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

Twenty Essex
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 2

Sir Daniel Bethlehem QCTwenty EssexA pre-eminent silk in public international law.

Twenty Essex is ‘top of the list for public international law‘. Clients appreciate that the ‘powerhouse‘ set’s ‘very approachable‘ juniors and silks ‘wear their considerable expertise lightly‘. Two of the set’s top members, Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC and Sir Michael Wood KCMG served as principal legal advisers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and are now highly sought after as counsel. Both Bethlehem and Wood, as well as Guglielmo Verdirame QC, Philippa Webb, and Sudhanshu Swaroop QC, are representing Italy in a dispute with India, following the ‘Enrica Lexie‘ Incident, before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Verdirame QC was also a member of the government’s legal team advising on the controversial Internal Markets Bill. Chambers’ junior ranks have been bolstered by the arrival of Simon Olleson from Three Stone.