“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 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.
Aiden Lerch joins Luke and Calum on this week’s episode, to discuss a recent (and rare) Supreme Court decision on Estoppel by Convention.
Judgment in the CMA CGM Libra has been handed down yesterday by the Supreme Court. The result is that negligent passage planning can render a vessel “unseaworthy”, and liability for that unseaworthiness is not covered by the Article IV Rule 2 exception for errors in navigation.
The Court carried out a detailed and comprehensive review of a number of established precedents. In doing so, the Court also rejected Owners’ arguments that there was a need for an “Attribute Threshold” (where there must be an identifiable “attribute” that is defective to cause the unseaworthiness).
Finally, the Court agreed that the “prudent owner” test was not the sole test for unseaworthiness. While that test remains very important, the Court noted that the unseaworthiness must also go to the vessel’s ability safely to carry out the contracted voyage. That is in line with authorities including The Aquacharm, where an issue that a prudent owner would clearly seek to rectify was not sufficient to amount to unseaworthiness (in the case of The Aquacharm, overstowage preventing a vessel passing through the Panama Canal).
Luke and Calum discuss this significant Supreme Court judgment on a critical area of maritime law.
Luke and Calum welcome special guest Lucy Noble to recap a battle of the forms judgment newly handed down from the English Court of Appeal. The jurisdiction dispute in TRW v Panasonic  EWCA Civ 1558 confirms an important exception to the last shot principle, a question of interpretation which is approached quite differently under US law.
In this episode, Calum and Luke use London Arbitration 20/21 as a launching point into the world of nominations, options and elections. Does a nomination become written into a contract once made? When does it not? What parallels are there with redelivery notices (eg. the Zenovia)? Or analogies with other options in a contract?
Luke and Calum welcome special guest, Eva-Maria Mayer onto the podcast to discuss an interesting point of difference between US and UK law. This one involves a blast from the past, and we take a look at some important historical cases from the English House of Lords and the US Court of Appeals (Fifth Circuit).
Space Shipping Ltd v ST Shipping and Transport PTE Ltd  EWHC 2288 (Comm)
Luke and Calum look at damages, arbitration appeal procedure, partial awards and much more in this recent Commercial Court decision.
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!
We are delighted to be recognised by Legal 500 (UK) 2021 for our work in Shipping.
A four-month delay in bringing an anti-suit injunction was held to prevent its issue in Enka v Chubb Insurance  1 Lloyd’s Rep. 71. PJSC was the contractor for the construction of a power plant.
The inter-club agreement is designed to prevent litigation. It normally does so, so any reporting providing further clarity is welcome.
The Australian federal court, in an exceptional case, emphasised its reach over arbitration tribunals in a recent judgment.
The vessel was time-chartered on an NYPE form containing the BIMCO Non-Payment of Hire Clause. Hire was payable 15 days in advance, every 15 days.
Our team recently held another successful virtual Q&A with the students at the University of Wollongong, Australia.