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Who's Who Legal
Who's Who Legal
Robert Kirkness

Robert Kirkness

Thorndon ChambersLevel 6, Maritime Tower10 Customhouse QuayPO Box 1530WellingtonNew Zealand6140

Global Leader

Arbitration 2021

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

Peers and clients say

"Rob is a tremendous cross-examiner and tactician, with encyclopaedic recall of both common and public international law"
"Rob is one of the most effective advocates of his generation"
"He is a terrific advocate and strategic thinker, and one of the most experienced international arbitration practitioners in New Zealand and Asia"
"One of the best advocates I have come across"
"He would be on my top five list of advocates to consider for any matter"


Robert Kirkness is an experienced international arbitration practitioner who has acted on some of the most complex and high profile matters submitted to arbitration over the past decade. He is a member of Thorndon Chambers in New Zealand.  

Robert appears as counsel both before international courts and tribunals in international disputes and the New Zealand courts on a range of commercial and public law litigation.

Robert has represented States and foreign investors in numerous investment treaty arbitrations, including: East Mediterranean Gas and its foreign shareholders in a series of four international commercial and investment treaty arbitrations against the Arab Republic of Egypt and its state-owned entities following the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, each of which resulted in successful awards for the claimants; Rusoro Mining in its investment treaty claim against Venezuela regarding expropriation of gold mining rights; and several States defending investment treaty claims brought against them. 

In addition to his investment treaty work, Robert has acted for commercial clients in Europe and Asia on a wide-range of international commercial disputes, including gas-pricing disputes under long-term contracts for the supply of natural gas, post-M&A disputes and disputes concerning intellectual property rights.

Robert serves as arbitrator in international commercial disputes.  

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