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Portrait of John Butler

John Butler

Senior Associate

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
United Kingdom
Languages English, German, Mandarin, Japanese

John is a Senior Associate and Solicitor Advocate specialising in shipping and international trade disputes, with a particular focus on international arbitration. He has been ranked since 2017 in the Legal500 guide for Hong Kong, in which jurisdiction John was based until May 2021. He is also qualified as a Solicitor in Hong Kong.

He regularly advises shipowners, operators, charterers, insurers and financiers as well as cargo interests on shipping and international trade disputes (including disputes under charterparties, bills of lading, letters of credit, ship financing and leasing arrangements and contracts of affreightment). 

John is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and a member of the Hong Kong Maritime Arbitrators’ Group. He has extensive experience in arbitrations under LMAA, SIAC, LCIA and HKIAC terms, and speaks regularly on the topic of international maritime arbitration.

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John is “recommended for international arbitration and complex commercial disputes in the shipping arena”.

Legal 500, 2020

Ranked as a next generation lawyer

Legal 500, 2017/18

"John Butler is [a] name to note".

Legal 500, 2019

Relevant experience

  • A Chinese SOE in multiple shareholder and directors’ duties disputes in HKIAC and Hong Kong Court proceedings concerning a HK joint venture.
  • A German company and their trade credit insurers in obtaining emergency Norwich Pharmacal and other injunctive relief in Hong Kong.
  • Successfully resisting multiple appeals from London arbitration Awards in London.
  • A Singaporean trading company in a dispute concerning the restoration of a dissolved Hong Kong company to the companies register, making new law on the issue.
  • Japanese tanker owners in LMAA proceedings concerning oil major approvals.
  • Advocate for Vietnamese shipowners in SIAC proceedings.
  • A Danish bank in several arbitrations related to the collapse of OW Bunkers.
  • Successfully resolving in mediation substantial claims in arbitration under a chain of charterparties.
  • Charterers and their insurers in defence of several unsafe port / berth claims.
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Memberships & Roles

  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb, 2019)
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Lectures list

  • Back to the future - Post contractual events and the assessment of damages for breach of contract
  • Settlement offers and their effect in London arbitration
  • The carrier’s dilemma: dangerous cargo, inherent vice and the carrier’s options
  • London Maritime arbitration – A Beginner’s Guide
  • Insolvency in the Shipping Sector - Immediate ‘self-help’ remedies
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  • 2008 – MA (Hons) Modern Languages, Worcester College, Oxford
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