People / William Cecil
Cecil William

William Cecil

Partner | Managing Partner - London

William Cecil is the managing partner of the London office and head of the dispute resolution team in London. He has extensive experience in litigation and arbitration matters for clients in the shipping, offshore oil and gas and energy industries.

William has represented clients in arbitrations conducted under many of the commonly used rules, including the ICC, LCIA and LMAA and in proceedings before the English Courts (the Commercial Court, the TCC and the Court of Appeal).

William is a co-author of the fifth edition of the Law of Shipbuilding Contracts, published May 2020 (Informa Law from Routledge). The other co-authors of this edition are Simon Curtis and Ian Gaunt, the President of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (2017-2020).

William is a co-author of a chapter on Offshore Vessel Construction Disputes within Global Arbitration Review’s Guide to Energy Arbitrations (Fourth Edition). He is also a co-author of the chapter on shipbuilding contracts governed by the law of England and Wales in Getting The Deal Through- Shipbuilding 2021: England and Wales.

Alongside his litigation and arbitration practice, William also assists clients in drafting and negotiating shipbuilding contracts and various forms of offshore contracts.

William is a recommended lawyer in the international arbitration, oil and gas, shipping and contentious construction sections of the 2021 UK edition of The Legal 500, Legalease, the international directory of law firms. Legal 500 reports that "…William Cecil acts extensively in shipbuilding litigation.” They also report that “also of note is William Cecil…for high-end energy disputes.”

Chambers UK, Chambers and Partners, 2021 ranks William in the shipping section UK-Wide sections as a notable practitioner, who comment “William Cecil assists clients with litigation and arbitration, including disputes related to shipbuilding contracts. He is experienced in oil and gas-related mandates.”

Selected Publications and Speeches

  • “Trends in Commercial Arbitration and Litigation in Mexico and England,” speaker, 8th Edition - LexMex 2020 virtual event, November 5, 2020.
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Selected Client Representations
  • Acted for a drilling contractor in High Court proceedings relating to a dispute concerning a shareholder’s agreement for the operation of drilling rigs in the Middle East.
  • Acted for a drilling contractor in two arbitrations relating to the cancellation of a long-term drilling contract for a drillship. One arbitration was between the drilling contractor and its client. The second arbitration was between the drilling contractor and the shipyard that constructed the drillship.
  • Acted for the buyer in an LMAA arbitration relating to the termination of a construction contract for a semi-submersible drilling rig in the Far East.
  • Acted for a Far Eastern shipyard in an arbitration and related court proceedings in connection with claims arising out of contracts for the construction of two semi-submersible drilling rigs: CIMC Raffles Offshore (Singapore) Ltd v Schahin Holding SA [2012] EWHC 1758 (Comm); CIMC Raffles Offshore (Singapore) Ltd v Schahin Holding SA [2013] EWCA Civ 644); CIMC Raffles Offshore (Singapore) Pte Ltd, Yantai CIMC Raffles Offshore Ltd v Schahin Holding SA, Salim Taufic Schahin, Fernando Schahin [2014] EWHC 1742 (Comm).
  • Acted for the buyers in two concurrent LMAA arbitrations relating to delay and cost overruns arising out of the construction of two semi-submersible drilling rigs in the Far East.
  • Acted for a drilling contractor in an SCMA arbitration seated in Singapore relating to a dispute arising out of the upgrade of a semi-submersible drilling rig at a European yard.
  • Acted for the main contractor for a power and desalination plant project in the Middle East in an ICC arbitration seated in Geneva. The dispute was between the main contractor and the insolvency administrator of the subcontractor for the turbines and boilers for the plant. The subcontractor had filed for insolvency during the project. The contractor had terminated the subcontract and both sides had claimed against the other arising out of the termination.


B.S.C. (Hons), Psychology, Bristol University, 1990


England and Wales

Solicitor Advocate, Higher Rights of Audience (Civil)

New Publication Shipbuilding New Risks in a Changing Market
September, 17 2021

* Co-authored by Nick Wood and Nick Pugh, Affinity Haynes and Boone and shipbroker Affinity are pleased to announce the publication of a new booklet focusing on the challenges and risks associated with the changing shipbuilding market. In this publication, Affinity discuss the current state of the shipbuilding market and consider the implications for the industry longer term and Haynes Boone disc [...]