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Global Leader

Arbitration 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Paul Key QC is a "deeply impressive practitioner" who has "a great talent for arbitration". Sources recommend him as a "creative, hard-working counsel, and pragmatic yet robust as arbitrator".


Paul Key QC is recognised as one of the leading QCs at the English Commercial Bar. He has particular expertise and specialism in international commercial arbitration and investment treaty arbitration (including ICSID). He also regularly appears in arbitration-related court matters, including appearing in the English Supreme Court in Jivraj v Hashwani.

He has been ranked as a top-tier arbitration practitioner for over 10 years and has consistently been identified as one of the leading figures in that field. Feedback quoted in various guides calls him “a real arbitration expert”, “the first port of call for important arbitration disputes” and “an arbitration guru” with sources stating that “few can rival his expertise, ability and knowledge in the field of arbitration”.

He has appeared as advocate in over 300 major international arbitrations worldwide, as well as appearing regularly before the English courts (at all levels) and foreign courts on arbitration matters. In addition to his extensive experience in international commercial arbitration, he is one of the very few English QCs to have real and in-depth expertise in investment arbitration. He has been lead counsel in a very large number of BIT/investment arbitrations, acting both for and against states.

He has extensive experience in challenges to awards in courts and in the enforcement of arbitration awards (both New York Convention Awards and ICSID Awards).  Representative cases include P&ID v Nigeria (enforcement of a US$9 billion award), AIG v KazakhstanContinental Transfert v NigeriaKarkey v Pakistan and Ruby Roz v Kazakhstan. 

He also has extensive experience in applications for injunctive relief (both applications made to courts and applications made to tribunals), and court applications for the stay of court proceedings.

He is visiting professor in international arbitration law at King’s College London, and has lectured and published widely in this field. He has been a long-standing representative of the UK on the ILA international commercial arbitration committee and is also a delegate for the UNCITRAL working group on arbitration.

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