DEPARTMENT PROFILE

Twenty Essex

Public International Law

8 ranked barristersBand 1London (Bar)UK Bar 2021 View ranking table
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Ranked Barristers
chambers review
Ranked Barristers

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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.

Enjoys a sterling reputation in public international law, and houses a formidable bench of silks and juniors with immense knowledge of the field. The barristers are regularly to be found in the most momentous inter-state disputes taking place before the ICJ, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and other key international tribunals. The set has continued to field a highly distinguished team to represent Italy in relation to the Enrice Lexie controversy, and has been involved in various other cases arising out of similar incidents. The set has also acted in numerous disputes on maritime limitation, such as Nicaragua v Colombia. Investor-state disputes form an additional area of strength, with some members exhibiting particular expertise in the relationship between BITs and EU law. It also undertakes significant advisory work for governments on international trade and human rights law.

Client service:

"Very responsive, helpful and easy to deal with." The practice directors are Arron Zitver, Christopher Theobald and Anthony Carroll.

Strengths:

Belinda McRae
Possesses superb expertise spanning BIT arbitration, inter-state disputes and domestic litigation with international law elements. She has appeared in important cases on diplomatic immunity, the compatibility of BITs with EU law, and other issues.
"A fabulous oral advocate: her presentations are always well thought out, eloquent, detailed and compelling. She is clear and effective when standing in front of a tribunal."
Recent work: Acted in relation to an application to set aside an arbitration award arising out of a BIT between Belgium/Luxembourg and Poland, on the ground that it was incompatible with EU law, following the judgment in the Achmea case.

Strengths:

Daniel Bethlehem QC
A benchmark to which others aspire, he handles high-profile state-on-state, diplomatic immunity and BIT cases. He has strong ties to the FCO, and has vast experience of both counsel work and arbitral appointments.
"An exceptional advocate who is incredible in front of the tribunal and conveys a real gravitas." "Understands the political and legal contexts and is able to tailor his strategy accordingly."
Recent work: Represented Italy in the Enrica Lexie case before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, which concerned India's jurisdiction to arrest two Italian marines from an oil tanker, who allegedly killed two Indian fishermen.

Strengths:

Guglielmo Verdirame QC
Active in a broad spectrum of PIL work, he tackles cases dealing with international human rights, BITs and inter-state disputes. He is a noted academic in this area who also has significant court experience, having handled domestic PIL cases all the way up to appellate level. He has also appeared before arbitration tribunals including the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
"Extremely erudite, very reliable and a real expert." "A very deep thinker with a deep understanding of PIL."
Recent work: Represented Italy in the Enrica Lexie case before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, which concerned India's jurisdiction to arrest two Italian marines from an oil tanker, who allegedly killed two Indian fishermen.

Strengths:

Kate Parlett
Well regarded for investment treaty arbitrations and inter-state disputes, she has appeared as an advocate before the ICJ in multiple cases concerning a range of PIL issues, including arbitration over terrestrial and maritime delimitation. She also teaches international law at both Cambridge and Geneva.
"Extremely diligent, a very strong intellect and a very good written and oral advocate. She ticks all the boxes and is a good team player."

Strengths:

Michael Wood
Active in all areas of PIL, and has devoted a significant portion of his career to advising the FCO. He is well versed in complex land and maritime boundary disputes, and has enviable experience of appearing before international courts and tribunals.
"Michael is in a league of his own; his great strength is the knowledge that he's brought from his years at the Foreign Office." "Exemplary drafting and is always spot on."
Recent work: Acted in an ICJ dispute arising from Guatemala's claims to offshore islands and maritime spaces in the territory of Belize.

Strengths:

Penelope Nevill
Formerly a practising solicitor in New Zealand, she advises on all aspects of PIL law. She regularly lectures on the topic at Cambridge University and King's College London, and attacks a wide variety of leading cases including heavy investor-state arbitration and work examining the jurisdiction of sovereign states in relation to foreign nationals.
"She has the biggest brain and her knowledge is outstanding. She can work out the answers before the questions are asked."
Recent work: Instructed on behalf of Foreign and Commonwealth Office to defend whistle-blowing claims concerning the EULEX mission in Kosovo. The case involved difficult issues of jurisdiction.

Strengths:

Philippa Webb
Acts for states and non-governmental bodies, advising on a wide range of PIL issues including state and diplomatic immunities, as well as maritime, boundary and treaty disputes. She is Reader of Public International Law at King's College London.
"She's a joy to work with and the foremost expert on state immunity." "An incredible academic mind."
Recent work: Represented Italy in the Enrica Lexie case before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, which concerned India's jurisdiction to arrest two Italian marines from an oil tanker, who allegedly killed two Indian fishermen.

Strengths:

Simon Olleson
Has a strong academic background in PIL and a keen interest in the law of state responsibility. He has recently advised on the PIL angles of environmental disputes and shown himself to be an expert in maritime delimitation cases and BIT arbitration. He has acted in ICJ, PCA, ICSID and ad hoc arbitration proceedings.
"Excellent on maritime delimitation and a superstar on state responsibility." "A great advocate with an amazing patience for sifting through the facts."
Recent work: Represented the UAE in a claim before the ICJ, which concerned breaches of the CERD Convention as a consequence of the economic 'blockade' of Qatar.

Public International Law Department

Twenty Essex

firm
Department location

20 Essex Street

London

Greater London

UK

WC2R 3AL

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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)

London (Bar)

Public International Law


Daniel Bethlehem QC
Star Individuals
Guglielmo Verdirame QC
Band 2

Juniors

London (Bar)

Public International Law


Belinda McRae
Up and Coming
Kate Parlett
Band 2
Michael Wood
Star Individuals
Penelope Nevill
Band 2