Professional practice

Paul Choon Kiat Wee specialises in commercial litigation, international commercial arbitration, and investor-state arbitration.  Ranked as a Global Market Leader for International Arbitration by Chambers Global, and recommended by Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500 as a leading junior barrister in the fields of international arbitration, energy and natural resources, and public international law, Paul is described by the directories as “a real star”, “a standout senior junior” and “one of the best at the Bar” (Legal 500 2022).  The directories single out his advocacy (“his advocacy is tailored and superbly polished” and “his cross examination is rigorous and forensic”), drafting (“he is exceedingly bright and he has absolutely excellent drafting skills”, and “his drafting is fantastic … he can distil complex legal and technical points into very crisp, clear drafting”), forensic and analytical skills (“he shows meticulous attention to detail and is extremely hardworking”, and “he has a real ability to think around the issues and distil them in a clear and concise way”), legal knowledge (praised for his “knowledge of the law” and “fantastic legal knowledge”, “Paul has a deep and up-to-date knowledge of public international law”); judgement and strategic instincts (“very strategic”, with “mature judgment and excellent strategic ability”); client manner (“polished with the clients and cool under pressure”, “he is very commercial and clients really like him”); and accessibility and teamworking skills (“a pleasure to work with” and “in my experience the most user-friendly barrister at the bar – he is phenomenally hard-working and his style of working means that he is seamlessly embedded into our team on cases”).

Paul’s clients include governments, corporations, financial institutions, and individuals, and his practice spans a diverse range of sectors including banking and finance, oil and gas, energy and infrastructure, mining and exploration, telecommunications, IT, manufacturing, and entertainment and media.  In addition to his in-depth experience in all aspects of arbitration (international commercial and investor-state arbitration alike, under the ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, SCC, and ICSID Rules, and in arbitration-related court proceedings concerning setting aside and enforcement of international arbitral awards: Yukos v. Russia and Stati v. Kazakhstan), Paul has considerable expertise in banking and finance (having acted in high profile matters such as the RBS Rights Issue litigation), civil fraud and asset recovery (especially in CIS-related fraud disputes, such as the Kazakhstan Kagazy and BITEL litigation, and with in-depth experience of freezing and proprietary injunctions, Norwich Pharmacal and Bankers Trust applications, and other fraud-related interlocutory relief), and insolvency (acting both for and against insolvency practitioners in disputes concerning transactions defrauding creditors, insolvent trading, and asset recovery proceedings against directors for misappropriation of company assets).  Paul’s practice has a significant offshore and international element.  As well as being a member of the Bar of England and Wales, Paul has also been called to the Bar of the British Virgin Islands (2014), and granted rights of audience before the AIFC Court (2019).

Paul has substantial experience of acting as sole counsel before courts and arbitral tribunals, often against more experienced advocates (including QCs).

Paul also maintains a keen academic interest in law.  He is a contributor to a number of leading practitioner texts, including Paget on Banking and the Encyclopaedia of Banking Law, and has published in areas including banking law, international investment arbitration, equity and trusts, and general contract law.  His published work was cited extensively by the Singapore Court of Appeal in MFM Restaurants v. Fish & Co [2010] SGCA 36, one of the leading cases on contractual remoteness in Singapore.

In his spare time, Paul is a keen pianist. His début recording of piano works by Charles-Valentin Alkan was released in November 2019 on BIS Records to critical acclaim, and shortlisted for a Gramophone Award.

 

What Others Say

Chambers & Partners 2022 – International Arbitration:

He is very commercial and clients really like him. His drafting is fantastic, he works incredibly hard and he can distil complex legal and technical points into very crisp, clear drafting.

Legal 500 2022 – PIL:

Paul has a deep and up-to-date knowledge of public international law which he is able to apply strategically when required. His mastery of the detail is impressive and his cross examination is rigorous and forensic.

Legal 500 2022 – IA Counsel:

One of the best juniors I have worked with – a brilliant lawyer with fantastic legal knowledge, drafting skills, and attention to detail, along with mature judgment and excellent strategic ability. A real star.

Legal 500 2022 Energy:

A standout senior junior in this area and one of the best at the Bar, he is razor-sharp, and his advocacy is tailored and superbly polished.

Legal 500 2021 – Energy:

He shows meticulous attention to detail and is extremely hardworking, very strategic, polished with the clients and cool under pressure.

Legal 500 2021 – PIL:

A rising star who is becoming a go-to in the Public International Law sphere due to his excellent draftsmanship, knowledge of the law, and attention to detail.

Legal 500 – IA Counsel:

In my experience the most user-friendly barrister at the bar – he is phenomenally hard-working and his style of working means that he is seamlessly embedded into our team on cases.

Chambers & Partners 2020:

He is exceedingly bright and has absolutely excellent drafting skills.

He has a real ability to think around the issues and distil them in a clear and concise way.

Legal 500 2020:

In my experience the most user-friendly barrister at the bar – he is phenomenally hard-working and his style of working means that he is seamlessly embedded into our team on cases

A rising star who is becoming a go-to in the Public International Law sphere due to his excellent draftsmanship, knowledge of the law, and attention to detail

He shows meticulous attention to detail and is extremely hardworking, very strategic, polished with the clients and cool under pressure

Legal 500 2019 – Energy:

Extremely strategic, knowledgeable about international law, enormously hardworking and a pleasure to work with”.

Examples of Recent Cases
  • World Wide Minerals Ltd v. Republic of Kazakhstan: acting for the Republic of Kazakhstan in USD 2bn UNCITRAL investment arbitration proceedings concerning uranium mining concessions, including in its successful s.68 challenge to an investment treaty arbitration award: [2020] EWHC 3068 (Comm), [2021] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 593 (with Joe Smouha QC and Christopher Harris QC).
  • A v. B: acting for the claimant in a confidential USD multi-billion dispute concerning the energy and natural resources sector (with Adrian Beltrami QC).
  • The “Kidman” Litigation: acting for the claimant investors in high-profile fraud proceedings concerning an apparent Ponzi scheme: [2020] EWHC 2138 (Comm) (with Peter de Verneuil Smith QC).
  • Tolkynneftegaz LLP (in bankruptcy) v. Terra Raf Trans Traiding Limited: acting for the claimants in USD 500m fraud proceedings before the Gibraltar Supreme Court.
  • X v. Y: acting as sole counsel for the respondent in a substantial ICC arbitration concerning offshore seismic data acquisition.
  • Big Sky Energy Corporation v. Republic of Kazakhstan: acting for the Republic of Kazakhstan in an ICSID arbitration concerning an investment in an oil and gas venture owned by Kazakh nationals (with Sam Wordsworth QC).
  • The RBS Rights Issue Litigation: instructed by RBS and its former directors, defending the GBP multi-billion group action brought by subscribers to its 2008 rights issue (with Sonia Tolaney QC and others).
  • The “Turkcell” Litigation: acted for a major Turkish bank in relation to a USD multi-billion telecoms dispute with a Russian entity, involving LCIA arbitration and BVI court proceedings (with Ewan McQuater QC).
  • Alhambra Resources Ltd v. Republic of Kazakhstan: acted for the Republic of Kazakhstan in a USD 500m ICSID investment arbitration arising from the failure of a gold mining venture, and related cross-annulment proceedings (with Alison Macdonald QC).
  • State v. Investor: advising on the enforcement of a substantial eight-figure investor-state arbitration award.
  • Yukos v. The Russian Federation: acting for the Russian Federation to oppose the enforcement of highly-publicised USD 50bn arbitral awards obtained by the former shareholders of Yukos under the Energy Charter Treaty (one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2016) (with Jonathan Gaisman QC, Shaheed Fatima QC, and Christopher Harris).
  • Stati v. Republic of Kazakhstan: acted for the Republic of Kazakhstan in its successful opposition to the enforcement of a USD 500m arbitral award obtained under the Energy Charter Treaty concerning oil and gas investments in western Kazakhstan, which concluded in the award creditors discontinuing their enforcement proceedings and undertaking never to seek the enforcement of the award in this jurisdiction: see [2017] EWHC 1348 (Comm), [2017] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 201 and [2018] EWHC 1130 (Comm), [2018] 1 WLR 3225 (with Ali Malek QC and Christopher Harris QC).
  • Kitcatt & Ors v. Publicis: acting for the former shareholders of Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw Limited, an advertising agency, in their successful claim against the Publicis Group arising from Publicis’ acquisition of the agency, heard over 10 days in the Commercial Court: [2017] EWHC 675 (Comm) (with Andrew Sutcliffe QC).
  • Kazakhstan Kagazy plc v. Zhunus: acted in the long-running Kazakhstan Kagazy plc fraud litigation, including in the Court of Appeal: [2016] EWCA Civ 1036, [2017] 1 WLR 1360 (with David Head QC).
  • A v. B: acted as sole English-law counsel for the Respondent in a USD 170m Singapore-seated ICC arbitration relating to the construction of a power plant in Indonesia.
Arbitration & related court applications

Paul’s arbitration practice encompasses international commercial arbitration, investment treaty arbitration, and arbitration-related court proceedings.

Details of arbitral proceedings in which Paul has acted remain confidential.  Representative examples include the following:

  • Paul is acting (with Joe Smouha QC and Christopher Harris QC) in remitted UNCITRAL investment arbitration proceedings concerning a uranium mining investment, having also acted in the (rare) successful s.68 challenge to the investment treaty arbitration award that resulted in the remission (see [2020] EWHC 3068 (Comm), [2021] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 593), as well as the original USD 2bn arbitration proceedings.
  • Paul is acting (with Adrian Beltrami QC) in a confidential USD multi-billion dispute concerning the energy and natural resources sector.
  • Paul is acting as sole counsel for the respondent in a substantial ICC arbitration concerning offshore seismic data acquisition.
  • Paul is acting (with Alison Macdonald QC) in two ICSID cross-annulment applications concerning an award rendered in a mining dispute.
  • Paul acted (with Ewan McQuater QC) in LCIA arbitration proceedings for a major Turkish bank in relation to a USD multi-billion telecoms dispute with a Russian entity.
  • Paul is acting (with Sam Wordsworth QC) for the Respondent in an ICSID investment arbitration concerning an investment in an oil and gas venture owned by Kazakh nationals.
  • Paul acted (with Alison Macdonald QC) for the Respondent in a USD 500m ICSID investment arbitration concerning a gold mining venture.
  • Paul acted (with Christopher Harris) for the Respondent in an ICSID investment arbitration arising from allegations of judicial expropriation of oil industry assets.
  • Paul was instructed as sole English counsel in connection with a major USD 200m Singapore-seated arbitration under the ICC Rules (administered by SIAC) relating to the construction of a power plant in Indonesia.  The dispute was governed by English law, and involved numerous issues of the law of termination and repudiation, and damages for breach of contract.
  • Paul represented the Respondent in the second phase of a major Paris-seated ICC arbitration concerning the termination of licensing agreements in a developing economy (led by Christopher Harris).
  • Paul advised (with Ali Malek QC) in connection with potential Singapore-seated arbitral proceedings under the SIAC Rules arising from the termination of a concession agreement for the development of reclaimed land in the Indian Ocean.  The dispute is governed by Singapore law, and involves numerous issues of the law of termination and repudiation, damages for breach of contract, and restitution of unjust enrichment.

Paul also has substantial experience of heavyweight and multi-jurisdictional arbitration enforcement proceedings, involving close co-operation between lawyers across multiple jurisdictions.  Examples include:

  • Yukos v. The Russian Federation: Paul acted for the Russian Federation (led by Jonathan Gaisman QC, Shaheed Fatima QC, and Christopher Harris) to oppose the enforcement of the highly-publicised USD 50bn arbitral awards obtained by the former shareholders of Yukos under the Energy Charter Treaty, and understood to be the largest arbitral awards ever made.  The case raises numerous issues, including questions of state immunity and jurisdiction; grounds for refusing to enforce a New York Convention arbitral award (including novel questions concerning the involvement of an administrative assistance to an arbitral tribunal in the drafting of an award); treaty interpretation; issue estoppel; and the possibility of enforcing an arbitral award that has been set aside by the courts of its seat.  This case has been named as one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2016.
  • Stati & ors v. The Republic of Kazakhstan: Paul is currently acting for the Republic of Kazakhstan (led by Ali Malek QC and Christopher Harris) to oppose the enforcement of a USD 500m arbitral award obtained under the Energy Charter Treaty (an award which was, until the Yukos awards, understood to be the largest arbitral award obtained under the Energy Charter Treaty).  The case has raised numerous important issues, including the proper approach to the case management of enforcement proceedings in the light of a pending application to set aside an arbitral award in the courts of its seat, the application of issue estoppel in enforcement proceedings following an unsuccessful challenge to an arbitral award in the courts of its seat, the circumstances in which an English court should refuse to enforce an arbitral award on public policy grounds where it is alleged that the award was obtained by fraud, and the correct approach to the discontinuation of enforcement proceedings: see [2015] EWHC 2542 (Comm); [2017] EWHC 1348 (Comm), [2017] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 201; [2018] EWHC 1130 (Comm), [2018] 1 WLR 3225; [2019] EWHC 1715 (Comm).
  • State v. Investor: Paul is currently advising the successful party on the enforcement of a substantial eight-figure investor-state arbitration award.
Banking & financial services

Banking and finance disputes form a core part of Paul’s practice.  For many years, Paul edited of the “Guarantees” division of the Encyclopedia of Banking Law (ed. Mr Justice Blair).  He has also been a contributor to Paget’s Law of Banking (14th edn, ed Ali Malek QC and John Odgers QC).

  • CF Partners v. Barclays Bank plc:  Paul acted (as part of a counsel team led by Ewan McQuater QC) for Barclays in defending its investment banking arm against allegations of breach of confidence and breach of contract in relation to an M&A deal in the carbon credit sector.  The case raised numerous issues relating to the alleged misuse of confidential information, including issues as to breach of confidence, inducing of breach of contract, and remedies (account of profits, Wrotham Park damages, loss of a chance damages).
  • NML Capital Ltd v. The Republic of Argentina:  Paul advised (with Ewan McQuater QC) creditors of the Republic of Argentina in relation to its attempts to avoid payments under multiple syndicated loan facilities and under US and English judgments.
  • MD Mezzanine SA v. Stabilus GmbH:  Paul acted (with Andrew Sutcliffe QC) in relation to the provision of expert evidence on English law to a German Court concerning the rights and obligations of a security trustee under standard LMA syndicated loan documentation in connection with a non-consensual debt restructuring.
  • Paul has advised (with Ali Malek QC) a leading private equity firm in connection with the re-pricing of bank debt incurred under an LMA Senior Facilities Agreement.  The case raised issues going to the interpretation of standard form LMA syndicated loan documentation, particularly in relation to the scope of the “yank-a-bank” provision.
  • Paul has acted (led by Richard Salter QC) for claimants in proceedings before the Singapore Courts concerning the alleged mis-selling of financial products including dual currency deposits, accumulator contracts (FX and equities), and FX knock-out / barrier options.
  • Paul has acted as sole counsel in numerous retail banking and consumer credit disputes.
Civil fraud & asset recovery

Paul’s civil fraud practice encompasses both complex and high-value fraud proceedings, often with international dimensions and involving numerous contested interim applications, as well as smaller-scale asset recovery proceedings in which Paul acts as sole counsel.  Representative examples include the following:

  • Tolkynneftegaz LLP v. Terra Raf Trans Traiding Limited: Paul is acting in a substantial USD 500m fraud case before the Gibraltar Supreme Court involving claims in fraudulent misrepresentation, unlawful interference, and unlawful means conspiracy.
  • The “Kidman” litigation: Paul acted (with Peter de Verneuil Smith QC) in high-profile fraud proceedings concerning an apparent Ponzi scheme, successful securing worldwide freezing relief, Bankers Trust and Norwich Pharmacal orders, and judgment: see e.g. [2020] EWHC 2138 (Comm)
  • Kazakhstan Kagazy plc & ors v. Zhunus & ors:  Paul acted (led by Paul Lowenstein QC and David Head QC) for the first defendant to a USD 150m claim brought by entities within a Kazakh paper, recycling, and logistics group alleging misappropriation of corporate funds and sham construction contracts.  The case has involved numerous applications for interim relief (freezing injunctions, security for costs, etc), numerous issues of Kazakh and Manx law (including directors’ duties, reflective loss, and limitation), and the circumstances in which contribution claims can properly be brought between co-defendants in fraud litigation (see [2017] EWCA Civ 1036, [2017] 1 WLR 1360).
  • Kyrgyz Mobil Tel v. Bitel LLC & ors: Paul acted (as part of a counsel team led by Stephen Phillips QC) at trial for defendants to a USD 700m claim alleging the fraudulent misappropriation of a leading Kyrgyz mobile telecoms operator.  The trial raised widespread allegations of fraud, dishonesty, forgery, and corruption, together with numerous issues of Kyrgyz law and valuation.  The case settled mid-trial.
  • Kevin John Hellard (as liquidator of Highfield Distribution (UK) Limited) v. Kumar & Ors:  Paul has been acting since 2011 as sole counsel in long-running enforcement and asset recovery proceedings brought by a liquidator against an uncooperative judgment debtor (being the sole former director and shareholder of the company in liquidation) and associated parties.  The case arises from misappropriation of company assets and wrongful trading post-winding-up.  The nature of the enforcement proceedings and the conduct of the judgment debtor and his associates have resulted in numerous contested hearings in the High Court.  These have included interim applications (for injunctions; civil restraint orders; the enforcement of undertakings; the variation of freezing orders; and orders for sale and related consequential orders), trials (for the determination of beneficial ownership disputes), and appeals.
Commercial dispute resolution

Paul’s commercial litigation practice encompasses both heavyweight and high-value multi-party disputes, together with smaller commercial disputes in which Paul acts as sole counsel.

  • Tolkynneftegaz LLP v. Terra Raf Trans Traiding Limited: Paul is acting in a substantial USD 500m fraud case before the Gibraltar Supreme Court involving claims in fraudulent misrepresentation, unlawful interference, and unlawful means conspiracy.
  • The Kidman litigation:  Paul acted (with Peter de Verneuil Smith QC) for the claimant investors in high-profile fraud proceedings concerning an apparent Ponzi scheme: see e.g. Palesa Sarl v. Massimo Bochicchio [2020] EWHC 2138 (Comm)
  • Sonera Holding BV v. Cukurova Holding AS:  Paul acted (with Ewan McQuater QC) for TC Ziraat Bankasi AS in BVI proceedings to protect its rights and security interests arising from a USD 1.6bn loan advanced in order to enable the redemption of share charges following a decision of the Privy Council to grant relief from forfeiture.
  • Kazakhstan Kagazy plc & ors v. Zhunus & ors:  Paul acted (with Paul Lowenstein QC and David Head QC) for the first defendant to a USD 150m claim brought by entities within a Kazakh paper, recycling, and logistics group alleging misappropriation of corporate funds and sham construction contracts.  The case has involved numerous applications for interim relief (freezing injunctions, security for costs, etc), numerous issues of Kazakh and Manx law (including directors’ duties, reflective loss, and limitation), and the circumstances in which contribution claims can properly be brought between co-defendants in fraud litigation (see [2017] EWCA Civ 1036, [2017] 1 WLR 1360).
  • The Former Shareholders of Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw Ltd v. Publicis:  Paul acted (led by Andrew Sutcliffe QC) for the former shareholders of Kitcatt Nohr Alexander Shaw, an integrated advertising agency, in their successful claim against the Publicis Group arising from the sale of the agency to the Publicis Group.  The case involved (inter alia) allegations of breach of warranty based on a failure to disclose known and imminent losses of business, and the claimants succeeded at trial: [2017] EWHC 675 (Comm).
  • Principal Global Investors LLC v. Dillard & Ors:  Paul acted (led by Sonia Tolaney QC) for a leading global investment and asset management group in connection with potential proceedings arising from the acquisition of an investment firm against the sellers seeking relief for breach of warranty.
  • Kyrgyz Mobil Tel v. Bitel LLC & ors: Paul acted (as part of a counsel team led by Stephen Phillips QC) at trial for defendants to a USD 700m claim alleging the fraudulent misappropriation of a leading Kyrgyz mobile telecoms operator.  The trial raised widespread allegations of fraud, dishonesty, forgery, and corruption, together with numerous issues of Kyrgyz law and valuation.  The case settled mid-trial.
  • CF Partners v. Barclays Bank plc:  Paul acted (as part of a counsel team led by Ewan McQuater QC) for Barclays in defending its investment banking arm against allegations of breach of confidence and breach of contract in relation to an M&A deal in the carbon credit sector.  The case raised numerous issues relating to the alleged misuse of confidential information, including issues as to breach of confidence, inducing of breach of contract, and remedies (account of profits, Wrotham Park damages, loss of a chance damages).
  • Jukebox LP v. Gudmundsson:  Paul acted (led by David Quest QC) for the claimants against two prominent Norwegian businessmen in a payment dispute arising under a capital contribution agreement relating to the operating and acquisition costs of a private jet.  The case raised numerous issues including the scope of powers of a liquidator under the Cayman Islands Company Law and the Exempted Limited Partnerships Law, including their capacity to bring proceedings in the name of a limited partnership in liquidation, and the availability of any set-off or cross claim.
  • BP Oil International Limited v. Bankers Petroleum Albania Ltd: Paul acted (led by Ali Malek QC and Adam Kramer) for the defendants in a USD 37m claim arising from the termination of a long-term contract for the supply of Albanian crude oil.
  • Paul recently acted as sole counsel in a payment dispute arising under an agency agreement and a manufacturing agreement relating to the production of chocolate confectionery products.
  • Paul recently acted as sole counsel for the claimant in a dispute concerning the termination of a joint investment agreement, successfully obtaining summary judgment for the restitution of sums paid to the defendant following its wrongful repudiation.
Company & insolvency law / corporate recovery

Paul is regularly instructed on a range of insolvency matters, acting both for and against insolvency practitioners.  Highlights of his insolvency practice are set out below.

  • Pioneer Freight Futures Company Limited (in liquidation) v. Chen Ningning: Paul acted (led by John Jarvis QC) for a former shareholder and director in BVI proceedings concerning a GBP 13m claim by liquidators for insolvent trading.  The case raised numerous issues including shadow / de facto directorship, unfair preference, insolvent trading, and general misfeasance and breach of directors’ duties.
  • Jukebox LP v. Gudmundsson: Paul acted (led by David Quest QC) for the claimants against two prominent Norwegian businessmen in a payment dispute arising under a capital contribution agreement relating to the operating and acquisition costs of a private jet.  The case raised numerous issues including the scope of powers of a liquidator under the Cayman Islands Company Law and the Exempted Limited Partnerships Law, including their capacity to bring proceedings in the name of a limited partnership in liquidation, and the availability of any set-off or cross claim.
  • Kevin John Hellard (as liquidator of Highfield Distribution (UK) Limited) v. Kumar & Ors: Paul has been acting since 2011 as sole counsel in long-running enforcement and asset recovery proceedings brought by a liquidator against an uncooperative judgment debtor (being the sole former director and shareholder of the company in liquidation) and associated parties.  The case arises from misappropriation of company assets and wrongful trading post-winding-up.  The nature of the enforcement proceedings (and the conduct of the judgment debtor and his associates) have resulted in numerous contested hearings in the High Court.  These have included interim applications (for injunctions; civil restraint orders; the enforcement of undertakings; the variation of freezing orders; and orders for sale and related consequential orders), trials (for the determination of beneficial ownership disputes), and appeals.
Energy & natural resources

Paul frequently acts in disputes arising from the energy and natural resources sector, in both court and arbitration proceedings.  Representative examples include the following:

  • World Wide Minerals Ltd v. Republic of Kazakhstan: Paul is acting (with Joe Smouha QC and Christopher Harris QC) in remitted UNCITRAL investment arbitration proceedings concerning a uranium mining investment, having also acted in the (rare) successful s.68 challenge to the investment treaty arbitration award that resulted in the remission (see [2020] EWHC 3068 (Comm), [2021] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 593), as well as the original USD 2bn arbitration proceedings.
  • Paul is acting (with Adrian Beltrami QC) in a confidential USD multi-billion dispute concerning the energy and natural resources sector.
  • Paul is acting as sole counsel for the respondent in a substantial ICC arbitration concerning offshore seismic data acquisition.
  • Paul is acting (with Alison Macdonald QC) in two ICSID cross-annulment applications concerning an award rendered in a mining dispute.
  • Big Sky Energy Corporation v. Republic of Kazakhstan: Paul is acting (with Sam Wordsworth QC) for the Respondent in an ICSID investment arbitration concerning an investment in an oil and gas venture owned by Kazakh nationals.
  • Alhambra Resources Ltd v. Republic of Kazakhstan: Paul acted (with Alison Macdonald QC) for the Respondent in a USD 500m ICSID investment arbitration concerning a gold mining venture.
  • Aktau Petrol Ticaret AS v. Republic of Kazakhstan: Paul acted (with Christopher Harris) for the Respondent in an ICSID investment arbitration arising from allegations of judicial expropriation of oil industry assets.
  • Stati & ors v. The Republic of Kazakhstan: Paul is currently acting for the Republic of Kazakhstan (led by Ali Malek QC and Christopher Harris) to oppose the enforcement of a USD 500m arbitral award obtained under the Energy Charter Treaty (an award which was, until the Yukos awards, understood to be the largest arbitral award obtained under the Energy Charter Treaty).  The case has raised numerous important issues, including the proper approach to the case management of enforcement proceedings in the light of a pending application to set aside an arbitral award in the courts of its seat, the application of issue estoppel in enforcement proceedings following an unsuccessful challenge to an arbitral award in the courts of its seat, the circumstances in which an English court should refuse to enforce an arbitral award on public policy grounds where it is alleged that the award was obtained by fraud, and the correct approach to the discontinuation of enforcement proceedings: see [2015] EWHC 2542 (Comm); [2017] EWHC 1348 (Comm), [2017] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 201; [2018] EWHC 1130 (Comm), [2018] 1 WLR 3225; [2019] EWHC 1715 (Comm).
  • Paul was instructed as sole English counsel in connection with a major USD 200m Singapore-seated arbitration under the ICC Rules (administered by SIAC) relating to the construction of a power plant in Indonesia.  The dispute was governed by English law, and involved numerous issues of the law of termination and repudiation, and damages for breach of contract.
  • BP Oil International Limited v. Bankers Petroleum Albania Ltd: Paul acted (led by Ali Malek QC and Adam Kramer) for the defendants in a USD 37m claim arising from the termination of a long-term contract for the supply of Albanian crude oil.
Offshore litigation

Paul has considerable experience of offshore litigation, in jurisdictions including the British Virgin Islands (where he was called to the Bar in 2014), the Bahamas, Gibraltar, and the Isle of Man.  Representative cases include:

  • Tolkynneftegaz LLP v. Terra Raf Trans Traiding Limited: Paul is acting in a substantial USD 500m fraud case before the Gibraltar Supreme Court involving claims in fraudulent misrepresentation, unlawful interference, and unlawful means conspiracy.
  • Pioneer Freight Futures Company Limited (in liquidation) v. Chen Ningning:  Paul acted (with John Jarvis QC) for a former shareholder and director in BVI proceedings concerning a GBP 13m claim by liquidators for insolvent trading.  The case raised numerous issues including shadow / de facto directorship, unfair preference, insolvent trading, and general misfeasance and breach of directors’ duties.
  • Kyrgyz Mobil Tel v. Bitel LLC & ors: Paul acted (as part of a counsel team led by Stephen Phillips QC) at trial for defendants to a USD 700m claim alleging the fraudulent misappropriation of a leading Kyrgyz mobile telecoms operator.  The trial raised widespread allegations of fraud, dishonesty, forgery, and corruption, together with numerous issues of Kyrgyz law and valuation.  The case settled mid-trial.
Public international law

Described by Chambers Global (2021) as “an expert in investment treaty arbitrations and related enforcement proceedings”, Paul has in-depth expertise of all aspects of investor-state arbitration.

Paul has acted in numerous investment treaty arbitrations as counsel.  Representative examples include:

  • World Wide Minerals Ltd v. Republic of Kazakhstan: Paul is acting (with Joe Smouha QC and Christopher Harris QC) in remitted UNCITRAL investment arbitration proceedings concerning a uranium mining investment, having also acted in the (rare) successful s.68 challenge to the investment treaty arbitration award that resulted in the remission (see [2020] EWHC 3068 (Comm), [2021] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 593), as well as the original USD 2bn arbitration proceedings.
  • Paul is acting (with Alison Macdonald QC) in two ICSID cross-annulment applications concerning an award rendered in a mining dispute.
  • Big Sky Energy Corporation v. Republic of Kazakhstan: Paul is acting (with Sam Wordsworth QC) for the Respondent in an ICSID investment arbitration concerning an investment in an oil and gas venture owned by Kazakh nationals.
  • Alhambra Resources Ltd v. Republic of Kazakhstan: Paul acted (with Alison Macdonald QC) for the Respondent in a USD 500m ICSID investment arbitration concerning a gold mining venture.
  • Aktau Petrol Ticaret AS v. Republic of Kazakhstan: Paul acted (with Christopher Harris) for the Respondent in an ICSID investment arbitration arising from allegations of judicial expropriation of oil industry assets.

Paul has additionally acted in some of the most high-profile, heavyweight, and multi-jurisdictional enforcement proceedings concerning investment treaty arbitration awards, which frequently involve close co-operation between lawyers across multiple jurisdictions.  Examples include:

  • Yukos v. The Russian Federation: Paul acted for the Russian Federation (led by Jonathan Gaisman QC, Shaheed Fatima QC, and Christopher Harris) to oppose the enforcement of the highly-publicised USD 50bn arbitral awards obtained by the former shareholders of Yukos under the Energy Charter Treaty, and understood to be the largest arbitral awards ever made.  The case raises numerous issues, including questions of state immunity and jurisdiction; grounds for refusing to enforce a New York Convention arbitral award (including novel questions concerning the involvement of an administrative assistance to an arbitral tribunal in the drafting of an award); treaty interpretation; issue estoppel; and the possibility of enforcing an arbitral award that has been set aside by the courts of its seat.  This case has been named as one of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2016.
  • Stati & ors v. The Republic of Kazakhstan: Paul is currently acting for the Republic of Kazakhstan (led by Ali Malek QC and Christopher Harris) to oppose the enforcement of a USD 500m arbitral award obtained under the Energy Charter Treaty (an award which was, until the Yukos awards, understood to be the largest arbitral award obtained under the Energy Charter Treaty).  The case has raised numerous important issues, including the proper approach to the case management of enforcement proceedings in the light of a pending application to set aside an arbitral award in the courts of its seat, the application of issue estoppel in enforcement proceedings following an unsuccessful challenge to an arbitral award in the courts of its seat, the circumstances in which an English court should refuse to enforce an arbitral award on public policy grounds where it is alleged that the award was obtained by fraud, and the correct approach to the discontinuation of enforcement proceedings: see [2015] EWHC 2542 (Comm); [2017] EWHC 1348 (Comm), [2017] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 201; [2018] EWHC 1130 (Comm), [2018] 1 WLR 3225; [2019] EWHC 1715 (Comm).
  • State v. Investor: Paul is currently advising the successful party on the enforcement of a substantial eight-figure investor-state arbitration award.
Career

2010: Called to the Bar of England and Wales (Gray’s Inn)

2014: Called to the Bar of the British Virgin Islands

Education

BVC (The City Law School) – Outstanding (ranked 2nd in year) (2010)

BCL (Keble College, Oxford) – DIstinction (2009)

BA (Hons) in Jurisprudence (Keble College, Oxford) (2008)

Awards

Pegasus Scholar (Inner Temple, 2012)

Atkin Scholarship (Gray’s Inn, 2010)

Prince of Wales Scholarship (Gray’s Inn, 2009)

Barstow Scholarship (The City Law School, 2010)

The Worshipful Company of Arbitrators Prize (The City Law School, 2010)

College Scholarship (Keble College, 2005)

Publications

[2007] LMCLQ 455 ‘Distribution of assets on relationship breakdown’

[2010] LMCLQ 150 ‘Contractual interpretation and remoteness’

Encyclopedia of Banking Law (ed. Mr Justice Blair) – editor of “Guarantees”

Paget’s Law of Banking (14th edn, ed. Ali Malek QC and John Odgers QC)

Key Authorities in Banking Law (ed. Sonia Tolaney QC)

Enforcement of Investment Treaty Arbitration Awards (with Christopher Harris) (ed. Julien Fouret)