Sir Bernard Rix > Twenty Essex > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Twenty Essex

Work Department

  • Arbitration and mediation
  • Banking and finance
  • Civil fraud and asset tracing
  • Commercial Law
  • Energy and natural resources
  • EU and competition law
  • Insurance and reinsurance
  • Private international law
  • Public international law
  • Shipping
  • Sport


Sir Bernard retired in 2013 as a Lord Justice of Appeal with 20 years’ experience in the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal. Since 2013 he has accepted appointments as an arbitrator, mediator and expert witness.

He is an International Judge of the Singapore International Commercial Court and a member of the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal. He is a member of the HKIAC panel of arbitrators and MOOGAS panel of international arbitrators and mediators, has been appointed to the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal, and is an ADR Group accredited mediator. He is also Professor of International Commercial Law at The Centre of Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary, University of London.

As a barrister, Sir Bernard practised in commercial chambers at 3 Essex Court (now Twenty Essex). He specialised in international commercial and arbitral disputes (as both barrister and arbitrator) and also appeared in the courts of Singapore and Hong Kong. He was Chairman of the Commercial Bar Association in 1992–1993.

In 1993 Sir Bernard was appointed to the High Court and sat predominantly in the Commercial Court, of which he was judge in charge from 1998 to 1999. In that period, he was responsible for introducing to the Commercial Court the Woolf Reforms to civil procedure law (the Civil Procedure Rules) and redrafting the Commercial Court’s Guide and Practice Directions.

In 2000 Sir Bernard was appointed to the Court of Appeal, from which he retired in May 2013. As a member of the Court of Appeal, he delivered a wide range of judgments on arbitration, aviation, banking, insurance and reinsurance, private and public international law, oil and gas, sale of goods and shipping disputes.

Since 2013, Sir Bernard has acted as sole arbitrator, chairperson and co-arbitrator in a wide variety of international commercial disputes all around the world.


Year of call: 1970
Year of QC: 1981


  • British Institute of International and Comparative Law: Trustee
  • British Insurance Law Association: President
  • Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London: Chairman, Advisory Council
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators: Fellow
  • Commercial Bar Association: Former Chairman (1992–93)
  • Harvard Law School Association of the UK: Former President
  • London Philharmonic Orchestra: Director
  • University of Oxford, New College: Honorary Fellow
  • University of London, Queen Mary’s: Honorary Fellow


  • Harvard School of Law
  • University of Oxford, New College

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > International arbitration: arbitrators

(Leading arbitrators)Ranked: Tier 1

Sir Bernard RixTwenty Essex ‘An excellent arbitrator – well prepared, insightful and thoughtful, drafts well and has a great manner with his co-arbitrators and the parties.’

20 Essex Street has ‘great strength in depth in the number of arbitrators specialising in commercial disputes, but also public international law and investment treaty arbitration‘. This extends to core areas such as commodities and shipping arbitrations where many of the firm’s leading barristers have particularly strong backgrounds. The bench is packed with an impressive array of full time and part time arbitrators, including esteemed former judges such as Sir Bernard Rix, and former solicitors and arbitration specialists, including Judith Gill KC, David Sutton and Julian Lew KC. The set also has several well regarded practicing counsel, with Duncan Matthews KC a name of note.