Graham Dunning KC KC > Essex Court Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Essex Court Chambers


Graham Dunning QC was until recently the co-head of Essex Court Chambers. He has a full time practice as an advocate and arbitrator in substantial international and commercial disputes. Graham has recently appeared at all levels in the English courts from the Supreme Court down, offshore and in international arbitrations in London and other arbitration venues around the world. Amongst other things, he has conducted two heavy fraud trials, several appeals to the English Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and Privy Council, an important Commercial Court banking/commodities trial, commercial arbitrations in London, Dubai and Singapore, a trial in the DIFC in Dubai, various anti-suit injunctions and applications for freezing relief, an appeal in the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, major oil and gas arbitrations, numerous arbitration-related court applications (including issues of state immunity), and substantial investment arbitrations in Washington, Stockholm and Paris and other international commercial arbitrations (eg ICC, UNCITRAL, LCIA, LCIA-lndia, SCC). His clients have included states and state entities, banks, major commercial corporations and high-net-worth individuals. He also frequently sits as arbitrator in international arbitrations of all kinds, having been appointed in more than 70 cases. He has extensive experience of disputes relating to investments in oil and gas, mining, international trade in all types of commodities, energy, infrastructure, as well as shareholder disputes.


2013-2017 Co-Head of Essex Court Chambers; 2012 Called to Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (St Vincent); 2011 Called to Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (BVI); 2009 Bencher, Lincoln’s Inn; 2001 Silk; 1983 Joined Essex Court Chambers; 1982 Called to the Bar Lincoln’s Inn;


LCIA; BMLA, Member ICC UK Task Force on National Rules of Procedure for Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Awards; BILA; SIAC panel; KLRCA panel


Cambridge, England, 1st Class Hons Law, BA; MA; Harvard Law School, LLM

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Shipping

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 2

Graham Dunning KCEssex Court Chambers ‘One of the best in his field.’

Fielding ‘high-level professional services’, Essex Court Chambers is known for its strong barristers on both junior and silk level.  The set handles disputes, arbitration, and litigation on the full spectrum of maritime matters. Christopher Smith KC appeared for the South African government in Argentum v The Silver – the case, concerning the recovery of silver bars from a 1942 shipwreck, was the first to consider the State Immunity Act in relation to an in rem claim. Sanctions were  a central part of OCM Nile and OCM Kama v Courage and Amethyst, in which Graham Dunning KC led for the defendants. Philippa Hopkins KC regularly appears in various courts and arbitration fora in relation to ship arrests, shipbuilding, and marine insurance. 2021 was another strong year for David Walsh, who was involved in the charterparty claim Container Schiffahrts-Gmbh & Co. KG MS “MSC Flaminia” v MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. about an onboard explosion caused by cargo. Jeremy Brier KC and Neil Hart KC are both 2022 Silk appointments.

London Bar > Energy

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 3

Graham Dunning KCEssex Court Chambers ‘He is polite, well-prepared and has sensible and incisive questions.’

Essex Court Chambers is ‘without question a go-to set when you have a difficult issue’, particularly in ‘high-value, frighteningly complex multi-jurisdictional energy disputes’. It has a long-standing practice in large-scale energy litigation, building on the synergy with its market-leading practice in international commercial arbitration, and its members have notable expertise in cases concerning gas pricing, production sharing agreements and joint operating agreements. Paul Key KC successfully represented Petrochemical Holdings in its $2bn+ claim against Romania arising out of a dispute as to redevelopment of petrochemicals plants. David Mildon KC has in-depth knowledge of solar feed-in tariffs, renewables obligation, contracts for differences in the electricity market, and Graham Dunning KC was lead counsel in Dynasty v Kurdistan Regional Government & Hawrami, which concerned a $1.5bn claim concerning change of control of two blocks under production sharing contracts in the eponymous autonomous area in the north of Iraq. Outstanding junior Siddharth Dhar acted for P&ID in seeking to enforce a $9.5bn award against Nigeria in respect of a failed gas project.

London Bar > International arbitration: arbitrators

The standard of the individuals is consistently outstanding‘, at Arbitrators at 24 Lincoln’s Inn Fields which is praised for its ‘strength in depth‘ and its wide selection of ‘top commercial arbitrators‘. The chambers is an affiliate of the elite commercial set Essex Court Chambers, where many of the arbitrators, including Graham Dunning KC, Jeffrey Gruder KC and David Mildon KC still practice as counsel. They join an impressive array of former barristers and judges, many of which previously practiced at Essex Court. Lord Collins and Sir Bernard Eder are the most high profile names among the full-time arbitrators, but the set caters for the full spectrum of industries, including construction, energy, insurance and reinsurance, and shipping.

London Bar > Public international law

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 3

Graham Dunning KCEssex Court Chambers

London Bar > International arbitration: counsel

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 1

Graham Dunning KCEssex Court ChambersAlways brilliant.

London Bar > Commodities

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 5

Graham Dunning KCEssex Court Chambers ‘A first-class legal mind, balanced and fair in his judgments, he has superb drafting skills and is extremely efficient.’

London Bar > Commercial litigation

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 4

Graham Dunning KCEssex Court ChambersHis advocacy is brilliant.

Essex Court Chambers is ‘packed with excellent barristers‘ and has ‘a deserved reputation as a Magic Circle chambers for heavyweight litigation‘. The set’s senior and junior members offer an incredibly broad range of expertise, including overlapping strengths in civil fraud and commercial arbitration. Recent noteworthy cases include Dynasty Company for Oil and Gas Trading Ltd v The Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq; and Dr Ashti Hawrami, a US$1.5bn Commercial Court claim relating to change of control of two oil and gas blocks in Northern Iraq in which Hawrami was successfully represented by Graham Dunning KC, Anton Dudnikov and Catherine Jung. Several members, including Dunning, Anna Dilnot KC, Ruth den Besten, Ciaran Keller and Benedict Tompkins, are representing different groups of defendants in, Suppipat & Ors v Nop Narongdeg & Ors, a US$2bn claim concerning an alleged fraud by Thai businessman Nop Narongdej and several other individuals and entities over the ownership of Thailand’s largest renewable energy company.