Sir Daniel Bethlehem KC > Twenty Essex > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Twenty Essex

Work Department

  • Public international law


Daniel specialises in public international law, accepting instructions as counsel and adviser as well as arbitration, inquiry and expert witness appointments. From May 2006 to May 2011, he was the principal Legal Adviser of the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

He has extensive advisory, litigation and arbitration experience. Daniel has appeared before a wide range of international courts and tribunals, as well as before English courts at every level. He advises and represents States, international and non-governmental organisations, corporations and individuals on issues across the full breadth of public international law. He also advises on high legal content policy and political matters, ranging from international peace negotiations to arms limitation talks.

Daniel has wide experience as arbitrator in both investor-State arbitrations and in non-investment cases engaging issues of public international law. His current appointments are broadly divided between presiding arbitrator, party-appointed arbitrator by the claimant and party-appointed by the respondent. Given his practice as arbitrator in investor-State cases, Daniel does not ordinarily accept instructions as counsel in such cases.

He is a Visiting Professor in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. He also has a long-standing affiliation with Columbia Law School in New York, where he has been a regular Visiting Professor of Law. Daniel is member of the Board of Palantir Technologies UK Ltd.


Called 1988; Silk 2003.


  • American Society of International Law: Counsellor, Executive Committee
  • British Branch of the International Law Association: Former Council Member
  • British Institute of International and Comparative Law: Advisory Council
  • Institute of Advanced Legal Studies: Former Advisory Council Member
  • Lauterpacht Centre for International Law: Advisory Committee


  • Cambridge University, Queens’ College: LLM (1990)
  • Bristol University: LLB (1985)
  • University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg: BA in Political Science and International Relations (1981)

Lawyer Rankings

London Bar > Public international law

(Leading Silks)Ranked: Tier 1

Sir Daniel Bethlehem KCMG KCTwenty Essex ‘Incredible strategic vision combined with a forensic approach make Daniel a Grand Master in his field.’

Offering ‘perfect service‘ and ‘great breadth and depthTwenty Essex is an ‘outstanding chambers‘ that is ‘first choice for sensitive government matters and public international law‘. The set has an extremely broad selection of silks and juniors from a wide range of backgrounds, including former Legal Advisers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office such as Sir Michael Wood KCMG and Sir Daniel Bethlehem KC. Sudhanshu Swaroop KC and Penelope Nevill are currently representing the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office in Duarte Agostinho v Portugal & Ors, a claim before the ECHR brought by six Portuguese children against the Portuguese government and 32 other states including the UK over their failure to meet climate change commitments. Philippa Webb  is also representing a Filipino former domestic worker in the Saudi Arabian embassy in London in Wong v Basfar, a dispute before the Supreme Court concerning diplomatic immunity to cases of human trafficking and modern slavery.