Simon advises on disputes, transactional and advisory matters in relation to the trading, transporting and financing of a wide range of physical commodities. He aims to provide practical, commercial and solution focused advice to his clients which include major mining companies, oil majors, commodity traders and investment banks.  

Before joining Mercatis Law Simon spent fifteen years at Reed Smith, including seven years as a partner based in Singapore. Simon has acted on matters in connection with most of the major events to impact the commodities sector in recent years including, for example, the Qingdao metals warehousing frauds and the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie in Australia.  

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Transactional and Advisory Matters

Simon advises on legal issues arising in new business lines and transactions. This includes, for example, transactions relating to the storage, processing, distribution and marketing of commodities and related finance structures and derivatives trading. He often drafts and reviews commodities trading contracts, standard terms and conditions, term offtake and supply contracts, commodities storage agreements, guarantees and other documentation related to the trading of numerous physical commodities. Commodities in relation to which Simon has experience of advising include oil, LNG, coal, base metals, precious metals, iron ore, grains, soybeans, rice, sugar, palm oil, cotton, biofuels and petrochemicals.  

Disputes and International Arbitration

Simon often deals with “firefighting” of urgent, live issues with the aim of resolving potential disputes at an early stage. He also regularly acts as counsel in international arbitrations including in the SIAC, LCIA, LMAA, ICC, GAFTA, FOSFA, RSA, SAL. 


Career Background

  • Reed Smith  
  • In house secondments at commodities trading companies in London and Geneva and an investment bank in Singapore 
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers 

Notable Matters

  • Acting for a major mining company on the setup and establishment of its China WFOE and its domestic Chinese marketing business 
  • Drafting standard template contractual terms and General Terms and Conditions for a range of commodities including oil, iron ore, metals, coal, sugar, biofuels and petrochemicals 
  • Drafting long term offtake contracts for numerous commodities 
  • Negotiating numerous commodities storage agreements and conducting due diligence as to storage of commodities in multiple jurisdictions including, for example, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, China, Korea and South Africa  
  • Advising and drafting agreements relating to a joint venture for the storage, marketing and distribution of diesel 
  • Arbitration claims against buyers and ship owners in relation to a contaminated cargo of jet fuel 
  • Acting for a major mining company on a project to conduct due diligence in relation to the purchase, storage and transport metals in seven southern African jurisdictions 
  • Advising a major mining company on issues arising in a series of contracts in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie in Australia 
  • Advising a major mining company on revisions to their GTCs following changes to the law in respect of retention of title 
  • Acting in an arbitration in Singapore under UNCITRAL Rules for an oil trader against a state owned oil company 
  • Providing training to the commercial teams of a major resources company on legal issues arising in connection with its marketing business 
  • Acting for a major mining company on numerous transactions including a potential long term offtake contract for copper concentrates from Mongolia, a term prepayment transaction for Indonesian coal, a long term supply contract for Indonesian coal, a long term offtake contract for the purchase of copper from Zambia and contracts for storage of commodities in China and South Africa 
  • Acting for a major mining company on a dispute arising in connection with misdelivery of a cargo of product. This dispute reached a successful settlement following an arrest of the vessel in South Africa 
  • Advising a large mining company in connection with a project to review its blending, storage, logistics and domestic marketing activities in China and reviewing all associated documentation 
  • Acting on disputes and litigation arising out of the Qingdao metals fraud, involving multiple sets of court proceedings in China and London. 
  • Acting for a large mining company on a project to establish its domestic marketing activities in China 
  • Acting for a large mining company on a project to reorganise and restructure its commercial activities globally 
  • Acting for a large mining company on the setup of five pilot programs for new business activities for the group including trading and storage of metals and bunkers and derivatives trading 
  • Acting on numerous commodity prepayment transactions and, in particular, advising on the drafting and negotiation of the long term offtake contracts subject to the prepayment 
  • Drafting amending agreements, guidance notes and providing training for clients when trading on particular standard contracts, including SCOTA 
  • Acting for a large trading company in litigation over a dispute with a Chinese counterparty concerning a failure to take delivery of a cargo of iron ore 
  • Acting in an arbitration concerning supply of an allegedly off spec cargo of coal 
  • Acting on a series of 8 related arbitrations against a Chinese counterparty with arbitration proceedings in SIAC, CIETAC and FOSFA 
  • Arbitration concerning claims resulting from the failure of a vessel to meet requirements to moor at a particular port 
  • Arbitration concerning a long term offtake contract for the sale and purchase of copper concentrates 
  • Substantial litigation relating to forward freight agreements incorporating the ISDA Master Agreement involving proceedings in three different jurisdictions 
  • Obtaining injunctions in support of arbitration claims and litigation 

Credentials

Education
  • College of Law, 2003, Legal Practice Course – Distinction
  • Nottingham Trent University, 2001, Law LLB – 2:1 Honours
Professional Admissions and Qualifications
  • England & Wales – Solicitor
  • Singapore – Registered Foreign Lawyer