William Godwin QC

William Godwin QC
  • Call Date: 1986
  • Silk Date: 2017
  • Areas of Law:
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William Godwin QC specialises in commercial and technology and construction law, often with a cross border element, and international arbitration. A graduate of University College London (first class) and Oxford University (DPhil), he is an arbitration panel member of several international arbitration panels and acts as adjudicator. He also sits on the board of Great Britain China Centre. 


Wide range of commercial/contractual disputes in arbitration and English high court litigation including joint venture and corporate acquisition disputes. Recent work includes advising in a major shareholder action in the Chancery Division and appearing in a major Commercial Court action arising from a debt push down following a private equity buy-out and restructuring of two large German industrial groups; the trial bristled with issues, including conflict of laws, German company law, Mexican tax law and valuation of companies. Other work includes appearing in 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 interrelated proceedings in several jurisdictions concerning Russian parties and covering cross border tracing claims, trusts, partnerships and joint ventures.

Banking; civil fraud and freezing orders.

Insurance and Professional Indemnity

Substantial experience of insurance issues and professional indemnity/liability issues in a commercial and construction law context. Work includes appearing for the policy-holder accountants against insurers in the landmark decision in HLB Kidsons v Lloyds Underwriters and Others [2009] Lloyds Rep IR 8 concerning coverage and notification provisions in standard form professional indemnity policies and acting in related professional negligence proceedings against insurance brokers and solicitors.

Engineering, Technology and Construction/ International Projects

Very substantial experience of engineering, technology (including computer systems) and construction matters of all kinds, including liability of engineers, architects and others, loss and expense claims, delay analysis, geotechnical cases, sub-contractors, suppliers and certificates; EPC/turnkey projects. JCT, NEC and other standard forms; special expertise in FIDIC-based contracts and acts and advises in FIDIC White Book cases; legal member of the FIDIC Updates Task Group for the second edition of the main construction forms.

Professional Negligence/Liability

Substantial experience of professional liability claims in a wide range of subject matters including tax advice, financial services, insurance and construction and engineering. Work includes 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; engineers, architects and other construction professionals in a wide range of projects.

Shipbuilding and Offshore Installations

Substantial experience of shipbuilding projects and offshore installations, including extensions of time and rescission for late delivery under standard form contracts. Work includes appearing in LMAA arbitration defending Chinese yard against very large claims for rescission for late delivery in respect of multiple chemical tanker new build SAJ contracts and advising on disputes concerning delivery.


Acting in arbitrations and advising on shipping issues generally. Work includes acting for a Chinese state enterprise defending claims under a voyage charter and raising complex issues of quantum and causation; acting for Chinese charterers in substantial LMAA arbitration defending claims by Korean disponent owners for damages for breach of contract of affreightment and acting for Chinese charterers facing various claims arising out of five C/Ps in an LMAA arbitration.


Generally very substantial experience of institutional and ad hoc commercial and technical arbitrations and related applications, challenges and appeals. Leading cases include: LG Caltex Gas Co and Contigroup Companies v China National Petroleum Corporation and China Petroleum Technology Development Corporation [2001] BLR 235 (effect of s 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; guidelines).

Legal Directories

  • ‘Very intelligent with an eagerness to understand the client’s business.’
  • 'He has established good credentials in the arbitration communities of China and Asia' 
  • 'An expert on FIDIC contracts and related arbitration.'

- Legal 500