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UK Bar: Arbitration 2017

In this chapter, we recognise 70 leading individuals active as counsel or arbitrator in international commercial and investment treaty arbitration.

Most Highly Regarded
Ali Malek QC 3 Verulam Buildings
Hilary Heilbron QC Brick Court Chambers
Toby Landau QC Essex Court Chambers
Sir Michael Wood 20 Essex Street Chambers
David Brynmor Thomas 39 Essex Chambers
Julian Lew QC 20 Essex Street Chambers
J William Rowley QC 20 Essex Street Chambers
Charles Brower 20 Essex Street Chambers
Bernard Rix QC 20 Essex Street Chambers
V V Veeder QC Essex Court Chambers


ESSEX COURT CHAMBERS is famed for its expertise in commercial arbitration with a majority of its members practising as either counsel or arbitrator. Core areas include shipping, insurance and reinsurance, energy and financial services disputes. The set tops our research with an outstanding 14 recommended silks.
Toby Landau QC is a renowned barrister considered “one of the best advocates in the world” and “a star of the arbitration community”.He has an amazing ability to make a completely hopeless case sound good," says one source.
Joe Smouha QC is a top name in the London market known for his well-established practice as both counsel and arbitrator in international and domestic commercial arbitrations. One source describes him as “a very clever advocate who is quick on his feet”.
Ricky Diwan QC draws praise for the rate at which he has developed a very strong practice in both international commercial and investment arbitration, with one source claiming, “He is one of the best young silks around.”
New Zealand-based door tenant David AR Williams QC is a well-established arbitrator and counsel who is credited with the ability to run arbitrations in “a very efficient and effective manner”.
The “wonderful” Richard Siberry QC is a popular counsel and chairman in ICC, LCIA, LMAA and other arbitrations. He is particularly well known for his expertise in shipping, insurance and reinsurance, international trade and commodity disputes.
Chambers co-head Graham Dunning QC is known for his reputable practice as an advocate and arbitrator in both international investment and commercial arbitration. As one respondent states, "He is meticulously well prepared, pragmatic in his advice, and a powerful, engaging advocate.”

KEATING CHAMBERS is a highly regarded set boasting a number of talented barristers specialising in construction and engineering disputes in particular. Five silks are recommended in total, featuring two Queen’s Counsel who regularly appear as advocates and arbitrators.
Richard Harding QC is a major name in international construction disputes, particularly those relating to the Middle East and Gulf regions. He regularly acts both as counsel and arbitrator.
Christopher Thomas QC is a well-established practitioner with over 30 years of experience appearing as counsel and arbitrator in construction, engineering, energy and IT disputes.

ATKIN CHAMBERS is a leading construction specialist, whose members typically handle high-value international construction and infrastructure international arbitrations. Four silks are recognised in total, with two acting both as advocate and arbitrator.
The “outstanding” Jonathan Acton Davis QC draws widespread praise for his considerable expertise as both advocate and arbitrator in domestic and international arbitral proceedings.
Manus McMullan QC is considered “one of the best cross-examiners at the Bar” by one respondent. His practice sees him instructed as counsel in a wide variety of disputes in domestic and international arbitral proceedings.

BRICK COURT CHAMBERS is home to three superb Queen’s Counsel, including one full-time arbitrator, who cover a wide range of commercial disputes. Members of chambers have a wealth of experience in large, complex international commercial and investment arbitration, regularly acting in arbitrations in the major arbitral seats.
Hilary Heilbron QC draws widespread admiration thanks to her “tireless work ethic” and “incredible eye for detail”. An accomplished counsel and arbitrator, Heilbron regularly appears in banking, telecoms, pharmaceutical and energy disputes.
The “excellent” Mark Howard QC is commended for his fantastic knowledge of commercial disputes. He is an experienced advocate and regularly acts under ICC, FIA and BIT institutional rules.

3 VERULAM BUILDINGS’ joint head of chambers Ali Malek QC is a well-established name in the market with a strong reputation as counsel and arbitrator sitting under ICC, LCIA and SIAC rules. According to one source, “He is a high-quality advocate who puts you to the sword.”

At ONE ESSEX COURT, the “superb” Laurence Rabinowitz QC is an accomplished advocate with a fine reputation in commercial and insurance disputes.

At 20 ESSEX STREET, Duncan Matthews QC is praised for his impressive arbitration practice that sees him act primarily as counsel. He is particularly well known for his expertise in shareholder and joint-venture disputes. According to sources, “He is a particularly forceful advocate in difficult conditions; making even the most tenuous case seem appealing.”

Full-time Arbitrators

20 ESSEX STREET is a leading commercial set with a strong bench of barristers who boast significant experience in both domestic and international arbitrations, regularly acting as advocates and arbitrators in disputes across a variety of industry sectors. Eight full-time arbitrators are recommended in the following pages, including four Queen’s Counsel.
Julian Lew QC is a “senior, well-respected arbitrator” with over 30 years of experience in both international commercial and investment arbitration. According to respondents, he is “highly sought after and hugely knowledgeable”.
J William Rowley QC is an internationally renowned arbitrator with a strong practice focusing on energy and infrastructure project disputes. One source notes, “He is a big character with a very strong reputation as one who manages a case well and gets to the heart of the matter.”
Former Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Bernard Rix QC draws widespread praise from peers in the market following his successful transition to full-time arbitrator. Respondents consider him “extremely bright, focused and a very talented lawyer.”
Senior statesman Charles Brower is a “worldwide name” known for acting as a judge of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal for since 1984 and, more recently, as judge ad hoc of the International Court of Justice. He is one of the most popular and in demand arbitrators in the world.
Michael Lee has sat as an arbitrator in over 120 international arbitrations worldwide. As one respondent notes, “He is commercial, well organised and practical.”
Peers consider David Sutton “a top choice as chair of an arbitral proceeding” with a source noting that he “manages to resolve disputes in a thorough and timely manner”. His practice focuses on commercial disputes in the banking, oil and gas, pharmaceutical sectors among others.
Former Court of Appeal judge Sir Simon Tuckey draws praise for his practice as an international arbitrator.
David Owen QC is a highly rated arbitrator with over 30 years of experience at the Bar. He regularly sits as arbitrator in disputes in the major arbitral centres worldwide.

ONE ESSEX COURT is renowned for its expertise in prominent commercial disputes. Its members boast extensive experience in international arbitration, acting as counsel and accepting appointments as arbitrators in high profile commercial disputes. We recognise six full-time arbitrators.
Ian Glick QC is deemed a “profoundly impressive arbitrator” who “manages a case well and efficiently”.  His busy practice as an arbitrator sees him sit on a diverse array of disputes including insurance and reinsurance contractual disputes, oil and gas price reviews, share sale agreement disputes, loan and facility agreement issues among others.
Christopher Style QC is a veteran dispute resolution specialist with over 40 years of experience. He regularly sits as an arbitrator in both institutional and ad hoc proceedings worldwide. Sources describe him as “smart,” "supremely organised" and “a real pleasure to work with".
Peter Leaver QC is a renowned international commercial arbitrator with a strong track record as an advocate and arbitrator. He regularly sits in disputes in the oil and gas, corporate, insurance, IP and energy sectors.

At KEATING CHAMBERS, three arbitrators are singled out.
Head of chambers John Marrin QC is an esteemed practitioner known for his “wonderful insight into construction law". He is “very sharp” and possesses over 40 years of experience at the Bar and regularly acts as arbitrator in both domestic and international construction disputes.
Sources consider John Uff CBE QC a “very talented construction arbitrator” with a formidable reputation in the market. Sources credit him with taking “a very proactive approach to running cases."
Robert Gaitskell QC is an “excellent arbitrator” who is “smart, effective and good to work with”. His strong technical knowledge thanks to his dual qualification as an engineer ensures that he is a top choice for disputes involving complex construction, engineering and infrastructure projects.

ESSEX COURT CHAMBERS V V Veeder QC is considered a "legend in the field” by sources who dub him "the doyen of London arbitration". He regularly sits as an arbitrator in both international commercial and investment arbitrations.
Sir Frank Berman QC is a celebrated practitioner with a well-established pedigree in public international law. He regularly sits as arbitrator in high profile investment arbitrations.

3 VERULAM BUILDINGS is a leading commercial set with a respected international arbitration practice. its members regularly sit as arbitrators in a wide variety of commercial disputes. Three full-time arbitrators are singled out.
Christopher Symons QC is a popular and respected arbitrator known for his longstanding practice in the field and his calm and collected manner. He is strongly endorsed for his expertise in insurance and reinsurance disputes.
Sophie Nappert is a reputable practitioner with a fantastic international arbitration practice. A full-time arbitrator with considerable experience acting on a wide variety of disputes, including the energy and natural resources, joint ventures and pharmaceuticals mandates.
Elizabeth Birch is a well-known disputes specialist with a wealth of expertise sitting as arbitrator in a diverse range of international cases.

John Blackburn QC is one of three full-time arbitrators recommended at ATKIN CHAMBERS. He is an eminent arbitration practitioner with over 30 years of experience practising in international arbitration as counsel or arbitrator. Now a full-time arbitrator, Blackburn is a popular appointment in construction and engineering disputes worldwide in both institutional and ad hoc proceedings.
Former Technology and Construction Court judge Humphrey Lloyd QC is considered “a real heavyweight in the field” thanks to his “seemingly boundless expertise” in international construction law.
Door tenant Douglas Jones AO is a highly rated international arbitrator known for his insight and expertise in construction and engineering disputes. One respondent sums up market sentiment: "He is an incredibly efficient chairman, well organised and extremely responsive, no matter where he is in the world.”

At BRICK COURT CHAMBERS, Lord Leonard Hoffmann QC is deemed an obvious inclusion” with a stellar reputation thanks to his vast legal expertise and experience as an arbitrator. He regularly sits as an arbitrator on disputes involving the oil and gas sector, IP and public international law.


At 20 ESSEX STREET, former principal advisor to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Sir Michael Wood is a famous public international law specialist with a distinguished international arbitration practice.

3 VERULAM BUILDINGS Christopher Harris draws widespread praise from peers who predict a bright future ahead: “He is developing a strong reputation and seems to be very popular for complex commercial arbitration”.

At 39 ESSEX CHAMBERS, former city law firm partner David Brynmor Thomas has developed a reputed practice as an arbitrator and counsel at the Bar. He is particularly busy sitting as an arbitrator in construction disputes.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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