Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
Click here for more details

United Kingdom > London > Dispute resolution > Public international law > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Public international law
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Public international law clients in London using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Excellent in every respect’, Allen & Overy LLP is ‘always extremely responsive, providing constructive advice that is right on point’. The team regularly acts in disputes that arise out of bilateral and multilateral investment treaties; and it was recently very active advising on international trade and WTO issues, and Energy Charter Treaty disputes. The PIL lawyers also form a core part of the firm’s dedicated Brexit team, which advises clients on the implications of the UK’s vote to leave the EU. Recent highlights include successfully defending the Islamic Republic of Pakistan against two parallel investment treaty claims that direct and indirect interests in a Pakistani company and a liquefied petroleum gas import terminal were expropriated by Pakistan. Mark Levy is ‘outstanding’; Kate Davies’s ‘approach is much more commercial than some of the other Magic Circle practices’; and James Freeman is a key counsel. Jeffrey Sullivan moved to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Clifford Chance LLP is ‘an all-round, top-quality firm that always holds its own with worldwide competition’. The firm’s dedicated team advises corporations, sovereign states and international organisations on bilateral investment treaties (BITs) and investment protection; economic sanctions; business and human rights; and international trade law, including the WTO regime. Other areas of strength include territorial issues, boundaries and jurisdiction; state responsibility issues; Law of the Sea matters; and proceedings before international courts and tribunals. It acted for an international investor in an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes claim for breaches of a BIT, which arose out of the Egyptian Government’s unilateral gas price increase and cancellation of a free zone licence. Rae Lindsay’s recent work includes advising on international sanctions, business and human rights, and immunities and privileges of states, state entities and international organisations. Lindsay is ‘extremely knowledgeable and very dedicated to clients’. Audley Sheppard QC, who is ‘highly practical and experienced’, regularly represents clients in investment treaty proceedings against states; his representative experience includes successfully defending a European government in an ECT arbitration, brought under the rules of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. Jessica Gladstone is recommended for PIL disputes, business and human rights, and international sanctions.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is best known for inter-state disputes before the International Court of Justice (ICJ); and representing states and investors in investor-state claims, with the London office recently particularly focused on Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and India. It also has a well-established sanctions practice. Examples of work include representing Chile in a dispute with Bolivia before the ICJ, concerning Bolivia’s claim to sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean. Sylvia Noury has particular expertise in the energy, natural resources and telecoms sectors, and advises corporate and government clients; examples of Noury’s work include securing a $100m International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes award for Vestey in an arbitration against the Government of Venezuela , which related to the expropriation of its cattle farming business. Reza Mohtashami represents both investors and governments, and has particular expertise in investment treaty arbitrations; Will Thomas’s experience includes successfully defending a Middle Eastern State in the first-ever bilateral investment treaty case brought against it; and Paul Bowden leads the firm’s global business and human rights team. Jean-Paul Dechamps is a key counsel, who has extensive experience in investment disputes in Latin America and other emerging markets, involving the oil and gas, electricity, shipping, mining, and food distribution sectors.

Volterra Fietta is entirely focused on PIL matters, and its clients include a mix of governments, international organisations and private entities. The firm’s PIL areas of expertise include bilateral investment treaties (BITs); land and maritime territorial and boundary disputes; ECT matters; state responsibility; human rights; state succession issues; international trade and WTO law; and economic sanctions. Its lawyers frequently act as counsel in investor-state arbitrations; and have also acted as counsel in several state-to-state disputes. The team advises the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on a broad array of diverse PIL matters; and was recently engaged in a number of state-to-state sovereign disputes before international courts and tribunals on behalf of an Asian state. Robert Volterra advises governments, international organisations and private clients on a wide range of contentious PIL issues, including international boundaries, sovereign immunities, the Law of the Sea, transboundary resources, and BITs; Graham Coop has a particular focus on the energy, natural resources and infrastructure sectors; and Suzanne Spears has experience in disputes involving Latin America, Africa, and the energy and natural resource industries. Giorgio Mandelli is also highly rated. Patricio Grané Labat departed for Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP. Christophe Bondy joined Cooley (UK) LLP.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘solid practice’ hired Wendy Miles QC, who ‘is well organised and a good speaker’, from Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP. The London team recently advised sovereigns, multinationals, corporations, high-profile individuals, leading political figures, NGOs, charities, and international organisations on significant PIL matters. It acted in investment treaty arbitrations; represented states on key diplomatic issues; acted against several states on human rights issues of international importance; and helped protect high-value international investments. The team represented The Nova Group Investments in an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes claim against the Romanian Government, which was under the Netherlands-Romania bilateral investment treaty (BIT) and related to the purported expropriation of assets and breaches of BIT protections. Lord (Peter) Goldsmith QC is a key adviser; Patrick Taylor was promoted to partner; and international counsel Aimee-Jane Lee is ‘an exceptional talent in PIL’. Sophie Lamb departed for Latham & Watkins.

Dedicated to PIL issues and international arbitration, Fietta is ‘a very strong firm for PIL work; it has real depth of quality’. The firm’s lawyers advise sovereign states, international organisations, multinational corporations, and private individuals on treaty matters; land sovereignty and Law of the Sea issues; bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, including the ECT; human rights; diplomatic and sovereign immunity; state successions; trans-boundary pipelines; and economic sanctions. Stephen Fietta is ‘obviously very strong’; he represents both states and foreign investors, and has acted as counsel in over 30 investor-state arbitration proceedings. He has also advised on disputes at the ICJ, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, and the European Court of Human Rights. Counsel Jiries Saadeh is ‘one of the most skilled lawyers around’.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLPprovides tremendous value for money and the firm’s lawyers work with clients to ensure that the level of engagement is appropriate for the issue raised’. The practice has a significant investment treaty arbitration practice; it also advises across the full spectrum of pure PIL matters, including boundary disputes, the Law of the Sea, treaty interpretation and human rights, as well as international trade law, WTO law, and sanctions. It also recently advised clients on the UK’s exit from the EU. Highlights included acting for United Utilities and its Estonian subsidiary, AS Tallinna Vesi (the water utility in Estonia’s Tallinn), on a high-value investment treaty claim against the Republic of Estonia. Andrew Cannon works across the Paris and London offices, and is particularly known for international sanctions, investment arbitration, and state and international organisation immunity issues. Of counsel Iain Maxwell acts for and against state parties in arbitration cases, including numerous International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes investment arbitrations; Maxwell also advises on international sanctions. Former global PIL head Dominic Roughton moved to Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s ‘excellent, top-league practice’ has significant bilateral investment treaty expertise; advises on cases which are at the intersection of PIL and human rights law; handles complex disputes for sovereign states; has a particular focus on Russia and the CIS and Central and South East Asia; and fields lawyers with expertise in energy, real estate and telecoms. It has also assisted with identifying legitimate governments of states after civil wars. Highlights included acting for the Government of Vietnam (GOV) in the successful defence of an investment treaty claim, brought under the France-Vietnam bilateral investment treaty by a French investor, which related to non-payment of debts by state-owned enterprises and the debt commissions that were established by GOV. Department head Markus Burgstaller has considerable experience as an advocate in proceedings before international tribunals, the EU courts, the ECHR, and national courts; and he handles a significant amount of work on the law of international organisations, privileges and immunities, and the Law of the Sea. Michael Davison and Julianne Hughes-Jennett, who specialises in international human rights litigation involving corporations, are also key advisers; Charles Brasted, who heads the firm’s UK and EU public law and policy practice, is ‘one of the best in the country’.

Latham & Watkins recently hired Sophie Lamb, who is noted for investment treaty law and business and human rights, from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. The practice is recommended for international boundary law and Law of the Sea disputes; investment treaty law; international trade law, including WTO law; international trade sanctions; and business and human rights. It acted for a major Austrian construction company in the first-ever International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes arbitration brought against Libya, which related to Libya’s obligations under the Austria-Libya bilateral investment treaty. Charles Claypoole’s practice includes bilateral investment trade cases, sanctions, international boundary law, and international trade law. London and Hamburg-based Sebastian Seelmann-Eggebert is ‘highly professional and dedicated to clients’.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP has significant investment treaty arbitration experience. The team is well known for arbitrations for and against governments, particularly involving the oil and gas, mining, energy, telecoms, construction, and infrastructure sectors. Examples of landmark investment treaty arbitrations include its representation of Ukraine’s largest state-owned commercial bank, Oschadbank, in a United Nations Commission on International Trade Law arbitration against the Russian Federation, which was for the recovery of investments in Crimea, further to the Russian Federation’s 2014 occupation of Crimea. Stephen Jagusch QC’s self-confidence is evident, and it enables him to exert the most pressure on the opposition during hearings’; Anthony Sinclair is a recognised investment treaty arbitration, PIL and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes arbitration specialist, who is ‘a pleasure to work with and his advice is trusted completely’; and Epaminontas Triantafilou is ‘highly professional’.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP has ‘a very strong reputation’ for high-stakes investment treaty cases, and is widely known for its representation of states in inter-state matters. Recent highlights include acting for Vodafone in a high-value investment treaty dispute against the Indian government. Global co-head of the firm’s international litigation and arbitration group Karyl Nairn QC, who is ‘very intelligent and an outstanding oral advocate’, acts for governments and corporations across a range of industry sectors, including finance and banking, oil and gas, commodities, pharmaceuticals and telecoms; her recent representative matters include acting as counsel in International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) arbitration proceedings, which were brought under the ECT against the Kingdom of Spain, regarding changes to Spanish law in the renewable energy sector. Bruce Macaulay’s experience includes advising South Sudan on the defence of a high-value ICSID claim, filed by the Republic of Sudan’s national oil company. Other highly rated advisers include the ‘really good lawyer’ and investment treaty disputes expert David Herlihy; the ‘simply superb’ David Kavanagh QC who recently took silk; and the ‘very impressive and highly reliable’ Daniel Gal.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP hired Patricio Grané Labat from Volterra Fietta. Labat has represented claimants and respondents in nearly 30 investment arbitrations, and has significant experience representing sovereign states on issues such as sovereign immunities, diplomatic and consular protection, state responsibility, treaty law, use of force, and international humanitarian law. The team was instructed by the Republic of Bulgaria to defend an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes claim, which was brought by Oman’s largest sovereign wealth fund to recover alleged losses, in relation to Corporate Commercial Bank’s collapse. Dmitri Evseev devotes the vast majority of his practice to acting as counsel in investment treaty arbitration, predominantly on behalf of governments. David Reed is also highly rated.

Baker Botts (UK) LLP is ‘especially efficient, and the practice has a very good record of positive results’. The team is particularly well known for high-value, high-complexity energy and natural resources work; it also has a strong EU sanctions practice. Jay Alexander is a key contact; Alejandro Escobar is ‘highly professional’; Johannes Koepp is a well-regarded PIL and international arbitration specialist; and Chris Caulfield is known for his work in the sanctions area.

Baker McKenzie’s key features are its investor-state expertise; oil and gas experience; and global arbitration practice. Examples of the team’s ability to handle high-profile investment treaty claims and CIS matters include its representation of Kazakhstan’s national gas operator, KazTransGas (KTG), in its dispute with the Government of Georgia, concerning the appointment of a special receiver for KTG’s Georgian subsidiary. Edward Poulton’s experience includes investment treaty disputes, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes annulment cases, and PIL issues arising from financial crises. Ross Denton, Sunwinder (Sunny) Mann and Andy Moody are other names to note.

Clyde & Co LLP advises on highly sensitive cross-border disputes against and for governments, in emerging markets such as Russia, CIS and Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia; and the team is especially well known for sanctions. In one of the few cases to date to involve a Chinese bilateral investment treaty, the practice defended the Republic of Yemen against International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes proceedings, which were brought by a Chinese contractor, Beijing Urban Construction Group, and concerned the construction of a new international airport terminal building in Yemen. John Whittaker acts for and against governments in investment disputes, sovereign immunity, and sanction issues; and Ben Knowles and Clare Hatcher are also experienced advisers.

Cooley (UK) LLP hired Law of the Sea consultant John Brown following his retirement as the UK Hydrographic Office’s Law of the Sea head. The practice is known for advising on disputes between states; and claims involving international boundaries, land (including lakes and rivers), and maritime issues. Other areas of note include representing states and their anti-corruption agencies in seeking to trace and recover the proceeds of corruption; implementing the United Nations Convention Against Corruption; sovereign immunity; and Law of the Sea issues. It advised the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) on sovereign immunity issues, which arose from the attempted enforcement in England of a substantial Nigerian judgment against FGN. Independent consultant Tim Daniel has acted for a number of governments and parastatals, particularly in the developing world. Laurence Harris and James Maton are other recommended practitioners. Christophe Bondy and Joshua Brien joined the firm.

DLA Piper’s practice combines significant investment treaty arbitration work with a broader PIL practice that includes advisory work for states and sanctions; and it has extensive presence in key emerging markets, such as the CIS region and Africa. Investment treaty dispute highlights included advising the Republic of Kenya on an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes claim, brought by mining investor Cortec. Kate Cervantes-Knox has significant investment treaty experience, representing both states and investors in international arbitrations, pursuant to bilateral and multilateral investment treaties; Janet Legrand is recommended for advising states; and Richard McGrane and Europe head of international arbitration Philip Chong are also key names. Counsel Scott Horton’s practice focuses on work for sovereigns.

Acting for both investors and states, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP has a highly rated investment treaty arbitration practice. Work has included contentious state-to-state cases; appearances before the ICJ; and representing government clients in inter-state disputes. Boundary disputes are a particular speciality. Other areas of note are state responsibility and immunity; international sanctions; human rights; and treaty obligations. The practice also has notable strength in Africa and Middle East-related work. Jonathan Leach is ‘a high-class practitioner, who really understands the needs of clients and is very easy to work with’; and legal director Neil Newing and senior associate Cameron Forsaith are also key contacts. Senior associate Oonagh Sands joined from Foley Hoag LLP’s Washington DC office, and principal associate Greg Falkof returned to the London office from Paris.

Linklaters LLP’s expertise includes investor-state disputes and trade law. The team regularly advises on investment treaties and acts for and against states or state entities in sectors such as telecoms, energy and utilities. Other areas include trade litigation, international human rights law, and corporate responsibility; and state immunity issues, often in relation to the enforcement of judgments or arbitral awards against states or state entities. Matthew Weiniger QC is ‘very hard-working and sees the wood for the trees’, and he has a particular focus on energy and financial services disputes. International arbitration specialist Greg Reid, energy expert Ben Carroll, and external senior counsel Lorand Bartels are other key contacts.

Reed Smith LLP is highly rated for investor-state arbitrations, particularly on the defence and state side; and the practice advises the firm’s financial institutions, shipping and energy client base on international sanctions issues and state-to-state matters. Belinda Paisley is also the managing partner of the firm’s Astana office and has assisted in developing the firm’s Kazakh practice. Highlights included acting for the Republic of Kazakhstan in a bilateral investment treaty and ECT arbitration brought against it by a Turkish investor, which arose out of a dispute involving alleged oil transportation and transhipment investments in Kazakhstan. Chloe Carswell’s practice is almost entirely focussed on international investment treaty arbitration.

Simmons & Simmons hired Stuart Dutson from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP. ‘Definitely a star in the field’, Dutson is ‘superb and has very good specialist knowledge of PIL, including treaty arbitration’. The practice has particular expertise in disputes involving emerging markets in Africa, the Middle East, China and the Far East; and its lawyers are industry experts in TMT, financial institutions, and energy and infrastructure. The team acted for the Indonesian Government in an India-Indonesia bilateral investment treaty arbitration that was brought by Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys, the dispute concerning an investment in a coal-mining project. Simon Morgan specialises in disputes involving China and the Far East; and Jayne Bentham has extensive experience of arbitrations in Africa.

Launched in 2014, Three Crowns LLP has particular strength in the energy and oil and gas sectors, but its experience extends to the telecoms, gaming and construction industries. Recent matters include the team’s defence of the Sultanate of Oman against claims from a Turkish investor, Attilla Dogan, which were brought under the Oman-Turkey bilateral investment treaty and related to an $850m oil and gas engineering construction contract. Constantine Partasides QC’s ‘advice reflects detailed strategic thinking after thorough legal and factual analysis’; he has acted in some of the largest international arbitrations of the last decade, relating to the energy, telecoms and financial sectors. Gaëtan Verhoosel has a particular focus on the energy sector; and Carmen Martinez Lopez and Scott Vesel are also highly rated.

WilmerHale is frequently involved in significant state-to-state disputes; intra-state arbitrations; international human rights proceedings; and investment arbitrations. Other areas include territorial boundaries and territory sovereignty; PIL issues arising in national courts involving transnational litigation and transnational enforcement matters; and sovereign immunity. It represented agricultural business, Silverdale, in a bilateral investment treaty case against an African State; the claim made allegations of expropriation, violation of fair and equitable treatment, and a failure to provide full protection and security for an investment. Gary Born and Steven Finizio are the key contacts.

Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP recently hired Dominic Roughton from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, where he was global PIL head, while Wendy Miles QC departed for Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. Roughton is noted for international sovereignty and Law of the Sea disputes, including inter-state matters; he is also recommended for energy-related bilateral investment treaty cases. Other key advisers include Kenneth Beale, who is ‘excellent’.

CMS, which recently merged with Nabarro and Olswang, ‘has good capacity to handle PIL disputes’. Formerly of Nabarro, Karen Denny is ‘the leading light in the PIL practice; she is very sharp, switched on, and has good client skills’. Denny’s experience includes advising on sovereign immunity issues; freezing injunctions; the enforcement of foreign judgments; obtaining evidence for use in overseas proceedings; and complex fraud and tracing disputes. Christopher Gooding and Sukhi Kaler are names to note.

Carter-Ruck’s team is ‘a pleasure to work with and is highly valued for its judgement, written work, and legal analyses’. The practice is primarily recommended for targeted sanctions, involving individuals and entities with frozen assets; it also has experience in high-value international arbitrations. It acted for Al Jazeera Media Network in an arbitration against Egypt, pursuant to the Qatar and Egypt bilateral investment treaty. Guy Martin is ‘great at what he does’; and Cameron Doley and recently promoted partner Miranda Rushton are key names.

Dentonsgives clear advice’. The practice has particular strength in advising energy clients on PIL issues, including investor-state matters; and it extends beyond investment treaty arbitrations to include sanctions, maritime boundaries, outer continental shelf delimitation issues, and sovereign immunity. Other areas of strength include state responsibility and self-determination; state succession; and ICJ proceedings. It acted for Silver Ridge Power in an investment treaty arbitration claim against the Italian Republic for ECT violations. Dominic Pellew and Andrew Cheung are highly rated. Michelle Bradfield moved to Dechert LLP.

Able to hold its own against the main international law firms working in this area’, E&A Law Limitedprovides a cost-effective solution for clients of whatever size, while providing top-quality advisory and advocacy services’. The practice regularly advises on investment treaty and commercial arbitrations, particularly in the energy sector and in relation to South East Europe and CIS countries. Its experience includes state-to-state disputes; and the team recently assisted with state succession and right to self-determination issues, as well as Brexit concerns. Ana Stanichas a highly credible reputation, and an extremely quick and articulate intelligence that is combined with a dedication to integrity’.

Jones Day’s ‘lawyers are very professional and they understand clients’ needs’. The practice is regularly instructed on high-stakes, politically sensitive cases involving states or state entities; and it acts for investors in investor-state arbitrations against states which have violated their international law obligations. It also has a strong track record of representing Russian and CIS parties in high-profile arbitrations. Baiju Vasani led the advice to 12 Kazakh claimants, in a $500m ICSID dispute against the Republic of Uzbekistan; the dispute concerned expropriated investments in Uzbekistan’s cement industry.

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP’s ‘PIL practice is developing strength; the team is excellent, particularly in relation to issues with an international criminal element’. The practice is recommended for sanctions work and human rights-related PIL issues; it is also increasingly acting in high-profile arbitration matters. Michael O’Kane is ‘held in the highest regard for his knowledge of the relevant law, judgement and client care, and he gets amazing results’; and Jasvinder Nakhwal, who is an expert in human rights violations, is ‘a star, who is unflappable and has a lovely manner with clients’.

Stephenson Harwood is ‘a leading firm for major PIL-related litigation’. The practice is best known for advising governments and state-owned corporations on significant PIL issues; and its scope of work includes financial sanctions, asset tracing, and the enforcement of high-value arbitration awards. The firm also has a significant Africa practice. Kamal Shah, who heads the PIL and Africa and India groups, is ‘excellent with clients’; Sue Millar acts for Iranian, Libyan and Syrian individuals and entities in the challenge of EU and UK financial sanctions; and senior associate Stephen Ashley is ‘particularly good’.

Steptoe & Johnson UK LLP’s Matthew Coleman, who is very experienced in Africa-related cases, is ‘strategic in his advice, meticulous in execution, and provides a high level of service’. The practice is recommended for high-value investment treaty arbitrations, and enforcement work involving sovereign immunity issues. It acted for Medusa (Montenegro) in an arbitration brought against Montenegro, which arose out of an oil and gas concession in Montenegro that was terminated.

Withers LLP is ‘a good firm for PIL work’; it has a particular focus on investor-state arbitration, but the practice also advises on enforcement and sovereign immunity issues, as well as human rights. Other notable areas include advising governments on the enforcement of international trusts and tax treaties; and the team has notable Middle East and energy sector expertise. Hussein Haeri is ‘very strong’; he led the representation of a UK investor in an International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes arbitration against the Czech Republic.

International comparative guides

Giving the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Select Practice Area

GC Diversity and Inclusion Report

In partnership with...

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in London for Public international law

Legal Developments in the UK

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases in the UK

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to