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Essex Court Chambers

Public International Law

14 ranked barristersBand 1Global: Multi-JurisdictionalGlobal 2022 View ranking table

Chambers Review

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Essex Court Chambers is a pre-eminent public international law set and remains 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 include Mauritius v Maldives, which concerned a boundary claim, and a dispute between Iran and the USA arising from economic sanctions. A client comments: "The technical expertise and forensic attention to the detail of the work provided is excellent."

Client service:

"The clerks demonstrate a willingness to take on work and do what is necessary to assist clients." "The senior clerks are always available and approachable." Joe Ferrigno is the senior clerk.

Strengths:

Alan Boyle
Alan Boyle is a highly experienced barrister who continues to take on an interesting spread of state-on-state disputes. He 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.
"He is top notch in relation to Law of the Sea issues." "He is a leader in the area of international environmental law."

Strengths:

Alison Macdonald QC
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.
"She is razor sharp, well prepared and all over the detail." "She produces work of a high calibre. Her commitment to her cases is admirable, and she makes herself available to discuss issues whenever needed."
Recent work: Advised an international group of Uyghur NGOs on the human rights situation in Xinjiang in China.

Strengths:

Amy Sander
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 on PIL matters.
"Amy Sander is smart as a whip. She gets her arms around all of the details in the case, but never loses sight of the big picture and the client's goals. She tries to get to a resolution and does not get lost in the weeds of legal technicalities."
Recent work: Represented Belize in a territorial dispute against Guatemala before the ICJ.

Strengths:

Dan Sarooshi QC
Dan Sarooshi QC is 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.
"Dan is user-friendly, willing to engage and looks for opportunities to add value. He gets involved in strategy and developing cases. He brings a detailed knowledge of both international law issues and the practical applications of those issues in arbitrations. He is a good oral advocate."
Recent work: Represented the Attorney General of the Malaysian state of Sarawak in a claim against the Federal Government of Malaysia. The case concerned the International Law of the Sea and the scope of Sarawak's territorial sea, continental shelf and petroleum mining rights.

Strengths:

Dapo Akande
Dapo Akande is a PIL barrister who has appeared before the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, among other global fora. He is a Professor of Public International Law at the University of Oxford.
"He has that perfect academic talent of explaining complicated issues in simple terms."

Strengths:

Sir Franklin Berman QC
Sir Franklin Berman QC is 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 knows everything about PIL principles and the reality of running those cases."

Strengths:

Graham Dunning QC
Graham Dunning QC is a barrister with strength across a range of PIL matters. He handles BIT claims and state immunity disputes as well as arbitration award enforcement cases. He has additional expertise covering UN and EU sanctions.
"A thoughtful, methodical advocate with a detail-oriented approach. He is particularly effective in setting out the key issues of the case." "He's an effective cross-examiner and advocate." "He is experienced and knowledgeable about important state issues."
Recent work: Represented the State Oil Marketing Organisation of Iraq in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. The case concerned state immunity and arbitral award enforcement issues.

Strengths:

Jessica Wells
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.
"She is hard-working and committed."

Strengths:

Lucas Bastin QC
Lucas Bastin QC is a seasoned barrister with regard to PIL matters, particularly 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.
"A real expert in public international law work and one of the go-to barristers in the area. He is also really accessible and bright - the whole package."
Recent work: Acted in a challenge to the UK government's decision to eliminate the VAT system regarding airports. The dispute concerned whether WTO law required the government to change this system.

Strengths:

Malcolm Shaw QC
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 diligent expert on PIL who quickly understands where the opportunities lie in cases."
Recent work: Advised the Government of Azerbaijan on three opinions to be presented to the UN on the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute with Armenia. These concerned issues including territorial integrity and the nature of war crimes.

Strengths:

Paul Key QC
Paul Key QC is a respected barrister who has considerable experience acting in bilateral investment treaty arbitrations, and in related injunction and enforcement actions before the High Court in London. He has represented energy and natural resources companies and has also defended states in these cases.
"Paul Key is shrewd, attentive and has a good bedside manner." "Paul is agile and responsive."
Recent work: Successfully defended Nigeria in the English Commercial Court against a claim for the enforcement of a USD9 billion award.

Strengths:

Samuel Wordsworth QC
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.
"He's a reassuring and knowledgeable barrister." "An international law specialist with a great intellect." "He's a real brain who is hard-working and on top of the detail in every issue. His cross-examination is masterful."

Strengths:

Sean Aughey
Sean Aughey is a highly rated barrister who regularly handles state-on-state disputes, investor-state arbitration and domestic litigation involving PIL aspects. He has further experience acting in human rights-related cases.
"He has a gigantic brain but is accessible and friendly. He's responsive and likes to roll his sleeves up and get stuck into cases."
Recent work: Acted for Iran in its ICJ claim against the USA concerning unilateral economic sanctions, alleged to be in breach of the Treaty of Amity.

Vaughan Lowe QC
Vaughan Lowe QC is a leader in the PIL field who is renowned for his fierce intellect. He regularly appears in front of international tribunals and possesses expertise 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.

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Ranked Barristers

Chambers Research is conducted by 200 Research Analysts, across 200 jurisdictions and provides nearly 6,000 rankings tables. Annually we collect hundreds of thousands of responses from clients, the majority via in-depth interview. Learn more about our methodology.

Silks (QC)

Global: Multi-Jurisdictional

Public International Law: The English Bar


Alison Macdonald QC
Band 2
Dan Sarooshi QC
Band 3
Franklin Berman QC
Senior Statespeople
Graham Dunning QC
Band 3
Lucas Bastin QC
New Silks
Malcolm Shaw QC
Band 1

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