Professional practice

Legal 500 Leading Silk

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

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


What others say

Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2021, Public International Law:

“He is one of the great professionals in our field: an outstanding PIL lawyer and an outstanding advocate with very mature judgement. He is one of the best.”

Legal 500 UK Bar 2021, Public International Law (Band 1):

“Peerless and in a class of his own.”

Chambers and Partners UK Bar 2017, Public International Law (Ranked Individual):

“One cannot praise his intellect, his academic prowess and his professional skills highly enough. He is highly respected by the bench and his peers, and is a leading authority on his subject.” He is noted for his “excellent strategic awareness.”

The Legal 500 UK Bar 2016, Public International Law (Rank 1):

‘A brilliant public international law barrister.’


Examples of recent cases
  • Land Boundary in the Northern Part of Isla Portillos, ICJ 2017 (for Nicaragua)
  • Certain Iranian Assets, ICJ 2016 (for Iran)
  • Waters of the Silala, ICJ 2016 (for Bolivia)
  • Maritime Delimitation in the Indian Ocean, ICJ 2014 (for Kenya)
  • Maritime Delimitation in the Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean, ICJ 2014 (for Nicaragua)
  • Railway Land arbitration, PCA 2014 (for Singapore)
  • Seizure and Detention of Certain Documents, Timor-Leste v. Australia, ICJ 2013-2015 (for Timor-Leste)
  • Timor-Leste v. Australia (Arbitration under the Timor Sea Treaty), PCA 2013-2017 (for Timor-Leste)
  • Alleged Violations of Sovereign Rights, ICJ 2013 (for Nicaragua)
  • Delimitation of the Continental Shelf beyond 200NM, ICJ 2013 (for Nicaragua)
  • Obligation to Negotiate Access, ICJ 2013 (for Bolivia)
  • Antarctic Whaling, Australia v. Japan, ICJ 2013 (for Japan)
  • Kadi II, Cases C-584, C-593 and C-595/10, CJEC 2013 (for Mr Kadi)
  • Maritime Dispute, Peru v. Chile, ICJ, 2012 (for Peru)
  • Territorial and Maritime Dispute, Nicaragua v. Colombia, ICJ, 2012 (for Nicaragua)
  • Pakistan v. India (Indus Waters Treaty), PCA, 2011 (for Pakistan)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo v. FG Hemisphere Associates, Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal, 2011, 147 ILR 376, 150 ILR 684 (for Hong Kong Department of Justice)
  • Regina (Kibris Turk Hava Yollari and another) v Secretary of State for Transport [2010] EWCA Civ 1093; [2010] WLR (D) 247 (for the Republic of Cyprus)
  • Apostolides v Orams & Ors [2010] EWCA Civ 9 (for Mr Apostolides)
  • Demopoulos v. Turkey and 7 other cases, Grand Chamber ECHR, 2009 (for the Republic of Cyprus)
  • Advisory Opinion on the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo, International Court of Justice, 2009 (for the Republic of Cyprus)
  • R (Kibris Türk Hava Yollari Cta Holidays) v Secretary Of State For Transport [2009] EWHC 1918 (Admin) (for the Republic of Cyprus)
  • Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea, (Romania Ukraine), ICJ 2009 (for Romania)
  • Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 31 March 2004 in the Case concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America), ICJ 2008 (for the USA)
  • R (Corner House Research) v. Director of the Serious Fraud Office, [2008] UKHL 60 (for the Director, SFO)
  • Varnava and Others v. Turkey, Grand Chamber ECHR, 2008 (for the Republic of Cyprus)
  • R (Al Jedda) v. Secretary of State for Defence [2007] UKHL 58 (for appellant Mr Al Jedda)
  • Republic of Ecuador Occidental Exploration & Production Co (No 2) [2007] EWCA Civ 656 (for Ecuador)
  • The Tomimaru (Japan v. Russia) ITLOS, 2007 (for Japan)
  • The Hoshinmaru (Japan v. Russia) ITLOS, 2007 (for Japan)
  • R v. Jones [2006] UKHL 16 (for appellants Mr Pritchard and Mr Olditch)
  • R v. Jones [2004] EWCA Crim 1981 (for appellants Mr Pritchard and Mr Olditch)
  • Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, ICJ, 2004 (for Palestine)
  • Land Reclamation by Singapore (Malaysia v. Singapore), ITLOS, 2003, (for Singapore)
  • Case concerning the MOX plant (Ireland v. UK), UNCLOS arbitration, 2003 (for Ireland)
  • Azinas Cyprus, Grand Chamber ECHR, 2003 (for the Republic of Cyprus)
  • Lauder v. Czech Republic, CME Czech Republic, ad hoc arbitral tribunals, 2001, (for Czech Republic)
  • Case concerning the MOX plant (Ireland v. UK), ITLOS, 2001 (for Ireland)
  • Southern Bluefin Tuna case, ad hoc arbitral tribunal, 2000 (for Japan)
  • Case concerning Passage Through the Great Belt, ICJ, 1991‑92 (for Finland)

Advisory work for various governments, multinational corporations, and international organizations, mainly on questions of international law. Advocacy in various published and unpublished cases in English courts, the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, ad hoc arbitral tribunals, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, UN Compensation Commission, and the Iran-US Claims Tribunal.

  • Consultant on aspects of International Law, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, London, 1997-2001.
  • Legal Adviser, Palestinian Authority legal unit, in Permanent Status negotiations with Israel, 1999 – 2010.
  • Pro bono work in relation to Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights and Caribbean death penalty litigation.

Expert evidence on questions of international law in courts in the Ireland, Singapore, USA, and in various arbitral tribunals.

Judicial and Arbitral Appointments
  • Arbitrator, Golobal Telecom v. Canada, ICSID, 2017 (appointed by Canada)
  • President, Teco Guatemala v. Guatemala, ICSID, 2017 (appointed by ICSID)
  • Arbitrator, Ukraine v Russia, PCA, 2017 (appointed by Ukraine)
  • Arbitrator, X v. Mauritius, 2016, (appointed by Mauritius)
  • SGRF Oman v Bulgaria, ICSID, 2016 (appointed by agreement)
  • President, Mathias Kruck v. Spain, ICSID, 2015 (appointed by agreement)
  • President, Cube Infrastructure v. Spain, ICSID, 2015 (appointed by agreement)
  • Arbitrator, Zelena v Serbia, ICSID, 2015 – (appointed by Serbia)
  • President, City-State NV v. Ukraine, ICSID 2014 (appointed by agreement)(withdrew)
  • Arbitrator, Croatia / Slovenia, PCA 2012 – (appointed by European Commission)
  • Arbitrator, Vattenfall v Germany, ICSID 2012 – (appointed by Germany)
  • Arbitrator, Detroit International Bridge Co. v. Canada, (NAFTA) PCA 2012 – 2015 (appointed by Canada)  
  • Arbitrator, AES v. Kazakhstan, ICSID 2011 – 2013 (appointed by Kazakhstan)
  • President, Sempra v. Argentina, ICSID 2011 – 2015 (appointed by agreement)
  • President, Minnotte v. Poland, ICSID 2010 – 2013 (appointed by agreement)
  • President, Vannessa v. Venezuela, ICSID 2010 – 2013 (appointed by agreement)
  • Ad hoc Judge, Kononov v. Latvia, European Court of Human Rights, 2009 – 2011 (nominated by Latvia)
  • Arbitrator, Chevron v. Republic of Ecuador, UNCITRAL / PCA 2009 – (arbitrator, appointed by Ecuador)
  • Arbitrator, EVN v. Republic of Macedonia, ICSID 2009 – 2011 (appointed by Macedonia)
  • Arbitrator, Mercuria Energy Group Ltd v. Republic of Poland, SCC 2009 – 2011 (appointed by Poland)
  • President, Hochtief v. Argentina, ICSID 2009 – 2016 (appointed by agreement)
  • President, Eureko v. Slovakia, UNCITRAL / PCA, 2008 -– 2012 (appointed by agreement)
  • President, Foresti & others v. Republic of South Africa, ICSID 2007 – 2010 (ICSID appointment)
  • President, Barmek v. Azerbaijan, ICSID tribunal, 2007 – 2009 (ICSID appointment)
  • Arbitrator, Kardassopoulos v. Georgia, Fuchs v. Georgia¸ ICSID 2007 – 2010 (appointed by Georgia)
  • Arbitrator, Sancheti v, UK, 2007 (appointed by the UK)
  • President, Sistem Kyrgyz Republic, ICSID 2006 – 2009 (ICSID appointment)
  • President, Bayview v. Mexico, (NAFTA) ICSID 2006 – 2007 (ICSID appointment)
  • Arbitrator, Barbados v. Trinidad & Tobago maritime delimitation, PCA 2004 –2006 (nominated by Barbados)
  • Judge, European Nuclear Energy Tribunal 2006 – (nominated by UK)

Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon (Japan, 2008)

Cavaler, Ordinul National Serviciul Credincios (Knight of the Faithful Service National Order) (Romania, 2009)

Darjah Paduka Seri Laila Jasa Yang Amat Berjasa (Darjah Ke-Dua) (Brunei, 2010)

Grand Cross, Order of El Sol Del Péru (Peru, 2017)


Emeritus Chichele Professor and Emeritus Fellow of All Souls (2012-date)

Chichele Professor of Public International Law and Fellow of All Souls College, University of Oxford, 1999-2012     

University Lecturer in Law, then Reader in International Law, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Corpus Christi College 1988-99

Warden of Leckhampton, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, 1998-99

Lecturer in Law, 1979-86, then Senior Lecturer in Law, 1986-88

University of Manchester; Lecturer in Law, University of Wales, Cardiff, 1973-79

(Visiting Scholar, University of Cambridge, 1976)

Visiting Professor: Duke Law School, Fall 1990; Tulane Law School, Summer 2000.

Barrister (Gray’s Inn) 1993; Queen’s Counsel, 2008; Bencher, Gray’s Inn 2008


LLB (Wales), 1973; Maxwell Prize, 1973; LLM (Wales), 1978; PhD (Wales), 1980

MA (Cambridge), 1991

MA (Oxford), 1999