Areas of Practice
Lord (Peter) Goldsmith QC, PC, London co-managing partner and Chair of European and Asian Litigation, joined Debevoise in September 2007. Lord Goldsmith served as the UK’s Attorney General from 2001-2007, prior to which, he was in private practice as one of the leading barristers in London.
Lord Goldsmith continues to act as a barrister for a variety of clients alongside his role as chair of the firm’s European and Asian litigation practices. Most recently, he was awarded runner up in the Barrister of the Year category in The Lawyer Awards 2013, which recognise the foremost practitioners across private practice, the public sector, commerce and industry, and the Bar.
Lord Goldsmith practised from Fountain Court Chambers from 1972-2001, specialising principally in commercial, corporate and international litigation and appellate work. During this time, he was ranked by Chambers UK as being in the top tier of leading silks in London for international arbitration and commercial litigation. He became Queen’s Counsel in 1987 at the early age of 37 and has judicial experience as a Crown Court Recorder and a Deputy High Court Judge. Consistently acknowledged for his prominence, American Lawyer states that “[he has] the advocacy skills of one of the finest barristers of his generation”. He is recommended as a leading lawyer in Chambers UK (2014) for International Arbitration, Public International Law, and Corporate Crime and Investigations. Chambers Europe (2014) describes him as “very easy to deal with and seems really easy-going, but he is a terrier and will fight to the death. Incredibly quick”. The guide also describes him as “a real superstar”, renowned for being an “excellent advocate and extremely busy”. He is praised for his “strong courtroom manner,” and clients appreciate his hands-on approach, responsiveness and sensitivity to their needs. Clients recognise him as a “superb lawyer” and “brilliant advocate,” who is “very clever” and “massively committed.” According to Chambers UK (2013), clients and peers praise Lord Goldsmith for his “overwhelmingly brilliant advocacy”. Chambers Global (2014) describes him as a “prolific arbitration lawyer” with “tremendous ‘experience and stature’ globally”. He is also ranked as a Notable Practitioner in the public international law category of Chambers Global (2014) where he is described as “exceptionally accomplished”. He has also been described as “breathtakingly persuasive” and “one of the great doyens of the English bar,” and he is ranked as a leading lawyer for Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration in Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2013). In Chambers Asia Pacific 2014 he is noted as being “very impressive – a heavyweight counsel who is user-friendly and practical”. He is ranked as a leading individual for Dispute Resolution by Chambers Europe (2012) and described as both ‘”enormously accomplished” and a “brilliant advocate”. Legal 500 UK (2014) ranks Lord Goldsmith as a “leading lawyer” for Corporate Crime and International Arbitration, and also recommends him for Commercial Litigation and Public International Law. The guide has quoted sources saying he is a “superb advocate”, “very strong at hearings”, and “team orientated and client driven”.
Chambers Asia-Pacific (2013) holds Lord Goldsmith as highly regarded amongst the Indian legal community, with one source saying: “He has two skills that form a deadly combination in a litigator: firstly, the ability to dissect any complicated legal problem to one or two basic issues; and secondly, the ability to present a solution to the judge or arbitrator in the simplest possible manner.”
Lord Goldsmith was appointed Attorney General in 2001, acting as chief legal adviser to the government on matters of domestic, European and international law. He represented the government in numerous cases in UK and international courts.
He has appeared in many cases in the House of Lords, the Privy Council and the Court of Appeal as well as international and European courts and in the courts of a number of other jurisdictions. Significant work includes leading cases on auditors’ liability; insurance and takeover law; banking law; company law; insolvency litigation; revenue cases; public law and public international law; and arbitration. A list of representative cases is available on request.
Appointments include member of Singapore International Commercial Court Committee, Council member of the International Section of the American Bar Association; Board Member of the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative; co-Chairman of the ICC Task Force on States and State Entities; member of the International Advisory Board of the Association of Caribbean Corporate Counsel; member of the Independent Governance Committee of FIFA, football’s governing body; Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Access to Justice Foundation; Chairman of the Bar of England & Wales (1995); Chairman of the Financial Reporting Review Panel (1997-2000); co-Chairman of the IBA’s Human Rights Institute (1998-2001); elected to membership of the American Law Institute (1997); and made a member of the Paris Bar (1997). He was a Council member of the International Bar Association (IBA) and the Union Internationale des Avocats. Lord Goldsmith was made a Life Peer in 1999 and Privy Counsellor in 2001. In 1996, he founded the Bar of England and Wales’ Pro Bono Unit, of which he is now President. He is a Bencher of Gray’s Inn. Lord Goldsmith is a nominated member of the P.R.I.M.E. Finance Panel of Experts. P.R.I.M.E. is a panel of Recognised International Market Experts in Finance based in The Hague, established to assist judicial systems in the settlement of disputes on complex financial transactions. The panel of experts comprises some of the most senior people in the financial markets sector. In 2013 Lord Goldsmith was a visiting professor of European Legal Studies at Columbia University, New York.
Lord Goldsmith has published numerous articles and is a frequent public speaker. Recent public speaking engagements include delivering the 2014 Goldman Lecture at the Paris Academy of Arbitration. Recent publications include “How to investigate misbehavior in international sports organisations,” Reforming FIFA edited by Mark Pieth (July 2014), “Deferred Prosecution Agreements Enter Into Force In The UK”, Financial Fraud Law Report (April 2014), “Clarity Needed On Foreign Arbitration Institutions In China”, China Business Law Journal (November 2013), “Across a Dynamic Global Terrain, A Helping Hand”, Caribbean Corporate Counsel Journal (Winter 2013), “What the NY Convention Means for Myanmar”, International Financial Law Review (April 2013), “U.K. Serious Fraud Office Issues New Bribery Act Policies”, Financial Fraud Law Report (February 2013), and “Investors Should Invoke Bilateral Investment Treaties if they are Hurt by Adverse Policies”, The Economic Times (November 2012). Recent speaking engagements include “Effective Use of the Seoul Global Centre Building”, Opening Ceremony of the Seoul IDRC (May 2013), “Risk Management in Private Equity Transactions in China”, China World Summit Wing (May 2013), and “International Investment Protection and Anti-arbitration Injunctions: Are All Bets Off on BITS?”, International Law Association (March 2013).
He was a graduate in law from Cambridge University with double first class honours and a Master’s from University College London. He was admitted to the Bar of England and Wales in 1972 and New South Wales in 2010.