Ian is a specialist in international commercial arbitration and litigation.
He has been involved, including as an advocate, in numerous ad hoc and institutional arbitrations, subject to a variety of governing substantive and procedural laws, including arbitrations under the LCIA, ICC, SCC, SIAC, LMAA, UNCITRAL, CIArb, ICSID and lesser known rules. Ian also accepts arbitral appointments.
Ian has conducted proceedings for and against governments, multinationals and high-net-worth individuals all around the world and has particular expertise in disputes with a connection to LATAM, CEE, CIS and Africa.
He has considerable experience in the energy and natural resources (principally oil and gas, renewables, mining and minerals) and infrastructure fields as well as international trade, shipping and commodities, construction projects and real estate development, shareholder disputes, banking and financial instruments, hospitality, media, trusts and insurance.
Ian is dual-qualified in the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe and has a particular interest and focus on international commercial arbitration in sub-Saharan Africa.
He is also a regular speaker at industry events – more recently as a keynote speaker at the Spanish Chamber of Commerce seminar on ‘Investment Treaty Arbitration: Protecting Overseas Investments’.
Fantastic - good commercially, knows the business, an excellent international litigator and someone you definitely want on your side.
President, Genesis Interiors
- International commercial arbitration
- Commercial litigation
- Cross-border disputes
- Maritime, commodities and international trade
- Construction and projects disputes
- Recovery and insolvency
- Investment (treaty) structuring
- Acted in a bifurcated, London-seated UNCITRAL arbitration in proceedings brought against an African state respondent for damages in excess of US$8 billion arising out of a contract for the construction of a sophisticated onshore natural gas processing plant. Successfully won on both liability and quantum with multi-jurisdictional enforcement actions extant.
- Acted for a Brazilian listed oil and gas giant in a number of complex proceedings, including:
(i) a London-seated LCIA arbitration against claims raised in excess of USD$78 million under a long-term charter party for the use of an offshore floating oil production vessel;(ii) a Rio de Janeiro-seated LCIA arbitration against a Brazilian state entity with multi-million US$ claims arising under a suite of aborted farm-out agreements and related licences to explore and exploit certain oil fields within Brazilian territorial waters; and(iii) a London-seated LCIA arbitration with claims against a Canadian shipyard arising under a construction contract for a US$700m new-build FPSO.
- Acted for a Dutch construction multinational in a high-value London-seated ICC arbitration against an Italian energy giant and an Eastern European state oil and gas supplier under a contract for the drilling and laying of two significant gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea.
- Acted for a Spanish multinational in a London-seated ICC arbitration involving defective product liability claims and project finance claims brought by a Middle Eastern state entity in relation to a substantial wind park project, now in its operations and maintenance phase of development.
- Acted for an Eastern European state entity energy supplier in a US$1 billion arbitration brought by a Baltic State raising claims of alleged unfair gas pricing under a long-term gas supply contract.
- Acted for a claimant oil trader in a closely fought US$96 million ICC arbitration against a state entity of a prominent OPEC member state arising out of an aborted long-term oil swap contract. The case involved numerous interim applications including a successful challenge to the appointment of the respondent’s nominated arbitrator, a successful application to the Swiss court for an injunction to freeze the respondent’s Swiss bank accounts in support of the arbitration, and applications to the Tribunal for security and interim and conservatory relief.
- Acted for a Greek ship owner in an LMAA arbitration against an Italian shipyard in claims arising under the yard’s performance guarantees and repair warranties set forth in a shipbuilding contract for a luxury superyacht.
- Acted for a multinational shipping company in an LMAA arbitration against a Spanish shipyard in a high-value dispute arising out of two aborted shipbuilding contracts for the construction and delivery of two specialised offshore supply vessels.
- Acted for a Dutch bank in proceedings before the English High Court with claims arising under an aborted ship financing transaction. The Defendant asserted substantial nuisance counterclaims of €25 million, which were struck out.
- Acted for a major shipping operator in an LMAA arbitration in a substantial charter party dispute involving a catalogue of speed and warranty claims.
- Acted for a Greek high-net-worth individual in a closely contested LMAA arbitration against an Italian shipyard in a high-value dispute arising out of an aborted construction contract for a new-build luxury superyacht.
- Acted for an Italian interiors company specialising in high-end fit-outs for luxury superyachts in a London-seated LCIA arbitration against a prominent Saudi ship owner arising out of owner’s repudiation of a US$30 million fit-out contract.
- Successfully obtained an emergency injunction from the English High Court on behalf of a Monaco-based fund manager to prevent an unlawful share disposal pursuant to a shareholder’s agreement involving a Brazilian holding company with a substantial property development and hospitality portfolio in Brazil. Resisted a robust challenge to lift the injunction.
- Acted for an Asian multinational in a high-value claim under an aborted supply agreement against a South American state entity in relation to a project for the electrification of a block of the Amazon basin. The case involved, amongst others, successfully obtaining emergency injunctive relief from the English court to preserve evidence in support of a pending London-seated ICC arbitration pursuant to s44 of the English Arbitration Act.
- Acted for the Appellant in Anzen Limited and others v Hermes One Limited JCPC 2015/0041, a groundbreaking Privy Council case on the construction of an arbitration clause in a shareholder agreement – the issue before the Privy Council being whether or not the use of permissive words in an arbitration agreement conferred an option or an obligation upon a party to arbitrate. The Appellant client won before the Privy Council.
- Acted for a Kazakh multinational in a London-seated LCIA arbitration in a multi-million US$ misrepresentation claim against a former joint venture partner in relation to a US$500m fund for the development and management of a significant portfolio of international hotel and luxury residence assets.
- Acted in a high-value London-seated SCC arbitration involving a dispute arising out of breach of warranty in claims in an SPA for the development of certain prime commercial real estate in central Moscow.
- Acted for a property developer in a high value action before the English High Court under guarantees and indemnities issued in support of an aborted property development project in Romania. Successfully resisted a robust interim jurisdictional challenge.
- Acted in a Paris-seated, ICC arbitration on behalf of a Polish listed company against a multinational tyre manufacturer asserting claims involving minority rights issues and detailed valuation issues.
- Acted for an investor in a London-seated LCIA arbitration with claims against its joint venture partner arising out of a failed gold mine in Zimbabwe.
- Salvaged a US$96m mining investment for an investor in a Sub-Saharan African state. The action included conducting, managing and overseeing an emergency injunction before the domestic courts, resisting robust challenges and ensuing appeals.
- Acted for a high-profile hedge fund manager in a complex £10 million professional negligence claim against two major international investment banks in relation to the transfer of a portfolio of derivative trading positions between the banks as prime brokers.
- Acted for a Dutch bank in proceedings before the English court that were commenced by Barclays under a disputed letter of credit transaction for a sum in excess of US$20 million.
- Acted for Delaware trustees of a Liechtenstein trust resisting significant claims in a London-seated LIS arbitration brought by a trust beneficiary relating to an allegedly unfair distribution of trust assets.
- Acted for an international events organiser in proceedings before the English High Court against an A-list singer with claims arising out of the last-minute withdrawal of performances in Bucharest.
Please note: The experience list above may include examples of work completed prior to joining Keystone Law.
Ian Sellars is recognised by the Legal 500 2017.
Listed by Chambers & Partners UK 2013, under Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration, as, “an associate to watch”.
Ian qualified as a solicitor in 2006. Prior to joining Keystone Law in 2016, he worked at the following firms:
- SC Andrews
- Dentons Wilde Sapte
- Watson, Farley & Williams