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Julia Dias QC

Year of Call: 1982
Year of Silk: 2008

email: jdias@7kbw.co.uk

Practice Profile

Julia Dias joined 7KBW in 1985, having already worked for a year as an Assistante Associée at the Institute of Comparative Law in Paris. After taking a career break from 1998-2000, she worked for three years as a part-time Legal Consultant and in-house barrister with leading City solicitors, Eversheds, attached to the insurance group of their Litigation Department.  She returned to private practice in April 2003 and took silk in 2008.  [For personal reasons she has had to limit the amount of work she takes on over the last two years but she anticipates resuming full-time practice in 2016 .]

Julia’s principal areas of practice are in the fields of insurance and reinsurance, arbitration, shipping and professional negligence (mainly insurance brokers and solicitors).  She is currently co-authoring the forthcoming new edition of Carver on Charterparties.

In addition she has wide experience of commercial disputes generally and over the years has built up considerable expertise in many other areas of commercial law such as agency, aviation, conflicts of laws, guarantees and letters of credit, injunctions, international trade, jurisdiction issues, road transport (domestic and international), sale of goods and shipbuilding. She has also been instructed in construction and oil and gas disputes.

Julia is a member of the Gibraltar Bar, to which she was called in 1994.

If you are interested in instructing Julia on any particular matter, please contact our clerks to discuss the requirements of the case and her availability.

General Information


Julia is a member of the London and Common Law Bar Association, COMBAR (serving on the Equality and Diversity Committee from 2005-2010), BILA and the London Shipping Law Centre.  She is also a supporting member of the London Maritime Arbitrators’ Association.


Trinity Hall, Cambridge: BA in law (1st) 1978-1981

Julia was awarded a scholarship to Trinity Hall where she gained a first in all three years of the law tripos.  While there, she won a number of law scholarships and prizes from the University and her college, including the George Long Prize for Roman Law (1980); Squire Scholarships for performance in the Law Tripos (1979, 1980); Trinity Hall Henry Bond Prize for Law (1980) and a Trinity Hall Studentship (1981), as well as gaining a tennis blue in all three years and playing the Cambridge University Chamber Orchestra.

While studying for the first year of her degree course she also gained a Certificate of Competent Knowledge in Russian with distinction in the oral examination.

Inner Temple/Inns of Court School of Law, London (1981-2)

While studying for her Bar Finals, Julia was awarded an Inner Temple Major Scholarship and the Hughes Parry Prize for Equity.

Institut de Droit Comparé, Paris, France: Assistante Associée de langue anglaise (1982-3)

Following her Bar Finals, Julia worked at the Institute of Comparative Law in Paris for a year where she taught a course of basic English law and terminology (in French) and became a competent French speaker. She also contributed to the Institute’s then current research project which was subsequently published in June 1989 as La Détermination du Prix dans les Contrats.

In 1985, Julia was invited to serve on the Rawlinson Committee on the Constitution of the Senate of the Inns of Court and the Bar which led to wholesale reform of the governance of the profession and of the relationship between the Inns and the Bar.  She was substantially responsible for the drafting of the report which was published in April 1986.

She frequently lectures on legal topics for the CPD Foundation and firms of solicitors amongst others.


Julia was elected a Governing Bencher of the Inner Temple in July 2012 and serves as Junior Bench Auditor on the Inn's Finance and Executive Committees.

She has served as a Disciplinary Tribunal Chairman for the Council of the Inns of Court (latterly BTAS) since 2009 and was re-appointed for a further term of office in 2012.

Arbitration and Mediation

Julia is accredited as a mediator by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and has successfully mediated in her fields of practice.

She is happy to sit as an arbitrator as required.


French (good), Russian (working knowledge), Italian (working knowledge), German (basic) 

Areas of Practice

Julia Dias QC specialises in the following areas:

Insurance & Reinsurance

Insurance and Reinsurance is one of Julia’s main areas of practice.  Whilst at Eversheds, she carried out advisory and advocacy work on a range of matters, including film finance cases, aggregation issues in relation to pensions mis-selling and the WTC attacks, brokers’ duties and a wide variety of coverage disputes.  Since returning to private practice she has been retained in a number of long-running arbitrations and High Court cases in the insurance/reinsurance field.

Selected cases:

  • AWBG v Lloyd’s Insurers: Julia acted for the claimant in a claim under a marine cargo insurance policy arising from the misappropriation of US$100m of soybeans from a warehouse in Indonesia.  Julia was led by Dominic Kendrick Q.C. but was in sole charge of the day-to-day handling of the case up to trial.  The case, which involved issues of non-disclosure, insurable interest and foreign law settled on very favourable terms after the first day.
  • Julia successfully acted for the respondent mutual P&I Club in a US64m arbitration claim by third party claimants under the Third Parties (Rights against Insurers) Act 1930.  The Club member was insolvent and incapable of complying with the “pay as may be paid” provision in the Club Rules.  The claimants devised a funding scheme which they claimed would satisfy the Rule.  They also sought to challenge the decision of the Club’s directors to reject the claim under another rule.  Sir Gordon Langley as sole arbitrator rejected both arguments and found for the Club on all points.  The case is of note as it considered and rejected a possible way of circumventing the “pay as may be paid rule” and also defined the limits within which an exercise of discretion by the Directors could be challenged.  A decision is currently awaited on the difficult question of whether the respondent’s costs of referring the claim to the Club Directors can properly be claimed as “costs of the arbitration” where consideration by the directors was mandatory before the claim could be referred to arbitration.
  • Julia advised jointly with Gavin Kealey Q.C. on the construction and application of an Airline Hull and Liability Policy.  The insured had leased a number of aircraft.  The lessors alleged that a number of parts were missing, lost or stolen and sought to claim under the insured’s policy to which they were parties by virtue of AVN 67B.  Particular issues included the number of losses and the application of the deductible.
  • Julia has advised a shipowner on creative ways to present an insurance claim for partial repairs and depreciation under a hull and machinery policy.  The vessel suffered damage to its crank shaft, which was sufficiently repaired to allow the vessel to continue trading but could not be restored to its pre-accident condition and, in particular, was at the very limit of acceptability with no further tolerance.  Advice was initially sought on the application of s. 69 of the Marine Insurance Act 1906 and how to maximise the amount recoverable under the insurance policy (between US2-US$4 million).  The crankshaft subsequently failed some years later for an unrelated reason.  The insurers under the later policy paid for the cost of replacement and further advice was sought on how this affected the earlier claim.
  • Julia advised the personal representatives of a former Lloyd’s underwriter who had died after signing a Lloyd’s Hardship Deed.  Advice was provided on the construction of the Hardship Deed and whether there had been a technical breach arising out of various property disposition folloing the death of the deceased’s spouse prior to the date of the Deed.

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Selected cases:

  • Julia has acted for shipowners in a claim for demurrage of over $1.5 million which is being met by a counterclaim for damages for cargo contamination.  The cargo was loaded on to the vessel by STS transfer from a mother vessel.  The principal issue will be which vessel was responsible for the contamination.  The charterers of both vessels have brought alternative claims against both shipowners.  The claim for demurrage will largely depend on the outcome of the contamination claim which raises issues of petrochemical analysis and due diligence in cleaning and maintenance of the vessel.  The case is shortly due for trial.
  • Julia currently acts in arbitration proceedings for disponent owners of a Korean bareboat charterers ship which delayed passage through the Gulf of Aden in 2009 in order to join a Korean naval convoy due to fear of pirates.  The main issue is whether this constituted a reasonable exercise of owners’ contractual discretion to take such anti-piracy measures as they saw fit.  Charterers alleged that owners could and should have joined an earlier non-Korean convoy.  
  • Julia provided practical and effective advice to buyers under two shipsale agreements which resulted in successful delivery of both vessels after a series of disputes had threatened to derail both contracts.
  • Julia acted for claimant shipowners in a long-running High Court battle to obtain payment of hire under long-term time charters of three ships.  She obtained a series of worldwide freezing injunctions totalling over US$31 million.  Following a failure by the defendant company to make asset disclosure as required, contempt proceedings were brought against the company and its chief executive and Julia successfully obtained orders for sequestration of assets and an order for the director to be committed to prison for 18 months.  The company cross-applied to set aside the final freezing order on the grounds that the arrest by the claimant of a sister ship in South Africa constituted breach of the claimant’s undertaking not to obtain similar relief in any other jurisdiction.  Julia successfully persuaded Hamblen J (see [2013] EWHC 895 (Comm)) that an arrest by way of security was not within the scope oof the claimant’s undertaking.  The claimant’s further application for a non-party costs order against the director and the director’s cross-application to set aside service of the contempt proceedings for want of jurisdiction were compromised in a settlement agreement on the eve of the hearing.  The jurisdiction application would have raised a complex and important point on the court’s power to give permission to serve an application notice on a non-party out of the jurisdiction.
  • Julia has acted for owners in a charterparty dispute involving mutual allegations of repudiation resulting from owners’ cancellation of the charter following failure by charterers to narrow the laycan and nominate the load port as required by the charterparty.  The case raised issues of construction of the laycan narrowing and nomination provisions of the charterparty and whether compliance by charterers was a condition precedent to performance of owners’ obligations.  Julia was successful on all the legal points but the case was ultimately lost on the grounds of estoppel.
  • Julia is part of a team currently co-authoring a completely revised edition of Carver on Charterparties and has written the chapter on Time Charters: accessed here.

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General Commercial Disputes

Selected cases:

  • Following the successful outcome of AWBG v Lloyd’s Insurers, Julia and Dominic Kendrick Q.C. were again retained to advise in the early stages of a dispute under long-term (20 year) iron ore supply agreement.  The main issues concerned potential changes to the pricing formula and the respective obligations of the parties as to deliveries.  Julia is separately retained to advise on operational issues arising in relation to deliveries under the supply agreement.
  • AWBG v Lloyd’s Insurers: Julia acted for the claimant in a claim under a marine cargo insurance policy arising from the misappropriation of US$100m of soybeans from a warehouse in Indonesia.  Julia was led by Dominic Kendrick Q.C. but was in sole charge of the day-to-day handling of the case up to trial.  The case, which involved issues of non-disclosure, insurable interest and foreign law settled on very favourable terms after the first day.
  • General Construction Ltd v Chue Wing & Co. Ltd:  Julia represented the appellants in their appeal to the Privy Council from the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Mauritius.  The case arose from the collapse of the appellant’s crane during a cyclone.  The appellant claimed to be entitled to rely on force majeure as a defence to claims brought against by the owners of property damaged by the collapse.  This gave rise to a serious and controversial issue of French law (on which Mauritius law is based) as to the correct test for force majeure. Julia formulated the argument by which Gavin Kealey Q.C was able to persuade the Privy Council to find in the appellant’s favour on this point.


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International Arbitration

Selected cases:

  • Julia is currently retained in an ICC arbitration defending a claim for over €130 million under an agreement for the supply of steel plates to be manufactured into pipes for use in a submarine gas pipeline.  The case raises complex issues of metallurgy, fracture mechanics and continuous casting.

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Professional Negligence

Selected cases:

  • Dunlop Haywards (DHL) Ltd v Erinaceous Insurance Services Ltd, [2009] L.R.I.R. 464 (CA); Julia acted for a broker defending a claim for professional negligence brought against it by its client.  Julia successfully applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to join the insurers into the action after the application had been rejected by the High Court.  Julia also represented the broker at trial where the issues involved rectification of the policy and claims in contract and tort against a sub-broker: see Dunlop Haywards (DHL) Ltd v Erinaceous Insurance Services Ltd, [2010] L.R.I.R. 149.  

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In the Directories

  • A well regarded insurance barrister with a strong commercial practice Legal 500 2015
  • Excellent academically, very helpful and a tenacious advocate. Legal 500 2015

La determination du prix dans les contrats de longue durée

Carver on Charterparties 1st edition (Sweet & Maxell):  Julia is currently working as co-author with other members of chambers on this new work which is intended for publication in 2013