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Garbhan Shanks

Garbhan Shanks


I specialise in commercial litigation and arbitration. I head the Insurance and Reinsurance team which mainly represents policyholders and captives in coverage disputes against (re)insurers.


I have over 20 years' experience of litigation, arbitration and mediation in commercial disputes, often with international and civil fraud elements, with a particular focus in insurance and group actions.

My job is to successfully navigate clients to the end of a dispute process as efficiently and effectively as possible.

I primarily act for policyholders in the financial services, pharmaceutical, energy, retail, manufacturing, construction, utilities and transport sectors to recover insurance indemnities properly due under construction all-risks, product liability / recall, professional indemnity, property, business interruption, D&O, employers' liability, public liability, political / credit risk, corporate crime (1st and 3rd party) and cyber / privacy insurance policies.

I also specialise in reinsurance coverage disputes and have acted in leading cases Wasa v Lexington (concerning US pollution losses) and Aioi v Heraldglen (arising from the 9/11 World Trade Centre losses) and currently represent a captive reinsurer in a $500 million LCIA political risk coverage arbitration.

My commercial disputes practice involves both defendant work, such as miss-selling, professional negligence and breach of contract / warranty claims, and claimant work where I have an established expertise in litigation funding, ATE cover and group actions.

I have acted in numerous ad hoc and institutional arbitrations, particularly those governed by the LCIA, ICC and SCC Rules, which has become an increasingly popular option for my clients, especially with enforcement to mind.

Outside of work, I have now firmly hung up my rugby boots, but still love watching rugby and currently coach junior players. I am a passionate free-diver and spear-fisherman, fly fisherman and beekeeper. When my kids allow me time off, I also get involved in various field sports!


Working closely with clients to anticipate and deal with their business risks and objectives, we utilise the skills of a team of lawyers who are experienced in all types of dispute resolution. Our multi-national, bi-lingual team enables us to service clients wherever they are in the world while achieving the best results for their business.


We have a track record for taking on complex, high value and cross-border disputes across a range of sectors. Our strong international focus is a key strength. Our team acts for corporates, high net worth individuals and other overseas lawyers. The practice is home to a several international desks including India and the Middle East.


We advise international companies both in the UK and abroad in relation to conducting arbitration proceedings and enforcing international arbitration awards. Our team is also experienced in dealing with investor-state arbitrations under bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, including the Energy Charter Treaty.


We are an experienced team representing policyholders and their captives in litigation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution with insurers. The group also advises on insurance programmes and renewals, on the drafting and interpretation of policies, including Warranty & Indemnity cover for M&A deals, and on properly notifying and presenting claims to insurers.


With full service disputes capabilities, substantial links to the funding community and a track record of acting on trailblazing cases, our specialist group litigation lawyers provide a bespoke service including the identification, assessment, structuring and launch of compelling cases for individual claimants and companies.


One of the few firms with a pedigree of bringing major cases for individuals and companies, including within the growing group litigation sector. We have the ability to access, structure, organise, and obtain the funding required whilst mitigating much of the risk and keeping those costs off balance sheet.



  • Representing 500+ SMEs in a High Court action against Clydesdale Bank PLC and National Australia Bank alleging that the banks improperly charged customers break costs and deliberately concealed profit hidden within interest rates.
  • Advising numerous businesses, from construction, manufacturing to the hospitality sector, in connection with the scope of their business interruption insurance cover for losses sustained as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Acting for United Bank Limited in various counter-guarantee disputes arising out of the civil war in the Yemen, involving injunctions before the Indian and English courts, an ICC arbitration in Paris and a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal of Versailles.
  • Acting for a Luxembourg based captive (re)insurer in LCIA arbitration proceedings relating to a $500 million expropriation loss under a political risk insurance programme.
  • Representing an investment and wealth management firm in High Court proceedings against their professional indemnity insurers to recover losses including legal costs incurred defending a US action relating to a fraudulent revolving credit facility.


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