Sir Michael Wood KCMG KC > Twenty Essex > London, England > Barrister Profile

Twenty Essex
Michael Wood KCMG KC photo

Work Department

  • English foreign relations law
  • International human rights law and the laws of war
  • International law on the use of force
  • International law of the sea, including maritime delimitation
  • Public international law
  • UN law


Sir Michael is a member of the United Nations (UN) International Law Commission. He was the principal Legal Adviser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) between 1999 and 2006. During his 35 years as an FCO lawyer, Michael attended many international conferences, including the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea. He spent three years at the UK Mission to the UN in New York, dealing chiefly with Security Council matters.

Since leaving the FCO in 2006, Sir Michael has acted for many governments in cases before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and inter-state arbitral tribunals. He has written extensively on public international law.


French, German, Italian, Spanish (all proficient)

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Public international law

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 2

Sir Michael Wood KCMG KC (Hon)Twenty Essex ‘Michael has a deeper knowledge of more fields of public international law than practically anyone at the English Bar. He is also tactically very astute, and knows how international courts and tribunals think and work pretty much more than anyone. He is a first-rate advocate and, despite his seniority, a great team player.’

Twenty Essex ‘is excellent on public international law, with a very deep bench of specialists at all levels of seniority’ and has bolstered its offering with Baiju Vasani and Rishab Gupta joining in May and November 2022, respectively, as well as several silk appointments including Sir Michael Wood KCMG KC’s appointment to honorary silk in March 2023. Members of chambers are acting at the forefront of groundbreaking matters at the highest level across the whole range of public international law. Highlights include the UK’s intervention on behalf of Ukraine in its claim against Russia before the ICJ based on allegations of genocide, in which Philippa Webb is instructed on; Kate Parlett is instructed on Australia’s intervention. In UN human rights committee proceedings Torres Strait Islanders v Australia, Monica Feria-Tinta and Sudhanshu Swaroop KC acted on behalf of a group of Torres Strait Islanders, indigenous people resident on an archipelago off the coast of mainland Queensland, who argue that Australia’s policies and laws regarding climate change are in breach of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.