Max is an international Dispute Resolution, Arbitration and Mediation specialist. He handles commercial disputes, including insolvency and corporate recovery, international trade and commodities and shipping law.
Max trained in London and moved to Hong Kong in 1998. He advises and acts as advocate in domestic and international commercial disputes, in particular in disputes concerning commercial sale and delivery contracts, enforcing payment or advising on the problems associated with late delivery, guarantees and letters of credit, contamination or product specification disputes, technical disputes (usually concerned with ship construction or with quantification of damages) and maritime contracts (charterparties, bills of lading, COAs, marine policies, abandoned or disputed cargoes, including the enforcement of liens and resolving issues over title, etc.). Max also advises banks and hedge funds on issues arising from the insolvency of shipping companies, debt acquisition and restructuring. He has considerable experience advising debtors and creditors on the jurisdictional, legal and practical implications of insolvency within the shipping industry, including presenting and defending winding up petitions.
Max also acts in a range of substantial fraud disputes relating to misappropriation of assets and deceit and bribery claims. He is particularly skilled at obtaining and enforcing interim injunctions. Much of his workload has an international flavour.
My matter highlights
- Advised a U.S. leading commodities company in the commencement of three European arbitrations (two English arbitrations in London and one ICC arbitration in Switzerland). Claiming a total of over USD 500 million.
Advised a client in Netherlands in an HKIAC arbitration in relation to a dispute regarding whether or not an anchorage near Shanghai on the Yangtse River was safe for a ship to conduct loading operations given the high level of fishing activity in the area at the time.
Advised an Australia’s largest pipe supply company in relation to a disputed claim of U.S. 10 million multi-faceted and multi-jurisdictional dispute.
Advised one of the world’s largest fleets on the implications of judgments made against certain group companies in excess of US$300 million and dealing with global enforcement and charter default issues.
Advising in relation to the global recovery of US$250 million in damages owed under various commodity contracts.
Advised a trading house in Geneva regarding a dispute under a CFR contract for the sale and purchase of steam coal against the buyers, a subsidiary of a major Chinese State Owned Enterprise.
Advised a major commodity trader in relation to a disputed claim of US$50 million under a standby letter of credit issued by a European bank.
Advised various European banks in the arrest and sale of vessels in Hong Kong.
Advised the Owners and P&I Club of a tanker that exploded in Hong Kong during STS operations.
My testimonials and accolades
“Litigation Star - Shipping ”
“Ranked Band 1: one of the top three shipping litigators in the region; his depth of knowledge and strategic thinking is very effective.”
“Ranked Band 1: commended for his "timeliness, eloquence and effectiveness," with sources adding: "He's commercial, highly experienced, completely dedicated and always gets the right result."”
“Ranked Band 1: "hands-on, attentive and really on the ball."”
“Ranked Band 1: "maintains a stellar reputation among market sources", who describe him as "excellent, able and very commercial in the advice he gives." Heralded by further interviewees as "a very experienced litigator."”
“Ranked Tier 1: "master tactician’ Max Cross, who has ‘in-depth knowledge of the local arbitrators and local Bar."”
“Ranked Band 1: "impresses clients with his "incisiveness and clarity of thought", as well as his wealth of experience in shipping disputes."”
“Ranked Band 1: "in a dispute I want Max on my side; he's really very good." Another client notes: "I'm impressed. He's very diligent and experienced, and his advice is accurate and to the point."”
“Ranked Band 1: "very dedicated and technically proficient." and "has in-depth knowledge on the legal side, and his ability to quickly place anything into an industry context, which leads to a better overall approach to dispute resolution."”
“Ranked Band 1: "an expert in cross-border shipping and trade disputes."”
My recent publications
News / Winding up petitions and arbitration agreements: a comparison of the Singapore and HK approaches
15-06-2020 / Maritime
Recent decisions of the Hong Kong and Singapore courts show different approaches to the issue of when a winding-up petition will be allowed to proceed in circumstances where there is an arbitration agreement.
News / Dayang (HK) Marine Shipping Co, Ltd v. Asia Master Logistics Ltd 
15-06-2020 / Maritime
In Dayang (HK) Marine Shipping Co, Ltd v. Asia Master Logistics Ltd  HKCFI 311, the Hong Kong Court of First Instance declined to dismiss a winding-up petition where a debtor was unable to show the existence of a bona fide dispute on substantial grounds, notwithstanding the presence of an arbitration clause in the underlying contract.
News / Hong Kong Court affirms rule that arbitration clauses must be expressly incorporated into bills of lading
07-04-2020 / Maritime
OCBC Wing Hang Bank Ltd v. Kai Sen Shipping Co Ltd (Yue You 903)  HKCFI 375 This recent Hong Kong case confirms the rule that express wording must be used in order to incorporate an arbitration clause from a charterparty into a bill of lading. General words of incorporation will not be sufficient.
News / When is an owner obliged to commence the approach voyage to the loadport?
29-11-2018 / Maritime
CSSA Chartering and Shipping Services SA v. Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd (Pacific Voyager)  EWCA Civ 2413 The Court of Appeal has recently given its decision in this case, which will be of interest to all those involved in the chartering of vessels on a voyage basis. The Court of Appeal upheld the Commercial Court decision and found that the Owners’ failure to commence the approach voyage to the loadport by a particular date was a breach of the charterparty, notwithstanding that the charterparty did not give an ETA or Expected Ready to Load date.
News / Hanjin insolvency - what to expect from the fallout
07-09-2016 / Maritime
South Korea’s biggest shipping company, Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd filed for court receivership in South Korea on Wednesday 31 August 2016 after losing the support of its banks, setting the stage for what has now become a motley situation. Some jurisdictions are refusing to allow Hanjin’s vessels to berth at their ports (on concerns that Hanjin cannot pay the port fees) while some of Hanjin’s vessels have instructions not to berth (for fear of ship arrest).
News / Shipping E-Brief February 2016
17-02-2016 / Maritime
The Shipping E-brief is a quarterly publication providing you with key information on legal decisions and developments in shipping and related business areas.
News / Make sure your commercial contracts cover all the issues (and don’t expect the courts to help you if you forget)
16-02-2016 / Maritime
Marks and Spencer plc (Appellant) v. BNP Paribas Securities Services Trust Company (Jersey) Limited and another (Respondents)  UKSC 72 The UK Supreme Court has clarified the English law approach to implying terms into contracts, adopting a restrictive approach. Although not a case relating directly to the shipping industry, the decision has important implications for all commercial contracts.
News / Charterers walk away from a voyage charter – how much can owners recover?
02-11-2015 / Maritime
Louis Dreyfus Commodities Suisse SA v. MT Maritime Management BV (MTM Hong Kong).  EWHC 2505 (Comm) The fundamental principle governing the assessment of damages under English law is the compensatory principle, i.e. that damages should compensate the victim of the breach for the loss of their contractual bargain. In applying the compensatory principle in this case, the English Court departed from the normally used measure of damages where the charterers wrongfully terminate a voyage charter. In doing so, it significantly increased the owners’ recovery.
News / Exclusive English jurisdiction clause in bill of lading leads to anti-suit injunction
25-06-2015 / Maritime
Hin-Pro International Logistics Ltd v Compania Sud Americana De Vapores SA 2015 EWCA Civ 401The Court of Appeal has confirmed the Commercial Court's finding that an English law and jurisdiction clause in a bill of lading was an exclusive jurisdiction clause and upheld the anti-suit injunction granted by the lower court
News / Shipping E-Brief Spring 2015
01-05-2015 / Maritime
The Shipping E-brief is a quarterly publication providing you with key information on legal decisions and developments in shipping and related business areasnbspSign up here to receive the E-Brief by email each quarterOur Spring edition of the Shipping E-Brief is full of articles dealing with topical shipping issues Download the E-Brief Spring (PDF)You can also subscribe to our podcasts with iTunes
News / Non-payment of hire - what (and how) can owners recover?
02-04-2015 / Maritime
Spar Shipping AS v. Grand China Logistics Holding (Group) Co. Ltd  EWHC 718 (Comm) The Commercial Court has recently made some key findings of fundamental importance to the shipping industry.
News / Assessing measure of damages in early redelivery case
31-03-2015 / Maritime
Maestro Bulk Limited v Cosco Bulk Carrier Co Ltd (Great Creation) 2014 EWHC 3978 (Comm)The most significant shipping decision in 2008 was undoubtedly the Achilleas, in which the House of Lords overturned a decision by London arbitrators to award damages representing the loss of a follow on fixture due to late redelivery of the vessel The House of Lords confirmed the orthodox view that damages are limited to losses suffered during the overrun period only Similar issues were explored in a recent judgment from the Commercial Court in the Great Creation, which concerned an early redelivery
News / Shipping E-Brief Winter 2015
29-01-2015 / Maritime
The Shipping E-brief is a quarterly publication providing you with key information on legal decisions and developments in shipping and related business areasnbspSign up here to receive the E-Brief by email each quarterOur Winter edition of the Shipping E-Brief is full of articles dealing with topical shipping issues Download the PDF versionYou can also subscribe to our podcasts with iTunes
News / When an English jurisdiction clause in a bill of lading will be deemed exclusive
28-01-2015 / Maritime
Compania Sud Americana de Vapores SA v. Hin-Pro International Logistics  EWHC 3632 (Comm) The facts of the underlying dispute in this case are less interesting than the Court’s findings that the English law and jurisdiction clause in the bills of lading was an exclusive jurisdiction clause and consequently that a permanent anti-suit injunction should be granted in relation to proceedings brought by cargo interests in China under the bills. Of particular relevance in the Court’s opinion was the fact that, in agreeing to English law as the governing law of the bills, the parties should also be taken to have intended that the English courts should have exclusive jurisdiction. This is a particularly interesting decision, given that the jurisdiction clause in question provided for other courts to have jurisdiction in certain circumstances.
News / Berth damage
22-07-2014 / Maritime
Terminal Contenitori Porto di Genova SpA v. China Shipping Container Lines Limited (Xin Xia Men)  EWHC 1629 (Comm) Instances of vessels making contact with and damaging a berth are fairly common. Disputed claims on liability are much rarer, given that often it is very clear that the vessel bears 100% of the fault. In this recent first instance decision, the High Court was asked to consider allegations of negligence directed at the terminal.
Insights / No notice required before suspending performance under Supplytime 1989
21-01-2013 / Maritime