Leading Silks

Sir Daniel Bethlehem KCMG QCTwenty EssexTruly impressive, with an encyclopedic knowledge of international law and a refined sense of litigation strategy. He is indefatigable, user friendly, and honest.
Vaughan Lowe QC - Essex Court ChambersAn eminent international law academic practicing at the bar.
Maurice Mendelson QC - Blackstone ChambersHe is extremely hard working and a genius when it comes to structuring the strategy to be adopted. As a team leader he gets along well with everyone and is happy to discuss difference of opinions and to maintain an open mind.
Toby Landau QC  - Chambers of Toby Landau QCToby demonstrates an excellent understanding of public international law. He simplifies the issues and presents them in a persuasive manner to the tribunal. He has a good ear to the key issues and how best to navigate to a positive result.
Alison Macdonald QC - Essex Court ChambersAlison is a shining star, and one of the smartest, most charming advocates at the Bar.
Timothy Otty QC - Blackstone ChambersA preeminent public international lawyer with the breadth of knowledge and depth of experience to stand out from others in the field. A tremendously persuasive advocate.
Khawar Qureshi QC - Serle CourtIt is difficult to find someone of Khawar's calibre who really understands the intersection of public international law and commercial law as well as he does.
Philippe Sands QC - Matrix ChambersA fantastic and top-notch lawyer.
Malcolm Shaw QC - Essex Court ChambersHis individual strength and qualities are based on his highest reputation, strong commitment to international law and the principles and code of legal profession and the highest possible standard of academic competence, experience, knowledge and expertise.
Sam Wordsworth QC - Essex Court ChambersSam is a first-class public international lawyer. His knowledge of the law is exceptional.
Alex Bailin QC - Matrix ChambersHe is a superb advocate, able to argue all points with persuasion and skill.
Graham Dunning QC - Essex Court ChambersOne of the most experienced barristers dealing with the crossover between international law and commercial law in the English courts, with particular strength in state immunity issues.
Shaheed Fatima QC - Blackstone ChambersAn excellent and tenacious advocate, but also great with clients.
Christopher Harris QC - 3 Verulam BuildingsChris has a wealth of knowledge in both commercial and investment treaty arbitration and in particular the culture and practices of investment treaty arbitration.
Paul Key QC - Essex Court ChambersExtremely knowledgeable on matters of public international law and international arbitration, and often comes up with creative ideas or solutions.
Maya Lester QC - Brick Court ChambersAn absolute delight to work with. Unstuffy, accessible and always delivers.
Wendy Miles QC - Twenty EssexParticularly good at arbitrations involving public international law disputes.
Dan Sarooshi QC - Essex Court ChambersHe combines deep-seated academic and professional knowledge and experience with formidable advocacy skills.
Guglielmo Verdirame QC - Twenty EssexBeautifully prepared, and leaves no stone unturned: novel areas and arguments don't faze him. He relishes a fight on uncertain ground and delivers brilliantly. A class act.

Leading Juniors

Lucas Bastin - Essex Court ChambersLucas is just a brilliant lawyer. He is immensely knowledgeable in his field and has a deep wealth of experience, especially for his age.
Amal Clooney - Doughty Street ChambersAmal is a first-class international lawyer: she always knows her brief inside out, exercises impeccable judgement, and is a dream performer before international tribunals.
Blinne Ní GhrálaighMatrix ChambersFrighteningly clever. Tactically brilliant and able to look at something from so many different angles.
Kate Parlett - Twenty EssexKate is a fantastic, talented lawyer: hardworking, clever, a great advocate and also a joy to work with. She holds her own against far more senior people with aplomb.
Amy Sander - Essex Court ChambersSuper diligent, has an exceptional intellect, and has unparalleled advocacy experience for a senior junior in state on state cases.
Sean Aughey - Essex Court ChambersA great junior barrister in public international law..
Paul Luckhurst - Blackstone ChambersA junior with a very bright future in public international law matters.
Robert McCorquodale - Brick Court ChambersA brilliant lead counsel and his international law analysis is second to none. He is expert and academic in international law, but brings a practical approach to the law and advises clients in a very accessible way.
Belinda McRae - Twenty EssexA go-to junior in the public international law arena. Her work is of extremely high quality. She is going to be an absolute superstar.
Christopher Staker - 39 Essex ChambersChristopher is very professional. His high-level expertise in public international law is invaluable.
Mark Wassouf - 3 Verulam BuildingsImpressively quick grasp of complex legal issues and the way he communicates with our clients. He has a unique ability to distil complex issues.
Philippa Webb - Twenty EssexAn excellent advocate - very thoughtful, very acute analytical skills.
Paul Wee  - Essex Court ChambersPaul has a deep and up-to-date knowledge of public international law which he is able to apply strategically when required. His mastery of the detail is impressive and his cross examination is rigorous and forensic.
Can Yeginsu - 4 New SquareHis knowledge and understanding of international law is extensive and he really comes into his own before an international tribunal as an advocate.
Tariq Baloch - 3 Verulam BuildingsAn excellent advocate in the field of investment treaty arbitration - clear and understated, he plays extremely well with both civil code and common law arbitrators alike.
Paul Barker - Doughty Street ChambersExcellent team-player, very strong intellect. Paul is fantastic with clients and his former role as a solicitor really shines through in this regard.
Michelle Butler - Matrix ChambersRightly confident in the quality of her advice and willing to make tough strategic judgement calls which other barristers might shy away from.
Edward Craven - Matrix ChambersPre-eminent in the junior end of this field and is a delight to work with.
Monica Feria-Tinta - Twenty EssexAn outstanding practitioner in the field of international environmental and human rights law.
Emilie Gonin - Doughty Street ChambersEmilie is a brilliant lawyer, thorough in her analysis, precise in her drafting and clear in her thoughts. She is a pleasure to work with under any circumstance, including when faced with the stress of a filing deadline or hearing.
Matthieu Gregoire - 4 New SquareAn absolutely fantastic advocate - responsive, accessible and a corner stone of any team.
Edward Ho - Brick Court ChambersHis intellect is razor sharp; cuts to the heart of the dispute; very client-friendly and proactive.
Cameron Miles - 3 Verulam BuildingsA very creative thinker who will come up with new angles on any PIL issue.
Simon Olleson - Twenty EssexSimon is a brilliant professional, he's proactive, practical and great to work with.
Naina Patel - Blackstone ChambersExtremely thorough in considering a case from every angle and excellent at making clear highly complex issues and in impressive submissions to the court.
Jason Pobjoy - Blackstone ChambersJason is the expert and go-to junior in public international law. He has the perfect mix of academic and practical litigation so he is the total package in this are which is hard to find, as many counsel are one or the other.
Thomas Sebastian - Monckton ChambersTom is absolutely brilliant. He's the total package - calm, client-friendly, super smart and an excellent advocate.
Jonathan Worboys - 4 New SquareWhen it comes to complex inter-state disputes, he has an eye for strategy and is always thinking two steps ahead.

Rising Stars

Naomi Hart - Essex Court ChambersNaomi is beyond brilliant, extremely pleasant to work with and dedicated to her clients. She is superb at drafting and has astute analytical abilities.

Public international law in London Bar

Public international law (PIL) covers a wide variety of disciplines, but for the purpose of this section, the rankings are primarily identifying those barristers with a strong focus on state v state disputes, state immunity, sanctions, and investment treaty arbitrations. There is inevitably some overlap with other categories such as public law and international human rights law, but for a more exhaustive review of experts in those fields, please see the separate civil liberties and human rights and administrative and public law chapters.

3 Verulam Buildings

3 Verulam Buildings is now a well-established presence in the field of public international law. The set’s credentials are especially strong at the junior end, where it fields several members with enviable track records in investment treaty arbitrations. The set’s barristers regularly work together, such as in the ICSID dispute Carlyle v Morocco concerning the SAMIR oil refinery, in which Christopher Harris QC is leading Mark Wassouf and Cameron Miles on behalf of the Kingdom of Morocco. Harris QC has been one of the practice’s drivers over the past few years, and is also representing the respondent state in the Stati v Kazakhstan Energy Charter Treaty arbitration.

Testimonials

Set

‘The set of barristers are very well organised.’

‘Top class.’

Clerking

‘The clerks are willing to be pragmatic and flexible on fees where necessary, and understand the constraints under which solicitors are working.’

Blackstone Chambers

Blackstone Chambers has long been one of the pre-eminent chambers for public international law, particularly in the crossover with public law and  human rights law, as well as related areas of state and diplomatic immunity. Maurice Mendelson QC remains a leading figure in the market, while Timothy Otty QC has built upon his superb reputation for human rights matters and is increasingly active on the investment treaty side.  Several leading juniors are also making strong names for themselves. Paul Luckhurst managed a Supreme Court victory in Janah and Benkharbouche v Secretary of State, a matter concerning National Minimum Wage claims by staff at the Sudanese embassy in London, and is currently pursuing the UK for damages in the European Court of Human Rights. Jason Pobjoy successfully defended the Foreign Secretary's position on diplomatic immunity in R (Charles) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, a High Court case concerning the death of motorcyclist Harry Dunn, who was killed in 2019 after he was struck by a car being driven by the wife of an alleged CIA operative.

Essex Court Chambers

Essex Court Chambers has an excellent reputation for public international law, where 'despite a heavy workload, the counsel have been available for working with us and for providing the expected qualities'. The set stands out for its combination of commercial and academic nous, with a selection of top quality silks and juniors who straddle both worlds with ease. Members are regularly involved in major state versus state cases, including maritime boundary matters such as Mauritius v Maldives where Alison Macdonald QC represented the former against Prof Alan Boyle and Naomi Hart for the latter. Members are also regularly involved in high-profile international arbitrations involving states, including Boonyanit v Malaysia, a matter concerning the treatment of fraudulent transfers under the latter's land law where Sam Wordsworth QC and Lucas Bastin represented the claimant, the estate of a Thai national. Toby Landau QC left the chambers and is now practicing from Singapore.

Testimonials

Clerking

‘All clerks were immensely helpful. Ben Perry, whom I communicated with over the years, should be particularly noted.’

Matrix Chambers

Matrix Chambers has an excellent pedigree for public international law, particularly for cases that intersect with human rights and civil liberties. In addition ICSID investment treaty disputes, members regularly appear before the ICJ on state versus state cases, including maritime and boundary disputes. Notable cases include a maritime boundary dispute between Somalia and Kenya, in which Philippe Sands QC is leading Edward Craven on behalf of Somalia. Sands is also representing Congo, alongside Michelle Butler in Democratic Republic of the Congo v Uganda, which concerns the presence of Ugandan troops in eastern parts of the DRC during Joseph Kabila’s first term as president, before the ICJ. Another highlight is Zachary Douglas QC‘ lead role for the claimants in LLC Lugzor and others v Russian Federation, an investor-state dispute concerning Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in 2014.

Twenty Essex

Twenty Essex fields a selection of the market's top public international law barristers, with a commendable range of expertise at the most senior and junior levels. Several, such as Sir Michael Wood KCMG and Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC came from distinguished legal careers at the UK Foreign Office, and bring a mixture of public and private expertise to a broad range of major international disputes. Notable case highlights include Islamic Republic of Iran v United States of America, concerning the question of whether the rights victims of Iranian terrorism to pursue compensation in the US courts is a treaty violation; Bethlehem is leading Belinda McRae on behalf of the USA, with Philippa Webb a member of the opposing team. Bethlehem, Webb, Wood, Sudhanshu Swaroop QC and Guglielmo Verdirame QC are also representing Italy in the MB Enrica Lexie case between India and Italy, concerning an incident where two Italian Navy marines protecting a commercial ship were detained by Indian forces after two fishermen were found shot dead off the coast of Kerala.

Testimonials

Set

‘Excellent set for PIL.’