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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 states 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, European, Asia-Pacific and UK guides for his work in international arbitration, public international law and financial crime. He is also recommended for commercial litigation by Chambers Global (2023), Chambers Europe (2023) and Chambers UK (2024), where he is described as “a real heavyweight in cross-border disputes” and “one of the best of the best in the field.” The guides have stated that he is “hugely impressive,” “a phenomenal lawyer” and “one of the best advocates in the world,” with a “first-rate mind” and “a huge intellect.” Clients describe him as “exceedingly intelligent and intuitive,” “a deep thinker and problem solver, his power of analysis just scores the goal.” They also say that he is “smooth, calm and collected,” that “it is a real pleasure to work with someone with such wisdom and experience” and that “his insights are invaluable.” He has been described as a “fantastic advocate” as well as “devastating in the courtroom and tremendously smart” with clients saying that he is “one of the best cross-examiners of all time and is unchallenged in that space.” Various editions of the guides have quoted clients as saying that he “has experience and gravitas; having him as counsel can have a significant difference” and that he is “a terrier and will fight to the death” and “a real superstar.” In Chambers Global, special mention has also been made of his work in Belize, India, Africa and South-East Asia. With specific reference to his work in India, the guides have stated that “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.” 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 is included in the guide’s inaugural International Arbitration Powerlist and in its Hall of Fame for international arbitration and public international law, as well as for regulatory investigations and corporate crime, in recognition of having received constant praise by clients over a number of years. In addition, The Legal 500 UK (2024) ranks Lord Goldsmith as a leading lawyer for Corporate Crime, International Arbitration and Public International Law and also recommends him for Commercial Litigation, Construction: Contentious and Emerging Markets. The guide has quoted clients as saying that he is “infinitely knowledgeable and experienced,” “a legal heavyweight whose insights and expertise are incomparable,” he has “impeccable strategic judgement,” and that “his calm authority and intellectual brilliance shines through.” He is “a consummate advocate with brilliant command of detail and process,” “hands on and incisive,” “undoubtedly one of the very top advocates around” and a “strong leader.”

In Benchmark Litigation Europe (2021), in which Lord Goldsmith is ranked as a Dispute Resolution Star for both his commercial litigation and international arbitration practice, he has been described as a “top advocate who shares his expertise with others in his team.” Lord Goldsmith is also listed by Who’s Who Legal as a leading lawyer for litigation, investigations and arbitration, with sources agreeing that he is one of the most influential names in the arbitration field.

The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2023), Chambers Asia-Pacific (2023) and Chambers Global (2023) recommend Lord Goldsmith’s work in India, with clients describing him as “outstanding” and “a legendary figure” who is “immensely well respected.” The India Business Law Journal, which recognises the top India-focussed lawyers at international firms, also mentions that he is “highly regarded by Indian clients.” In previous directory editions, clients note that “he’s got some great qualities. We have to deal with lawyers, but also bureaucrats, and he is able to make them understand the entire process.” They have also noted him as “extremely able and respected” and “well regarded for his experience in India-related arbitration.”

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 “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); “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); “America… How Does it See Itself and Its Place in the World,” Compass Group (April, 2021); “Forum Selection after Brexit: Anti-Suit or Anti-Arbitration?,” India ADR Week (April, 2021); “Future of Commercial Litigation in India,” NPAC Virtual Fireside Chat (February, 2021); “Tainted Assets: What if a Bona Fide Investor Acquires Assets from an Original Investor who Engaged in Corruption?,” Arbitration and Crime: Enforcement of Awards, Tainted Assets, Transnational Public Policy, Sports Arbitration (January, 2021); “Managing & Resolving Shareholder Disputes,” Aarna Law/Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (October, 2020); “Enforcement of Investment Treaty Awards,” Investment Treaty Arbitration (October, 2020); the keynote address at GAR Interactive (October, 2020); “Constitutional Law,” (August, 2020); “Topics in Arbitration,” LCIA Biennial Tylney Hall Symposia (June, 2020); “Issues of Arbitrability, Cyber-Security and Public Law,” 13th edition of National Law School Trilegal International Arbitration Moot (May, 2020); and the keynote address “Alternative Dispute Resolution in Investment -- The Role of Complementary Mechanisms,” 5th EFILA Annual Conference (January, 2020).

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.