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David  Holloway

David Holloway

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David is a specialist in international trade law and international commercial dispute resolution. He has particular expertise in the field of international arbitration and has represented clients in numerous arbitrations conducted under various international institutional rules and in ad hoc arbitrations. He was one of the first lawyers to conduct an Emergency Arbitration Procedure under the ICC Rules of Arbitration. He has previously been listed as a “leader at the Bar” in the field of international arbitration by Chambers and Partners, referred to his ability to “present complex technical information in a user friendly manner.”

David has appeared as counsel in the Courts of England and Wales at all levels and has extensive experience of working in cases involving issues of commercial law and multi- jurisdictional elements. He has been involved in leading cases involving the enforcement of foreign judgments and awards and various court proceedings ancillary to arbitration.

David has also successfully represented clients in significant negotiations, meditations and other ADR procedures. He is experienced in assisting clients in resolve disputes effectively and in the most appropriate manner/forum.

David’s practice has extended to most aspects of commercial activity. Before qualifying as a lawyer he spent an early part of his career working in the Lloyds marine and energy reinsurance market. He also spent a spell of his early career as a lawyer working in the marine, energy and trade department of a major firm of City Solicitors in London. Throughout his career he has developed particular experience of the oil and gas industry and has been involved in several substantial disputes arising from oil exploration projects. He also has extensive experience of insurance and reinsurance disputes (particularly in the marine and energy sectors), disputes involving sale and carriage of goods, joint ventures and construction projects. He has been instructed in several cases involving State parties and in various matters involving public international law including claims arising under bilateral investment treaties and disputes involving issues of State Immunity before national courts.

David spent part of his career living and working in China (mainland and Hong Kong) and is a registered foreign lawyer (Hong Kong). He sits as an arbitrator and is appointed to the panel of arbitrators by:

  • CIETAC (Beijing)
  • SCIA (Shenzhen)
  • C.A.A (Taipei)
  • and THAC (Bangkok)

He is also a Tribunal Member of the Hong Kong Board of Review (the Hong Kong tax appeals Tribunal).

David is based in the Middle East, where he holds an academic appointment as Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Birmingham and is Director of the LLM in International Commercial Law at the University’s new Dubai campus. He has previously held academic appointments at the University of Edinburgh and at City University of Hong Kong  (where he was the Director of the LLM programme in arbitration and dispute resolution).  He was also formerly Chair Professor of Law at Jiaotong University, Xi’an P.R.C. He has a particular interest in international trade involving China and South East Asia.

David publishes regularly in the field of international trade law and international arbitration. He has been General Editor of International Arbitration Law Review (Sweet & Maxell) since 1999. He has also been co-author of Schmitthoff, the Law and Practice of International Trade Law (Sweet & Maxwell) since 2007. He regularly presents research at international academic and practitioner conferences and has been involved in various training projects for lawyers and commercial organisations in the field of international arbitration and dispute resolution.

David is licensed to represent clients directly under the direct access rules.

International Law

Kuwaiti Oil Tanker Company v Q, A and others.

Instructed on behalf of a state owned oil company in a dispute arising out of a US$130million fraud. Appeared as junior counsel in one aspect of  the case in the House of Lords- reported at (2004) 1 AC 300 : (2003) 3 WLR 14 : (2003) 3 All ER 501 appeared and advised in various related proceedings including various international enforcement applications over a number of years.

Thoresen (Bangkok) Ltd v Fathom Marine & Others

Instructed on behalf of the successful shipowner in a ship sale and purchase dispute involving ships with a value of US$ 42 million. Reported at [2004] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 622.- (whilst working with a firm of solicitors)

Rowan Gorilla V

Instructed on behalf of the successful reinsurer in respect of the unlawful failure to take delivery of an Oil Rig (Rowan Gorilla V).Reported at (2006) 1 Lloyds Rep 500.- (whilst working with a firm of solicitors)

Svenska v Government of Lithuania and Others

Instructed by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania to defend enforcement proceedings of an ICC arbitration award to the value of US$15million. The case arose from a dispute involving a Joint Venture oil exploration agreement entered into at the time of Lithuanian independence (the first such investment contract signed by that State). The defence involved the law of State Immunity and its interrelation with the law relating to the enforcement of arbitral awards. Instructed as part of an international team of lawyers working on parallel enforcement proceedings in England, Lithuania and Germany. Appeared as junior counsel in the English Commercial Court and Court of Appeal hearings and drafted the relevant submissions which were extensive and involved both English and international jurisprudence.

Reported both at first instance  [2006]

1 Lloyds Rep page 181 and  in the Court of Appeal [2006]. EWCA Civ 1529, (2007) 2 WLR 876,: (2007)
1 Lloyd’s Rep 193 : (2006) 2 CLC 797, (2007) QB 886, Times 17/11/ 2006,  Independent, 16/11/ 2006

UNCITRAL Oil Arbitration- Seat Houston

Instructed by an oil major as co- counsel and as part of a team of UK and US lawyers in a claim  of over US$200,000,000. The claim was heard under UNCITRAL arbitration rules in Houston before an eminent panel of arbitrators. I was  heavily involved in all aspects of this claim and provided initial legal advice, much of the drafting of legal submissions and procedural correspondence as well as a substantial part of the oral advocacy. The case also involved working closely with an in house and external team of technical experts.

International Distribution Arbitration (LCIA)

Instructed as counsel by an English chemical company in a dispute with an Asian corporation (value $3.5million). The dispute settled following a two day  mediation immediately prior to a scheduled two week hearing in Osaka.

Iraqi Sanctions Case

Advised in relation to an oil company being investigated in the US for potential breaches of the trade sanctions against Iraq following litigation in the UK and the associated disclosure. Worked as correspondent with US defence counsel in the conduct of US Federal Court regulatory proceedings.

Telecoms Dispute (CEDR Mediation)

Instructed by a major telecoms company in a multimillion pound dispute with a competitor over breach of confidence and data protection issues. Acted as counsel in CEDR mediation which led to successful resolution of dispute (CEDR mediation).

World wide Freezing Injunction

Obtained a world wide freezing order against an overseas company valued at over US$100,000,000.

Vercoe & Others v Rutland

Acted for a private equity firm in a claim for £44million arising out of a corporate take over and floatation and a claim for  breach of confidence and breach of contract. [2010] EWHC 424 (Ch) (High Court, London, Chancery Division)

Oil Trading Arbitration

Acted in US$15million claim arsing out of a long term oil sales agreement. The claim  involved issues of frustration of contract and the construction of force majeure clauses following a State seizure of assets belonging to a Yukos related company. (LMAA arbitration proceedings, London)

Commodities Arbitration

Instructed as counsel for overseas company in a dispute involving and fob contract for the sale of chemicals and the construction of independent inspection certificates. (LMAA arbitration proceedings, London).

Pablo Star v Du

Represented a UAE telecoms company to challenge the jurisdiction of the English Courts. (Instructed by Clyde & Co, Dubai, Court of Appeal, London).

ICC Arbitration (2010)

Instructed to represent a UAE client in ICC proceedings involving the construction and ownership of high value industrial plant (c$500million), the import and export of commodities to the UAE and various associated claims. Worked with a team of English and UAE lawyers. (Instructed by Galadari law firm Dubai. ICC arbitration, London)

LMAA Arbitration

Instructed to advise a client in a long term charterparty dispute involving the carriage of coal. The case involved .the interaction of UK, Indian and Singapore law and various aspects of arbitration procedure relating to appointment of arbitrators. The substantive legal issues included the construction of the clauses relating to nomination of vessels and routes and the obligation to declare cargo, repudiation and fundamental breach of contract and aspects of damages law including the doctrine of minimum performance. (Instructed by Dentons, LMAA arbitration, London)

LCIA Arbitration London

Instructed to advise a Finnish Company in a dispute arising out of the construction of an oil and gas pipeline. The case involved performance guarantees and construction of a complex international joint venture contract. (LCIA Arbitration, London)

Naraji v Shelbourne

Instructed as junior counsel in an international professional negligence action against a US sports surgeon. I had responsibility for pleading and arguing specific issues relating to jurisdiction and conflict of laws. [2011] EWHC 3298. (High Court, London, Queen’s Bench Division)

ICC Arbitration London

Instructed by an Indian Company in a dispute with a large English multinational in relation to an infrastructure project in India. The claim involved parallel proceedings and disputes about jurisdiction. The dispute was successfully resolved pursuant to a mediation under the ICC rules of conciliation. (ICC Mediation, London)

ICC Emergency Arbitrator Proceedings

Represented party in one of the first hearings under the new pre arbitral emergency procedure introduced in the ICC rules 2012. The application was for emergency interim relief in a case involving fraud in a commodities case. (ICC EAP, London)

Iranian Sanctions

Represented an overseas client in a dispute arising from high value sales transaction which was embargoed by a foreign government by virtue of international sanctions and assisting with pre arbitral dispute resolution. (LCIA, London, Governing Law CISG)


Advising an investor in claims against a former Soviet Republic in relation to the cancellation of various construction projects. Advising on the conduct of 3 interrelated arbitration claims against States/ State entities and related parties. (Related arbitrations ICC Rules Switzerland and ICSID rules)

Insolvency & Restructuring

International Fraud case

Worldwide enforcement of an English Commercial Court judgment for over US$100 million. Applications for mareva and garnishee orders. Assisting with enforcement work in various jurisdictions. Working in conjunction with receivers appointed by overseas courts.

International Arbitration proceedings

Arising out of an oil exploration contract (UNCITRAL rules).Successful challenge to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal over non contracting affiliate parties within Respondent’s corporate group and successful defence of substantive claim. (instructed directly by international oil company)

International Arbitration proceedings

rising out of a long term coal charterparty (LMAA rules). Successfully resisted a challenge to the jurisdiction of the Tribunal based on Respondent’s involvement in Singapore Court insolvency procedures. Coordinating court and arbitral proceedings. (Instructed by Dentons)

Securities fraud case (DIFC Court)

Successful security for costs applications (in total US$1.2 million) and subsequent strike out application in US$30 million claims based on the financial position of Claimant. (Instructed by Allen & Overy)

Appointments & Memberships

  • CIETAC (panel arbitrator appointed May 2017)
  • LCIA (institution appointed arbitrator 2015)
  • Shenzhen Commission for International Arbitration (appointed to the panel of foreign arbitrators 2015)
  • Thailand Arbitration Centre (appointed as a member of the advisory committee 2015 and as panel arbitrator August 2017)
  • Chinese Arbitration Association (Taipei).
  • Part time Tribunal Member at the tax appeals Tribunal (Hong Kong Board of Review- Inland Revenue Ordinance)
  • Senior Lecturer and in Law and Director of the LLM in International Commercial Law, University of Birmingham


  • MA in Law Cambridge University (squire law scholar)
  • Master of Law and Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • MCIArb


  • International Arbitration Law Review (Sweet & Maxwell). – General Editor (1998-present).
  • Co- author of Schmitthoff: The law and Practice of International Trade (11th Edition Sweet & Maxwell September 2007, 12th Edition 2012, 13th Edition in progress to publish in 2019).
  • Avoiding Duplicative Litigation about Arbitral Awards within the EU. Oxford Journal of International Dispute Settlement (2011, 2 435-457).
  • Retour sur la comity: les origines de la
comity au carrefour du droit international privé et du droit international public(Journal du droit international (Clunet), with Thomas Schultz, December 2011 Volume 3 pp.863-886).
  • Retour sur la comity: la comity dans l’histoire du droit international privé (Journal du droit international (Clunet) with Thomas Schultz, March 2012 Volume 1 pp. 572-595).
  • Research Handbook on Sanctions and International Law (ed. van den Herik). Book chapter, “The impact of International Economic Sanctions in International Arbitration”; Edward Elgar. July 2017- Chapter 14.
  • Enforcement of Judgments in the One Belt One Road Area, Book chapter for Cambridge University Press ,“One Belt One Road One Dispute Resolution clause”, with Michael Hwang SC (submitted, to publish in 2018/19 editors Shan, Su et al.). Now published also in Michael Hwang SC: collected essays in Dispute Resolution, December 2018.
  • The Cambridge Research Compendium of International Arbitration. Book Chapter, “State Control of Arbitration by National Courts” (submitted for publication in 2019), editors Ferrari, Bjorklund, Kroell).
  • The New Chinese International Commercial Court and the Future of Dispute Resolution in the Belt and Road Initiative. 20188:Vindabona Journal of International Commercial Law and Arbitration (2018) 22 VJ (2) pp. 96-125.

David Holloway is regulated by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) and holds a current practising certificate. If you are not satisfied with the service provided, please click here.

Areas of Law


“He is seriously clever and a true expert on matters of international trade, oil and gas and the procedure and tactics in high value international arbitration matters.” Middle East: The English Bar, Commercial, Legal 500 2021


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