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Khawar Qureshi QC, Head of McNair International

Barrister (England and Wales) (1990), Silk (2006)

"A great tactician who reads a tribunal well and fights hard." (Legal 500)

"It is difficult to find someone of Khawar's calibre who really understands the intersection of public international law and commercial law as well as he does." (Legal 500)

"He is a very powerful advocate who works incredibly hard and gets on top of both the legal issues and the facts." (Chambers & Partners)

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Khawar Qureshi QC, Head of McNair International
  • Email
  • PDF

"A great tactician who reads a tribunal well and fights hard." (Legal 500)

"It is difficult to find someone of Khawar's calibre who really understands the intersection of public international law and commercial law as well as he does." (Legal 500)

"He is a very powerful advocate who works incredibly hard and gets on top of both the legal issues and the facts." (Chambers & Partners)

Khawar Qureshi QC specialises in international arbitration, commercial litigation and public international law.

He is consistently identified as a leader in his fields of practice, and has undertaken high profile and complex cases (both in arbitration and litigation) for and against commercial and State parties from more than 70 States with hundreds of appearances in arbitration and court matters. He has also appeared before the International Court of Justice on numerous occasions.

In 2013, he was appointed as a Deputy Judge of the High Court (dealing with civil and commercial matters). He frequently sits as an arbitrator in international commercial disputes. He has also been appointed to board member/special adviser positions at the Tashkent International Arbitration Centre, the African Asian International Arbitration Centre, and the OIC Arbitration Centre in Istanbul.

Khawar Qureshi QC has taught Commercial law at Cambridge University, Public International law at Kings College London and was appointed a Visiting professor in Commercial Law at the University of London in 2006.

He has published widely in the fields of arbitration, commercial litigation and international law, and is frequently invited to speak at webinars and conferences as both a speaker and moderator.

Expertise

His areas of expertise are:

  • International Arbitration
  • Investment Treaty Arbitration
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Public International Law
  • Fraud and Regulatory Law

The full list of cases is very extensive. Examples include:

International Arbitration

“Khawar is an outstanding international lawyer with unique qualities. He deals with complex Public International Law, Commercial Arbitration and Transnational Litigation expertly, effectively and efficiently. He gives practical advice clearly and he is a formidable advocate in any arena. His strategic and tactical inputs, based on his wealth of real litigation experience before judges and arbitrators, pays dividends. Notably, for a barrister, he really is every bit the team player.” (Managing Partner, leading international disputes firm)

  • Representing a UAE party in various multi-million dollar SIAC and LCIA arbitrations against Chinese and Middle Eastern respondents arising out of contracts for sale of oil
  • Re: Moser Baer – Advising and representing party in arbitration proceedings concerning a claim for USD450 million relating to a long term contract for the supply of solar panels (including appearances before the English Commercial Court and Court of Appeal in connection with anti-suit proceedings and contract rectification proceedings)
  • Advising an arbitral institution upon a potential bias claim against an arbitrator appointed in an inter-state dispute
  • Advising and representing a GCC Financial Institution in respect of a Share Purchase Agreement dispute (DIAC arbitration/English arbitrators)
  • Advising and representing an Israeli company in respect of proceedings relating to a joint venture in the Bio-tech sector
  • Advising and representing a State Shipping entity in respect of LMAA proceedings concerning a long terms iron ore shipping contract
  • Advising and representing a Gulf Head of State in respect of an infrastructure (Port) development ICC arbitration seated in Paris
  • Advising and representing a construction company in a FIDIC contract multi-million dollar ICC dispute in the GCC
  • Frequently appearing before the English courts in Arbitration Act 1996 proceedings, including successfully obtaining freezing order relief against bank accounts held by State entities in support of enforcement of an arbitration award; bringing and resisting Section 68/69 challenges; anti-suit injunctions; and enforcement of arbitral awards; challenges to arbitrators.
  • Advising and representing in respect of LCIA proceedings relating to a multi-million pound joint venture dispute in the electrical sector.
  • Advising and representing a major oil company in an ICC arbitration against an African State on a production sharing agreement tax claim.
  • Advising and representing a State entity in an UNCITRAL arbitration against a major oil company on claims arising out of a long term production sharing agreement.

Investment Treaty Arbitration

  • Lead Counsel for the Government of India in disputes relating to Dabhol Power Plant, in what was (at the time) the largest investment-treaty claim ever made against a sovereign State (US$6 billion)
  • Advising Indian parties on potential investment treaty claims against a Middle Eastern State/State entity on a matter arising out of the transport sector
  • ICS v. Argentina – advising and representing the Claimant in investment treaty/UNCITRAL proceedings
  • AES v. Kazakhstan – advising and representing the State in ICSID proceedings concerning energy sector investments
  • Advising a US oil major on potential ICSID and UNCITRAL claims against a West African State concerning disruption to exploration rights in one of the largest oil finds in West Africa
  • Advising on EFTA and ICSID proceedings against a European State in the aftermath of the collapse of its banking sector
  • Advising a UK company on an ICSID claim against a Caribbean state
  • Advising a South East Asian Sovereign Wealth Fund on Investment Treaty based claims against a State
  • Advising Investors on an ICSID claim against an EU State (infrastructure concession dispute)
  • Advising a State in respect of an ICSID claim relating to cancelation of a mining licence.
  • Advising a UK mining entity in respect of a potential ICSID claim against a South American State

Commercial Litigation

“Khawar is rightly known to be willing to get stuck in, particularly on complex and unusual matters, and to be easy to work with nonetheless. He has vast experience of a wide range of matters which shines through in both advice and advocacy.” (Managing Partner, leading litigation firm)

  • Ridley and others v. Dubai Islamic Bank – claim before the English Commercial Court to enforce security in the sum of $600 million in the aftermath of the financial crisis in Dubai
  • Tullow v. Heritage – advising and representing Heritage in Commercial Court proceedings concerning a claim for an indemnity arising out of the sale/purchase of oil interests in Uganda
  • High Commissioner of Pakistan v Natwest & Ors – advised and represented the Claimant in respect of claim to funds held by the Defendant
  • Dubai Financial Group v National Air Services – advising and representing the Claimant in challenge to default judgment proceedings
  • Advising and representing the Guernsey Law Officers of the Crown in English High Court and Court of Appeal proceedings (Tchenguiz matter)

International Law

“Khawar Qureshi is undoubtably the doyen of the English bar when it comes to public international law issues. He is enthusiastic, has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the law and above all he has an extremely affable and engaging manner when dealing with clients and opponents” (Managing Partner, boutique international law firm)

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro – appeared before the International Court of Justice on behalf of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • India v Pakistan (the “Jadhav” case) - Acted as sole advocate for Pakistan in proceedings brought by India in the International Court of Justice
  • Advising a State on public international law issues concerning the development of an environmental law treaty
  • Advising and representing a State on issues concerning property rights subsequent to independence and Inter-State Bilateral Treaty issues
  • Advising on the enforcement of a judgment against a State subject to UN/EU Sanctions
  • Advising an International Organisation upon its Immunity from Jurisdiction (Headquarters agreement) and international constitutional issues
  • Advising a State on an ad-hoc arbitration agreement entered into with another State in respect of sensitive political issues
  • Advising major UK multi-national companies on the impact of Brexit on specific UK Treaty obligations, including advising on issues arising out of the European Patent Convention following Brexit
  • Representing a State entity as Intervener in judicial review proceedings concerning EU/Treaty obligations in the context of trade issues.
  • Representing a Claimant in judicial review proceedings concerning the UK’s conduct relating to the EU Withdrawal Treaty
  • Re: Lotfi Raissi – representing the Home Secretary in Judicial Review proceedings (up to and including the Court of Appeal) concerning a claim to compensation arising out of the detention of the Claimant allegedly in connection with September 11th incidents
  • Campaign Against the Arms Trade v. FCO and MOD – appointed as the first ever Special Advocate in an appeal before the Information Tribunal relating to a Freedom of Information Act request seeking documents evidencing sales of weapons to Saudi Arabia since 1969. Cross-examined various witnesses in closed sessions.
  • Re: X – advising and representing State authorities in respect of a challenge to extradition of an individual allegedly implicated in an attempted coup
  • Re: Evans v. MOD/FCO – Special Advocate in Judicial Review proceedings concerning alleged mistreatment of prisoners returned to Afghan authorities by UK forces
  • Advocate to the English High Court in Kensington International v Congo concerning specific performance, injunctive relief and service of proceedings against a State arising out of a debt obligation.
  • Junior Counsel to the Attorney General of England & Wales in the first ever prosecution and trial for the crime of torture – the Zardad case (3 month trial at the Old Bailey, London).
  • Counsel for the US Government before the House of Lords in the challenge to the extradition of individuals implicated in the bombing of the US Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998
  • Advised a major State on issues relating to diplomatic immunity in respect of potential criminal proceedings in England

Fraud and Regulatory Law

  • Advising the Director of Public Prosecutions of Kenya (as Lead Counsel for the Prosecution specially appointed in 2018) in respect of the criminal and constitutional proceedings pending before the Kenyan Courts and Judicial Services Commission relating to charges of fraud against Deputy Chief Justice of Kenya.
  • Appeared as Advocate to the Court before the Qatar Financial Centre Civil and Commercial Court to assist the Court in respect of the regulatory framework underpinning a £40 million financial penalty imposed on the First Abu Dhabi National Bank PJSC, as well as providing a comparative analysis with reference to the USA and UK financial services regulatory regime.
  • Re: Berlusconi and Mills – representing the Prosecutor of Milan in evidence gathering proceedings before the English Court (cross examining witnesses in England for proceedings in Italy)
  • Re: Koopman and Georgiadis – representing the Director of the SFO in Judicial Review proceedings concerning a South African Mutual Legal Assistance request (alleged corruption)
  • Re: Jeffrey Tesler – advising and representing the Director of the SFO in Judicial Review proceedings concerning a US Mutual Legal Assistance request relating to Halliburton and alleged corruption in the Nigerian Bonney Island LNG project
  • Advising the SFO in respect of a mutual legal assistance request made by an East African State concerning alleged corruption underpinning large scale commercial contracts
  • Advising and representing the SFO in respect of a high profile mutual legal assistance request made by an EU state concerning alleged criminality (dumping of hazardous waste)
  • Advising a major Scandinavian multi-national corporation in respect of an investigation of alleged corruption
  • Re: Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority v Al Mal Bank – advising Directors of a Bank subject to regulatory intervention
  • Advising a leading EU Bank in respect of US Sanctions enforcement
  • Re: Abacha – advising and representing the Home Secretary in respect of a contested requested for Mutual Legal Assistance
  • Re: Garnet – advising and representing (before the Court of Appeal and Privy Council) the Guernsey authorities in respect of a failed legal challenge relating to “no-consent” vis-à-vis suspicious transactions and financial regulation
  • Imperial Energy Plc – appearing before the Take Over Panel in the context of a disputed take over
  • Re: Telecoms – advising and representing one of the world’s leading telecom operators in respect of a dispute (foreign regulatory and Court proceedings) concerning Mobile Telephone Licence/interference by the incumbent – leading to sanctions against the incumbent
  • Advising the SFO and Home Office in respect of an MLA request made by the Russian authorities in connection with the Yukos matter

Education 

  • LLB, LLM (First Class), University of Cambridge 

Membership and Appointments

  • Visiting lecturer in Commercial Law at the University of Cambridge (1989-1993)
  • Visiting Lecturer in Public International Law, King’s College London (1995-2002)
  • Member/Vice Chairman Bar Council International Relations Committee & Chairman Public International Law Committee (1998-2008)
  • Appointed by the UK Government as “A” Panel Treasury Counsel to advise and represent the UK Government in civil matters (1999-2006)
  • Visiting Professor in Commercial Law at London University (2006-2013)
  • Appointed as a Recorder (part time civil judge in England and Wales) (2010)
  • Chairman of TheCityUK Legal Services and Dispute Resolution Group (2010-2015)
  • Halsbury Law Exchange (Lexis Nexis) Board Member (2010-present)
  • Appointed as a Deputy Judge of the High Court (dealing with civil and commercial matters) (2013)
  • Appointed as a Member of the Supervisory Board of the Tashkent International Arbitration Centre (2019)
  • Appointed by the Government of Malaysia as a Member of the Advisory Council of the Asian International Arbitration Centre (2021)

Publications 

Textbooks: 

  • Wildy’s Legal Handbooks: “Conflicts of Interest in International Arbitration” (2016), “Bilateral Investment Treaty Claims: The Essentials” (2016), “Public International Law Before the English Courts” (2016), “Advisory Opinions of the International Court of Justice” (2018)
  • “Qatar International Court and Dispute Resolution Centre. A Guide to the Court and Regulatory Tribunal: Procedure and Jurisprudence” (LexisNexis, 2022)

 Selected articles include:

  • “Arab World Litigants in the English Courts (2019-2020)” (International Journal of Arab Arbitration, 2021)
  • “A leap towards digital court hearings must deal with all their limitations” (The Times, 2021)
  • “The Qatar Diplomatic Crisis - Two Years On” (with Catriona Nicol) (Qatar Business Law Review, 2019)
  • “Public international law: 2020 in review” (New Law Journal, 2021)
  • “Arbitration Act 1996: a fine balance” (New Law Journal, 2021)
  • “Arbitrators deserve the same confidence as judges” (The Times, 2020)
  • “An overarching duty to comply with the law? The UK Internal Market Bill: ‘Minor clarifications’ and the Rule of Law” (New Law Journal, 2020)
  • “The rules underpinning politics are at stake” (The Times, 2020)
  • “Smear tactics— a sign of the times?” (New Law Journal, 2018)
  • “Arbitration Act 1996: key cases in 2016” (New Law Journal, 2017)
  • “The highs & lows of public international law” (New Law Journal, 2017)
  • “Umpires on sticky wickets – update on recent accusations of arbitrator bias” (New Law Journal, 2016)
  • “Nowhere to hide: State immunity—states & litigants beware” (New Law Journal, 2015)
  • “Protection of Shareholders under the European Convention of Human Rights and the "Margin of Appreciation"” (Butterworth Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, 2013)
  • “Time for change? Ethics in International” (New Law Journal, 2013)
  • “Too hot to handle: how fraud & corruption are dealt with in the arbitral process” (New Law Journal, 2010)
  • “Corruption: how to make a difference” (The Times, 2003)
  • “Was intervention in Iraq legally justified?” (Amicus Curiae, 2003)
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