People / Helen Conybeare Williams
Conybeare Williams Helen

Helen Conybeare Williams

Helen is a senior disputes lawyer based in London whose practice focuses on international commercial dispute resolution, and she is experienced in dealing with legally and factually complex, as well as highly technical, cross-border disputes arising across a broad range of industries and sectors relying on English law for their resolution.

She assists clients in the resolution of such disputes in transactions spanning Europe, the UK, MENA, LatAm, and Asia-Pacific regions through international arbitration, including litigation in the English Courts and other alternative dispute resolution processes. She also proactively assists clients in the management of potential risks prior to arbitration or litigation.

Helen has significant disputes experience related to shipbuilding and offshore maritime construction (of the range of structures and vessels supporting offshore exploration), construction and engineering of major capital projects (including power plants and pipelines), and the manufacture and supply of industrial plant and machinery, as well as a general commercial disputes practice.

She conducts complex international commercial arbitration matters under the major international arbitration rules, including the rules of the ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, SCMA and LMAAs. She also represents clients in litigation in the courts of England and Wales, including in arbitration appeals and enforcement.

She has recently conducted a number of heavyweight and high value arbitrations related to the construction of drilling rigs and other offshore vessels in South Korea and China and shipbuilding disputes representing both owners/employers, contractors, and yards including claims relating to payment, variations, warranty/defects, delays and force majeure, and disputed terminations.

She is also focused on the art and cultural heritage sectors. She is a Member of the Institute of Art and Law, and is currently undertaking the IAL specialist art law diploma pertaining to the art, museums and cultural heritage sectors.

Helen is a solicitor advocate (civil rights) in the senior courts of England and Wales. She previously worked for many years in international arbitration practice in Paris where she was admitted to the Paris bar (currently non-practicing). She has frequently handled contentious matters in French, and has good understanding of German and Spanish.

Helen is a Member of the French and Mexican Chambers of Commerce in Great Britain.  

Selected Publications and Speeches

  • "Business Interruption Insurance: The UK Supreme Court Judgment in the FCA Test Case and The Impact on Latin America," speaker, World Services Group webinar, March 31, 2021.
  • “Trends in Commercial Arbitration and Litigation in Mexico and England,” speaker, 8th Edition - LexMex 2020 virtual event, November 5, 2020.
  • “Business Interruption Claims and the Impact on the (Re)Insurance Market”, panel discussion on the English High Court business interruption insurance case and the impact of the case in the LatAm market, presenter, British Argentine Chamber of Commerce, October 21, 2020.
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Selected Client Representations

Helen's most recent work includes the following matters:

  • Leading the team in the successful defense of a subcontractor’s delay and disruption claims against the main contractor related to onshore works to lay gas pipelines which was part of the Total Laggan Tormore gas pipeline/field development in the Shetlands conducted in the English Technology and Construction Court
  • Defending a Dutch yard in 17 ad hoc arbitrations related to shipbuilding contracts for the construction of pushers (warranty and design defects claims alleged by the buyers) with Rotterdam as place of arbitration
  • Successfully advancing/defending claims acting for the owner in an SCMA arbitration based in Singapore relating to a dispute arising out of the upgrade of a semi-submersible drilling rig relating to disputed variations across the range of engineering disciplines, delay and disruption claims, and claims for liquidated damages for delay
  • A London LMAA arbitration acting for a Far Eastern shipyard pursuing significant claims against the buyers of two semi-submersible drilling rigs for the contract price and counterclaims raising misrepresentation and breaches of contract claims during the construction of the projects, where successful awards were obtained.
Qualifications

Education

Law Society Finals, Guildford College of Law, 1989

M.A., Jurisprudence, St Hughs College Oxford University, 1988

European, International and French Law, Strasbourg University, 1990

Languages

French

German

Italian

Spanish

Admissions

England and Wales

Paris, France

Solicitor Advocate, Higher Rights of Audience (Civil)

Publication
Helen Conybeare Williams in French Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain News: 'Know Your Risks in Ar [...]
February, 26 2021

For anyone looking to invest in art, it is paramount to ensure an artwork’s intrinsic value and that the investment is secure. However, ensuring artwork has good provenance (a record of ownership used as a guide to authenticity or quality) may not be clear cut. Disputes are common and may be complex, with the potential to trigger costly and lengthy litigation. This article considers lessons learne [...]