Luke Zadkovich is a partner of our firm and leading international lawyer in complex litigation, commercial arbitration and project advisory work.

Luke has a strong focus on the maritime and international commodities sectors, with extensive experience in energy, logistics, shipping, insurance, marine casualty, construction, catastrophic events and other major disputes.  Luke also advises on major projects and contracts, including ship sale and purchase, ship finance, off-shore projects, commodities sales, and long-term chartering arrangements.

Luke’s practice is built on over 15 years of private practice and in-house experience at major law firms and a large insurer serving these specialist markets.  Leveraging his unique tri-admission in the United States (New York), England & Wales and Australia (NSW), Luke manages an array of complex, cross-border cases and projects, with many matters often covering these jurisdictions simultaneously.  This cross-jurisdiction capability is particularly useful for matters involving the substantive law of one jurisdiction and the related security or enforcement proceedings in another jurisdiction.  Transnational strategy formulation often can be decisive in achieving success.

Over many years, Luke has developed a keen understanding and interest in electronic and smart commercial contracts, including e-bills of lading, commodity sale and purchase contracts, online contracting systems, and e-dispute resolution mechanisms.  This interest was first sparked by his LLM dissertation on this topic at Kings College London in 2009.

Luke has advised on major insurance disputes and policy wordings in the reinsurance, professional indemnity, financial institutions, directors & officers, construction, marine and personal injury.

  • Advised an international bank on issues arising from the cancellation of a trade credit facility, assignment of a related insurance claim and pursuing assets of the borrowers (oil traders) in various jurisdictions across the world, including England, Singapore and Belize.

  • Representation and assisting the representation of several clients in several US Federal District Courts regarding seeking of security for underlying claims by way of maritime attachment proceedings.

  • Representation of International bank involving actions under the Insolvency Act 1986 to unwind a transaction at an undervalue/a transaction entered into with intent to defraud creditors. Part of a broader coordinated global approach to enforce a claim against an insolvent entity.

  • Representation of a major US oil refinery in relation to disputes under their shipping contracts during the COVID-19 crisis. The dispute related to delays under a bespoke charterparty.

  • Managed a successful Commercial Court appeal for Romanian metals receiver/trader in relation to fraudulent conduct alleged against a major English metal trader. The appeal was successful and further associated proceedings were launched in Turkey.

  • Pursued a claim for major US commodities trading house for damages in respect of late delivery / unseaworthiness against vessel owners in LMAA arbitration proceedings. Also handled negotiations with Mediterranean receivers. Brought related actions in Texas and Turkey for discovery and vessel arrest against the owners.

  • Legal advice to a major petroleum product importer in a dispute relating to out of specification oil products

  • Legal advice to a major American oil company on disputes relating to their fleet of vessels, including queries relating to demurrage, off-hire and cargo contamination.

  • Commenced ad hoc London arbitration proceedings for an Italian coal trader claiming wrongful arrest in respect of a time charterparty. Involved complex conflict of laws questions.

  • Pursued a large energy company for shipowner clients seeking damages arising due to delay / fire to a terminal in Brazil. We intervened into related English Court of Appeal proceedings and obtained a favourable outcome.

  • Advised a Norwegian chartering company, as borrowers, in relation to an alleged default under a trade finance loan agreement. Client’s financiers commenced the claim in the High Court of England of Wales, seeking approximately US$1.5m.

  • Acted for the runoff company of a large state insurer as the re-insured in a reinsurance coverage dispute concerning liquidators’ expense insurance with a leading international reinsurer.

  • Advised a P&I Club on the International Group of P&I Clubs Pooling Agreement and reviewed various shipping related contracts for P&I cover.

  • Advised a major international trading house (Singaporean plc), in respect of a cargo claim against vessel owners. Travelled to Lagos and Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to take evidence from our trading clients, surveyors, port terminal operators and harbour masters. In the arbitration proceedings, the Owners counter-claimed for wrongful arrest in Nigeria / breach of London arbitration agreement.

  • Acted for Owners in relation to a vessel collision, involving issues of English, US and Australian law. The dispute involved complex claims in General Average, under a Charterparty and under Bills of Lading.

  • Acted on an ad hoc arbitration claim for international London-based trading house, specialising in steel and metals trade, against an Italian receiver for liability under UK COGSA for quality issues.

  • Acted for a UAE steel trading company in relation to a shareholder’s rights and alleged misappropriation of company funds.

  • Advised the runoff company of a large state insurer in relation to a fraudulent non-disclosure indemnity dispute which was multi-layered, complex, with a financial advisory company seeking indemnity for over 300 claims made against its various financial/investment advisers.

  • Acted for a Belgian/Turkish shipowner in relation to outstanding sums under a series of charter parties.  Obtained an award in the client’s favor. The matter involved dispute over jurisdiction, overdue hire payments and the validity of an assignment.

  • Advised an Italian coal trader relating to the failure of their counter-party to pay under a letter of credit on the basis of alleged fraudulent conduct. This matter involved Singapore anti-suit and arbitration proceedings, Karachi court proceedings and Zurich proceedings against the confirming bank.

  • Advised major European shipping company on the provision of an insurance product in England, Australia and the United States.

  • Representation of European bank regarding recovery of a multi-million dollar claim against an insolvent entity under claims relating to mis-delivery of cargo. Assertively pursued security actions against possible assets and successfully obtained an attachment over assets belonging to an alter-ego in a US targeting a vessel in the Southern District of Texas. In a reported decision, successfully defeated post-discovery motion to vacate seizure order and dismiss action. Global litigation included proceedings in UK and East Asia.

  • Legal advice to a major petroleum product importer relating to out of specification oil products

  • Advised on and drafted protective clauses for a major US oil refinery in relation to risk under their shipping contracts during the Covid-19 crisis.

  • Acted for a Norwegian chartering company in four separate arbitrations/charters.  Issues include failure to nominate, coercion to pay outstanding demurrage, failure to pass on money received from sub-charterers and receipt of fund by agents for principals. There were separate Norwegian proceedings for security.

  • Acted for an oil and gas company on proceedings in the High Court against its COO and his related companies for receipt of alleged secret commissions. Worldwide freezing orders were obtained to the value of approx US$25m.

  • Advised client shipowner on various cabotage issues in multiple jurisdictions.

  • Acted for a trading company in relation to a High Court action brought by a US metals company and related court/arbitration proceedings involving a UK metals trading company. The proceedings involved allegations of fraudulent misappropriation of company funds, sanctions issues and contract default.

  • Advised a major Polish chemical company, as charterers, in relation to an LMAA arbitration claim brought by the Owners for demurrage and other outstandings.

  • Representation of major soft commodity trading company in English High Court proceedings, alleging false representation and deceit against a Russian commodity trader.  Matter also involved worldwide freezing orders, underlying GAFTA arbitration proceedings in London, English enforcement proceedings and Russian enforcement proceedings; obtained a full judgment and London arbitral award.

  • Representation of Eastern European state in the Southern District of New York regarding enforcement proceedings arising from an UNCITRAL arbitral award. Successfully obtained attachment of funds deposited with arbitral body.

  • Representing a global trading service in a successful strike out/summary judgment application and security for costs application in the High Court of England & Wales, after allegations were made of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and commission of the tort of conspiracy to injure by unlawful means.

  • Defended oil spill indemnification claims against client time charterer following oil spill event on Mississippi.

  • Secured a settlement at almost the entire value of the claim for a major shipping operator in respect of a shortage claim under bills of lading.

  • Advised an international reinsurance broker involved in large-scale civil litigation brought by the liquidators of HIH in the Supreme Court of NSW.

  • Defended an ICC arbitration claim for our Egyptian trader clients, as sellers, for short shipment under a sale and purchase contract.

  • Acted for an international metals trading house, and then its cargo underwriters, in a major subrogated claim against Owners, Shippers and Receivers in relation to stolen steel cargo. The case involved multi-layered court action across the world, including vessel arrest proceedings in Turkey and Lebanon, and other corporate criminal actions in Russia, Florida and Switzerland.

  • Acted for a major off-shore oil drilling company in relation to a contractual dispute in the Gulf. The case involved questions of repudiatory breach and late delivery of equipment.

  • Defended demurrage claim based on a series of long-term delays at various load/discharge ports. Developing arguments based on tendering of an invalid NOR and deploying compelling fact-based evidence to fall within an exemption to demurrage

  • Advised coal trader on a 1.5 year coal supply contract dispute against the receiver. The receiver argued repudiation for alleged fraudulent conduct, namely backdating a B/L. Client claimed damages for wrongful repudiation in LCIA proceedings. There were related LMAA arbitration proceedings and UK court proceedings for freezing orders and vessel arrest.

  • Advised shipowner clients and its P&I Club on a cargo misdelivery claim and associated indemnity action.  The bill holders’ claim was subject to LMAA arbitration proceedings and the indemnity proceedings were before the English High Court.  Our client obtained freezing orders against the commodities trader in England, enforced those in Switzerland and Rule B attachments against the indemnifying party in the US, having defended a sister-ship arrest in Morocco and related proceedings in Dakar.

  • Acted in a major English Technology and Construction Court claim for French-based international insurers following a catastrophic train derailment in the Midlands, UK.  We handled the regulatory investigations into the accident and the litigation. Devised our client’s litigation strategy and the key contractual defences. After six years the case successfully resolved.

  • Advised a large US commodities trader in an arbitration claim for overpaid hire and bunkers on a time charterparty. This involved insolvency proceedings in Greece and various actions for security.

  • Advised the primary D&O insurer of one of Australia’s largest construction companies in relation to a claim for alleged non-disclosure of material market information on losses sustained by the insured on a construction project.  The matter was brought as a class representative action in the Federal Court of Australia, and involved the company and its directors/executives.

Professional Experience

  • Partner, Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich, New York, London & Sydney (since 2020)
  • Partner, Floyd Zadkovich, New York & London (2017-2020)
  • Senior Claims Executive, UK P&I Club and UK Defence Club (2015-2017)
  • Solicitor, Holman Fenwick Willan, London/UK (2008-2014)
  • Solicitor, Ebsworth & Ebsworth (now HWL Ebsworth), Sydney/Australia (2005-2008)
  • Graduate-at-law, Hunt & Hunt, Sydney/Australia (2004-2005)
  • Senior Litigation Clerk / Paralegal, MacMahon Associates Lawyers (2001-2004)
  • Member of the Maritime Law Association of USA (2016-present)
  • Member of the New York City Bar – Admiralty (2015-2018)
  • Supporting Member of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (2021)

Education

  • Higher Rights of Audience (Civil), England & Wales, Solicitor Advocate (2021)
  • New York Bar Exam (2017)
  • LL.M. (with merit) in International Business Law, Kings College London, London/UK (2011)
  • Admission to High Court of England and Wales (2009)
  • Shipping Law Course, Swansea University, Wales/UK (2008)
  • Admission to Supreme Court of New South Wales, NSW/Australia (2005)
  • Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, College of Law, Sydney/Australia (2005)
  • LL.B. (with honours), University of Wollongong, NSW/Australia (2004)
  • B.A. (with distinction), University of Wollongong, NSW/Australia (2004)

Chambers USA 2021

  • USA Nationwide: Transportation - Shipping/Maritime: Litigation (New York) (Band 4)
  • "Luke Zadkovich is very approachable and always willing to assist. Luke has come up with novel solutions on more than one occasion and has regularly delivered results exceeding our Members’ expectations. His communication is clear and I have been very happy to recommend his services to colleagues and Members."
  • Shipping: UK Tier 5 (2021)
    "In my experience, the team (led by Luke Zadkovich) have been able to appreciate the commercial objectives of our members very quickly, and to come up with legal solutions in order to meet those objectives. The focus is on obtaining the results our members want as efficiently as possible. I find the team’s approach to be collaborative – they work with the Club and our Members, not as an advisor at arm’s length, which is valued."

Chambers & Partners USA 2020

  • Ranked Individual (Band 4 - US Nationwide Shipping/Maritime)
    “Luke Zadkovich is frequently engaged in complex cargo disputes as part of his broader shipping and maritime practice. He also provides strong guidance to clients on English maritime law.”
  • “Luke Zadkovich is very bright, thoughtful and hardworking.”

Super Lawyers 2021

  • From Time to Time – How to count time for a demurrage time bar | Case by Case (Ep. 13)

    From Time to Time – How to count time for a demurrage time bar | Case by Case (Ep. 13)

    In this episode of Case by Case, Luke Zadkovich and Calum Cheyne chat with New York partner Ed Floyd about counting time for a demurrage time bar.

  • Maritime Liens – Incorporating maritime liens by contract in the US and UK | Case by Case (Ep. 12)

    Maritime Liens – Incorporating maritime liens by contract in the US and UK | Case by Case (Ep. 12)

    In episode 1 of season 2, Luke Zadkovich, Calum Cheyne and special guest Philip Vagin discuss the incorporation of maritime liens by contract in the US and the UK.

  • Shanghai Shipyards – Fight for your right for payment on demand | Case by Case (Ep. 11)

    Shanghai Shipyards – Fight for your right for payment on demand | Case by Case (Ep. 11)

    “On demand” or “See to it” – those are the two main types of guarantee. But what do those terms actually mean? Is it always clear if a guarantee is one, rather than the other, type? And, if not, what are the tell tale signs of each of these categories of guarantee?

    All of this was discussed in the recent Shanghai Shipyard’s case – Judgment handed down on 23 July 2021.

    Luke and Calum discuss the case in detail in this podcast.

  • Galtrade v BP – When can a cargo buyer reject delivery? | Case by Case (Ep. 10)

    Galtrade v BP – When can a cargo buyer reject delivery? | Case by Case (Ep. 10)

    When faced with a breach of contract an innocent party will often want to know if they have a right to terminate and walk away from the agreement, or whether they must continue with the contract and limit themselves to a recovery in damages.

    This is a tightrope for the parties and their lawyers. Does a breach of that specific term give a right to terminate? Alternatively, is this breach sufficiently significant to give that party a right to terminate?

    The Galtrade decision looks at both questions, and Luke and Calum consider it in today’s podcast.

  • Betty the devil you know? – The MV BETTY KIX: Arbitrator bias and costs awards in the US | Case by Case (Ep. 9)

    Betty the devil you know? – The MV BETTY KIX: Arbitrator bias and costs awards in the US | Case by Case (Ep. 9)

    Costs are a hugely important factor in nearly all legal cases. Interestingly, there is a big distinction between English Court and US Court treatment of costs, which was an issue in the recent SMA decision of the MV BETTY KIX.

    The decision also looks at issues of arbitrator bias. That is currently a big talking point on the English side of the pond following the Halliburton v Chubb decision. This decision is an interesting counterpoint from the US perspective.

    Luke and Calum look at the decision in detail, exploring all of the interesting issues that arise from it.

  • Unlocking the DIVINEGATE – getting into a jurisdiction clause | Case by Case (Ep. 8)

    Unlocking the DIVINEGATE – getting into a jurisdiction clause | Case by Case (Ep. 8)

    In the recent case of the DIVINEGATE, the English court was faced with a difficult jurisdictional question. The Claimant arrested a vessel in Gibraltar thought to belong to the Defendant. The Defendant argued that the arrest was wrongful, and that the Defendant was in fact the time charterer of the arrested vessel.

    The Defendant brought a counter-claim against the Claimant, for losses arising as a result of the wrongful arrest. The Claimant argued that the wrongful arrest claim was subject to Gibraltarian jurisdiction.

    Luke and Calum discuss the decision, looking in detail at the multi-jurisdictional nature of the world of international trade.

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