“Luke Zadkovich is very bright, thoughtful and hardworking.”Legal 500 (UK) 2019 and Chambers & Partners (USA) 2020 Ranked Individual
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, property damage 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.
Luke has advised on major insurance disputes and policy wordings in the reinsurance, professional indemnity, financial institutions, directors & officers, construction, property, marine and personal injury.
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.
In 2022, Luke was appointed as an Honorary Fellow of the University of Wollongong, Australia, and teaches a course on International Shipping and Commodities Law.
Luke is often a keynote speaker at international events, as an example recently featuring at the 16th International Seminar for Judges in Nigeria in 2022. Luke also co-hosts the leading legal podcast, Case by Case, published on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
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.
As we are watching the breaking late-night US news that the former President, Donald Trump, and 18 others, have been indicted by grand jury with conspiracy under the RICO Act in the state of Georgia, USA – this Case by Case episode (#74) comes at an opportune time.
Case by Case 71 – Refining the law on Foreign Experts
“This is not a paid commercial… but … TimTams!”
After the yummy detour, this pod is about a serious arbitration topic.
The scope of an arbitration agreement. We know it well under English law. Here the question is subject to Iranian law.
Case by Case – episode 70: Captured in Time
We are back this week with an interesting shipping case. Just as we become podcaster septuagenarians.
I could open this with a profound question like, “what is the meaning of time?”
But this is a more concrete question about whether breach of a vessel hull cleaning clause was intended to create a debt claim for hire post-charter or damages claim.
Case by Case – episode 69: From Gadani to the Garage
If you are on holidays and hire a car, then you will agree with the car hire company where that car needs to be redelivered. If you drop it off somewhere not agreed, then there will be a cost charged.
We’re talking about the same kind of thing here.
Case by Case – episode 68: The Place to Rule B.
“This is in our sweet spot…” so we start on video. And it is. Our original USP as a law firm was to handle US and UK legal matters seamlessly. We’ve grown, combined and added EU legal work into the mix too, and Australian law. This case explores the limits of the USA Rule B attachment in the context of maritime indemnity claims and how drafting of the underlying UK dispute can influence the US court’s approach to the attachment. Indemnity claims in the maritime space come in different shapes and sizes. They could be under an LOI for delivery without presentation of bills. Edward and Luke first started working together on such a case at different firms, where I handled the UK indemnity claim and Ed attached a litigated US claim under Rule B. That’s where our story all started.
Calum and Luke had a lot of fun in NY doing this session in front of key clients last week. Our colleagues’ heckling notwithstanding. Essentially, we skip through 6 recent English cases from the first half of 2023. Some we’ve done before and some are new. Traversing plenty of territory in the shipping, commodities and insurance space. This pod will give you a good flavour of what’s been going on in the courts.
And yes, that’s our wacky art wall in the NYC office and not a virtual background…
We had a remarkable time at our New York client event last week!
Congrats to our US shipping team for another The Legal 500 (Legalease) US ranking!
We are delighted to announce that our firm has been ranked once again as a leading firm in Nationwide Transportation: Shipping/ Maritime by Chambers and Partners USA 2022.
This is our second update to keep our clients informed as we monitor the rapidly changing security situation in Ukraine. As described in our earlier sanctions circular, we believe we are uniquely placed to assist our clients in this current fast-moving situation with our teams of international lawyers based in USA, UK and EU. We have experience and expertise to assist all our clients’ requirements.
This update is the first of several which ZFZ will produce to keep our clients informed as we monitor the rapidly changing security situation in Ukraine. We believe we are uniquely placed to assist our clients in this current fast-moving situation. Support is likely to be needed in a variety of contexts, for example advice as to whether a client is captured by the sanctions or whether a contract with a Russian counterparty can be performed and support on opportunities and projects that arise in relation to alternative energy sources because of the sanctions on Russian energy providers. We have the experience and expertise to assist all our client’s requirements.
We’re pleased to announce that our Luke Zadkovich has been designated by the New York City Bar Association to attend the UNCITRAL: United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Working Group of the Judicial Sale of Ships in New York City, starting Monday.
Two great announcements to get our weekend started properly:
“Presenting expert evidence in US and English maritime arbitration”
With Charles Anderson, James Clanchy, John Walker & Ian Hodges, moderated by our Luke Zadkovich & Eva-Maria Mayer.
Monday, 28 June 2021
10:00 Eastern Standard Time | 15:00 British Summer Time | 16:00 Central European Time
Watch the full webinar recording here.
We’re delighted to have been recognized for our US shipping work once again from Chambers and Partners USA!