Stephen Donnelly

Stephen started his arbitrator journey as Tribunal Secretary to many of the worlds most recognised arbitrators. Stephen is versatile with a practice that encompasses commercial and chancery disputes and cases raising issues of public international law in international and domestic courts. He has appeared as sole counsel at all levels, including in the Privy Council, and is regularly instructed in heavy cases before courts and arbitral tribunals. The Legal 500 describes him as, ‘First rate and very hard working. He is also a good team player with the ability to fit in and get on with a wide spread of individuals. Incredible attention to detail, wise beyond his years and an intellectual powerhouse.’  He is also a practising advocate in Scotland, and is a Standing Junior Counsel to the Scottish Government.

In 2020 Stephen was appointed to the Attorney General’s public international law C panel of counsel. In 2021 he was promoted to the London B panel.

Stephen is an author of the forthcoming edition of Company Directors (OUP), has had articles on international law and on human rights published in leading journals, and is an assistant editor of the European Human Rights Reports.

Before coming to the bar, Stephen was judicial assistant to Lord Kerr in the Supreme Court and Privy Council, and taught public international law at the University of Edinburgh and King’s College London. He studied law at Glasgow, Oxford, and Yale (as a Fulbright scholar and board member of the Yale Journal of International Law).

Stephen is fluent in French and has a working knowledge of several other languages.

Naomi Hart

Naomi has a diverse practice in international, commercial, public and human rights law. She was identified as one of the Hot 100 by The Lawyer in 2023. She has appeared in the major directories for several years, with listings in Public International Law, International Arbitration, and International Human Rights Law.

Naomi’s commercial practice encompasses civil fraud, conflict of laws, shipping and general commercial disputes. She acts as junior and sole counsel, having recently appeared in the Court of Appeal, the Commercial Court, the Chancery Division and the King’s Bench Division (including the Administrative Court). She has also been involved in cases before the courts of the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Mauritius, Sweden, Türkiye, Norway, Australia and Malaysia (among others). Her commercial arbitration experience includes proceedings under the DIFC, LCIA, ICC, PCA, SCC, ICSID, UNCITRAL and LMAA Rules.

Naomi has an extensive practice in public international law. She has acted in six cases before the International Court of Justice as well as in proceedings before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the European Court of Human Rights, and the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization. She is routinely involved in cases before English and foreign domestic courts which involve questions of public international law as well as in investor-State disputes. Across this range of cases, she has advised and acted for governments, international organisations, non-governmental organisations and private parties on matters relating to territorial delimitation, self-determination, the law of the sea, occupation of territory, war crimes, genocide, privileges and immunities, climate change, international administrative law, sanctions, international trade law, the act of State doctrine, and inter-State espionage. She also has a wide human rights practice before English, international and foreign domestic courts, much of which is pro bono.

Naomi attained a doctorate from the University of Cambridge on the topic of espionage and public international law, for which she was awarded the Faculty of Law’s Yorke Prize for a thesis “of exceptional quality, which makes a substantial contribution to its relevant field of legal knowledge”. She has published widely on human rights, international refugee law, investor-State arbitration and general international law.

In 2020, Naomi was appointed to both the Public International Law C Panel of Junior Counsel and the Attorney General’s London C Panel of Civil Counsel. She is also a Trustee of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law and a member of the Bar Council’s International Committee.

Naomi is admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales. At the University of Sydney, she received First Class Honours in her Law degree (ranking second in her year) and the University Medal and First Class Honours in History (ranking first in her year).

Claudia Renton

Claudia has a broad and diverse commercial practice spanning domestic and international commercial litigation and arbitration with particular expertise in media, art and entertainment law and civil fraud. She has been recognized as a leading junior (Tier 1) for Art and Cultural Property Law by the Legal 500 since 2017 where she is described as an “Art fraud and contractual breach expert…A phenomenal junior, unflappable and extremely hard-working” (2021).

Claudia is an experienced advocate. She has appeared unled before arbitral tribunals and in the High Court, County Courts and the Employment Tribunal; and as junior counsel in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, numerous arbitrations (including under the LMAA Terms (2012), LCIA Arbitration Rules, American Arbitration Association Rules, ICC Rules and DIAC) and in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts.

Her recent cases include: Sotheby’s v Mark Weiss Ltd in which Claudia, led by Joe Smouha KC, was instructed on behalf of an art gallery and its owner in a case concerning the sale of an alleged Old Master (said to be by Frans Hals) under a private treaty agreement, which was then alleged to be counterfeit; ICICI Bank UK plc v Assam Oil Co & Ors in which she was instructed, as junior to David Joseph KC, to resist a summary judgment claim for $70 million under a term loan said to be due. Other recent instructions include: acting (led by Ricky Diwan KC) for a foreign state in relation to the attempted enforcement of a $48 million judgment debt raising issues under the State Immunity Act 1978; acting (led by Richard Millett KC) for the Receivers of the shares of Nevis companies said to be worth in excess of $200 million and the Directors of those companies in multi-jurisdictional litigation concerning the disputed ownership of those shares; acting (led by Paul Stanley KC) in an ad hoc arbitration concerning a dispute between limited liability partners in an investment management business.

Claudia is accustomed to working closely with foreign lawyers; and both as sole counsel and part of a larger team. She is uniquely familiar with the DIFC and she has advised the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Courts on their Arbitration and Court Rules.

Claudia is the author of Those Wild Wyndhams, a biography of the Wyndham sisters (HarperCollins, 2014 (UK and worldwide); Knopf 2018 (US)), which won the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2014. She is also co-author of Heroes (Quercus 2007). In her previous career as an actress she appeared on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company and at the National Theatre, and on television in series for the BBC and ITV.

Anna Dilnot KC

Anna actively accepts arbitration appointments and has over 20 years commercial litigation experience.  Anna qualified as a commercial litigation solicitor in 2002, becoming a solicitor advocate before being called to the Bar in 2008, and taking silk in 2021.

Who’s Who 2023 notes that Anna draws widespread recommendations for her asset recovery expertise, with commentators endorsing her as “an absolutely excellent silk”. Anna was also recognised as an expert (global and national leader) in Who’s Who Legal Asset Recovery 2018 – 2022, she is described as having a “super sharp mind”, being both a “persuasive advocate” and “very impressive on her feet in complex proceedings”. For 2023, Anna is also recognised as a leading silk for commercial dispute resolution and asset recovery in Chambers & Partners and Legal 500.

Anna has a broad commercial and commercial chancery practice, with specialisms in conflicts of laws and civil fraud. She is experienced as an advocate in both court proceedings and international arbitration (ad hoc, LCIA, ICC, GAFTA and SIAC). Anna is also accustomed to applying laws other than English law, with recent experience in the laws of Thailand, Russia, Kazakhstan, BVI, France and Spain.

Paul Key KC

Paul Key is recognised as one of the leading silks at the Commercial Bar, specializing in complex, cross-border and high-value disputes.

He wins praise from clients for combining strong analytical skills (“intellect of an Einstein“, “you bring him in when you have a case which needs a lot of the grey matter to be applied to it“, “incredibly bright and hard-working“, “incisive and insightful“, “supremely intelligent“) with powerful advocacy (“astonishingly good advocate“, “the go-to advocate for important cases“, “amazing ability to get the most difficult tribunal on his side“) and a teamwork ethic (“a definite inclusion when compiling a dream team for a case“, “approachable and responsive“, “seamlessly slots into the wider team and provides spot-on insights“, “a team player who is very switched-on, very good with clients, and user-friendly“).

As well as appearing as sole counsel in Courts and in arbitrations, Paul also acts as a member of larger teams in heavyweight disputes, including 14 separate cases in recent years valued at over US$1billion. In addition to acting for and against high net-worth individuals  regularly acts for and against States and State-entities (e.g. China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Russia, Singapore and the USA).

Paul’s litigation work has seen him win complex and very substantial cases for his clients at all levels of the English Court system, including the Supreme Court (“secured a huge victory for us in a very difficult case“, “superb courtroom advocate“, “having an extremely high-profile year“, “his knowledge of English law is phenomenal“, “clear, concise, confident and easy to work with“).

Paul has been widely recognized for his specialism in arbitration, both international commercial arbitration (including ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, SCC and ARIAS) and investment treaty arbitration (including ICSID). He has been ranked in the top-tier (band 1) rankings for arbitration for over 10 years and has consistently been identified as one of the leading figures in that field (“a real arbitration expert“, “few can rival his expertise, ability and knowledge in the field of investment arbitration“, “he has established an impressive case portfolio“, “the first port of call for important arbitration disputes“, “an arbitration guru“, “when working on a huge international arbitration, he seamlessly slots into the wider team and provides spot-on insights“). 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 Silks to have real 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 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.

His practice spans a vast array of fields in international and domestic law, including very substantial experience in each of the following subject-matter areas: foreign investment; international trade; civil fraud; energy; joint ventures; power and other large scale infrastructure projects; offshore disputes; oil & gas; telecommunications; shipping; agency and distribution (including commercial agency); conflict of laws; and public international law (largely in the investment context).

Prior to taking Silk, Paul won the Chambers & Partners Award for “International Arbitration Junior Barrister of the Year” and was also nominated for this award in commercial dispute resolution. He was recently nominated (as one of three) for Silk of the Year in Projects and Energy.