an immensely persuasive and smooth advocate
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Practice Profile
General Information
Areas of Practice
In the Directories
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Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC


Year of Call: 1993
Year of Silk: 2012

email: rsabbenclare@7kbw.co.uk


Practice Profile



The 2014 edition of Chambers and Partners says of Rebecca: “since taking silk in 2012, she has continued to develop an impressive and much-respected commercial dispute practice”.

Rebecca maintains her specialist practices in shipping and insurance / reinsurance law but is also, and increasingly, known for the breadth of her commercial and professional negligence practice. Current cases include a major auditors’ negligence dispute (Cattles v. PwC) and two high value ICC arbitrations acting for a Middle Eastern government concerning oil and gas exploration rights.  

Rebecca’s recent Court appearances include a successful application to set aside a freezing injunction on jurisdictional grounds, a hearing in the Supreme Court raising fundamental questions about the nature of insurance / reinsurance claims and the order in which they accrue (Teal v. Berkley) and a hearing concerning an anti-suit injunction / parallel proceedings in New York and London  (ICSOP v. Equitas).

Rebecca is known for giving clear and practical advice. She is also highly regarded her advocacy, which is an aspect of her practice that she particularly relishes.  

In recent years the Directories have said:

“She gives very clear advice, and is very easy to work with” (Chambers & Partners, 2014 ed.)

“Also popular is the “incredibly impressive” Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC” (Chambers & Partners, 2013 ed.)

She is “thorough, approachable and practical” (Chambers & Partners, 2012 ed.)

She is “much sought after because she has “total command of her brief and focuses on the important issues in a case much better than most”” (Chambers & Partners 2012 ed.)

She is a “persuasive and straightforward advocate” and has “that indefinable factor that makes judges sit up and listen” (Chambers & Partners 2011 ed.)
 
Rebecca is listed as a recommended silk in the field of insurance and reinsurance in the 2014 Legal 500 Directory and in the field of commercial dispute resolution in the 2014 Chambers & Partners Directory. Before taking silk she was listed in directories as a leading junior in, variously, the fields of shipping, insurance and reinsurance, commercial dispute resolution and professional negligence. She was short-listed for Chambers & Partners’ award for Insurance Junior of the Year in 2009. There is a longer list of praise for Rebecca in the Directories at the end of this CV.
Rebecca appears regularly in the Commercial Court in London. She also appears in many arbitrations. These include arbitrations under LMAA, LCIA, ARIAS and ICC rules and on the Bermuda Form.

Rebecca is a supporting member of the LMAA and is willing to accept appointments as arbitrator.


General Information



M.A. (Oxon).

Scholar, New College Oxford

Grays Inn Senior and Junior Scholarships

Member of COMBAR. Formerly served on the COMBAR Executive Committee

Areas of Practice


Rebecca Sabben-Clare QC specialises in the following areas:


General Commercial Disputes


Rebecca is listed as a leading silk in the field of Commercial Dispute Resolution in the 2014 edition of Chambers & Partners. Rebecca has a diverse commercial practice. Her expertise and experience includes claims under contracts for oil exploration and production, letters of credit, hedge fund management, share sale agreements and long term supply contracts. Her clients include banks, hedge funds and major commodities trading companies.

Selected cases:

  • Cattles Limited v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP – Ongoing audit negligent claim following the collapse of the Cattles Group, formerly one of the largest providers of consumer credit finance in the UK. Due for trial in 2015
  • Ongoing ICC arbitrations concerning oil exploration and production. Rebecca acts for a Middle Eastern government.
  • Application to set aside freezing injunction on jurisdictional grounds in August 2013
  • Rok Plc v. S Harrison Group [2011] EWHC 270  - Preliminary issues on construction of terms in a Share Sale Agreement
  • Curtis v. Lockheed Martin [2008] EWHC 2691 – Trial of claim for breach of warranties under Share Sale Agreement
  • Graham Calvert v. William Hill Credit Limited [2008] EWHC 455 – Bookmakers’ duties of care in relation to “self-exclusion”.
  • BBC Worldwide Ltd v. Bee Load Ltd [2007] EWHC 134 – Construction of contracts for potential exploitation of archive recordings.
  • Warner Chappell v. Bolton – Action against singer/songwriter brought by insurers following breach of copyright action. Liability under contract.

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International Arbitration


Much of Rebecca’s recent work has been in the field of International Arbitration. She has appeared as counsel in LMAA, LCIA, ARIAS, Bermuda Form and ICC arbitrations.  Rebecca is familiar with issues concerning jurisdiction and the proper conduct of arbitrations. She has settled and appeared on applications for permission to appeal from arbitration awards and applications to remit for misconduct. 

Recent arbitrations include:

  • An ICC arbitration concerning oil exploration and production rights. Rebecca is instructed in 2 further ongoing ICC arbitrations for the same clients, also concerning oil rights.
  • An LCIA arbitration concerning the condition of a floating oil storage and production unit.
  • LMAA arbitration concerning long term charter of new build vessel. This case included an application to Court under s.32 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to determine the Tribunal’s jurisdiction.
  • LMAA arbitrations concerning ship sale disputes.
Rebecca is willing to accept appointments as an arbitrator. She is a supporting member of the LMAA.
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Insurance & Reinsurance


Rebecca is listed as a leading silk in the field of insurance and reinsurance in the 2014 edition of the Legal 500 Guide.  She acts on behalf of both insureds and insurers.  She has is familiar with a wide range of insurance and reinsurance policies. Recent instructions include cases concerning political risks insurance, financial institutions insurance, professional indemnity insurance and a cargo open cover. She has experience of Bermuda Form arbitrations.

Selected cases:

  • Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania v. Equitas Insurance Ltd [2014] Lloyd’s Rep. IR 195 – parallel proceedings in England and New York. Whether New York proceedings should be restrained by anti-suit injunction or the English action stayed.
  • Teal Assurance Co v. Berkley Insurance (Europe) Ltd [2013] UKSC 57; [2013] 4 All ER 643 – order in which claims attached to a programme of liability insurance and reinsurance. The case raised fundamental questions about the legal nature of an insurance or reinsurance claim.
  • Quadra v. Ergo – 2 claims under a cargo open cover for loss / damage to soybeans imported into Indonesia. Application for permission to amend successfully resisted in September 2012, see [2012] EWHC 2687. Claims settled in 2013.
  • Atlasnavios –Navegacao Lda v. Navigators Insurance Co – preliminary issues concerning effect of exclusions under standard Institute War and Strikes clauses
  • Orient-Express Hotels Limited -v-  Assicurazioni Generali SPA t/a Generali Global Risk [2010] Lloyd's Rep. IR 531 - business interruption arbitration involving the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the New Orleans luxury hotel industry.
  • AC Ward v. Catlin [2010] Lloyd’s Rep. IR 695 – Claim for indemnity following theft of goods from warehouse. Issues of breach of warranty and non-disclosure.
  • Major Bermuda Form reinsurance arbitration, settled in 2010.
  • Markel Capital Ltd -v- Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung Ag And Another [2009] Lloyd's Rep. IR 433 - Reinsurance — Directors’ and officers’ cover — Whether claims cooperation clause incorporated into reinsurance agreement — Whether reinsureds in breach of clause — Summary judgment.
  • Mopani Copper Mines Plc –v- Millennium Underwriting Ltd [2009] Lloyd's Rep IR 158 - Reinsurance  - Slip scratched for Construction/Erection and Operational Risks - Condition for extension of coverage running from date of commissioning of final building and for operational risks inserted subject to approval by reinsurers - Condition later agreed with deletion of cover for operational risks
  • Absalom -v- TCRU [2006] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 129 a series of disputes concerning payment of brokerage on personal accident and medical accident business
  • Hollywood 4 and 5 – Film finance insurance litigation.
  • The Metro Litigation – Recovery and insurance actions arising from collapse of oil trading company.
  • The "Starsea” [2001] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 389 – Scope of duty of utmost good faith at the claims stage and effect of s.39(5) of the Marine Insurance Act 1906 (House of Lords).
  • D.P. Mann v. Lexington [2001] 1 Lloyd’s Rep.1 – Reinsurance, aggregation of claims.

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Shipping


Rebecca appears regularly in the Commercial Court and in LCIA and LMAA arbitrations. Her experience and expertise includes disputes concerning charterparties, bills of lading, long term COAs, shipbuilding, ship sale and ship finance.

Selected cases:

  • LCIA arbitration concerning the condition of an FPSO. Claims under MOA. Arbitration heard in 3 stages, 2010-2012.
  • 4 recent arbitrations under shipbuilding contracts, settled in 2012 and 2013.
  • LMAA arbitration concerning long term charter of new build vessel. Settled 2013.
  • LMAA arbitration  concerning STS transfers, preliminary issues heard August 2012.
  • The “Northgate” [2008] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 24 – Construction of charterparty laytime/demurrage provisions; waiver and estoppel.
  • "Darfur" Blue Nile Shipping Company Ltd. And Another -v- Iguana Shipping And Finance Inc. And Others [2004] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 469 - Limitation of liability - Collision in River Seine - Time-charterers of colliding vessel bringing action against owners of vessel - Vessel owners bringing limitation action and constituting limitation fund
  • "Dynamic" Ocean Marine Navigation Limited –v- Koch Carbon Inc. [2003] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 693 - Charter-party (Time) - Redelivery - Hire - Vessel arrested by charterers - Whether hire continued to be payable - Whether charterers in repudiatory breach of contract in redelivering vessel - Owners not accepting repudiation - Whether owners bound to accept charterers’ repudiation and sue for damages - Whether owners were entitled to recover damages for repudiatory breach equivalent to the hire for the period of the arrest.
  • "Hill Harmony"  Whistler International Ltd. -v- Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd.; Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. -v- Tokai Shipping Co. Ltd. [1998] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 367 - Charter-party (Time) - Employment - Navigation - Charterers ordered vessel to follow great circle route - Master disregarded orders and followed more southerly route - Voyage took longer and more bunkers consumed

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Professional Negligence


Rebecca has a growing practice in the field of professional negligence. She has experience of claims for professional negligence against accountants and auditors, solicitors, insurance brokers, engineers, bookmakers and valuers.

Selected cases:

  • Cattles Limited v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP – Ongoing audit negligent claim following the collapse of the Cattles Group, formerly one of the largest providers of consumer credit finance in the UK. Due for trial in 2015
  • Quadra v. Ergo – contingent claims against insurance brokers. Settled 2013
  • Graham Calvert v. William Hill Credit Limited [2008] EWHC 455 – Bookmakers’ duties of care in relation to “self-exclusion”.
  • Absalom -v- TCRU [2006] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 129 a series of disputes concerning payment of brokerage on personal accident and medical accident business
  • Somatra v. Sinclair Roche & Temperley [2003] EWCA.1474 – Solicitors’ negligence action concerning conduct of a marine insurance claim.

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In the Directories



  • “gives very clear advice, and is very easy to work with” Chambers UK 2014 
  •  “incredibly impressive” Chambers UK 2013
  • “thorough, approachable and practical” Chambers UK 2012
  •  “she has total command of her brief” Chambers UK 2012
  • “focuses on the important issues in a case much better than most” Chambers UK 2012
  • "persuasive and straightforward advocate. Chambers UK 2011
  • "thorough and pragmatic Chambers UK 2011
  • "She has that indefinable factor that makes judges sit up and listen. Chambers UK 2011
  • “someone who is really able to hold one’s attention.” Chambers UK 2010
  • “an immensely persuasive and smooth advocate” Chambers UK 2010
  • “a great all-round junior” Legal 500 2010
  • “great lawyer and advocate” Legal 500 2010
  • “practices as silk level” Legal 500 2010
  • “very hard-working and detail focussed” Legal 500 2009
  • “extremely persuasive and charming advocate” Legal 500 2009
  • “accessible, and delivers on time” Legal 500 2009
  • “terrific and commercial” Chambers UK 2009
  • “an utterly reliable performer who handles heavyweight matters with an air of effortless ease.” Chambers UK 2009
  • “feisty and tough. Legal 500 2008
  • “confident style of advocacy.” Legal 500 2008
  • “incisive mind” allows her to “translate into paper very effectively” Legal 500 2008
  • “extremely good.” “technically superb.” Chambers UK 2008
  • “charming, tremendously poised advocacy.” “Nothing seems to faze her.”  Chambers UK 2008
  • ““highly recommended” by solicitors, described as instilling “confidence and vigour” into any case.” Chambers UK 2006