Iain Quirk KC

Iain has acted as sole arbitrator and wing member in numerous arbitrations including LCIA, ICC and SCC. He has been accepting appointments since 2005 and as sole arbitrator since 2012. He taught arbitration on the MA course at Kings College, London for eight years. He was appointed as the ICC UK Arbitration Consultant in 2016, the first barrister to hold that position, and is now Deputy Chair of the ICC UK Arbitration Committee and UK delegate to the ICC Global Arbitration Commission. Iain was on the Attorney General’s Panel of Counsel for 10 years, and he teaches advocacy at Lincoln’s Inn.  He has particular experience of cases concerning foreign investment, international trade, joint ventures, oil & gas, construction, telecommunications, all areas of fraud and BIT claims. As well as being a member of all major arbitral institutions, Iain is also a member of various panels by invitation: the Cayman International Mediation and Arbitration Centre; Investment Treaty Forum at the British Association of International and Comparative Law; Groupe ASA des Jeune Praticiens de l’Arbitrage (Swiss Arbitration Association); Inter-Pacific Bar Association, Panel of Arbitrators for the Bengal Chamber of Commerce, Kolkatta, India; Bar Council China Sub-Committee; Chair of the International Committee of the Chancery Bar Association; Commercial Bar Association Africa Committee; British Association of Sport and Law; Legal Panel for the Government of the Virgin Islands; BVI International Arbitration Centre, and called to the Bar of the BVI.

Iain’s barrister practice covers a broad range of commercial law, in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, arbitration and offshore jurisdictions. Indeed, “he is able to leverage his broad expertise across multiple practice areas”. Iain has particular expertise in commercial litigation (including arbitration-related applications to the Commercial Court), offshore disputes, international arbitration (“a go-to barrister for international arbitration”, “huge in-depth knowledge of all arbitration matters”), energy & natural resources (“the tribunal really listens to him”), shareholder disputes, banking & finance, and media & sport (“impressive commercial barrister” who “acts for a broad range of media clients across a variety of areas including music, television and sport” and “knows the media sector very well”). He is ranked in the directories in six separate areas: International Arbitration, Energy, IT and Telecoms, Media & Entertainment, EU and Competition, and Employment.


Recent Arbitrator Appointments

  • Sole arbitrator in an LCIA arbitration, appointed by the Court. Arbitration relates to breach of shareholders agreement, exclusion from business and unfair running of the joint venture business.  Issues relating to pricing, market value and restitution of under-investment, with claims in excess of US$ 5 million.
  • Complicated LCIA arbitration involving claims made in excess of US$ 20 million under a promissory note and deed of guarantee by a Cypriot company against a Swiss company.
  • Multi-level ICC arbitration regarding purchase of aircraft components, aircraft maintenance services, and termination of aircraft component supply contract. Counterclaim for the supply of defective components and inadequate service.  Claims in excess of US$ 5 million with factual and expert witnesses relating to aircraft components.
  • Sole arbitrator in ICC dispute regarding supply of concrete and asphalt plant machinery for road maintenance, by Indian company to Polish exclusive distributor. Issues of alleged failure to supply plants and material breach of contract.  Claims in excess of €1.5 million.
  • Sole arbitrator appointed by LCIA Court for claim for sums due under a contract for purchase of steam coal, and alleged failure to pay for shipments. Complicated arbitration due to non-participation of Respondent and continued consideration that proceedings have been brought sufficiently in their absence when making an award.

International Commercial Arbitration

Recent cases in which Iain has been instructed include the following:

  • ICC arbitration in Australia, governed by Australian law, regarding alleged breach of an agreement for the purchase of an iron ore mine.
  • ICC arbitration in Qatar, governed by Qatari law, regarding a building construction project in Doha.
  • ICC arbitration relating to an aviation dispute in Qatar.
  • ICC petroleum pipeline dispute in the Middle East. Claims in excess of US$150m, including quantum meruit and alleged breaches of a long-term pipeline operating agreement.
  • Joint Venture partners dispute regarding construction of train network and infrastructure in the Middle East.
  • LCIA arbitration regarding private equity investments in Mumbai, India. This was combined with seeking urgent relief in the High Court in England.
  • ICC arbitration on the trading of foodstuffs between UK and Ghanaian companies; damages claim for more than US$70m.
  • ICC arbitration arising out of the manufacture and supply of aircraft parts in a substantial aircraft programme; claims in excess of US$15m.
  • AAA arbitration on misuse of confidential data, including seeking emergency interim relief under Article 37 AAA Rules.
  • Ad hoc arbitration in a shipping dispute, with claims in excess of US$20m.

Iain has also acted in a number of arbitration appeals to the English Courts. He has appeared, with Toby Landau KC, in an appeal under Section 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 in which it was alleged that an ICC award (which dismissed a EURO 200 million claim relating to LNG containment units) was procured by fraud. The 12-day hearing was one of the most significant Section 68 applications in the Commercial Court.

Iain’s appointments as arbitrator include two recent appointments in energy arbitrations. One was a sole appointment in an ad hoc arbitration regarding the supply of electricity between two UK parties with claims including breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The other was an appointment under the LCIA rules.

Investment Arbitration

Iain has acted in a number of investment arbitrations. Recent cases includes the following:

  • ICSID arbitration regarding the expropriation of oil interests in West Africa.
  • Arbitrations (ICC and ICSID) arising out a bank collapse in the Middle East with a combined value in excess of US$1 billion.
  • ICSID arbitration in relation to a motorway construction project in Pakistan, assisting VV Veeder KC.
  • UNCITRAL arbitration alleging discriminatory treatment, unfair and inequitable treatment and expropriation in relation to investment in a television station in the Czech Republic. Claim value US$40m.

Talks, Seminars and Publications

Iain regularly gives talks and seminars on international arbitration. Recent talks include:

  • Ethics in International Arbitration” at the offices of Slaughter & May.
  • A joint mock arbitration with Addleshaw Goddard titled “Can International Arbitration Save the Olympic Games?”
  • Anti-suit injunctions, at ASA Below 40 conference in Zurich (2012).
  • Speaker at YIAG/Combar joint event in London (2012).

Iain has also published articles on arbitration, including:

  • Emergency relief under Article 37 of the AAA’s International Arbitration Rules”, with Graham Dunning QC and Taylor Wessing, published in the ICDR/AAA Journal.
  • Arbitral Jurisdiction: the Indivisible Pack. An Analysis of the English and Tunisian Courts in Midgulf v Groupe Chimique Tunisien, with Ahmed Ouerfelli (judge of the Tunisian courts), to be shortly published in Arab Arbitration Review.
  • The Games of XXX Olympiad in London – The Ad-Hoc Arbitrations, to be shortly published in Sport and the Law Journal (journal of the British Association of Sport and Law).
  • Contributor to the Young ICCA Blog, as a member of the Young ICCA Media Committee.


2012: Junior Counsel to the Crown (B Panel)

2007: Junior Counsel to the Crown (C Panel)

2003: Essex Court Chambers

2002: Called to the Bar (Lincoln’s Inn)

2021: Appointed Queen’s Counsel


2001: LLB (First Class Hons), University of Nottingham


2003: Megarry Pupillage Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn
2002: Woolf Scholarship, Daily Telegraph / One Crown Office Row
2002: Hardwicke Scholarship, Lincoln’s Inn


  • Cayman International Mediation and Arbitration Centre (CI-MAC)
  • LCIA Young International Arbitrators Group (YIAG)
  • Investment Treaty Forum at the British Association of International and Comparative Law
  • IBA Arbitration Committee
  • ICC Young Arbitrators Forum
  • ICDR Young and International
  • HK45 (Hong Kong)
  • Young Arbitrators Stockholm (YAS)
  • Groupe ASA des Jeune Praticiens de l’Arbitrage (Swiss Arbitration Association)
  • Inter-Pacific Bar Association
  • Commercial Bar Association
  • British Association of Sport and Law
  • Legal Panel for the Government of the Virgin Islands
  • BVI International Arbitration Centre, and called to the Bar of the BVI
  • Chair of the International Committee of the Chancery Bar Association; Commercial Bar Association Africa Committee


Elementary Mandarin Chinese