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 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 primarily represents contractors and service companies in engineering and construction disputes, as well as matters arising out of offshore casualties, contracts for the provision of offshore services and related insurance coverage issues. In that context, Simon has handled a wide range of oil and gas related claims, including general contract, tort, maritime law, banking law, and fraud issues.

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


  • 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.
  • Assisting clients in respect of claims under their insurance policies for damage arising out of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Providing support to proceedings in Houston arising out of the Al Qaeda attack on the In Amenas processing facility in Algeria.
  • Advisory work to PEMEX in respect of international contracting and risk management standards in the oil and gas industry, as part of the transition of the industry in Mexico pursuant to the energy reforms introduced by the regime of Enrique Pena Nieto.
  • Handled arbitrations on behalf of leading US and European players in the offshore oil and gas industry arising out of the cancellation of major infrastructure projects as a direct result of the 2014 downturn.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Taichung/Tungshiao/Tatan pipeline: representation of Saipem in High Court litigation against underwriters for Saipem’s claims for the cost of repairing wet buckles which occurred during installation of the TTT pipeline offshore Taiwan. Overall losses amounted to c.US$125 million.
  • Representation of one of the world’s largest offshore EPC construction and installation companies in London arbitration brought by a sub-contractor. The claimant was a Malaysian yard, sub-contracted to construct the topsides for three production and accommodation platforms to be installed offshore Nigeria. The topsides were completed 13 months late and the arbitration concerned issues of delay costs versus allegations of defective workmanship. The Malaysian yard’s claim failed.