Belinda McRae > Twenty Essex > London, England > Barrister Profile

Twenty Essex

Work Department

  • Arbitration and mediation
  • Civil fraud and asset tracing
  • Commercial law
  • Constitutional public and human rights law
  • Energy and natural resources
  • Jurisdiction, conflicts and enforcement
  • Private international law
  • Public international law
  • Shipping
  • Sport


Belinda has developed a busy and wide-ranging practice, focusing on public international law, civil fraud and complex contract disputes, jurisdiction challenges (including relating to Brexit), and all aspects of international arbitration (including enforcement and challenges to awards in London-seated arbitrations).

Since she joined Chambers in 2015, she has appeared in the Supreme Court (five times), the Court of Appeal (including as sole counsel), the High Court (Commercial Court, Chancery Division, Administrative Court and Family Division), and before arbitral tribunals under a variety of rules (UNCITRAL, ICSID, LCIA, ICC, and LMAA). She also sits as arbitrator, having been appointed as sole or wing arbitrator on 7 separate occasions. She has also been appointed to the Attorney General’s Civil and Public International Law Panels.

Belinda has appeared in several high-profile cases, the subject matter of which attest to the diversity of her practice. These include acting on behalf of a group of lenders in linked Commercial Court anti-suit and arbitration proceedings (Africa Finance v Aiteo [2022] EWHC 768 (Comm)); on behalf of the Foreign Secretary in the Venezuela Gold case before the Supreme Court (Guaidó Board v Maduro Board [2022] 2 WLR 167); on behalf of Ukraine in the Ukraine v Russia application before the European Court of Human Rights arising out of the Russian invasion; on behalf of a defendant in the large-scale fraud claim in Public Institution for Social Security of Kuwait v Al Rajaan before the Commercial Court (one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2020); on behalf of the United States in inter-State cases before the Iran-US Claims Tribunal and the International Court of Justice; and in a rare shipping case before the Supreme Court (The Global Santosh [2016] 1 WLR 1853).

Belinda is described as ‘absolutely exceptional’, a ‘fabulous oral advocate’ and a ‘go-to junior’ by the legal directories, in which she is ranked across the fields of commercial litigation, public international law and international arbitration. In 2022, she was the winner of ‘International Arbitration Junior of the Year’ at The Legal 500 Bar awards. She was also included as one of The Legal 500 Top 10 barristers under 8 years’ call in commercial litigation for two years.

Before joining Chambers, Belinda was an Associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. She brings a modern, practical and team-oriented approach to her work as a result. Belinda has also worked in international courts and tribunals in Cambodia, Tanzania and Australia, including as an associate to the Hon. Justice Dyson Heydon AC, at Australia’s highest court. She is a graduate of the Universities of Cambridge and Queensland.


French (proficient)

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Public international law

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 2

Belinda McRaeTwenty Essex ‘A fantastic can-do attitude, always ready to roll her sleeves up. Belinda has a formidable intellect which she combines with excellent litigation skills and instincts – a real star.’ 

London Bar > International arbitration: counsel

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 1

Belinda McRaeTwenty Essex ‘ Highly personable and intelligent. Great judgement – a silk in the making. She is an excellent lawyer. She is quick on her feet, very clear in her advocacy, and is very skilled as a cross-examiner.’

Twenty Essex is a ‘top quality chambers of commercial arbitration’ housing ‘excellent talent at all levels with exceptional experience.’ The set has ‘some of the best and broadest expertise in international trade, shipping and insurance’ that aligns with significant strength in international commercial and public international law, translating into the ability to provide teams for global cases with instructing parties based across Europe, Asia-Pacific, the US, African and Middle East. Members are routinely instructed on cases relating to the impact of major global events, including Covid, Brexit and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Chambers is jointly led by renowned commercial silks Charles Kimmins KC and Philip Edey KC. Other notable members include Wendy Miles KC who is instructed in a set of globally significant cases spanning energy, environment, climate and finance, and Belinda McRae on the junior end with expertise spanning commercial arbitration, arbitration appeals and enforcement, and investment treaty arbitration.

London Bar > Fraud: civil

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 4

Belinda McRae – Twenty EssexIn terms of civil fraud, her ability to draw together huge amounts of information to tell a story is impressive. There is no better junior to instruct.

London Bar > Commercial litigation

(Leading Juniors)Ranked: Tier 3

Belinda McRaeTwenty Essex

Belinda’s written work is superb and her skeleton arguments are a work of art. She is extremely user friendly, responsive and hardworking. A well-prepared and persuasive advocate.