DEPARTMENT PROFILE

Essex Court Chambers

Public International Law

11 ranked barristersBand 1Global Market LeadersGlobal 2021 View ranking table
DEPARTMENT PROFILE

Essex Court Chambers

Public International Law

11 ranked barristersBand 1Global Market LeadersGlobal 2021 View ranking table

Chambers Review

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Pre-eminent public international law set, remaining at the forefront of the most cutting-edge international disputes. The set's academically accomplished barristers field significant expertise in state-versus-state disputes and BIT arbitration. They frequently appear before the ICJ and all of the other major international courts and tribunals, as well as the UK and European courts. Members are highly adept at handling the full spectrum of PIL issues, often advising governments, international organisations and corporations on land and sea territorial disputes, international trade and investments, and state immunity. They are also able to advise on related human rights and international criminal law issues. Recent highlights have included Ukraine v Russia, concerning the latter's alleged interference with maritime rights in the Black Sea, and a dispute between Guyana and Venezuela arising out of long-running tensions over the contested Essequibo region.

Client service:

Joe Ferrigno is the senior clerk. "When you instruct the set it's like they're an extension of your team."

Strengths:

Alan Boyle
A seasoned practitioner who continues to take on an interesting spread of state-on-state disputes. He regularly represents the UK government, and has appeared before the ICJ and various tribunals including the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. He also has experience acting in international environmental law and water law cases.
"A Law of the Sea expert."

Strengths:

Alison Macdonald QC
Has extensive experience of operating across criminal, commercial and international law, acting as both adviser and advocate. She regularly represents states in ICSID arbitrations, and has considerable experience in the Law of the Sea and international criminal law.
"Alison is a truly wonderful advocate and is excellent at interventions before the ICJ. She is the consummate professional and answers questions excellently." "She is a superstar. She's phenomenally bright and is the best-prepared advocate. Her rapport-building ability is fantastic."
Recent work: Represented the Republic of Mauritius in a maritime boundary claim against Maldives, before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Strengths:

Amy Sander
Garners praise from clients for her handling of politically sensitive cases and the project management skills she applies to them. She advises governments and multinationals and is an expert in BITs and territorial disputes. She has appeared before the ICJ, and has advised the UK, Kenya, Bolivia, Russia and South-East Asian countries in PIL matters.
"Absolutely outstanding. She is hard-working and has a strong natural aptitude for international law."
Recent work: Instructed by the Russian government in a highly publicised claim brought by Ukraine, over allegations Russia had interfered with its rights in the maritime zones adjacent to Crimea in the Black Sea, Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait.

Strengths:

Dan Sarooshi QC
A skilled advocate who has the academic knowledge and practical experience to make him a very popular choice in the PIL sphere. He has an excellent record of representing governments, international organisations and FTSE 100 companies in these matters. He is also a professor of public international law at Oxford University.
"A stellar barrister and a well-rounded public international lawyer." "A dream to work with."
Recent work: Acted as lead counsel for the UAE before the ICJ, in a case which involved consideration of the UAE's border and other measures imposed by the UAE against Qatar, in response to Qatar’s alleged provision of GBP1 billion to terrorists.

Strengths:

Sir Franklin Berman QC
An immensely experienced PIL lawyer who has exceptional depth of knowledge. He is routinely called upon as an arbitrator, as reflected in his recent caseload comprising notable international arbitrations. This can also be shown by his role as Visiting Professor of International Law at Oxford and the University of Cape Town.
"He's a fabulous lawyer and a very fine, sophisticated thinker, and is very approachable in demeanour."

Strengths:

Jessica Wells
Has a strong level of experience in PIL, both as an adviser and as an advocate. She also has a strong commercial disputes practice and is an expert on conflict of law issues. She has been instructed by the UK and a range of other governments in work dealing with state immunity, the arms trade, investment treaties and maritime boundary disputes.
"An absolutely brilliant junior with a very strong background of PIL expertise." "Very impressive written advocacy."

Strengths:

Lucas Bastin
A seasoned practitioner with regard to PIL matters, who is particularly good at investment treaty work and commercial arbitrations under ICSID, SCC, LCIA, ICC, UNCITRAL and ad hoc rules. His wider PIL work sees him handling cases involving state immunity and inter-state sanctions.
"Great on his feet and brutal in cross-examination." "A phenomenal drafter; he is approachable, a team player and has a fantastic mind. His biggest strength is his strategic nous and his ability to work in a large team setting to get the best out of everyone. He's very gifted in PIL."

Strengths:

Malcolm Shaw QC
Has a strong academic background and is well respected for the brilliant advice he gives to governments and international organisations. He acts in an interesting spread of cases in the English courts and before international tribunals. He has also appeared before the ECtHR and the ECJ. He advises on a variety of matters including territorial disputes, the Law of the Sea, state succession and state immunity.
"A fantastic advocate: a very good speaker and a very measured individual." "He is brilliant at arguing the almost unarguable cases; he's a fierce and highly skilled lawyer."
Recent work: Acted for the Government of Azerbaijan as intervener in a case before the ECtHR, concerning the killing or ill-treatment of Azeri nationals by Armenian forces in occupied territory.

Strengths:

Samuel Wordsworth QC
Handles a broad spectrum of PIL cases, proving an expert in both bilateral investment treaties and inter-state disputes. He is highly regarded by sources for his advocacy skills and has acted in multiple ICJ cases.
"The best of the best, the consummate advocate. He has the confidence of the international courts and tribunals, and is one of the most respected barristers at the Bar." "A very effective speaker with a controlled and confident style. He masters the technical questions and is a very dangerous cross-examiner."

Strengths:

Sean Aughey
Highly rated junior for state-on-state disputes, investor-state arbitration and domestic litigation involving PIL aspects.
"Undoubtedly the best PIL junior, he is super strong intellectually and is fully across his different spheres of knowledge within PIL." "Very easy to work with, really hard-working and very knowledgeable."
Recent work: Represented Sri Lanka in a high-profile dispute under the Sri Lanka–Malaysia BIT, concerning the alleged expropriation of a renewable energy plant which was to be constructed in an area affected by armed conflict.

Strengths:

Vaughan Lowe QC
A leader in the PIL field who is renowned for his fierce intellect. He regularly appears in front of international tribunals and is a noted expert in boundary disputes and investment treaty work. He has taught at leading universities in the UK and USA including Cambridge and Duke. He also takes appointments as arbitrator and was appointed to the ICSID Panel of Arbitrators in 2017.
"He is one of the great professionals in our field: an outstanding PIL lawyer and an outstanding advocate with very mature judgement. He is one of the best."

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Ranked Barristers

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Global Market Leaders

Public International Law: The English Bar


Alison Macdonald QC
Band 2
Dan Sarooshi QC
Band 3
Franklin Berman QC
Senior Statespeople
Malcolm Shaw QC
Band 1
Samuel Wordsworth QC
Band 1
Vaughan Lowe QC
Star Individuals