Professional practice

C&P 2017

Dan Sarooshi Q.C. has a track record of achieving success in high stakes litigation. He is a highly regarded advocate who litigates in the areas of public international law, investment treaty arbitration, commercial litigation, and constitutional law. He also represents States and international organizations in international and domestic employment cases.

He is ranked in 2019 as a leading UK Barrister in three areas in the independent legal directories: Public International Law (Chambers & Partners (“C&P”) and Legal 500 (“L500”)); International Arbitration (L500); and Administrative & Public (Constitutional) Law (C&P). His clients include 13 States (e.g., the UK and USA), 15 international organizations, corporations (e.g. BAT, Exxon Mobil, Hitachi, Roche, and Tesco), and a number of Royal Families/Billionaires.

He is described by Chambers & Partners, Legal 500, and client quotes as being “an extremely bright advocate” and a “precious commodity” who is “at the top of his game”. “His written and oral advocacy is exemplary. It was superb and won the day. He is a natural and easy leader of a team. Clients trust him with bet-the-country/company cases.” He is “as good as they come” and “a strong advocate whose articulation of public international law is second to none.” He is “a superb lawyer” who is “super bright and very hard-working’ and a skilled advocate who has an excellent record of representing governments, international organisations and FTSE 100 companies.” He is “clearly one of the leaders at the Bar for public international law” and “has a wealth of experience of appearing before international and domestic courts, including the ICJ and English High Court”. He “is a resourceful advocate” who “offered answers and avenues of recourse in situations where other UK counsel could offer none”, “combines immense intelligence with practical experience”, and is “very efficient and quick to grasp and identify solutions to complex issues”. He “takes a very pragmatic approach”, “offers a rare combination of intellectual rigour and practical focus”, “delivers on accelerated timelines”, and is “inspiring for his clients”. “Impressively knowledgeable in a wide range of public and administrative law claims. He is increasingly instructed in high-profile constitutional, commercial and regulatory challenges. He is also renowned for his PIL expertise.

His appointments include:

  • 2006-present: Professor of International Law, University of Oxford. Previously: UCL & LSE.
  • 2006-present: Member (UK/EU nomination), WTO Dispute Settlement list of Panellists.
  • 2014-2018: Member, Attorney General (“AG”) Panel of Counsel for Public International Law to represent the UK in “the most complex public international law cases in various courts”.
  • 2013-2018: Member, AG Panel of Counsel for Constitutional and Commercial Law.

High profile cases in domestic courts (UK, Hong Kong, & Bahamas), International Court of Justice, European Court of Human Rights, WTO, ICC, UN Tribunals, international arbitrations (ICSID, ECT, NAFTA, ICC, UNCITRAL, & LCIA). His cases include (for international cases/arbitrations see below):

  • Successfully acted in UK Supreme Court for lead claimant Gina Miller in the Brexit case.
  • Acted in Supreme Court in Taurus v. SOMO: key commercial & State immunity case.
  • Successfully acted for the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund 1971 to obtain the dismissal of the US$60 million claim brought by the P&I Club Gard.
  • Successfully acting (to date) in on-going cases representing the estates of deceased US military personnel to enforce US Judgments worth c. $US775 million against Iran’s assets.
  • Successfully acted for the UK Government to intervene and obtain the discharge of freezing orders against 47 bank accounts of a foreign State’s Embassy in London.
  • Acted for the Libyan Embassy in the landmark case that led the Supreme Court/Court of Appeal to change UK law on State immunity to allow Embassies to be sued by employees.
  • Successfully acted for the UK in the Parthenon Sculptures (Elgin Marbles) dispute.
  • Successfully acted for the USA to obtain the dismissal of claims made against US Armed Forces relating to the operation of a US military base in the UK.
  • Acting for Sir Phillip Green in response to his naming by Lord Peter Hain in 2018 in the House of Lords as the high-profile businessman in the NDA case ABC v. Telegraph Media Group.
  • Successfully acted for the UK in the case brought against it by Ukraine’s national gas supplier before the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Acted for BAT in the Court of Appeal in the multi-billion pound judicial review of the Government’s “plain packaging” regulations for the sale of cigarettes.
  • Acting for the BVI Government in its judicial review challenge against the UK Government who seeks to impose a publicly accessible register of beneficial interests on the BVI.
  • Successfully acted in Bahamian Supreme Court case that saw the Government held in breach of the Constitution and a Minister personally fined $150,000 for reading out private emails in Parliament.
  • Acted in the landmark case in Hong Kong’s top court that decided on the constitutional relationship between China and Hong Kong post-handover.

Dan Sarooshi Q.C. has had 4 books and over 50 articles published on international law, international organizations, investment arbitration, and constitutional law. His books have been awarded the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Book Prize (twice); the Swiss Guggenheim Prize; and the US Myres S. McDougal Prize. He is co-author and co-editor with Judge Sir Christopher Greenwood GBE of Oppenheim’s International Law (forthcoming: 10th ed).

He currently serves as Counsellor to ASIL from 2018 having previously served on ASIL’s Executive Council from 2008-2011. He delivered the Hague Academy of International Law lectures on “Immunities of States and international organizations in national courts” from 23-27 July 2018; and served as Director of the Hague Academy Centre of Research (English and French Sections) in 2011, and as Director of Studies for the Hague Academy Taught Courses in 2005.


Personal and Education

Dan Sarooshi Q.C. grew up in Australia and obtained LLB and B. Comm (Economics) degrees in 1991 from the University of NSW. He came to the United Kingdom from Australia at the age of 23 to study and subsequently obtained his LLM (Kings College London) (1992); PhD (LSE: under the supervision of H.E. Judge Dame Rosalyn Higgins QC) (1997); and MA (Oxford) (Hon.). He joined the Law Faculty in the University of Oxford in 2003 and was in 2006 promoted to full Professor of Public International Law in the University of Oxford.

Commercial Litigation
  • Taurus v. SOMO, Iraq Oil Ministry [2017] UKSC 64 (Supreme Court); [2016] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 42 (CA); and (Comm) [2014] 1 All ER 942 (LCs, situs of debt, & third party debt orders).
  • UCP v. Nectrus [2018] 1 W.L.R. 3409 (Comm) (trial of case to be heard later in 2019).
  • A v. B (Comm) [2018] 5 WLUK 366 (relief from sanctions)
  • Progas v. Pakistan [2018] 2 All E.R. (Comm) 287 (s. 68 challenge; third party funding).
  • Heiser v. Iran [2012] EWHC 2938 (ongoing enforcement of $720M US Judgments).
  • Ben Rafael v. Iran [2015] EWHC 3203 (ongoing enforcement of $75M US Judgments).
  • Theognosia v. Turkey (SoS for FCO) 2016 (Comm) (discharge of freezing orders).
  • Cruz City v. Unitech [2015] 1 All ER 305 (Comm) (discharge of “Chabra” freezing order).
  • Gard v. IOPC Fund [2014] EWHC 3369 (Comm) (loans, indemnities, and immunity).
  • Gard v. IOPC Fund (Comm) [2014] EWHC 1394 (Comm) (freezing order).
  • FG Hemisphere v. Congo & Others [2011] HKCFA 41 (enforcement of arbitral award).
  • Serbia v. Imagesat [2010] 2 All ER (Comm) 571 (for Serbia in s. 67 challenge to ICC Award: issues of waiver to arbitration, State succession, and non-justiciability).
  • Croatia v. Serbia [2010] Ch 2000 (for Serbia: property and SFRY succession issues).
  • Westpark v. Kingfisher Airlines [2009] EWCA Civ 526 (CA); & [2008] EWHC 3233 (Comm).
  • Democratic Republic of Congo v. Blemain Finance Limited (for Blemain Finance: State/diplomatic immunity in relation to the DRC Embassy & Ambassador’s residence).
Constitutional and Public Law Cases in the UK and Commonwealth
  • The Brexit case for lead claimant Gina Miller: R (Miller) v. SoS for Exiting the EU (UK Supreme Court) [2018] AC 61.
  • R (British American Tobacco) v. SoS for Health (CA) [2018] Q.B. 149 (for BAT in this multi-billion pound judicial review of the Government’s “plain packaging” regulations).
  • Benkharbouche v. SoS for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs and Janah v. Libya [2016] QB 347 (CA), [2015] 3 WLR 301 (for Libya: State Immunity Act disapplied).
  • SoS (FCO) and SoS (Defence) v. Rahmatullah (UK Supreme Court) [2013] 1 AC 614 (for UK: judicial review, habeas corpus, and separation of powers).
  • Acting for the BVI Government in its judicial review challenge against the UK Government who seeks to impose a publicly accessible register of beneficial interests on the BVI.
  • Advising the UK on potential judicial review regarding the multi-billion pound expansion of Heathrow airport.
  • AG of Bahamas v. STB & Bacon (Bahamas Supreme Court) (Government held in breach of the Constitution and a Minister fined $150,000 for reading out private emails in Parliament).
  • Acted for Sir Phillip Green in response to his being named by Lord Hain in the House of Lords as the high profile businessman involved in ABC v. Telegraph Group.
  • SRG v. PUC & AG, 2007/PUB/con/00028 (Bah. Sup Court) (regulatory/telecoms).
  • FG Hemisphere v. Congo & Others [2011] HKCFA 41 (Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal) (case on constitutional relationship between China and Hong Kong post-handover).
Employment Disputes
  • Representing and advising four international organizations in international employment disputes: ILOAT and ad hoc dispute systems, including drafting of appeal systems.
  • Represented the USA in Harrington v. USA, UK Employment Tribunal Judgment dated 27 March 2015 (for USA: obtained dismissal of employment claims against USA relating to its military base in the UK).
  • Represented EBRD in employment dispute before UK Employment Tribunal (case settled).
  • Represented Ambassador Kassam in Ugandan Embassay to the UK in Wokuri v. Kassam [2013] Ch. 80, [2012] 2 All ER 1195 (obtained eventual dismissal of employment claim).
International Investment Law and Arbitration

Dan is equally adept at leading a team, or slotting seamlessly into a team within a firm, to prepare and successfully implement a case strategy, and to provide outstanding oral and written advocacy as needed. He has acted as Counsel or Expert in more than 25 investment arbitration proceedings under ICSID (also ECT & AF), NAFTA, ICC, UNCITRAL & LCIA Rules. Non-confidential cases include:

  • Safa v. The Hellenic Republic (Greece), ICSID Case No. ARB/16/20.
  • MNSS and RCA v. Republic of Montenegro, ICSID Case No. ARB(AF)/12/8.
  • Imagesat International v. Republic of Serbia, ICC arbitration.
  • Murphy Oil v. Republic of Ecuador, ICSID Case No. ARB/08/4.
  • Sempra Energy v. Argentine Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/02/16.
  • Bernhard von Pezold v. Republic of Zimbabwe, ICSID Case No. ARB/10/15.
  • Border Timbers v. Republic of Zimbabwe, ICSID Case No. ARB/10/25.
  • Mobil v. Canada, ICSID Case No. ARB(AF)/15/6 (NAFTA).
  • KS Invest GmbH & TLS Invest GmbH v. Kingdom of Spain, ICSID Case No. ARB/15/25.
  • Advising the UK on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership treaty.
  • Advising the UK on potential investment claims regarding the multi-billion pound expansion of Heathrow airport.
  • Advising a large bank on its investment claims against a State in South East Asia.
Public international law
  • International Court of Justice (“ICJ”): UK v. Libya (Provisional Measures) (Lockerbie Bombing/terrorism case) for UK working with Prof. Rosalyn Higgins Q.C. who later became ICJ President; Chad v. Libya for Chad working with Prof. Higgins Q.C.; Slovakia v. Hungary for Slovakia working with Prof. Higgins Q.C.; East Timor (Portugal v. Australia) for Portugal working with Prof. Higgins Q.C.
  • European Court of Human Rights: Nak Naftogaz Ukrainy v. UK, App. 62976/12: acted for UK in this £27 million case brought by Ukraine’s national gas supplier against the UK.
  • UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (anti-terrorism): Prosecutor v. Ayyash et. al., 2012, STL-11-01/PT/TC (for UN Prosecutor).
  • Greece v. United Kingdom: for the UK Government in relation to Greek claims for the return of the Elgin Marbles-Parthenon Sculptures (State succession/UNESCO treaties).
  • Law of International Organizations/International Administrative/Employment Law: advising 15 international organizations on e.g., constituent treaties; privileges and immunities; headquarters agreements; economic sanctions; laws of France, India, South Africa, UK and US relating to IOs; dissolution of IOs; contractual disputes and arbitrations (UNCITRAL and ad hoc); and advocacy for IOs in domestic courts (for cases see below) and for secretariats before plenary organs comprised of Member States.
  • Asset tracing and economic sanctions: significant experience of economic sanctions and asset tracing, asset freezes and other legal techniques to recover monies: e.g. Belarus, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, State in South America, and using legal regimes of UK, US, and other States.
  • Boundaries, State succession, Law of the Sea, and Environmental Law: e.g., land & maritime boundaries; oil & gas concessions; UNCLOS; EEZ; coastal States rights; Continental Shelf; State succession (USSR, SFRY/FRY/State Union); environmental/IMO treaties; Chad v. Libya (boundaries) (ICJ); & Slovakia v. Hungary (environmental law) (ICJ).
  • World Trade Organization/Regulatory Law: e.g., advising the UK on US TTIP, EU law to prevent future crises in European financial markets, and various WTO and OECD agreements; British American Tobacco on regulatory disputes with two WTO States; Hitachi on a regulatory investigation conducted by a MDB; Reuters on regulatory disputes with two WTO States; Tesco on regulatory disputes with two WTO States; Roche on a regulatory dispute with the EC/EMA; global telecoms corporation on its regulatory disputes with three WTO States; and Commonwealth Secretariat on WTO/OECD financial services standards and FATF.



London Court of International Arbitration, International Chamber of Commerce, Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR), ASIL, British Institute of International & Comparative Law, Society for International Economic Law, and International Law Association.