Paul Key KC

Paul Key KC

Barrister, Essex Court Chambers


  • Extensive experience as an arbitrator in ad hoc and institutional international arbitration
  • Awarded “International Arbitration Silk of the Year” in The Legal 500 UK Awards 2019
  • Awarded ‘Chambers & Partners’ Junior Barrister of the Year in the field of international arbitration
  • Delegate for the UNCITRAL Working Group on Arbitration.
  • Visiting Professor in international arbitration law at King’s College, London
  • Working knowledge of French and Italian


Paul Key is recognised as one of the leading silks at the Commercial Bar, specialising in complex, cross-border and high-value disputes.

Paul has been widely recognised for his specialism in arbitration, both international commercial arbitration (including ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, SCC and ARIAS) and investment treaty arbitration (including ICSID). He has been ranked in the top-tier (band 1) rankings for arbitration for over 10 years and has consistently been identified as one of the leading figures in that field (“a real arbitration expert”, “few can rival his expertise, ability and knowledge in the field of investment arbitration”, he has established an impressive case portfolio”, “the first port of call for important arbitration disputes”, “an arbitration guru”, “when working on a huge international arbitration, he seamlessly slots into the wider team and provides spot-on insights”).

He is Visiting Professor in international arbitration law at King’s College, London, and has lectured and published widely in this field. He has been a long-standing representative of the UK on the ILA International Commercial Arbitration Committee and is also a delegate for the UNCITRAL Working Group on Arbitration.

His practice spans a vast array of fields in international and domestic law, including very substantial experience in each of the following subject-matter areas: foreign investment; international trade; civil fraud; energy; joint ventures; power and other large scale infrastructure projects; offshore disputes; oil & gas; telecommunications; shipping; agency and distribution (including commercial agency); conflict of laws; and public international law (largely in the investment context).

Prior to taking Silk, Paul won the Chambers & Partners Award for “International Arbitration Junior Barrister of the Year” and was also nominated for this award in commercial dispute resolution. He was recently nominated (as one of three) for Silk of the Year in Projects and Energy.


  • Banking & financial services
  • Energy & natural resources
  • Insurance
  • Shipping
  • Telecommunications and Satellites


  • University of Cambridge, Doctor of Philosophy