute; construction of contracts; send-or-pay obligations
  • Philips Petroleum v. Enron Europe [1997] C.L.C. 329 – Court of Appeal; led by Sir Sydney Kentridge Q.C.; construction of Take-or-Pay contract
  • Amoco v. Teesside Gas Transportation; Philips Petroleum v. Enron Europe (1999) High Court trial led by Anthony Boswood Q.C. – contract dispute relating to CATS pipeline and J-Block field in North Sea
  • Markel v. Sedgwick (2002) – High Court, Gross J.; energy construction insurance and reinsurance; avoidance; case settled during trial
  • Acting for owners in a major arbitration concerning the construction of 2 fifth generation semi-submersible oil drilling rigs being built in the USA.  Case settled shortly before hearing.

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Andrew Wales is regularly involved in shipping and international trade disputes, mostly in arbitration.  One of his well-known cases in this area is:

Selected cases:

  • Vitol v. Norelf [1996] A.C. 800 (House of Lords appeal).

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General Commercial Disputes

Andrew Wales has conducted two full appeals before the Privy Council, one alone and the other being led by Gavin Kealey Q.C. Both cases related to private share transactions in The Bahamas.  Andrew Wales also advises Bahamas-based clients in connection with insurance issues.

Selected cases:

  • Sentinel International Ltd. -v- Robert Cordes [2008] UKPC 60.  Andrew Wales argued an appeal in the Privy Council relating to claims and cross-claims for breach of a contract for the sale of shares in a private company.  The decision is new referred to in McGregor on Damages (18th Ed.).
  • Emanuel Alexiou v. James A. Campbell [2007] UKPC 11 – sale and purchase contract for shares embodied in consent order – issue of construction – fair market value

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Andrew Wales specialises in areas of commercial work where disputes are regularly determined in international arbitration.  He has appeared in several international arbitrations against foreign (notably US) lawyers, both ad hoc and under institutional rules.

In 2013, his arbitration work involved the early stages of an $84m international insurance arbitration under a contract governed by Cayman Islands law and subject to ad hoc London arbitration.  This instruction will lead to a 3 week hearing in March 2015.

He has also recently been instructed in the early stages of a $40m international arbitration dispute relating to an international contract for the supply of gasoil by a European energy trader to a South American government. 

In 2013, he also appeared in the Commercial Court in a significant banking-related case involving attempts to enforce an US$8.5m arbitration award against monies payable by a bank under letters of credit.
Andrew Wales has appeared in two recent reported decisions arising from his arbitration practice: 

Selected cases:

  • Anglian Water Services v. Laing O’Rourke [2010] 131 Con LR 94, relating to time bar issues in the context of construction arbitration
  • B v. S  [2011] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 18, relating to the availability of ancillary relief under a standard form arbitration agreement used in some forms of commodities trading contracts


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In the Directories

  • Strong on insurance-related professional negligence, he is regularly instructed by brokers and insurers when they have claims made against them. Chambers UK 2014
  • "He's all over the detail. He's a clear, strategic thinker." Chambers UK 2014
  • Wales is seen as an "efficient, very thorough analytical barrister, who is a "good support act to silks  Chambers UK 2011
  • “He enjoys the full confidence of the market”  Chambers UK 2009
  • “draws praise for his ‘sterling advocacy.’” Chambers UK 2009
  • “calm under pressure.” Legal 500 2008
  • “The ‘extremely bright and thorough’ Andrew Wales has provided support on several key cases... over the past year.” Chambers UK 2008
  • Leading junior, energy and natural resources – Legal 500