James Brown


Education and Clerkships

Legal Practice Course, Oxford Institute of Legal Practice, 1999

B.A., Jurisprudence, St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, 1998


England and Wales, 2002


James Brown' has more than 15 years of experience as a disputes lawyer.

His primary focus is litigating and arbitrating complex, high-value engineering/construction disputes for international clients operating in the shipping and offshore oil and gas sectors. Having practiced for many years as a “general commercial” disputes lawyer for clients in sectors as diverse as telecoms, engineering/construction, banking/financial services, oil and gas, aviation, IT and retailing, he also acts for clients outside of the offshore/maritime sector in connection with their commercial disputes.

James is a recommended lawyer in the 2019 edition of The Legal 500, Legalease, in the international arbitration and shipping sections, reporting that he is “highly attentive and keeps clients informed” and that he is a “key figure” who “regularly handles arbitration and litigation.” The Legal 500 2017 (being the previous edition) recommends James in the international arbitration, oil and gas, and shipping sections, reporting that he "provides tremendous attention to detail in high-value technical disputes."

Acting for clients in the offshore oil and gas and shipping sectors, he has particular experience in respect of claims arising from contracts for the design and construction of offshore oil and gas vessels (including rigs, pipelaying vessels, heavy lift vessels, LNG carriers, oil and product tankers and offshore support vessels) as well as commercial vessels and super-yachts, and from contracts for their long term employment. Often matters are concerned with responsibility for delay and related cost-overruns or defects/warranty issues, or with appealing, challenging, and/or enforcing court and arbitral awards resulting from such claims.

James pursues and defends claims in both the English High Court, including the Commercial Court and Technology and Construction Court, and in arbitrations pursuant to rules including those of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), as well as the UNCITRAL rules and those of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. James also assists clients to obtain orders (including freezing orders) from the English court in support of both domestic and foreign court or arbitral proceedings, and directs and manages for his clients related foreign court or arbitral proceedings.

James regularly writes, lectures, and provides seminars on current dispute resolution issues, and has been published including in Lloyd’s List and The Construction Law Journal. He is a co-author of a chapter on Offshore Vessel Construction Disputes within Global Arbitration Review’s Guide to Energy Arbitrations (Third Edition). He is the author of Making The Most Of Leaner Times: A Contractor’s Guide to Common English Law Issues, published June 2017.


Legal 500 2018

Haynes and Boone CDG Improves Rankings in Legal 500 UK 2019

Haynes and Boone CDG was again recognized in the 2019 United Kingdom edition of The Legal 500, published by Legalease. The firm improved its rankings in Oil and Gas and Shipping and also was ranked among recommended law firms in International Arbitration.


Courthouse | Haynes and Boone, LLP

Comply or Face the Consequences! Contractual Compliance Required to Vary a Contract.

As Lord Sumption’s leading judgment of the Supreme Court in Rock Advertising Limited v MWB Business Exchange Centres Limited [2018] UKSC 24 states, it is rare that modern litigation raises truly fundamental issues in the law of contract. This case, however, raised two such issues, although as a result of the Court’s decision on the first issue, it was not necessary to decide the “difficult” second issue.

Selected Client Representations

  • Acting for buyers of highly advanced “floating LNG” vessels defending substantial claims by the shipyard alleging repudiatory breach of the shipbuilding contracts, securing a favourable settlement of claims.
  • Acting for one of the largest owners of oil/product tankers in a number of London arbitrations against a shipyard which failed to deliver four tankers. Successfully obtained arbitral awards. Assisting these parties with efforts to enforce those awards.
  • Acting for oil/product tanker owner in English High Court proceedings against a shipyard for loss of substantial profit resulting from the alleged renunciation of an option agreement for up to 12 new build product tankers. Successfully resisting a jurisdiction challenge by the shipyard. Managing and directing the conduct by foreign lawyers of associated overseas “parallel proceedings” seeking a declaration of no liability.
  • Acting for Turkish shipyard in respect of claims relating to services provided in respect of an offshore accommodation platform, obtaining a favorable settlement for the client.
  • Acting for offshore support vessel owner in respect of claims concerning defects in respect of an offshore access platform.
  • Acting for engineering services company in arbitration in respect of delay and disruption claims on both sides arising from sub-contract in respect of a pipelaying vessel.
  • Acting for owner of substantial pipelaying vessel in respect of “price adjustment mechanism” dispute with a Korean shipyard arising from a massive shipbuilding project.
  • Acting for a rig owner defending and pursuing substantial delay and disruption claims by/against a contractor in respect of a contract to upgrade and refurbish an oil rig.
  • Acting for a ship owner in respect of the termination of two shipbuilding contracts with a Chinese yard for excessive delay. Successfully guided the owner through termination on account of delays and obtaining full refund pursuant to the refund guarantees of the instalment payments made.
  • Acting for owner of a number of vessels in respect of claims against a yard on account of defects in respect of a “ballast water treatment system” incorporated on the owner’s new build projects.
  • Acting for yards/owners in connection with warranty claims arising out of a number of superyacht construction projects.

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