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Essex Court Chambers

Living Wage
Work 020 7813 8000
Fax 020 7813 8080
London, Singapore

Joe Smouha QC

Work 020 7813 8000
Essex Court Chambers (Essex Court Chambers)


Has a broad-based commercial practice with a particular emphasis on appearances in international arbitration, the Commercial Court, Court of Appeal, House of Lords and Privy Council. Regularly appointed as arbitrator. In the commercial law field he acts regularly for major international corporate clients in all sectors (particularly the financial, energy, insurance and reinsurance, film, television, music, art and advertising sectors). Also acts for many governments and government-related organisations. Has appeared in arbitrations in many jurisdictions outside England and has appeared in the courts of the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas.


Called 1986, Middle Temple; silk 2003.


French (fluent).


Magdalene College, Cambridge (BA Hons; MA).

London Bar

Banking and finance (including consumer credit)

Within: Leading Silks

Joe Smouha QC - Essex Court ChambersOne of the most exceptional silks in the City, he is also brilliant with clients.

Within: Banking and finance (including consumer credit)

Essex Court Chambers is a 'high-profile, high-quality set' whose members have an enviable track record when it comes to complex and highly technical banking litigation. In recent years chambers has been involved in several insolvency-related banking disputes, such as the Lehmans Waterfall litigation relating to the distribution of over $1bn from the Lehman's estate. Another highlight involving numerous members was the Hellas II litigation – Hosking v Apax Partners, Deutsche Bank & Others, in which Joe Smouha QC and Ciaran Keller faced a team including David Foxton QC.

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Commercial litigation

Within: Leading Silks

Joe Smouha QC - Essex Court ChambersLives up to his reputation for excellence.

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Fraud: civil

Within: Leading Silks

Joe Smouha QC - Essex Court ChambersNot only is he a formidable advocate, he brings fresh perspective and angles to every element of a case.

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International arbitration: counsel

Within: Leading Silks

Joe Smouha QC - Essex Court ChambersVery astute tactically, quick minded analytically, and reassuringly calm and measured.

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Media and entertainment (including art and cultural property)

Within: Art and cultural property - Leading Silks

Joe Smouha QC - Essex Court ChambersAn exceptional barrister and stellar advocate.

Within: Media and entertainment (including art and cultural property)

Highlighted as an ‘outstanding set’, Essex Court Chambers has ‘a top reputation’ in the arts and cultural property sector. As well as being ‘very commercial on fees’, the set offers ‘quick responses and great strength in depth’. Work highlights include Joe Smouha QC’s continued instruction to defend an art dealer in a criminal complaint filed in the principality of Monaco, and Emily Wood’s representation of Sotheby’s in several matters, including a $10m claim relating to alleged forgery of work by the Golden Age painter, Frans Hals.

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