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Gillie Belsham

Global Head of Aviation, Joint Head of Energy & Infrastructure, Partner London T +44 (0) 20 7481 0010
gilliebelsham@incegd.com

Department Aviation & travel, Energy & infrastructure, Commercial disputes

Gillie Belsham

You, Gillie Belsham
& Ince, in any case

Gillie has spent her professional life, over three decades, honing her dispute resolution skills across a number of sectors and for over the last two decades has focussed on two sectors – Aviation and Energy.

Aviation

Gillie heads the firm’s global Aviation practice and is a leading disputes lawyer highly respected for her intellectual strength, client care and results focus to the Aviation sector.

As a disputes and advisory lawyer, she advises a range of clients from the industry including airlines, operators, financiers, insurers, OEMs and MROs on commercial and insured matters.

Most of the cases in which Gillie is instructed deal with aviation liability or coverage issues with complex international problems, and usually on matters of very considerable importance, both financial and reputational to the clients involved. She is first choice for some of the most difficult cases the industry faces and is known for her thoughtful and authoritative consideration of all the angles. She has just finished an extremely confidential, difficult and high value matter within the industry. She is also very much the ‘go to’ choice for large ‘bet the company’ commercial disputes in the aviation sector where she is often brought in to strengthen a client’s negotiating hand at which she has an excellent track record.

She is known for her formidable case handling and strategic direction skills in relation particularly to large and complex cases whether in litigation/arbitration, or at the earlier stages, and her relentless focus on getting her clients the best deal. At present many large cases do not actually litigate or arbitrate as the stakes are simply too high to allow them do so; nonetheless they require consummate skill to get them to the stage where the parties can commercially settle their differences in private. For this reason much of Gillie’s work is confidential. Clients frequently describe her as ‘absolutely at the top of her game’.

Energy & Infrastructure

Gillie acts for clients on a number of topics, most particularly heavyweight complex litigation, international arbitration and mediation in pursuit of their strategic commercial and contractual objectives at which she has an excellent record of achieving success over the years. She advises clients in the energy and offshore sector, mainly in the US Gulf, and particularly those in the offshore marine and construction sectors.

Gillie always concentrates on where the money is for client - defending it or getting it - and is often brought in to strengthen the client’s hand in the commercial negotiations which are chosen in preference to litigation or arbitration at which she also has a considerable reputation.

Over the last few years Gillie’s offshore work has focused mainly on working with clients on their termination problems and assisting them in finding appropriate solutions, be that commercial negotiated settlements or arbitration/litigation.

Recognition

Gillie is recognised as one of the world's leading practitioners for Aviation by leading industry publications including Chambers & Partners, Legal 500, Who's Who Legal: Transport 2015, London Super Lawyers magazine (2013 and 2014), part of Thomson Reuters. Gillie has also been nominated as one of the Top Aviation Practitioners in UK in the 2020 Aviation Expert Guide.

My testimonials and accolades

Gillie Belsham

“Has experience handling liability claims following high-profile aviation disasters, notably advising manufacturers and their insurers. She also advises on passenger claims brought under EC 261, with one source highlighting: 'Her strategy and tactical skills are outstanding.'”

- Chambers and Partners

Gillie Belsham

“Gillie Belsham – a true market leader, hugely knowledgeable and experienced, commercially astute and loved by clients, great tactician. Daniel Boden – very clever lawyer, diligent with remarkable attention to detail, technologically knowledgeable.”

- The Legal 500

Gillie Belsham

“Gillie Belsham – very calm and capable. Excellent crisis management. Great at assembling a team with the skill sets required for complex litigation.”

- The Legal 500

Gillie Belsham

“Anna Anatolitou and the head of department Gillie Belsham. Both are personable, highly experienced and very thorough. They have put their heart and soul into servicing the client.”

- The Legal 500

Gillie Belsham

“...Has brilliant tactical skills and superb commercial judgement.”

- The Legal 500

Gillie Belsham

“Singled out by sources for her 'straightforward advice' and 'always gets the results her clients want.'”

- Chambers

Gillie Belsham

“Masterful, tactically astute and commercially savvy.”

- The Legal 500 UK

Gillie Belsham

“...Hugely knowledgeable, experienced and is not afraid to make big tactical calls in the conduct of a case.”

- The Legal 500 UK, 2020

Gillie Belsham

“Gillie Belsham is a 'very professional, very thorough and constructive litigator', according to clients, who add that she is 'very good at working out complex legal problems.”

- Chambers

Gillie Belsham

“Gillie Belsham is a class act.”

- The Legal 500 UK, 2020

My recent publications

News / Update on the impact of the Coronavirus on the Aviation Industry

06-03-2020 / Aviation & Travel

Impact The COVID-19 outbreak has already had a severe impact on the aviation sector. “Air traffic has collapsed on key Asian routes and it is rippling throughout the air transport network globally, even between countries without major outbreaks of COVID-19.”[1] Flybe yesterday announced its collapse, in part it says due to the effect of coronavirus upon bookings. Airlines are experiencing a serious decline in demand: “one carrier has taken a 26% reduction in passenger numbers across its entire operation and a major carrier has reported booking to Italy collapsing to zero with customers demanding refunds. Many carriers are reporting 50% no-shows across several markets, future bookings are softening and carriers are reacting with flight cancellation, crew being given unpaid leave, freezing of pay increases and plans for aircraft to be grounded.”[2]

Update on the impact of the Coronavirus on the Aviation Industry

News / Are liquidated damages payable post-termination?

28-06-2019 / Energy & Infrastructure

In Triple Point Technology, Inc. v PTT Public Company Limited [2019] EWCA Civ 230, the Court of Appeal has clarified a line of conflicting authorities on the question of whether liquidated damages can be claimed following the termination of a contract. The Court of Appeal held that the relevant provision did not, on its wording, apply where the contract was terminated and the original contractor failed to complete the works. It is a salient reminder of the need to construe liquidated damages clauses using ordinary principles of interpretation, rather than proceeding on the assumption that liquidated damages will be payable post-termination.

Are liquidated damages payable post-termination?

Insights / Brexit and aviation

04-08-2016 / Aviation & Travel

The UK’s referendum vote to leave the European Union is likely to have a far-reaching impact on the UK aviation industry. From a constitutional standpoint, the “Brexit” referendum is considered an expression of the electorate’s opinion; it is not by itself legally binding. Nevertheless, the ruling Conservative government has committed itself politically to put it into practice and to set in motion the process for the UK to withdraw from membership of the EU.

Brexit and aviation

News / Future impact of EU legislation affecting the aviation industry

04-08-2016 / Aviation & Travel

The EU has produced a large body of regulations affecting the aviation industry, including rules concerning workers’ rights, data protection, competition law, safety, security, environmental protection, airline insolvency. and passenger rights.

Future impact of EU legislation affecting the aviation industry

Insights / Brexit and aviation: Possible solutions for UK carriers

04-08-2016 / Aviation & Travel

One solution for a UK carrier would be to restructure operations so as to meet the conditions of Regulation 1008. This would involve changes to the location of the airline’s principal place of business from the UK to a place in the EU and changes of its ownership structure to ensure that more than 50% of effective control is held by EU nationals.

Brexit and aviation: Possible solutions for UK carriers

Insights / Status of UK Carriers after Brexit

04-08-2016 / Aviation & Travel

Under EU Parliament and Council Regulation 1008/2008 (“Regulation 1008”) no undertaking established in the Community is permitted to carry by air passengers, mail, and/or cargo for remuneration and or/hire unless it has been granted an operating licence. It confers the status of “Community carrier” to any airline that meets the conditions of the Regulation, which include:

Status of UK Carriers after Brexit

Insights / Brexit and aviation: Impact on Transatlantic services

04-08-2016 / Aviation & Travel

The “Open Skies” agreement of 2007 between the EU and the USA permits carriers from both parties to operate air services between any point in the USA to any point in the EU (and vice versa). When the UK withdraws from the EU, British carriers will no longer benefit from the Open Skies agreement, which is likely to have far-reaching effects. After the UK exit, services between the USA and the UK will be subject to whatever bilateral air services agreement exists between the two countries. Access to Heathrow was a particular demand by the US during the Open Skies negotiations and it remains to be seen how the USA and the UK will regulate reciprocal rights for their carriers after Brexit.

Brexit and aviation: Impact on Transatlantic services

News / The position of air services from British overseas territories and dependencies

04-08-2016 / Aviation & Travel

The UK’s overseas dependencies includes certain territories with important roles in the aviation industry. One example is the Cayman Islands, with special fiscal arrangements which are used for the financing of commercial aircraft.

The position of air services from British overseas territories and dependencies

News / European Commission confirms that the Brussels attacks were "extraordinary circumstances" for the purposes of Regulation 261

15-04-2016 / Aviation & Travel

On the morning of 22 March 2016, three coordinated nail bombings occurred in Belgium: two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem; and one at Maalbeek metro station in Brussels. 32 people were murdered and over 300 people were injured. Another bomb was found during a search of the airport. The attacks were the deadliest act of terrorism in Belgium’s history. The airport remained closed until Sunday 3 April.

European Commission confirms that the Brussels attacks were "extraordinary circumstances" for the purposes of Regulation 261

News / Terrorist attack at Brussels Airport

11-04-2016 / Aviation & Travel

The attack at Brussels Airport on 22 March reminded us all that although from a security standpoint, airports are among the most regulated and controlled public spaces in the world, terrorist attacks can still occur. Aviation-specific security regulations such as Regulation (EC) 300/2008 focus on airside spaces, the non-public spaces of airports accessible only to air passengers who hold a valid boarding pass. These regulations are designed to prevent unlawful interference with air transport – a prominent target of terrorists for several decades. Since 2001, these aviation specific regulations have been harmonised and coordinated at EU level.

Terrorist attack at Brussels Airport

News / Are banks and other lenders persons with significant control under a new transparency regime for English companies?

08-04-2016 / Aviation & Travel

We recently highlighted that from 6 April 2016 all English companies and limited liability partnerships will be required to keep a register of every person with significant control (PSC) over them, save in the case of several narrow exceptions. 

Are banks and other lenders persons with significant control under a new transparency regime for English companies?

News / Ince Co recognised in 2014 London Super Lawyers magazine

18-12-2014 / Aviation & Travel, Energy & Infrastructure, Insurance, Maritime

Intro text

Ince  Co recognised in 2014 London Super Lawyers magazine

News / Safety in the Balance

10-06-2014 / Aviation & Travel

Recent Court ruling on the admissibility of AAIB reports as evidence. If an aircraft is involved in an accident or incident it is unsurprising that all concerned, and others, want to know what went wrong.

Safety in the Balance