Paul Key KC KC > Essex Court Chambers > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Essex Court Chambers
Paul Key KC photo


In private practice as a barrister since 1997, specialising in international and commercial law, and, in particular, international commercial arbitration and treaty arbitration. Regularly advises and appears as counsel before the English courts and international arbitrations in many countries. Also has extensive experience as an arbitrator in ad hoc and institutional international arbitration. Awarded ‘Chambers & Partners’ Junior Barrister of the Year in the field of international arbitration in 2012.


Called 1997 (England and Wales). Also called to New Zealand Bar; New York Bar; New South Wales Bar; Queensland Bar; and Victoria Bar. Visiting senior lecturer in arbitration law, King’s College, London.


American Society of International Law; Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR); International Law Association (UK representative on International Arbitration Committee); ILA; ICCA; LCIA; LCLBA.


Auckland University (LLB Hons); Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge (PhD).

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Energy

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 1

Paul Key KCEssex Court Chambers ‘He is approachable and very well connected in the international arbitration world, having good knowledge of rules and customs.’

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 > Public international law

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 3

Paul Key KCEssex Court Chambers ‘Paul is an excellent academic lawyer who is able to distill his knowledge into persuasive submissions. Always keen to explore any avenues that may assist the client.’

London Bar > International arbitration: counsel

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 1

Paul Key KCEssex Court Chambers ‘Paul is approachable and very well connected in the international arbitration world. He has a good knowledge of rules and customs of these kind of proceedings.’