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Lord (Peter) Goldsmith KC, PC, London Co-Managing Partner and Chair of European and Asian Litigation, joined Debevoise in 2007. Lord Goldsmith served as the UK’s Attorney General from 2001 to 2007, prior to which he was in private practice as one of the leading barristers in London.

Lord Goldsmith acts for a variety of clients alongside his role as Chair of the firm’s European and Asian litigation practices, in arbitration and litigation in the United Kingdom and other countries. He is a KC and appears regularly in court in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, including Cayman where he has also been admitted to practise, as well as in arbitration.

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, Chairman of the English Bar at 45, and has judicial experience as a Crown Court Recorder and a Deputy High Court Judge.

Consistently acknowledged for his prominence, The American Lawyer has stated that “[he has] the advocacy skills of one of the finest barristers of his generation.”

He is recommended as a leading lawyer by Chambers & Partners in its Global, Europe and UK guides for his work in international arbitration, public international law and litigation. The Chambers & Partners guides describe him as “clearly one of the best of the best in the field,” and state “his experience is unmatched.” They also say “his court performance is excellent,” and that he “deserves his reputation as a courtroom heavyweight.” Indeed, the guides have quoted clients saying he is “one of the best cross-examiners of all time and is unchallenged in that space,” and that he “has experience and gravitas; having him as counsel can have a significant difference.” In Chambers Global, special mention has also been made of his work in Brazil, Belize, India, Africa and South-East Asia. India Business Law Journal also named Lord Goldsmith to its “International A-List”, which recognises the top India-focussed lawyers at international firms.

The Legal 500 guides rank Lord Goldsmith in similar esteem. He was included in the guide’s inaugural International Arbitration Powerlist. He is currently ranked by The Legal 500 UK (2024) in its Hall of Fame for International Arbitration, Public International Law and Regulatory Investigations and Corporate Crime. The guide has quoted clients as saying that he is “infinitely knowledgeable and experienced,” and is “a legal heavyweight whose insights and expertise are incomparable.” He is described as “a consummate advocate with brilliant command of detail and process,” and “undoubtedly one of the very top advocates around.”

Lord Goldsmith is also listed by Who’s Who Legal (2024) as a Thought Leader for arbitration and a leading lawyer for litigation and investigations, with sources agreeing that he is one of the most influential names in the arbitration field.

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 also argued as counsel in the House of Lords two of the 15 cases regarded as the most important British cases of the last 150 years.

He conducts arbitrations under all the major institutions including the LCIA, ICC and SIAC and ad hoc arbitrations. He is closely connected with the LCIA, the ICC (for whom he co-chaired the task force on Arbitration for States and State entities), the HKIAC and the SIAC. He has been named to the Delhi International Arbitration Centre’s list of arbitrators, and is included in the international arbitration database of the Arbitration Center at the Institute of Modern Arbitration, Moscow.

He has appeared at all levels of courts in the United Kingdom and 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 including the highest court in the Caribbean and Cayman.

Significant work includes partnership disputes, joint ventures, oil and gas disputes, auditors’ liability, insurance and takeover law, banking law, company law, insolvency litigation, public law and public international law, including judicial review and human rights law.

His past and present appointments include a Fellow for the American Bar Foundation; a Council Member of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA); Chairman of the Bar of England & Wales, 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; a member of the 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; a nominated member of the P.R.I.M.E. Finance Panel of Experts; and Chairman of the International Agreements Committee (a Select Committee of the House of Lords).

Lord Goldsmith was made a Life Peer in 1999 and Privy Counsellor in 2001. He is a Bencher of Gray’s Inn and has been a visiting professor of European Legal Studies at Columbia University, New York. He has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by The University of Law, London.

He has judicial experience as a Crown Court recorder and Deputy High Court Judge. In addition to the Bar of England & Wales, he is admitted to a number of other bars on a permanent (Belize, British Virgin Islands, New South Wales, Paris, Northern Ireland) or case-by-case basis (e.g., St. Kitts and Nevis, Cayman, Bahamas). He is also a Registered Foreign Lawyer at the Singapore International Commercial Court.

Lord Goldsmith has a strong history and life-long support for pro bono assistance to bring legal advice to the disadvantaged. As a young lawyer, he started a legal advice centre in the East End of London and, later in his career, founded the Bar of England & Wales’ Pro Bono Unit, a nationwide charity providing the free legal services of thousands of barristers (of which he remains President) and the Attorney General’s pro bono coordinating committees (which coordinates pro bono activity in England and Wales) and became first chair of the Access to Justice Foundation, a cross-profession initiative which raises money to support pro bono organisations across the country and is by statute the sole recipient of pro bono costs award (a role in which he continues). Amongst other recognitions, he was awarded the Lifetime Award for Extraordinary Contribution to the Development of Pro Bono Culture in Europe at the 2014 PILnet European Pro Bono Forum. He continues to be an active pro bono lawyer. Recent cases include representing 300,000 dispossessed Nigerian citizens before the African Commission of Human Rights in the Gambia in respect of their forcible eviction and the destruction of their homes at Maroko Lagos and acting as lead advocate in the Supreme Court of Belize for an intervening legal rights organisation in the case of Caleb Orozco against the Attorney General of Belize, in which on 10 August 2016, the Chief Justice struck down the country’s law criminalising homosexuality as unconstitutional.

Lord Goldsmith has published numerous articles and is a frequent public speaker. Recent speaking engagements include “Next Steps for Legal Professional Ethics in the UK,” Westminster Legal Policy Forum Keynote Seminar (February, 2024); “Informed Lessons from International Arbitration,” High-Level Convening on the Peace Treaty Initiative (November, 2023); “Universal Criminal Jurisdiction: A Key Tool in the Fight Against Impunity for Atrocity Crimes in Ukraine and Beyond,” The Centre for International Law and Policy in Africa, the International Bar Association and Debevoise & Plimpton (October, 2023); “Challenges: A Real or Perceived Threat?,” GAR Live London (October, 2023); “Dispute Resolution – Litigation vs Arbitration,” Indo-UK Legal Summit (October, 2023); “Litigating in the English Courts: an Overview,” Avellum Arbitration Day (September, 2023); “The Long Term View of India,” Debevoise & Plimpton LLP/ Khaitan & Co (April, 2023); “The Review of the Arbitration Act 1996: How Do We Maintain English Arbitration Law as State of the Art?,” BIICL Seminar (November, 2022); “Developments In The Arbitration Law Of England & Wales: Impact On Arbitration Globally And London’s Place In The World,” GAR Live London (May, 2022); “The United Kingdom and International Law: Can the UK Fill the Vacuum at the Helm of International Legal Order?,” Colloquium on Challenges to Global Governance and Humanities in the 21st Century (April, 2022); and “Arbitration, Investment and the Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards in the State of Qatar,” 4th International Arbitration Conference: Impact of Arbitration on Achieving Satisfactory Environment for Investment (March, 2022).

He is 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 & Wales in 1972 and New South Wales in 2010.