Partner and Head of Shipping
T +44 (0) 20 7481 0010
Department Maritime Qualified 1991 Education (University) London School of Economics Languages Conversational Greek and Norwegian
Michael is the Head of Shipping at the firm's London office, specialising in resolving commercial disputes on behalf of those in the shipping sector, both in court and through arbitration.
Michael works on both wet and dry shipping cases, with a strong focus on dispute resolution. He has specialist expertise in charterparties and bills of lading; sale and purchase agreements; and shipbuilding and refund guarantees. He has acted in cases that have reached the House of Lords, High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, as well as in the European Court of Human Rights.
Shipowners, charterers, P&I Clubs, Hull and Machinery Underwriters
- The Prestige: high profile casualty off the coast of Spain.
- The Kos: this Supreme Court case made a significant ruling on the rights of remuneration of the owners of a time-chartered ship after the ship has been lawfully withdrawn for non-payment of hire.
- Astipalaia collision with Hanjin Shenzhen: this judgment confirms that an owner can claim damages not just for the immediate loss of use of the vessel during the period of repairs but also for further knock-on effects to the vessel’s ability to return to normal trading.
- Legal 500, Leading Individual
My testimonials and accolades
“Michael Volikas is one of the strongest shipping lawyers in the market. Christian Dwyer is a doughty and tireless admiralty lawyer.”
Chambers and Partners UK, 2022
“Michael Volikas is a very experienced shipping lawyer. He stays cool, calm and collected, and nothing ruffles him. He applies a surgeon's analysis to matters.”
Chambers and Partners UK, 2022
“Head of shipping Michael Volikas is skilled in commercial disputes, particularly those relating to charter party issues. He represents ship owners and P&I clubs.
The Legal 500 2022
“Michael Volikas is the strongest shipping lawyer at the firm, probably one of the strongest in the market. He is a cross-threader who is comfortable with wet and dry shipping.”
“Michael Volikas is now one of the most experienced dry shipping lawyers in London and is also underrated for his Admiralty expertise. He has an incredible depth of knowledge and is a deep, strategic thinker. He is often called in to rescue cases other firms have handled poorly.”
“He is 'a very safe pair of hands,' say sources, including in charter party disputes. Sources laud his 'practical, commercial understanding.”
“Very efficient and an outstanding lawyer.”
“Michael Volikas is a highly regarded shipping litigator who routinely acts for clients in commercial disputes. He has expertise in charter party matters, bills of lading, personal injury and collision claims. Market insiders call him "respected and well connected" in the shipping market.”
My recent publications
News / Collateral waiver of privilege: how far does it extend?
02-03-2020 / Maritime
By voluntarily disclosing a document or part of a document that would otherwise be protected by virtue of its privileged status, how far is the lid lifted on other related privileged documents, or on other unredacted parts of the same document?
News / Court of Appeal confirms: privilege rules!
24-09-2018 / Maritime
Director of the Serious Fraud Office v. Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Ltd and the Law Society  EWCA Civ 2006 In a much anticipated decision, the Court of Appeal has held that a multinational corporation that came under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) was entitled to assert litigation privilege over various categories of documents that had been generated as part of its internal investigation into a whistle-blower’s allegations of corruption within its organisation. In doing so, the Court of Appeal rejected the High Court’s more restrictive approach to litigation privilege.
News / “Always accessible”: arrival, departure or both?
12-06-2018 / Maritime
Seatrade Group N.V. v. Hakan Agro D.M.C.C (Aconcagua Bay)  EWHC 654 (Comm) An “always accessible” berth warranty is often used by an owner to transfer the risk of delays in berthing to a charterer. The Commercial Court has now settled the debate as to whether that warranty also transfers the risk of delays in departing the berth post the completion of cargo operations to the charterer. The Court concluded that it did.
News / Narrow construction of privilege entitles SFO to disclosure of corporation’s internal documents
11-07-2017 / Maritime
The Director of the Serious Fraud Office v. Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Ltd  EWHC 1017 (QB)
News / Court of Appeal on recoverability in General Average of expenses associated with piracy attack
18-10-2016 / Maritime
Mitsui & Co v. Beteiligungsgesellschaft LPG (Longchamp)  EWCA Civ 708 In the first English case to consider the application of Rule F of the 1974 York Antwerp Rules (the YAR), the Court of Appeal has heard an appeal by cargo interests on whether operating expenses incurred during the time spent negotiating a ransom with pirates were allowable in General Average (GA), specifically as ‘substituted expenses’ under Rule F. The appeal was successful on this issue.
News / Do you know where your seafarer employees are "based" and why it matters?
28-04-2016 / Maritime
The Queen on the application of Fleet Maritime Services (Bermuda) Ltd v The Pensions Regulator (Rev 1) 2015 EWHC 3744 (Admin)
News / MCA investigates alleged breach of the MLC – would your ship pass the test?
16-02-2016 / Maritime
Dean Richard Wilson v. The Secretary of State for Transport, Princess Cruise Lines Ltd and Another  EWHC 2330 Admin
News / Court finds payment of charter hire is not a condition: Astra not followed
20-03-2015 / Maritime
Spar Shipping AS v Grand China Logistics Holding (Group) Co Ltd 2015 EWHC 718 (Comm)nbspIn a decision handed down on 18 March 2015, a Commercial Court judge has declined to follow Flaux J's decision in The Astra and has concluded that payment of hire by the Charterers was not a condition of the charterparty Mr Justice Popplewell reached his decision following a careful consideration of the authorities on this issue and, in particular,nbspThe Astra 2013 EWHC 865 (Comm)nbspThe Court also considered issues concerning repudiatory breach, the validity of the charterparty guarantees and assessment of damages for repudiatory breach of charter These issues are not discussed in this alert, but a more detailed article on the judgment will appear in our Spring 2015 Shipping E-Brief
News / How do you calculate loss of earnings following a collision?
08-04-2014 / Maritime
The Owners of the ship Astipalaia v. The Owners and/or Demise Charterers of the ship Hanjin Shenzhen  EWHC 120 (Admlty) This recent case has revisited the existing case law on assessment of damages following a collision and provided further clarification as to the appropriate test to be applied.