The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Twenty Essex

Work 020 7842 1200
Fax 020 7842 1270
London, Singapore

Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC

Work 020 7842 1200
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)

London Bar

Public international law

Within: Public international law – Leading silks

Sir Daniel Bethlehem KCMG QC - Twenty EssexAn invaluable part of our team.

Within: Public international law

Twenty Essex has a stellar reputation for public international law, fielding some highly experienced barristers at both senior and junior levels. Members have been involved in a broad range of headline cases with major international law issues. Notable highlights included Guglielmo Verdirame’s instruction as part of the attorney general’s team in Miller v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Sir Michael Wood KCMG’s involvement in the Australia v Timor-Leste conciliation, as well as Sir Daniel Bethlehem KCMG QC leading a team in the ‘Enrica Lexie’ incident (Italy v India).

[back to top]

Back to index

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to