Benjamin Coffer

Ben has a broad international practice, with particular emphasis on commodities, insurance / reinsurance and shipping.

His shipping practices encompasses charterparty and bill of lading claims, shipbuilding and ship finance disputes. Recent cases include The Maersk Tangier [2017] 1 Lloyd's Rep 580, the first English case on package limitation for containerised cargoes under the Hague-Visby Rules and The Aqasia [2016] 2 Lloyd's Rep 510, holding that Article IV Rule 5 of the Hague Rules does not apply to bulk cargoes. Ben appeared at first instance and in the Court of Appeal in Volcafe Limited v. CSAV [2017] 1 Lloyd's Rep 32, concerning the inherent vice defence and burden of proof in cargo claims.

Ben acts in a full range of marine and non-marine insurance/reinsurance claims. He appeared in Beazley Underwriting v. Al Ahleia Insurance Company [2013] 1 Lloyd's Rep IR 561, a leading case on the operation of claims control clauses where a reinsurance market is divided, and in A v. B, an arbitration arising out of the purported avoidance of a quota share energy treaty on the basis of an allegation that risks ceded to the treaty had been compressed by the use of facultative excess of loss reinsurance.

Ben’s commodities work covers a wide range of hard and soft commodities disputes with particular experience of oil and gas, coal and steel, rice, sugar, grains, and oils and fats. Ben frequently works closely with solicitors and trade representatives to assist in the presentation of cases in trade association arbitrations.

Contributed to

1

Commodities arbitration—trade associations and arbitration rules
Practice Note

This Practice Note describes the main trade associations which provide arbitration services to the international commodities trades and discusses distinctive features of their arbitration rules. The principal trade associations considered throughout the Practice Note are the Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA) and the Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Associations (FOSFA). Other trade associations mentioned include the International Cotton Association (ICA), the London Metal Exchange (LME), the British Coffee Association (BCA) and the Refined Sugar Association (RSA). The Practice Note provides an introduction to commodities arbitration and considers: the role of trade arbitrators, the use of trade representatives instead of lawyers in commodities arbitration, general procedure in commodities arbitration, time limits (or time bar provisions) and appeals against first-tier tribunal decisions to appeal board or appeal committees (the two-tier system). This topic may be referred to as: cross-border commodities contracts arbitration proceedings; commodities dispute resolution; commodities disputes; and, international commodity trade arbitration.

Practice areas

Membership

  • LCIA Young International Arbitration Group
  • COMBAR
  • LMAA Supporting Member

Panel

  • Specialist Panel

Education

  • Bar Vocational Course, Inns of Court School of Law (Outstanding)
  • Graduate Diploma in Law, College of Law (Distinction)
  • B.A. in English Literature, St Johns College, Oxford (First Class)

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