Professional practice

Legal 500 Rising Star

Naomi has a diverse practice in international, commercial and public law. Her 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 and Malaysia (among others). Her commercial arbitration experience includes proceedings under the DIFC, LCIA, ICC, PCA, SCC, ICSID, UNCITRAL and LMAA Rules. She has advised and acted for various departments of the UK government in public law and human rights matters.

Alongside her commercial practice, Naomi specialises in public international law and has been listed by Legal 500 (three times) as a “Rising Star” and by Chambers & Partners as “Up and Coming” in this area. 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 (in both inter-State and individual applications, including before the Grand Chamber) and the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization. She routinely acts in cases before English courts which involve questions of public international law and 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, 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.

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).

 

What Others Say

Legal 500 has three times identified Naomi as a “Rising Star” in Public International Law. She is also listed as a “Rising Star” in International Arbitration.

Chambers & Partners lists her as “Up and Coming” in both Public International Law and International Human Rights Law.

Chambers & Partners 2023 (Public International Law) says: “Naomi is an outstanding public international lawyer. She is a delight to work with, incredibly hard-working and well trusted by clients. She’s really excellent on ECHR issues in particular.” “She’s extremely good, and is very thorough and efficient — she has a wisdom about her.” “She’s a really fantastic advocate.”

Chambers & Partners 2023 (International Human Rights Law) says: “She has an incredibly thorough and forensic mind. Excellent legal research skills and impressive legal judgement.”

Legal 500 2023 (Public International Law) says: “Naomi has a brilliant mind and her analytical skills are exceptional. Her practice in PIL is growing quickly, and rightly so. She is excellent in the investor state dispute field, but in pure state-versus-state cases also.”

Legal 500 2023 (International Arbitration) says: “A leading star at Essex Court — tremendously able as an advocate with a wonderful style and a huge pleasure to work with.”

Legal 500 2022 (Public International Law) says as follows: “Naomi is beyond brilliant, extremely pleasant to work with and dedicated to her clients. She is superb at drafting and has astute analytical abilities.”

She is described as being “super efficient and quick to respond to several different issues that may arise”, and it is said that “her instincts are spot on when giving advice” (Legal 500, 2021 (Public International Law)).

Notable Cases

Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v Russian Federation): acting for the United Kingdom as an intervening State in this case before the International Court of Justice (led by Ben Juratowitch KC and Philippa Webb).

Appeal Relating to the Jurisdiction of the ICAO Council under Article 84 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, and Appeal Relating to the Jurisdiction of the ICAO Council under Article II, Section 2, of the 1944 International Air Services Transit Agreement: acted as junior counsel (led by Payam Akhavan) for the Arab Republic of Egypt in these cases before the International Court of Justice.

Dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Mauritius and Maldives in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius/Maldives): acting as counsel and advocate (with Alan Boyle, Payam Akhavan, Jean-Marc Thouvenin, Makane Mbengue and Amy Sander) for the Republic of Maldives in this claim before a Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 [2019]: instructed as junior counsel (led by Vaughan Lowe KC) for the Republic of Cyprus in these advisory proceedings before the International Court of Justice.

SS Tilawa (Argentum Exploration Ltd v Government of Republic of South Africa) [2022] EWCA Civ 1318: acting as junior counsel for the Republic of South Africa (led by Christopher Smith KC and Jessica Wells) before the Court of Appeal in a claim concerning 2,391 bars of silver allegedly salvaged from a vessel sunk by Japanese torpedoes during the Second World War, giving rise to issues of State immunity and the right to a fair hearing under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This was listed by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 appeals of 2022.

Hulley Enterprises Ltd, Yukos Universal Ltd and Veteran Petroleum Ltd v Russian Federation [2021] EWHC 894 (Comm), [2021] 1 WLR 3429: acting as junior counsel (led by Jonathan Crow KC, Paul McGrath KC, Alison Macdonald KC and David Peters) for three companies seeking to enforce multi-billion-dollar arbitral awards (under PCA Rules) against a foreign State in the English Commercial Court, focusing in particular on issues of State immunity and the interpretation of international treaties.

Channel Rescue, Freedom from Torture and Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWHC 517 (Admin): acting as junior counsel (led by David Blundell KC) in judicial review proceedings challenging the Secretary of State’s “pushback” policy in respect of migrant vessels crossing the English Channel. The challenge rested largely on the Human Rights Act and the United Kingdom’s international obligations under the law of the sea.

Republic of Azerbaijan v Republic of Armenia: acting as junior counsel (led by Malcolm Shaw KC) for the Republic of Azerbaijan in inter-State proceedings before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights concerning the occupation of and armed conflict concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh region and surrounding territories over three decades. The proceedings also concern Armenia’s failure to provide maps to facilitate landmine clearance in the liberated territories.

Republic of Armenia v Republic of Azerbaijan: acting as junior counsel (led by Malcolm Shaw KC) for the Republic of Azerbaijan in multiple inter-State applications by Armenia before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights concerning conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which Armenia had occupied for three decades.

Janah and Benkharbouche v United Kingdom, Ahmed and Buttet v United Kingdom: acting as junior counsel (led by Jessica Wells) for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in these claims before the European Court of Human Rights concerning the interaction between Articles 6 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights and grants of State immunity in the context of employment claims.

 

Arbitration & related court applications

Legal 500 has identified Naomi as a “Rising Star” in International Arbitration. It describes her as a “leading star at Essex Court — tremendously able as an advocate with a wonderful style and a huge pleasure to work with.”

Acted as junior counsel (led by Toby Landau KC and Will Thomas KC) in an arbitration in respect of gas development projects in Nigeria (UNCITRAL Rules).

Acted as junior counsel (led by Penny Madden KC and Vernon Flynn KC) in an arbitration concerning exclusive distributorship agreements in Angola, Mozambique and Cameroon (LCIA Rules).

Acted as junior counsel (led by Sam Wordsworth KC) for the owners of a minerals investment in a claim under a European State’s Investment Law (UNCITRAL Rules).

Hulley Enterprises Ltd, Yukos Universal Ltd and Veteran Petroleum Ltd v Russian Federation [2021] EWHC 894 (Comm), [2021] 1 WLR 3429: acting as junior counsel (led by Jonathan Crow KC, Paul McGrath KC, Alison Macdonald KC and David Peters) for three companies seeking to enforce multi-billion-dollar arbitral awards (under PCA Rules) against a foreign State in the English Commercial Court, focusing in particular on issues of State immunity and the interpretation of international treaties.

Arbitration pursuant to Article 32 of the Constitution of the Universal Postal Union (State of Qatar v Arab Republic of Egypt): acted as junior counsel (led by Payam Akhavan) for the Arab Republic of Egypt in these proceedings before a PCA-administered Tribunal constituted under the instruments of the Universal Postal Union.

Acted as junior counsel (led by Claire Blanchard KC) for a State-owned gas aggregator in two sets of parallel proceedings relating to gas supply to chemical plants, each worth tens of millions of dollars (ad hoc).

Acting as junior counsel (led by Toby Landau KC and Lucas Bastin KC) on behalf of two investors in proceedings under bilateral investment treaties concerning the host State’s breaches of duties in the telecommunications sector (UNCITRAL Rules).

Acted as junior counsel (led by Jeremy Brier) for the claimant in an arbitration arising out of the marketing of luxury motor yachts (LCIA Rules).

Acted as junior counsel (led by Iain Quirk) for an international organisation in several arbitrations concerning termination of certain consultancy contracts (UNCITRAL Rules) and related High Court challenges.

Acted as junior counsel (with Peter Webster) on behalf of an African State in an investor-State arbitration concerning two construction contracts interrupted by armed conflict (UNCITRAL Rules).

Acted as junior counsel (led by Graham Dunning KC) on behalf of three investors in a multi-billion dollar investor-State arbitration against an Eastern European State brought pursuant to a multilateral investment treaty, which has involved advising on the effect of an associated arbitration under the LCIA Rules (SCC Rules).

Acted as junior counsel (led by Claire Blanchard KC) in an arbitration seated in Dubai concerning recovery under a guarantee for non-payment of a commercial debt (DIFC-LCIA Rules).

Acted as junior counsel (led by Philippa Hopkins KC) in an arbitration concerning allegedly undersized anchors on a superyacht (LMAA Rules).

Acted as sole counsel in an arbitration concerning alleged underperformance of a vessel and a claim in respect of damaged cargo (LMAA Rules).

Acted as sole counsel in an arbitration concerning a claim for overpaid hire following the late delivery of a vessel (LMAA Rules).

 

 

Civil fraud & asset recovery

Acted as junior counsel (led by Penny Madden KC and Vernon Flynn KC) in an arbitration concerning allegedly fraudulent breaches of exclusive distributorship agreements in Angola, Mozambique and Cameroon (LCIA Rules).

Advising (as sole counsel) on a potential claim concerning a sham investment scheme.

Advising (as sole counsel) on a potential claim concerning a man-in-the-middle fraud in the commodities sector.

Instructed as junior counsel in Chancery Division proceedings concerning the recognition by English courts of Russian liquidation proceedings following allegations of fraud by the company’s liquidator.

Assisted counsel in obtaining an ex parte injunction in the Chancery Division to prevent trading of assets of and shares in off-shore companies which were believed to hold assets on trust for an individual in bankruptcy.

 

Commercial dispute resolution

Hulley Enterprises Ltd, Yukos Universal Ltd and Veteran Petroleum Ltd v Russian Federation [2021] EWHC 894 (Comm), [2021] 1 WLR 3429: acting as junior counsel (led by Jonathan Crow KC, Paul McGrath KC, Alison Macdonald KC and David Peters) for three companies seeking to enforce multi-billion-dollar arbitral awards against a foreign State in the English Commercial Court.

Acted as junior counsel (led by Toby Landau KC and Will Thomas KC) in an arbitration in respect of gas development projects in Nigeria (UNCITRAL Rules).

Acted as junior counsel (led by Penny Madden KC and Vernon Flynn KC) in an arbitration concerning exclusive distributorship agreements in Angola, Mozambique and Cameroon (LCIA Rules).

Acted as junior counsel (led by Claire Blanchard KC) for a State-owned midstream gas aggregator in two sets of parallel proceedings relating to gas supply to chemical plants, each worth tens of millions of dollars (ad hoc).

Tansy Shiptrade Inc v Elemento Limited and Rothenberg [2020] EWHC 248 (Comm): acted for the Defendants in proceedings involving an injunction preventing the sale of cargo of a ship (led by James Collins KC).

Aegean Baltic Bank S.A. v Renzlor Shipping Limited, Oceanwide Shipping Limited and Alexandros N. Tranos: acting as sole counsel, including as advocate before the Commercial Court, in this claim concerning alleged default under a loan agreement and two guarantees.

European Metal Recycling Limited v Charterama BV: acted as junior counsel (led by David Walsh) in this Commercial Court claim under a policy of charterers’ liability insurance.

Peter Black Footwear and Accessories Limited and Visage Limited v Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & Co: acted as junior counsel (led by Claire Blanchard KC) in Commercial Court litigation concerning recovery of a debt under a contract for the sale of fashion goods.

Bush v Baines, Taylor and Attorney-General of the Cayman Islands: acting as junior counsel before the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, instructed by the Attorney General’s Office, concerning alleged conspiracy to injure and malicious prosecution of the former Premier of the Cayman Islands.

Instructed as junior counsel (led by Hugh Mercer KC) in a Commercial Court claim for damages under a contract for the sale of animal feed involving issues of contract, regulatory and EU law.

 

 

Conflict of laws & private international law

Instructed as junior counsel (led by Vaughan Lowe KC) to advise an international organisation on a potential mass tort claim before English courts implicating questions of domicile, applicable law and immunity from suit under domestic and international law.

Instructed as junior counsel (led by Louise Hutton) in a counter-appeal before the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal regarding the stay of a claim before the BVI courts in favour of a claim before the courts of Mauritius, where both claims related to alleged breaches of internal corporate governance rules.

BB and Ors v Al Khayyat and Ors: acted as junior counsel (led by Joe Smouha KC) in a claim brought by Syrian refugees concerning alleged terrorist financing by Qatari institutions and nationals, involving questions of Syrian law and the jurisdiction of the English courts.

Acted as junior counsel (led by Toby Landau KC and Will Thomas KC) in an arbitration in respect of gas development projects in Nigeria, giving rise to matters of BVI company law (UNCITRAL Rules).

Peter Black Footwear and Accessories Limited and Visage Limited v Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & Co: acted as junior counsel (led by Claire Blanchard KC) in Commercial Court litigation concerning recovery of a debt under a contract for the sale of fashion goods.

Advising a commercial party on the prospects of obtaining an anti-suit injunction in respect of proceedings before a foreign court concerning alleged breaches of certain facility agreements.

Acted as junior counsel (led by Claire Blanchard KC) in an arbitration seated in Dubai concerning recovery under a guarantee for non-payment of a commercial debt, involving questions of agency under the laws of England and a Middle Eastern State (DIFC-LCIA Rules).

Instructed as junior counsel in Chancery Division proceedings concerning the recognition by English courts of Russian liquidation proceedings following allegations of fraud by the company’s liquidator.

Employment

Benyatov v Credit Suisse Securities (Europe) Ltd [2020] EWHC 85 (QB), [2020] EWHC 313 (QB); [2020] EWHC 682 (QB), [2020] 1 WLR 2913; [2022] EWHC 135 (QB), [2022] 4 WLR 54: acting as junior counsel (with Charles Ciumei KC and Andrew Legg) on behalf of a former investment banker arising from alleged breaches of duty by his former employer in relation to his prosecution for espionage in Romania.

Blagoev and Ors v Uber London Ltd and Ors: acting as junior counsel (led by Dan Oudkerk KC) on behalf of several hundred Uber drivers in High Court and Employment Tribunal proceedings against Uber for failure to pay minimum wage and holiday pay.

Mulumba v Partners Group (UK) Ltd and Partners Group (USA) Inc, UKEAT/0237/20/RN, [2021] ICR 1501: acted as junior counsel (led by David Craig KC) for a private equity firm in a successful appeal against the Employment Tribunal’s judgment that it had jurisdiction in respect of an employment relationship with significant connections to places outside of the United Kingdom.

Tabidi v British Broadcasting Corporation [2020] EWCA Civ 733, [2020] IRLR 702: acted as junior counsel (led by Charles Ciumei KC) in Court of Appeal proceedings regarding a claim of sex discrimination in a recruitment exercise.

Janah and Benkharbouche v United Kingdom, Ahmed and Buttet v United Kingdom: acting as junior counsel (led by Jessica Wells) for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in these claims before the European Court of Human Rights concerning the interaction between Articles 6 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights and grants of State immunity in the context of employment claims.

Alimi v Stratford Advice Arcade: acted as sole counsel and advocate in Employment Tribunal proceedings concerning the claimant’s status as an employee and/or worker.

Lucas v Witherbys: acted as sole counsel for the claimant in Employment Tribunal proceedings concerning unfair dismissal by a printing company.

Acted as junior counsel (led by Iain Quirk) for an international organisation in several arbitrations (and related High Court challenges) concerning termination of certain consultancy contracts where the claimants alleged they were de facto employees of the organisation (UNCITRAL Rules).

Human rights & civil liberties

Naomi’s human rights practice (much of which is pro bono) has related to domestic, United Nations and regional (European, African and Inter-American) human rights systems. She has expertise on the scope and application of human rights obligations (such as their application during armed conflict, their extraterritorial application, and States’ purported derogation and withdrawal from human rights treaties), as well as on a range of substantive rights including the rights to life, to a fair trial, to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, to freedom of peaceful assembly, to freedom of expression, to privacy and home life, and to freedom of movement, as well as the rights of refugees, internally displaced persons and asylum seekers. She has worked on cases before international courts and tribunals, as well as before domestic courts in a number of jurisdictions. She has also acted in an advisory capacity on human rights issues for States, individuals, international organisations and non-governmental organisations.

Chambers & Partners lists Naomi as “Up and Coming” in International Human Rights Law.

EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Republic of Azerbaijan v Republic of Armenia: acting as junior counsel (led by Malcolm Shaw KC) for the Republic of Azerbaijan in inter-State proceedings before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights concerning the occupation of and armed conflict concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh region and surrounding territories over three decades. The proceedings also concern Armenia’s failure to provide maps to facilitate landmine clearance in the liberated territories.

Republic of Armenia v Republic of Azerbaijan: acting as junior counsel (led by Malcolm Shaw KC) for the Republic of Azerbaijan in multiple inter-State applications by Armenia before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights concerning conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which Armenia had occupied for three decades.

Janah and Benkharbouche v United Kingdom, Ahmed and Buttet v United Kingdom: acting as junior counsel (led by Jessica Wells) for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in these claims before the European Court of Human Rights concerning the interaction between Articles 6 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights and grants of State immunity in the context of employment claims.

Asgarova and Veselova v Armenia: acted as junior counsel (led by Malcolm Shaw KC) for the Republic of Azerbaijan as intervener in proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights concerning alleged human rights violations against Azerbaijani nationals visiting territory now occupied by Armenian forces, focusing on the responsibility of Armenia for the conduct of a subordinate local administration.

Advised on a potential claim before the European Court of Human Rights concerning conduct of organs of the European Union, raising questions of Member States’ responsibility for the conduct of international organisations.

DOMESTIC COURTS

SS Tilawa (Argentum Exploration Ltd v Government of Republic of South Africa) [2022] EWCA Civ 1318: acting as junior counsel for the Republic of South Africa (led by Christopher Smith KC and Jessica Wells) before the Court of Appeal in a claim concerning 2,391 bars of silver allegedly salvaged from a vessel sunk by Japanese torpedoes during the Second World War, giving rise to issues of State immunity and the right to a fair hearing under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This was listed by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 appeals of 2022.

Channel Rescue, Freedom from Torture and Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWHC 517 (Admin): acting as junior counsel (led by David Blundell KC) in judicial review proceedings challenging the Secretary of State’s “pushback” policy in respect of migrant vessels crossing the English Channel. The challenge rested largely on the Human Rights Act and the United Kingdom’s international obligations under the law of the sea.

The “Saturday Mothers/People” case: co-author of an expert opinion on the human right to protest, submitted on behalf of the Bar Human Rights Committee and Article 19 to an Istanbul criminal court in relation to the prosecution of members of a peaceful protest movement.

Advised in relation to a claim before Norwegian courts concerning Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights following a maritime collision.

Acted as junior counsel (led by Iain Quirk) for an international organisation in several arbitrations (and related High Court challenges) concerning termination of certain consultancy contracts, where the claimants’ right to a fair hearing under Article 6 and the organisation’s privileges and immunities were at issue (UNCITRAL Rules).

Assisted counsel in a Supreme Court appeal concerning foreign State immunity in claims brought by embassy employees in light of the Human Rights Act and European Convention on Human Rights.

Assisted counsel in a judicial review claim concerning whether a government authority’s acts and omissions caused flooding of agricultural land in breach of the right to property contained in Article 1 of Protocol 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights.

ADVISORY AND OTHER WORK

Co-authored a high-profile opinion on international criminal liability and State responsibility for crimes against humanity and genocide (led by Alison Macdonald KC).

Advised a State on the drafting of its new constitution in light of international treaty law and human rights obligations (led by Dapo Akande).

Co-authored reports on behalf of the Republic of Azerbaijan concerning international legal matters arising from occupation of its territory, including in relation to war crimes and breaches of human rights obligations, which were circulated to the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.

Advised the Human Rights Law Centre, an Australian non-governmental organisation, on the legality of inter-State espionage under public international law.

Assistant Editor of the European Human Rights Reports (2017–present).

Co-author of a research memorandum in response to a request from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights dealing with a case that was active before the Court which involved researching laws and jurisprudence from numerous domestic, regional and international jurisdictions around the world (2013, as a doctoral student).

Volunteered as a Legal Research Clerk to the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana, undertaking legal research and drafting pleadings for the final-stage appeals of two men on death row based on breaches of constitutional rights and criminal procedure (2011, as a Law graduate).

Interned with the Australian Human Rights Commission, contributing to projects on Australia’s program of mandatory detention of asylum seekers and on discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (2010, as a Law student).

 

Investment treaty disputes

Hulley Enterprises Ltd, Yukos Universal Ltd and Veteran Petroleum Ltd v Russian Federation [2021] EWHC 894 (Comm), [2021] 1 WLR 3429: acting as junior counsel (led by Jonathan Crow KC, Paul McGrath KC, Alison Macdonald KC and David Peters) for three companies seeking to enforce multi-billion-dollar investor-State arbitral awards (PCA Rules) against a foreign State in the English Commercial Court, focusing in particular on issues of State immunity and the interpretation of international treaties.

Acting as junior counsel (led by Toby Landau KC and Lucas Bastin KC) on behalf of two investors in proceedings under two bilateral investment treaties concerning the host State’s breaches of duties in the telecommunications sector (UNCITRAL Rules).

Acting as junior counsel (led by Sam Wordsworth KC) for the owners of a minerals investment in a claim under a European State’s Investment Law (UNCITRAL Rules).

Acted as junior counsel (with Peter Webster) on behalf of an African State in an investor-State arbitration concerning two construction contracts interrupted by armed conflict (UNCITRAL Rules).

Acted as junior counsel (led by Graham Dunning KC) on behalf of three investors in a multi-billion dollar arbitration against an Eastern European State brought pursuant to a multilateral investment treaty (SCC Rules).

Advised a South American State on an investment claim concerning alleged breaches of the fair and equitable treatment standard and the obligation to provide full protection and security, raising issues of whether the relevant investment was made in the State’s territory (with Sam Wordsworth KC) (ICSID Convention).

Instructed as junior counsel (led by Jessica Wells) to advise a department of the UK government on matters relating to investment treaty arbitration.

Assisted counsel in an investor-State arbitration concerning, among other issues, harassment as a breach of the fair and equitable treatment standard (ICSID Convention).

Public & administrative law

Naomi was appointed to the Attorney General’s London C Panel of Civil Counsel and the Public International Law C Panel of Junior Counsel in 2020.

Channel Rescue, Freedom from Torture and Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWHC 517 (Admin): acting as junior counsel (led by David Blundell KC) in judicial review proceedings challenging the Secretary of State’s “pushback” policy in respect of migrant vessels crossing the English Channel. The challenge rested largely on the Human Rights Act and the United Kingdom’s international obligations under the law of the sea.

Janah and Benkharbouche v United Kingdom, Ahmed and Buttet v United Kingdom: acting as junior counsel (led by Jessica Wells) for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in these claims before the European Court of Human Rights concerning the interaction between Articles 6 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights and grants of State immunity in the context of employment claims.

R (F A Gill and Ors) v Food Standards Agency [2022] EWHC 1709 (Admin): acting as junior counsel (led by Hugh Mercer KC) in a judicial review claim concerning the collection of official control charges from food business operators in England.

Acted as sole counsel for the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman in successfully defending a judicial review claim concerning an alleged failure to investigate a complaint against a member of the judiciary.

Regularly acts as sole counsel in judicial review claims concerning immigration and asylum matters.

Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v Derby City Council (Charity Commission for England and Wales Intervening) [2019] EWHC 3436 (Ch), [2020] 2 WLR 390: acted as junior counsel (led by Christopher McCall KC) for the Charity Commission making submissions on the charitable status of NHS Foundation Trusts under legislation and common law.

Instructed as junior counsel (led by Jessica Wells) to advise a department of the UK government on matters relating to investment treaty arbitration and protections for foreign investors under domestic law.

Instructed as junior counsel (led by Vaughan Lowe KC) to advise an international organisation on matters relating to the effect of the privileges and immunities of its employees under international law and UK immigration law.

Regularly advises the Charity Commission for England and Wales on matters relating to its powers and functions, including in relation to its supervision of charities and associated judicial review claims.

Assisted counsel in a judicial review claim challenging a decision to refuse an application for citizenship made under the statelessness provisions of the British Nationality Act 1981.

Assisted counsel in a judicial review claim concerning a government authority’s acts and omissions causing flooding of agricultural land.

Assisted counsel in a judicial review claim challenging a decision to revoke an individual’s passport and deny them leave to remain in the UK.

Assisted counsel in a judicial review claim concerning lawful methods for slaughtering sheep, as prescribed by EU and UK law.

Assistant contributor to Supperstone, Goudie & Walker: Judicial Review (First Supplement to the Sixth edition, 2019).

Served as a Volunteer Advocate for the Communities Empowerment Network, representing the parents of children who had been excluded from mainstream education at review hearings of school governors and independent review panels (2015–16, as a BPTC student).

Volunteered as a Legal Research Clerk to the Capital Post-Conviction Project of Louisiana, undertaking legal research and drafting pleadings for the final-stage appeals of two men on death row based on breaches of constitutional rights and criminal procedure (2011, as a Law graduate).

 

Public international law

Legal 500 has three times identified Naomi as a “Rising Star” in Public International Law and Chambers & Partners lists her as up and coming in this field. She was first listed after only two years in practice. Legal 500 2023 says: “Naomi has a brilliant mind and her analytical skills are exceptional. Her practice in PIL is growing quickly, and rightly so. She is excellent in the investor state dispute field, but in pure state-versus-state cases also.” Legal 500 2022 said: “Naomi is beyond brilliant, extremely pleasant to work with and dedicated to her clients. She is superb at drafting and has astute analytical abilities.” She has also been described as “super efficient and quick to respond to several different issues that may arise”, and it is said that “her instincts are spot on when giving advice” (Legal 500, 2021).

Naomi was appointed to the Attorney General’s Public International Law C Panel of Junior Counsel in 2020. She is a Trustee of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law.

INTERNATIONAL COURTS AND TRIBUNALS

Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Ukraine v Russian Federation): acting for the United Kingdom as an intervening State in this case before the International Court of Justice (led by Ben Juratowitch KC and Philippa Webb).

Appeal Relating to the Jurisdiction of the ICAO Council under Article 84 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, and Appeal Relating to the Jurisdiction of the ICAO Council under Article II, Section 2, of the 1944 International Air Services Transit Agreement: acted as junior counsel (led by Payam Akhavan) for the Arab Republic of Egypt in these cases before the International Court of Justice.

Dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Mauritius and Maldives in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius/Maldives): acting as counsel and advocate (with Alan Boyle, Payam Akhavan, Jean-Marc Thouvenin, Makane Mbengue and Amy Sander) for the Republic of Maldives in this claim before a Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 [2019]: instructed as junior counsel (led by Vaughan Lowe KC) for the Republic of Cyprus in these advisory proceedings before the International Court of Justice.

Republic of Azerbaijan v Republic of Armenia: acting as junior counsel (led by Malcolm Shaw KC) for the Republic of Azerbaijan in inter-State proceedings before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights concerning the occupation of and armed conflict concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh region and surrounding territories over three decades. The proceedings also concern Armenia’s failure to provide maps to facilitate landmine clearance in the liberated territories.

Republic of Armenia v Republic of Azerbaijan: acting as junior counsel (led by Malcolm Shaw KC) for the Republic of Azerbaijan in multiple inter-State applications by Armenia before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights concerning conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which Armenia had occupied for three decades.

State of Qatar v Kingdom of Bahrain, Arab Republic of Egypt, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates: acted as junior counsel (led by Payam Akhavan) for the Arab Republic of Egypt in parallel proceedings before the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization, brought under the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation and the International Air Services Transit Agreement.

Arbitration pursuant to Article 32 of the Constitution of the Universal Postal Union (State of Qatar v Arab Republic of Egypt): acted as junior counsel (led by Payam Akhavan) for the Arab Republic of Egypt in these proceedings before a PCA-administered Tribunal constituted under the rules of the Universal Postal Union.

Janah and Benkharbouche v United Kingdom, Ahmed and Buttet v United Kingdom: acting as junior counsel (led by Jessica Wells) for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in these claims before the European Court of Human Rights concerning the interaction between Articles 6 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights and grants of State immunity in the context of employment claims.

Asgarova and Veselova v Armenia: acted as junior counsel (led by Malcolm Shaw KC) for Azerbaijan as intervener in proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights concerning alleged human rights violations against Azerbaijani nationals visiting territory now occupied by Armenian forces, focusing on the responsibility of Armenia for the conduct of a subordinate local administration.

Advised on a potential claim before the European Court of Human Rights concerning conduct of organs of the European Union, raising questions of Member States’ responsibility for the conduct of international organisations.

See also under “Investment Treaty Disputes”.

INTERNATIONAL LAW IN DOMESTIC COURTS AND ARBITRATIONS

SS Tilawa (Argentum Exploration Ltd v Government of Republic of South Africa) [2022] EWCA Civ 1318: acting as junior counsel for the Republic of South Africa (led by Christopher Smith KC and Jessica Wells) before the Court of Appeal in a claim concerning 2,391 bars of silver allegedly salvaged from a vessel sunk by Japanese torpedoes during the Second World War, giving rise to issues of State immunity and the right to a fair hearing under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This was listed by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 appeals of 2022.

Channel Rescue, Freedom from Torture and Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2022] EWHC 517 (Admin): acting as junior counsel (led by David Blundell KC) in judicial review proceedings challenging the Secretary of State’s “pushback” policy in respect of migrant vessels crossing the English Channel. The challenge rested largely on the Human Rights Act and the United Kingdom’s international obligations under the law of the sea.

Hulley Enterprises Ltd, Yukos Universal Ltd and Veteran Petroleum Ltd v Russian Federation [2021] EWHC 894 (Comm), [2021] 1 WLR 3429: acting as junior counsel (led by Jonathan Crow KC, Paul McGrath KC and Alison Macdonald KC) for three companies seeking to enforce multi-billion-dollar arbitral awards against a foreign State in the English Commercial Court, focusing in particular on issues of State immunity and the interpretation of international treaties.

Advised in relation to a claim before Norwegian courts concerning Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights following a maritime collision.

BB and Ors v Al Khayyat and Ors: acted as junior counsel (led by Joe Smouha KC) in a claim brought by Syrian refugees concerning alleged terrorist financing by Qatari institutions and nationals.

Instructed as junior counsel (led by Vaughan Lowe KC) to advise an international organisation on a potential mass claim in tort before English courts implicating its immunity from suit and inviolability of documents under international and domestic law.

The “Saturday Mothers/People” case: co-author of an expert opinion on the human right to protest under international law, submitted on behalf of the Bar Human Rights Committee and Article 19 to an Istanbul criminal court in relation to the prosecution of members of a peaceful protest movement.

Acted as junior counsel (led by Iain Quirk) for an international organisation in several arbitrations (and related High Court challenges) concerning termination of certain consultancy contracts, where the claimants’ right to a fair hearing under Article 6 and the organisation’s privileges and immunities under domestic and international law were at issue (UNCITRAL Rules).

Assisted counsel in a Supreme Court appeal concerning foreign State immunity in claims brought by embassy employees in light of the Human Rights Act and European Convention on Human Rights.

Assisted counsel preparing for a Court of Appeal hearing on whether members of special missions enjoy immunity from criminal process under international and UK law.

OTHER ADVISORY WORK

Co-authored a high-profile opinion on international criminal liability and State responsibility for crimes against humanity and genocide (led by Alison Macdonald KC).

Co-authored reports on behalf of the Republic of Azerbaijan concerning international legal matters arising from occupation of its territory, including in relation to war crimes and breaches of human rights obligations, which were circulated to the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council (with Malcolm Shaw KC).

Advised the Human Rights Law Centre, an Australian non-governmental organisation, on the legality of inter-State espionage under public international law.

Advises States on matters relating to international climate change negotiations and treaties through Legal Response International.

Instructed as junior counsel (led by Vaughan Lowe KC) to advise an international organisation on matters relating to the privileges and immunities of its employees under international and UK law.

Naomi’s other advisory work on behalf of States, companies, individuals and organisations has covered a vast range of international legal issues, including:

  • Diplomatic and State immunity;
  • Sanctions;
  • Reparations under international humanitarian law;
  • Territorial sovereignty, including in respect of land boundaries and islands;
  • Maritime entitlements under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea;
  • The act of State doctrine;
  • The legality of certain import restrictions under international trade law;
  • Unlawful occupation of sovereignty;
  • The drafting of its new constitution in light of international treaty law and human rights obligations; and
  • Obligations under the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

EXPERIENCE PRIOR TO COMING TO THE BAR

Naomi completed a PhD entitled “Espionage and International Law” at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, supervised by Professor Roger O’Keefe. Her dissertation was awarded the prestigious Yorke Prize. At Cambridge she also taught Public International Law to undergraduates and The Law of Armed Conflict, the Use of Force and Peacekeeping to LLM students. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on various international law topics.

Her previous international legal work includes the following:

  • 2014: Research Associate to the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge, in its project on authoritarian and post-conflict States transitioning into democracies.
  • 2013: Co-author of a research memorandum in response to a request from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights dealing with a case that was active before the Court which involved researching laws and jurisprudence from numerous domestic, regional and international jurisdictions around the world.
  • 2010–13: Research Assistant to Professor Ben Saul, University of Sydney, contributing to his work on international law relating to human rights and terrorism, refugees, armed conflict, peacekeeping and genocide.
  • 2010: Interned at the Australian Human Rights Commission, contributing to projects concerning international human rights law and, for example, Australia’s program of mandatory detention of asylum seekers and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • 2008: Intern at the Sydney Centre for International Law, undertaking legal research and drafting submissions and legal advice on topics including the provision of compensation to members of the Stolen Generation in Australia, Australia’s approach to promoting good governance in Papua New Guinea, and the drafting of the Nepalese Constitution.

 

Shipping & admiralty

SS Tilawa (Argentum Exploration Ltd v Government of Republic of South Africa) [2022] EWCA Civ 1318: acting as junior counsel for the Republic of South Africa (led by Christopher Smith KC and Jessica Wells) before the Court of Appeal in a claim concerning 2,391 bars of silver allegedly salvaged from a vessel sunk by Japanese torpedoes during the Second World War, giving rise to issues of State immunity and the right to a fair hearing under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This was listed by The Lawyer as one of the top 20 appeals of 2022.

Tansy Shiptrade Inc v Elemento Limited and Rothenberg [2020] EWHC 248 (Comm): acted for the Defendants in proceedings involving an injunction preventing the sale of cargo of a ship, involving questions about the legal owner and consignee under specified bills of lading (led by James Collins KC).

Aegean Baltic Bank S.A. v Renzlor Shipping Limited, Oceanwide Shipping Limited and Alexandros N. Tranos: acting as sole counsel, including as advocate before the Commercial Court, in this claim concerning alleged default under a loan agreement and two guarantees, where the creditor is alleged to have acted negligently in entering into settlements with the insurers of the primary debtor, a shipowner.

European Metal Recycling Limited v Charterama BV: acted as junior counsel (led by David Walsh) in this Commercial Court claim under a policy of charterers’ liability insurance.

Acted as junior counsel (led by Philippa Hopkins KC) in an arbitration concerning allegedly undersized anchors on a superyacht (LMAA Rules).

Acted as sole counsel in an arbitration concerning alleged underperformance of a vessel and a claim in respect of damaged cargo (LMAA Rules).

Acted as sole counsel in an arbitration concerning a claim for overpaid hire following the late delivery of a vessel (LMAA Rules).

Career

2020: Appointed to both the Attorney General’s Public International Law C Panel of Junior Counsel and the Attorney General’s C Panel of Civil Counsel

2017: Tenancy at Essex Court Chambers

2016: Pupillage at Essex Court Chambers

2016: Call to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn

2013: Admission as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales

Education

2012–16: Doctorate in public international law, St John’s College, University of Cambridge

2015–16: Bar Professional Training Course, BPP Law School, London (Outstanding, ranked second across all BPP locations)

2011: Bachelor of Laws, University of Sydney (First Class Honours, ranked second in year)

2009: Bachelor of Arts, University of Sydney (University Medal and First Class Honours, ranked first in year in History)

Awards

2018: Yorke Prize (Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge)

2016: Sunley Scholarship; Buchanan Scholarship (Lincoln’s Inn)

2015–16: BPP Excellence Award (BPP Law School)

2015–16: McMahon Studentship (St John’s College, University of Cambridge)

2015: Winner, American Society of International Law (International Refugee Law Interest Group) Essay Competition

2015: Hardwicke Entrance Award (Lincoln’s Inn)

2014: Research grant from Simón Bolívar Fund and Santander Travel Fund (Cambridge Centre for Latin American Studies)

2012–15: J C Hall Scholarship (St John’s College, University of Cambridge)

2012–15: Honorary Poynton Australia Scholarship (Cambridge Commonwealth Trust)

2011: Winner, Governor-General’s Undergraduate Essay Competition (Constitutional Education Fund of Australia)

2011: Convocation Medal for Undergraduate Achievement (University of Sydney Alumni Council)

2010: Sir Dudley Williams Prize; Nancy Gordon Smith Prize; Academic Merit Prize (Faculty of Law, University of Sydney)

2009: Sir John Peden Memorial Prize for Proficiency in Foundations of Law, Federal Constitutional Law, International Law and Real Property (Faculty of Law, University of Sydney)

2009: Undergraduate Scholarship (Boston Consulting Group)

2008–09: Walter Reid Memorial Prize (Faculties of Arts and Law, University of Sydney)

2008: Philippe Erdos Prize in History (Faculty of Arts, University of Sydney)

2008: Norman Harper Prize (Australasian Journal of American Studies)

2008: Jamieson Award (Australian Federation of University Women)

2007: Dean’s List of Excellence in Academic Performance; Maud Stiles Prize in Senior History (Faculty of Arts, University of Sydney)

2006–07: Walter Reid Book Grant (Faculties of Arts and Law, University of Sydney)

2006: George Arnold Wood Memorial Prize for History II; G S Caird Scholarship in History II (Faculty of Arts, University of Sydney)

2005–10: Merit Scholarship (Faculty of Arts, University of Sydney)

Publications

N Hart, “Complementary Protection and Domestic Courts: The Extent, Method, Purpose and Effects of Judicial Dialogue” in A Müller (ed), Judicial Dialogue and Human Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2017)

N Hart, “Complementary Protection and Transjudicial Dialogue: Global Best Practice or Race to the Bottom?” (2016) 28 International Journal of Refugee Law 171

N Hart and S Srikumar, “Investor-State Arbitration before the High Court of Singapore: Territoriality, Nationality and Arbitrability” (2015) 4 Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law 191

N Hart, “Whole-life Sentences in the UK: Volte-face at the European Court of Human Rights?” (2015) 74 Cambridge Law Journal 205

M Crock, N Hart, R McCallum and B Saul, “Making Every Life Count: Ensuring Equality and Protection for Persons with Disabilities in Armed Conflicts” (2014) 40 Monash Law Review 148

I Shearer and N Hart, “The Engagement of Asia-Pacific States with the UN Human Rights Committee: Reporting and Individual Petitions”, in H Nasu and B Saul (eds), Human Rights in the AsiaPacific Region (Routledge, 2011)

N Hart, “Plaintiff M70/2011 v Minister for Immigration and Citizenship; Plaintiff M106/2011 v Minister for Immigration and Citizenship: Casenote” (2011) 18 Australian International Law Journal 207

N Hart, “Separating the Inquest from the Trial: The Mulrunji Case” (2009) 7(10) Indigenous Law Bulletin 23

Naomi is currently an Assistant Editor of the European Human Rights Reports and a contributor to the Westlaw Insight Shipping Series. She has previously served as Editor-in-Chief of the Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law and Editor of the Sydney Law Review.