Contact details

Duncan McDonald

T: +44 20 7809 2629 M: +44 7887 754 949 Email Duncan | Vcard Office: London

Awards

Winner - The i-law Maritime Law Award

Winner - The i-law Maritime Law Award

Recognised as one of the top 10 maritime lawyers 2017 in Lloyd's List Top 100 most influential people in the shipping industry

Recognised as one of the top 10 maritime lawyers 2017 in Lloyd's List Top 100 most influential people in the shipping industry

Duncan McDonald Partner

Contact details

Duncan McDonald

Duncan McDonald
Partner

T: +44 20 7809 2629 M: +44 7887 754 949 Email Duncan | Vcard Office: London

A senior partner in the firm's marine and international trade team, Duncan is a leading practitioner in his field. He represents a wide range of interests including shipowners, charterers, commodities traders and banks and has a vast experience of advising those involved in the shipbuilding and offshore construction sectors. He has been singled out by The Legal 500 for his pragmatic and commercial approach and has been described as a "tough negotiator".
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Duncan has more than 30 years' experience of working both in London and the Far East. He has a predominantly European and Far Eastern client base including shipowners and charterers, P&I and FD&D Clubs, shipyards, commodities traders and banks. He is recognised for his "first class" ability "to balance the legal and commercial aspects" and as “a real star, top talent.”

He has extensive experience of drafting and negotiating shipbuilding and ship repair contracts, charterparty terms and Memoranda of Agreement. He is described as "tough and commercially aware" (The Legal 500 UK 2014) in his approach to negotiations and dispute resolution.

Duncan has comprehensive experience of arbitration, High Court litigation and forms of alternative dispute resolution in the shipping sphere and has been involved in numerous high value and complex disputes relating to vessels and offshore structure of all types, and has handled many hundreds of disputes arising under charterparties, COAs and MoA’s. Over recent years he has successfully handled a number of ground-breaking cases in which the law has been developed. 

His specialist shipowner clients include a leading European shipowner specialising in the installation of offshore wind turbines.

Duncan has provided commentary and analysis to the global media including BBC News on shipping matters.

"Tough and commercially aware."

The Legal 500 UK 2014
  • Marine and international trade
  • Shipping litigation
  • International arbitration
  • Shipbuilding and offshore construction
  • Commodities
Duncan has many years' experience of advising clients on disputes arising from commercial and maritime contracts., Recent cases (all of them successful) include:

Claims under refund guarantees

A High Court shipbuilding case for major Dutch shipowners claiming payment of multi-million dollar claims under refund guarantee following cancellation of a number of shipbuilding contracts. This case (W.S. Tankship II BV v Kwangju Bank Ltd and Seoul Gurantee Insurance Co [2011] EWHC 3013 (Comm)) has become one of the leading cases on the interpretation and effect of such guarantees.

Piracy and general average – “The Lehman Timber” and the “Longchamp”

Representing the successful claimants in two landmark cases concerning piracy and general average: Metall Market OOO v Vitorio Shipping (The Lehman Timber) [2013] EWCA Civ 650 and Mitsui & Co Ltd v Beteiligungsgesellschaft LPG Tankerflotte mbH & Co KG (The Longchamp) [2014] EWHC 3445 (Comm); [2015] 1 Lloyd’s Rep. 76

Fraudulent sale of cargo of coal

Acting for the sellers of a cargo who found themselves involved in a series of contractual disputes arising out of the fraudulent failure of shippers to provide any cargo at the loading port.

More: 
Marine and international trade
Duncan has extensive experience in handling a wide selection of shipping and shipbuilding and offshore contamination disputes. Examples include:

Offshore supply vessels

Successfully negotiated conclusion of claims arising from a number of contracts for the provision of offshore supply vessels into the Brazilian market. These claims required analysis of the effect of Brazilian law, with particular regard to the "REPETRO" exemption from importation taxes for vessels and equipment employed in the exploration and production of offshore oil and gas.

Product tankers – risk of piracy

Representing Owners of product tankers in disputes with oil major charterers following the Owners' decision to refuse permission for the vessels to transit the Gulf of Aden in light of a perceived heightened risk of attack by pirates. 

Cancellation of multiple shipbuilding and offshore construction projects

Advising approximately forty separate buyers on their rights and seeking the repayment of instalments in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. In each case the proceedings were successful and the client shipowners recovered all instalments paid with contractual interest.
 
More: Shipping litigation

Non-contractual termination of shipbuilding contract

Successfully representing a prominent North European ship-owning group in major arbitration proceedings against a Chinese shipyard following a common law (non-contractual) termination of a shipbuilding contract for the construction of a large bulk carrier.

Disputes under BIMCO Supplytime Charterparty Forms

Acting for North European owners of supply vessels operating off Brazil in a number of arbitrations arising under the relevant charters. LMAA arbitration. These disputes involved complex issues relating to the REPETRO regime under which exemption may be granted from Brazilian importation taxes.

Acting for owners of a specialist wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV) on disputes under an adapted BIMCO Supplytime form. The disputes concern claims flowing from damage sustained by the vessel while “jacking up” in a port in the UK.
 
More: International arbitration
Duncan is recognised as one of the leading practitioners in this field. He has been involved in some of the biggest shipbuilding disputes and arbitrations to have been heard in London relating to vessels and offshore structures of all kinds. Recent examples all of them successful include:

Non-contractual termination of shipbuilding contract

Successfully representing a prominent North European ship-owning group in major arbitration proceedings against a Chinese shipyard following a common law (non-contractual) termination of a shipbuilding contract for the construction of a large bulk carrier.

Claims under refund guarantees

A High Court shipbuilding case for major Dutch shipowners claiming payment of multi-million dollar sums under refund guarantees following cancellation of a number of shipbuilding contracts. This case (W.S. Tankship II BV v Kwangju Bank Ltd and Seoul Gurantee Insurance Co [2011] EWHC 3013 (Comm)) has become one of the leading cases on the interpretation and effect of such guarantees.

Shipbuilding and offshore construction projects cancellation

Advising approximately forty separate buyers on their rights and seeking the repayment of instalments during the period 2008 to date, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. In each such instance the client shipowners recovered all instalments paid with contractual interest.

More: Shipbuilding and offshore construction

Duncan is a specialist in his field. Examples of cases he has handled are:

Theft of grain

Representing a major Swiss commodities trader in a claim against its insurers following the theft of a cargo of grain after the cargo had been landed in Egypt.

Fraudulent sale of cargo of coal

Acting for the sellers of a cargo who found themselves involved in a series of contractual disputes arising out of the fraudulent failure of shippers to provide any cargo at the loading port.

Spontaneous combustion of coal 

Advising on claims under charterparty and sale contracts arising out of the spontaneous combustion of a cargo of coal.
 
More: Commodities
  • Shipping
  • International trade
  • Shipowners and operators
  • P&I clubs

Non-contractual termination of shipbuilding contract

Successfully representing a prominent North European ship-owning group in major arbitration proceedings against a Chinese shipyard following a common law (non-contractual) termination of a shipbuilding contract for the construction of a large bulk carrier.

Claims under refund guarantees

A High Court shipbuilding case for major Dutch shipowners claiming payment of multi-million dollar sums under refund guarantees following cancellation of a number of shipbuilding contracts. This case (W.S. Tankship II BV v Kwangju Bank Ltd and Seoul Gurantee Insurance Co [2011] EWHC 3013 (Comm)) has become one of the leading cases on the interpretation and effect of such guarantees.

Cancellation of multiple shipbuilding and offshore construction projects

Advising approximately forty separate buyers on their rights and seeking the repayment of instalments in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. In each case the proceedings were been successful and the client shipowners recovered all instalments paid with contractual interest.

Product tankers – risk of piracy

Representing Owners of product tankers in disputes with oil major charterers following the Owners' decision to refuse permission for the vessels to transit the Gulf of Aden in light of a perceived heightened risk of attack by pirates. 
 
More: Shipping
Duncan is a specialist in his field. Examples of cases he has handled are:

Theft of grain

Representing a major Swiss commodities trader in a claim against its insurers following the theft of a cargo of grain after the cargo had been landed in Egypt.

Fraudulent sale of cargo of coal

Acting for the sellers of a cargo who found themselves involved in a series of contractual disputes arising out of the fraudulent failure of shippers to provide any cargo at the loading port.

Spontaneous combustion of coal 

Advising on claims under charterparty and sale contracts arising out of the spontaneous combustion of a cargo of coal.
 
More: International trade

Non-contractual termination of shipbuilding contract

Successfully representing a prominent North European ship-owning group in major arbitration proceedings against a Chinese shipyard following a common law (non-contractual) termination of a shipbuilding contract for the construction of a large bulk carrier.

Claims under refund guarantees

A High Court shipbuilding case for major Dutch shipowners claiming payment of multi-million dollar sums under refund guarantees following cancellation of a number of shipbuilding contracts.  This case (W.S. Tankship II BV v Kwangju Bank Ltd and Seoul Gurantee Insurance Co [2011] EWHC 3013 (Comm)), has become one of the leading cases on the interpretation and effect of such guarantees.

Cancellation of multiple shipbuilding and offshore construction projects

Advising approximately forty separate buyers on their rights and seeking the repayment of instalments in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. In each case the proceedings were been successful and the client shipowners recovered all instalments paid with contractual interest.

Product tankers – risk of piracy

Representing Owners of product tankers in disputes with oil major charterers following the Owners' decision to refuse permission for the vessels to transit the Gulf of Aden in light of a perceived heightened risk of attack by pirates. 
 
More: Shipowners and operators

Non-contractual termination of shipbuilding contract

Successfully representing a prominent North European ship-owning group in major arbitration proceedings against a Chinese shipyard following a common law (non-contractual) termination of a shipbuilding contract for the construction of a large bulk carrier.

Claims under refund guarantees

A High Court shipbuilding case for major Dutch shipowners claiming payment of multi-million dollar sums under refund guarantees following cancellation of a number of shipbuilding contracts. This case (W.S. Tankship II BV v Kwangju Bank Ltd and Seoul Gurantee Insurance Co [2011] EWHC 3013 (Comm)), has become one of the leading cases on the interpretation and effect of such guarantees.

Cancellation of multiple shipbuilding and offshore construction projects

Advising approximately forty separate buyers on their rights and seeking the repayment of instalments in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. In each case the proceedings were been successful and the client shipowners recovered all instalments paid with contractual interest.

Product tankers – risk of piracy

Representing Owners of product tankers in disputes with oil major charterers following the Owners' decision to refuse permission for the vessels to transit the Gulf of Aden in light of a perceived heightened risk of attack by pirates.
 
More: P&I clubs

Awards

Winner - The i-law Maritime Law Award

Winner - The i-law Maritime Law Award

Recognised as one of the top 10 maritime lawyers 2017 in Lloyd's List Top 100 most influential people in the shipping industry

Recognised as one of the top 10 maritime lawyers 2017 in Lloyd's List Top 100 most influential people in the shipping industry

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