Simon Hems Partner

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Simon Hems is an international dispute resolution and insurance recovery lawyer, predominantly focused on, and experienced in, international arbitration governed by the principle institutions, such as ICC, LCIA, ICSID, DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre, LMAA and ad hoc under UNCITRAL Rules. Simon has also handled matters at all levels of the English court system.

Simon has specialism in the energy industry, with two decades of experience advising U.S. and European oil and gas and offshore services industry clients in litigation, arbitration and alternative dispute resolution. He is known globally in dispute venues, having represented clients in matters arising out of major EPC projects, offshore services and drilling contracts, and pipeline projects around the world and particularly in West Africa, the Gulf of Mexico, the Middle East and former Soviet states.

Simon’s insurance recovery experience relates to claims handling, coverage advice and policy review for assureds under a range of covers, but particularly construction all risks, property loss/damage, general liability, energy package, maritime protection and indemnity, marine cargo, and hull all risks and war risks (both for shipping and aviation).

Prior to joining McGuireWoods, Simon led the energy and infrastructure group at an international commercial law firm.


  • Representing one of the lessor claimants against the London aviation hull all risks and war risks markets in the multi-billion dollar “Russian Aviation Litigation”, listed by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 cases in 2024 in the English High Court. The claims are pursued under lessor and operator policies relating to western-owned aircraft trapped in Russia and Ukraine following Russia’s invasion in February 2022, the imposition of EU/UK/US sanctions, and Russian policy and law preventing the return of aircraft.
  • Advising various clients on permissible / advisable activities to ensure compliance with sanctions regulations imposed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including advising on the export of goods and shipping prohibitions; dealing with securities and debt issued by sanctioned Russian banks; the ability of Russian subsidiary companies to procure insurance from Russian carriers and the disposal of Russian assets in a sanctions compliant manner.
  • Assisting a Houston based client to navigate the termination by one its counter-parties of a major offshore project in the Middle East, ostensibly due to circumstances created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Undertaking the legal work for an Anglo-American client in respect of the provision of offshore search services, aimed at locating the missing Malaysian Airlines MH-370 aircraft.
  • Representing a Houston-based offshore services company in London arbitration arising out of the termination of a charterparty and over-arching joint venture agreement with a Norwegian wind farm installation contractor, for the use of lift-boats in US offshore wind projects.
  • Representation of a leading offshore pipeline installation company in respect of a c.US$400 million dispute concerning unresolved change orders, local content and tax claims and final accounting for a project offshore West Africa.
  • Assisted a leading OSV fleet owner/operator in respect of unwinding its joint venture arrangements for providing vessels for operations offshore Ghana, including litigation in the Ghanaian courts and multiple LMAA arbitrations in London.
  • Representing an English power plant and its financial backers in respect of claims made against it for the return of operating software.
  • Representation of a Gulf of Mexico based oil company in respect of claims against underwriters for losses arising out of hurricanes Ike and Gustav to c.60 operating properties offshore Louisiana and Texas. Overall losses for property damage, plug and abandonment and re-drilling of wells amounted to c.US$115 million.