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International trade

When goods are delayed or their condition differs from what is expected, parties to sale contracts need on the spot advice as to what can and can’t be done against the counterparty and possibly against a transport provider, and as to what practical and legal steps to take to minimise exposure and to secure the best possible recovery.


We advise commodity producers, traders and end users on the full range of issues affecting international sale of goods.

From arrangements for development and exploitation, to sale contracts, financing, transportation issues and storage, we assist with negotiation and drafting of contracts, and with resolution of problems and disputes.

Commodities Lawyers

Our trade and commodity lawyers cover:

  • soft commodities (with particular experience with rice, sugar, wheat and fruit);
  • refined metals;
  • ores and concentrates;
  • coal;
  • crude oil and petroleum products;
  • edible oils and fats;
  • chemicals and fertilizers; and
  • scrap and recycled products.

In addition to being regular users of the main generic arbitration institutions in commodity related disputes (ICC, LCIA, ICSID), our team also has a great deal of experience with arbitration under the rules of trade associations such as GAFTA, FOSFA and the Refined Sugar Association.

Our team members have worked on the following matters, as examples:

  • ICSID arbitration in relation to alleged expropriation of a mine in a South Pacific state
  • Dispute about whether several lots of rice shipped under a long term supply contract met contractual specification and whether contract terminated lawfully – subject to GAFTA arbitration
  • Issues as to whether presence of a naturally occurring organic compound rendered a cargo of crude oil contrary to specification
  • Dispute for Far East steel producer about alleged breach of a contract of affreightment for carriage of coal against a background of drastic freight market movements, including issues as to amount and recoverability of hedging losses
  • Anti-suit injunction restraining pursuit of foreign proceedings in breach of a clause providing for trade association arbitration in London
  • Dispute about whether or not a long term contract for sale of iron ore was formed, and if so, what exactly the terms were.
  • LCIA arbitration about whether a sale contract was frustrated due to lengthy delay in delivery.

Primary contact: James Hickland