William Godwin QC


Associate Member
1986 (Middle Temple) QC 2017
Qualifications BA (First Class) University College London; B Phil; D Phil Oriel College, Oxford.
Benefactors senior law scholar, Middle Temple
Professional Memberships Arbitration panel member of the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission and the Dubai International Arbitration Centre, a panel adjudicator of the Technology and Construction Bar Association and a lecturer at City University and at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London University).


William has substantial experience of institutional and ad hoc commercial and technical arbitrations and related applications, challenges and appeals.

Cases include a number of important arbitration law decisions:

  • LG Caltex Gas Co and Contigroup Companies v China National Petroleum Corporation and China Petroleum Technology Development Corporation [2001] BLR 235 – effect of section 67 Arbitration Act 1996.
  • North Range Shipping Ltd v Seatrans Shipping Corp (The Western Triumph) [2002] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 1 – CA applying Human Rights Act 1998 to leave to appeal applications under s 69 Arbitration Act 1996 (Antaios held no longer to apply).
  • Peterson Farms Inc v C&M Farming Ltd [2004] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 614 – first reported decision on power under s 70(7) Arbitration Act 1996  to secure award pending appeal or challenge; submissions described by senior judge as showing “conspicuous skill and clarity”.

Other work includes acting in major LMAA  shipbuilding arbitration for a Chinese shipyard and in Hong Kong (HKIAC) arbitration for Chinese sellers of shares in major pharmaceutical companies.


  • “William has established good credentials in the arbitration communities of China and Asia.” Legal 500, International Arbitration (2014)


William has experience in letters of credit, bonds,and guarantees in banking disputes. Cases include:

  • Acting for a privatised Russian shipping corporation defending multi-million dollar UNICTRAL arbitration claims by a major European bank on parent company guarantee raising Russian and English company law issues.
  • Advising Nigerian distributors of Kodak film on injunction proceedings in relation to an on-demand bond.
  • Advising Singapore pulp mill owners on a performance bond concerning a major plant development in Thailand.
  • Advising on calls under performance securities in connection with a major project in Africa.

William was recently instructed in substantial and complex Commercial Court proceedings by a major German group arising from acquisition debt push down in several jurisdictions following a private equity buy-out and restructuring involving conflict of laws, German company law and valuation issues. He has also acted in a London International Chamber of Commerce arbitration for a South African mining group arising out of a commercial loan agreement in connection with the purchase of AIM listed shares. William acted in related LCIA arbitration proceedings concerning investments in Liberia, and in the Chancery Division in interpleader proceedings concerning trusts of shares.

Other work includes appearing in major LMAA arbitrations defending a Chinese shipyard and finance house in very large claims for late delivery in respect of multiple chemical tanker new-build contracts; a Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre hearing for a large Chinese pharmaceutical company in claims arising from a share sale agreement; and advising in complex inter-related proceedings in several jurisdictions concerning Russian parties and covering cross-border tracing of claims, trusts, partnerships and joint ventures.


William has appeared for policy-holder accountants against insurers in the landmark decision in HLB Kidsons v Lloyds Underwriters and Others [2009] Lloyds Rep IR 8 (CA) (notification provisions in standard form professional indemnity policies). He has also acted in related professional negligence proceedings against insurance brokers and solicitors and against Kidsons’ former partners.

Other cases include:

  • Acting for developers in claims against insurers and contractors following total collapse of docklands development;
  • Advising insurers defending property damage claims against dredging contractors;
  • Advising insurers on subrogation issues in major fire claim and advising insurers on contractors all risks policy coverage.

Sale Contracts

William has experience in sale contracts generally, including commodities. Cases include acting for two Bosnian corporations in successfully setting aside a multi-million dollar Commercial Court judgment in a claim by Sinochem under an on-sale of Iranian crude oil; and for Indian buyers of breeding poultry from US sellers under a sales rights agreement in challenging proceedings to an ICC award, raising issues of US state and federal law, New York Convention issues, and co-ordination of US and London proceedings. William was instructed by Chinese metal traders in an LCIA arbitration concerning the supply of alumina in breach of UN/US sanctions.

Freezing Orders and Civil Fraud

Freezing order applications in a range of commercial cases, often involving fraud.

William has a wide experience (domestic and international arbitrations and English court proceedings) of engineering and construction disputes of all kinds:

  • Infrastructure projects including power and process plant
  • EPC/turnkey projects
  • Off-shore and shipbuilding

William is a Tecbar accredited adjudicator and a member of the FIDIC Updates Taskgroup.


  • “An experienced junior recommended for international engineering contract disputes.” Legal 500, Construction (2015)


William has substantial experience of professional liability claims in a wide range of subject matters including tax advice, financial services, insurance and construction and engineering.

Cases include:

  • Acting in proceedings involving insurance brokers and solicitors in relation to tax mitigation schemes.
  • Acting in proceedings against solicitors in relation to implementation of corporate mergers and their tax effects.
  • Acting in cases involving engineers, architects and other construction professionals in a wide range of projects.

Practice Overview

William specialises in arbitration and litigation in a wide range of commercial and technical disputes, often with an international  element.  He is an arbitration panel member of the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, the Shanghai International Arbitration Center, the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration and the Dubai International Arbitration Centre.  He is also a director of the Great Britain China Centre, a Tecbar accredited adjudicator and a member of the FIDIC Updates Taskgroup.

William is qualified to undertake public access work in appropriate cases, for further information, please visit our Public Access page.


  • ‘Challenging Awards in China-sited Arbitrations’ International Arbitration Law Review (October 2007)
  • ‘A Puzzle About Powers: the Arbitration Act 1996, s. 67’ Lloyds Maritime & Commercial Law Quarterly Part 3 (August 2002)
  • ‘Ad Hoc Agreements and the Arbitration Act 1996: the LG Caltex Case’ International Arbitration Law Review Vol 5 Issue 1 (March 2002)
  • ‘Arbitration and Reasons: the North Range Decision’ International Arbitration Law Review Vol 5 Issue 4 (October 2002) (British Institute paper May 2002)
  • ‘Challenging Arbitrators’ Jurisdiction’ Disputes 2002
  • ‘Arbitration or Litigation? Multi-party Disputes and Arbitration Clauses’ in Construction Law: Themes and Practice Sweet & Maxwell (1998)
  • ‘Transferable Letters of Credit: the effect of Lariza’ Journal of Business Law January (1990)
  • Construction Contracts: a Handbook for Chinese Parties China Architecture and Building Press Beijing (2008)
  • International Construction Contracts: a Handbook Wiley Blackwell (2013)