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Sophie Henniker-Major

Department Maritime, Commodities & trade, Yachts and superyachts Qualified 2013 Languages English

Sophie Henniker-Major

You, Sophie Henniker-Major
& Ince, in any case

Sophie is a dispute resolution lawyer specialising in shipping litigation and general commercial disputes, including in the international trade sector. She also has extensive experience of non-contentious matters within both these industries. Acting for shipowners, charterers, operators, commodity traders and their respective insurers, Sophie handles high-value, often multi-jurisdictional, disputes involving litigation in the Commercial Court and Court of Appeal and arbitration (most commonly LMAA and LCIA). Having undertaken secondments to a leading global offshore contractor, an international commodity trader and an International Group P&I Club, Sophie understands her clients’ commericial needs and provides them with quick and concise advice.

Sophie regularly advises on all aspects of wet and dry shipping matters. She focuses mainly on disputes arising under charterparties, COAs, bills of lading, bunker supply contracts and MOAs, as well as commodities disputes and casualties, particularly collisions.

She also advises on non-contentious issues relating to these areas, including advising on and drafting contracts, bill of lading and charterparty terms, and assisting clients with the sale and purchase of assets. Sophie also has significant experience in regulatory and compliance matters and provides advice to a range of shipowners and insurers in relation to bribery and anti-corruption issues, policies and procedures.

Sophie’s international trade experience spans a broad range of commodities, including crude and oil products, gas, LNG and LPG. She regularly advises on the terms of sale and purchase agreements and has a particular focus on the negotiation of LNG sale contracts.

My matter highlights

  • Advising the Owners of the Ever Smart in relation to a collision with a laden VLCC outside the port of Jebel Ali, reported at:

  • Nautical Challenge Ltd v. Evergreen Marine (UK) Limited [2019] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 130

  • Nautical Challenge Ltd v. Evergreen Marine (UK) Limited [2019] EWHC 163 (Admlty)

  • Nautical Challenge Ltd v. Evergreen Marine (UK) Limited [2017] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 666

  • Acting for owners in relation to disputes arising under two long term bareboat charterparties and the resulting series of arbitration hearings in London where total claims exceeded USD 20 million. This matter also involved ancillary applications for injunctive relief.

  • Advising and acting on behalf of shipowners, charterers and commodity traders arising out of the insolvencies of various major bunker suppliers and shipping companies, with exposures exceeding USD 30 million.

My recent publications

Insights / Court dismisses challenge to award on grounds of procedural unfairness

10-09-2020 / Maritime

This case involved an unsuccessful appeal to the Court, where charterers contended that there was serious irregularity in the way that the sole arbitrator had dealt with two issues in the underlying arbitration, which had caused them substantial injustice. 

Court dismisses challenge to award on grounds of procedural unfairness

News / The compensatory principle (re)applied by the Court of Appeal

18-07-2019 / Maritime

Classic Maritime Inc v. Limbungan Makmur SDN BHD & another [2019] EWCA Civ 1102 The Court of Appeal has upheld a Commercial Court finding that the effect of an exceptions clause in a contract of affreightment (“COA”) depended on its proper construction. It further found that the Commercial Court had misapplied the compensatory principle. The principle, properly applied, was to compare the financial position of the Owners following the Charterers’ breach of the COA with their financial position had the Charterers actually performed the COA, not their financial position had the Charterers been willing but unable to perform.

The compensatory principle (re)applied by the Court of Appeal

News / Court finds defective passage plan rendered vessel unseaworthy

04-04-2019 / Maritime

Alize 1954 and CMA CGM SA v Allianz Elementar Versicherungs AG and others (CMA CGM Libra) 2019 EWHC 481 (Admlty)

Court finds defective passage plan rendered vessel unseaworthy

News / Chambers Shipping Guide 2019 by Ince Gordon Dadds

29-03-2019 / Maritime

The team at Ince Gordon Dadds recently contributed the UK chapter of the Chambers Shipping Guide 2019 which has now been published and is available for download.

Chambers Shipping Guide 2019  by Ince Gordon Dadds

News / Exceptions clause or contractual frustration provision? Not the same thing

29-11-2018 / Maritime

Classic Maritime Inc v. Limbungan Makmur SDN BHD [2018] EWHC 2389 (Comm) In this case, the Charterer failed in its attempt to excuse its non-performance under a contract of affreightment on the basis that a force majeure event – a burst dam that halted production at a Brazilian mine - had prevented it from shipping the relevant cargoes under the contract. However, the Owner could only recover nominal damages because even if the Charterer had been willing and able to perform its contractual obligations, the burst dam would have prevented its performance.

Exceptions clause or contractual frustration provision? Not the same thing

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.

Shipping E-Brief February 2016