Louise Hutton QC

Louise’s practice covers commercial and commercial/chancery litigation and arbitration, including banking and finance litigation, fraud, insolvency/restructuring and company law.  Louise has been called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (BVI) and also sits as arbitrator.

Before taking silk in March 2021, she had been recommended for many years as a Band 1 leading junior in the fields of Commercial Chancery and Civil Fraud by Chambers UK, which says she is “Sought after for her advice and advocacy in major pieces of fraud litigation incorporating the full spectrum of allegations. Many of her cases are banking-related” and describes her as “impressive in court – unflappable, persuasive in her advocacy and can carry the judges to a conclusion that she wants them to reach” and as having “very good knowledge of the law and good commercial judgment”.

She is also recommended in Chambers Global in Commercial Chancery, and by the Legal 500 for Banking & Finance and for Civil Fraud, which says that “Her combination of expertise in insolvency, banking litigation and fraud is invaluable” and that she has “a great instinct for what will and won’t matter when the chips are down”.  She was named in The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2019.

In addition to her substantial experience of heavy trials, she has particular experience of applications for freezing orders and other interim injunctions, and for anti-suit injunctions (on various grounds including arbitration agreements; exclusive jurisdiction clauses; and vexation and oppression).


James Willan QC

Her Majesty The Queen has approved the appointment of James Willan to become one of the new Queen’s Counsel in March 2021.

James’ Barrister practice extends across the full range of commercial, banking and finance, fraud, conflict of laws, commercial chancery and offshore disputes.  He holds nine top-tier (band 1) rankings across legal directories which include commercial litigation, banking and international arbitration.  James is also singled out by Chambers & Partners as a “Star Individual” for civil fraud.

Before taking silk, James was recognised as one of the leading juniors at the commercial bar.  He is the only junior barrister to have been identified by Chambers & Partners as one of its “Stars at the Bar”, who have proved their excellence across a range of practice areas which is supported by the following editorial:

There are sources who say that James Willan of Essex Court Chambers is “destined for huge things”; one might say, taking his considerable achievements and our researchers’ findings in the round, that he has well and truly arrived. A junior of 16 years call at the publication of the 2021 rankings, Willan is star-rated for his civil fraud practice and is also considered one of the leading barristers in banking and finance, commercial litigation, international arbitration, offshore and commercial chancery cases working in London today. Indeed, he has become a “senior junior of choice for complex, cross-border disputes.” Sources note that he regularly appears unled against QCs and “holds his own,” and that he is “an excellent barrister at his level who will no doubt be a superstar further down the line,” declaring themselves “extremely impressed with his written submissions as well as his oral advocacy.” Others are unabashedly fulsome in their praise, with one describing him as “remarkably brilliant – an absolute superstar who is spectacular on his feet, even completely by himself.” Alongside Willan’s clear mastery of his craft, it is reflections on his intellectual acuity that resonate most. Source after source remarks on his ability to “grasp complex, detailed points very quickly” and his “wonderful way of pursuing the complicated points.” …

James’ standing across his broad range of practices is further reflected by being awarded “Junior of the Year” in three fields: Banking (Chambers Bar Awards, 2020), Commercial Litigation (Legal 500, 2017) and International Arbitration (Chambers Bar Awards, 2016).  He also appeared in The Lawyer’s “Hot 100”, which described him as “one of the big names at the bar in civil fraud and banking and finance litigation”.

James wins praise from his clients for combining strong analytical skills (“a brain the size of a planet”, “one of the most intellectually brilliant counsel you could come across”, “the brightest junior at the Bar”) with powerful advocacy (“simply astonishing in full flow, definitely a future super-silk”, “a brilliantly analytical and fast-thinking advocate”, “spectacular on his feet”, “an exceptional barrister who can read the courts and judges well”).

James most frequently appears as case leader or sole counsel (in the High Court, the Court of Appeal, and a wide variety of ad hoc and institutional arbitrations) in addition to acting as a member of larger teams on heavyweight litigation, including some of the largest cases to come before the courts in recent years.  He is equally at home in court as he is in arbitration.

James is also instructed frequently in connection with litigation globally. He has appeared in the BVI Commercial Court and the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, and has been admitted ad hoc and appeared in both the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands.  James was also a member of the Attorney General’s “A Panel” for civil counsel until his appointment was approved as silk.

Benedict Tompkins

Benedict has a broad commercial litigation and arbitration practice. He has particular experience in banking, civil fraud, private international law (including freezing injunctions), public international law (including immunity issues), shipping, and general commercial disputes. He also has an impressive investment arbitration practice, representing both investors and host states.

Benedict has acted in proceedings in the High Court (Commercial Court, Financial List and QBD), Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court, as well as in the County Courts and the Employment Tribunal. In addition to led work, Benedict has appeared as sole advocate in the Commercial Court, and in a number of general commercial County Court trials and applications.

In arbitration, he has appeared in or advised on proceedings under the ICSID, ICC, LCIA, HKIAC, SIAC, LMAA and UNCITRAL Rules, seated both in London and abroad. Benedict also sits as an arbitrator.

Highlights of Benedict’s recent or current work include acting: (i) for the primary defendant in Suppipat v Narongdej (Commercial Court), a $2 billion multi-party fraud claim arising out of the sale of Thailand’s largest renewable energy firm; (ii) for Oceanwood in Cyrus Opportunities Master Fund II, Ltd v Oceanwood Opportunities Master Fund, Financial List proceedings raising issues under the Market Abuse Regulation in relation to the trading of debt securities, (iii) for the Republic of India in Vedanta Resources Ltd v India, a multi-billion dollar claim alleging breaches of an investment treaty by way of a taxation measure, and (iv) as sole counsel for the French Republic in Buttet v Ambassade de France au Royaume-Uni, successfully asserting state immunity in respect of a claim by a former security contractor at the French embassy to the United Kingdom.

Prior to joining Essex Court Chambers Benedict qualified in New Zealand, where he prosecuted serious criminal cases before moving to commercial practice. He has appeared both led and un-led in the New Zealand courts. He tutors in international commercial arbitration at King’s College London.

He graduated first in his year from the Universities of Auckland and Cambridge.

Angeline Welsh

Angeline is currently co-chair of the IBA Arbitration Committee’s ESG Subcommittee which is currently focused on the use of arbitration to resolve business and human
rights  disputes.  She  also  serves  on  the  ICC  UK  Selections  Subcommittee  and on  the  Arbitration Committee of the Lagos Court of Arbitration. She regularly speaks and writes on the subject to arbitration law and procedure and is currently editing the 25th Ed of Russell on Arbitration, the leading textbook on English arbitration law.

Angeline actively accepts arbitral appointments. Since 2016, she has been appointed in some 16 arbitrations as sole, co-arbitrator or presiding arbitrator.

Angeline Welsh is a well-known and highly regarded arbitration expert having specialised in this field for well over a decade.  In 2020, Angeline was recognised as a Global Leader for Arbitration by Who’s Who Legal, having been recommended for some time as both a Thought Leader and Leading Junior at the English Bar for arbitration. She is  described in  Chambers 2020 (UK and Global) as having an “impressive mastery of the details of the case and of technical legal arguments” as well as “[e]xtremely hands-on, approachable and a real team player.” Angeline was named as a ‘Star at the Bar’ by Legal Week in recognition of her “excellent judgement and leadership qualities” and not being frightened to tackle novel and difficult areas of law, or “to deal head-on with the more complicated aspects of a case”.

Prior to moving to the English Bar at the end of 2015, Angeline was  Counsel and Solicitor Advocate in the International Arbitration Group of a major international law firm, spending more than a decade in their London office, some of which was spent on secondment to the Hong Kong office and the LCIA Secretariat. She has worked with counsel in  a wide range of jurisdictions including India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Belize, Hong Kong, Turks & Caicos Islands, Singapore, United States, Kazakhstan, Rwanda and various European states and on arbitrations (both commercial and investment treaty) under a broad range of institutional rules and on an ad hoc basis.  She is also admitted to the bars of Belize and the British Virgin Islands.


Jessica Wells

Jessica Wells has a broad commercial and international practice as Counsel, with a particular interest in public international law, public law, shipping law and international commercial arbitration.  In 2017, she was appointed to the Attorney General’s “A Panel” of Public International Law Counsel.

Jessica is experienced in both advisory work and litigation before the domestic courts (including the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the High Court) and international tribunals (including the ICJ,  ICSID, ICC, LCIA and LMAA).

Jessica sits as arbitrator and has extensive knowledge of all the major institutional rules.

Professor Dr Martin Lau

Professor Martin Lau specialises in the field of Islamic finance and South Asian law in his Counsel practice.  In his arbitration practice, Martin sits as sole, presiding and co-arbitrator with experience under ad-hoc, LCIA, DIFC-LCIA and UNCITRAL rules, including Pakistan, Dubai, Qatar, Turkey and UK seated arbitrations spanning various practice streams, further details below.  Martin’s professional experience includes appointments as Legal Officer to the Claims Resolution Tribunal for Dormant Accounts in Switzerland and as Legal Assistant to Prof Martin Hunter at the NAFTA Arbitral Panel in Mexico -v- US. He has provided expert reports on Islamic and South Asian law in over 200 cases. Martin frequently carries out consultancies and international fact-finding missions, for example to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Iran.

Martin is also a Professor of Law at SOAS University of London, where he has lectured since 1990. He has held visiting academic appointments at Harvard Law School and Nagoya University and is the Editor-in-Chief of Brill’s Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law.

Nationality:   German

Languages:    English and German (bilingual); Arabic, Urdu & French (intermediate)

Professor Alan Vaughan Lowe QC

Vaughan Lowe is a practising Barrister at Essex Court Chambers, mainly in the field of international law, with cases in the International Court of Justice, the ECJ, the ECHR, the ITLOS, the Iran-US Claims Tribunal, ad hoc Arbitral Tribunals and courts in England and Hong Kong, among others. He has also sat as an arbitrator in many investment arbitrations under the auspices of ICSID, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and other bodies, and on the tribunals addressing the boundaries between Trinidad and Barbados, and between Croatia and Slovenia. He sat as an ad hoc judge on the European Court of Human Rights and is the UK-nominated judge on the European Nuclear Energy Tribunal. He is Emeritus Chichele Professor of Public International Law and an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College in the University of Oxford.

Among his more notable cases as counsel are: in the ICJ, the Antarctic Whaling case (for Japan), the Romania v Ukraine, Peru v Chile and Nicaragua v Colombia maritime boundary cases (for Romania, Peru, Nicaragua), the Palestinian Wall case (for Palestine), the Avena (Interpretation) case (for the USA), the Kosovo case (for Cyprus), the Timor-Leste v Australia case concerning certain documents (for Timor-Leste), and the Bolivia v Chile case concerning the obligation to negotiate access to the Pacific Ocean (for Bolivia); in the ITLOS, the Mox and Land Reclamation cases (for Ireland, Singapore); the Kishenganga and Southern Bluefin Tuna (for Pakistan, Japan) cases in ad hoc tribunals; and R v Jones and Milling (UK) and FG Hemisphere v Democratic Republic of the Congo (Hong Kong). He advises extensively on international law matters, including questions concerning maritime boundaries and offshore petroleum concessions, the Law of the Sea, investment protection, State immunity, territorial title, the structuring and organization of dispute settlement procedures, peace settlements and various aspects of independence and statehood negotiations.

Steven Berry QC

Steven Berry specialises in advocacy in substantial commercial cases in the English courts and domestic and international arbitral tribunals, including ICC, LCIA, LMAA and SIAC, especially in the related fields of insurance and reinsurance, shipping, international banking, commodities and arbitration.

He also acts as arbitrator in suitable cases.

Stephen Houseman QC

Stephen has been recognised in the main legal directories for his profile in several practice areas: Commercial Dispute Resolution / Litigation; International Arbitration; Energy & Utilities; Insurance & Reinsurance. He was shortlisted for Commercial Litigation Junior of the Year at the Chambers Bar Awards in October 2012. He has attracted praise for his “exemplary judgement in complex litigation” as well as “technical excellence … on complex points of law and contractual elucidation”. He is known for being “very bright”, “talented” and “strategically superb”, an all-rounder who “focuses on the real issues, handles the client well and has a good sense of humour”.  Stephen regularly sits as an arbitrator in commercial disputes.

Stephen sits as a part-time Deputy Judge of the High Court in London, Queen’s Bench Division and Chancery Division (Business List), having been appointed for a four year term, since extended to six years, in November 2019. He also acts as arbitrator in commercial disputes and has provided expert evidence, including oral testimony, on English law in various foreign jurisdictions.

Sir Frank Berman KCMG QC

Sir Franklin (Frank) Berman joined HM Diplomatic Service in 1965 and was the Legal Adviser to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office from 1991-99. For the past 20 years he has been in practice at Essex Court Chambers specializing in international arbitration and advisory work in international law. He is Visiting Professor of International Law at Oxford and the University of Cape Town.

His over 50-year career in international law and diplomacy has spanned a wide and varied field, including settlement of disputes; the law of treaties; State responsibility; diplomatic and State immunity; maritime delimitation; the law of the Continental shelf; outer space and nuclear energy; the law of international organisations; the UN Security Council; the laws of war and neutrality; international criminal tribunals; and numerous other areas. In the light of this extensive experience, he is highly qualified for advisory work in all areas of public international law, for international dispute-settlement proceedings of all kinds and for international commercial and investment arbitration.

Sir Frank has served as an ad hoc Judge in the International Court of Justice: in the Case concerning Certain Property (Liechtenstein v. Germany) and recently in the two Appeals Related to the Jurisdiction of the ICAO Council. He was appointed by the Lord Chief Justice as the Legal Member of the Court of Arbitration in the Kishenganga dispute between Pakistan and India under the Indus Waters Treaty. He successfully represented Cambodia before the International Court in the Case concerning the Temple of Préah Vihear (Interpretation).

He was appointed by the British Government from 2004-2020 to the list of Arbitrators under the ICSID Convention, and has sat as Chairman* and Party-appointed** arbitrator in many ICSID arbitrations for both the claimant and host State.  He has also sat in ICSID annulment proceedings***, as well as in arbitrations under the ICC, PCA, Stockholm Arbitration Institute and LCIA (sole arbitrator), and ad hoc rules.

* The Rompetrol Group N.V. v. Romania; Alemanni et al. v. Argentine Republic; Global Trading Resource Corp. & others v. Ukraine; MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas Company PLC v. Republic of Croatia;  Victor Pey Casado & President Allende Foundation v. Republic of Chile (Resubmission) ** F-W Oil Interests, Inc. v. Republic of Trinidad & Tobago; Bayindir Insaat Turizm Ticaret Ve Sanayi A.S. v. Islamic Republic of Pakistan; Russell Resources International Limited & others v. Democratic Republic of the Congo; Libananco Holdings Co. Ltd v. Republic of Turkey; Marion Unglaube v. Republic of Costa Rica; Reinhard Unglaube v. Republic of Costa Rica;  Vattenfall AB & others v. Federal Republic of Germany *** Consortium R.F.C.C. v. Kingdom of Morocco; Empresas Lucchetti v. Peru; CECF Transgabonais v. Republic of Gabon; Togo Électricité-GDF Suez v. Togo; Venezuela Holdings, B.V. et al. v. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

He is the former Chairman of the Diplomatic Service Appeal Board, and the Appeals Boards of the WEU and IOPCF. In 2001 he was appointed jointly by the Governments of the USA and Austria to be the Chairman of the Claims Committee of the General Settlement Fund for the Compensation of Victims of Nazi Persecution, a position he held throughout the work of the Committee. Since 2010 he has been a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

Sir Frank was made KCMG in 1995. In 2006 he was awarded the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold with Star of the Republic of Austria, and in 2014 the Grand Cross of the Royal Cambodian Order.