English  |  Français  |  русский  |  中文

Lord (Peter) Goldsmith QC, 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 2001–2007, 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 QC and appears regularly in court 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 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. The guides have stated he is “a phenomenal lawyer” and “one of the best advocates in the world,” with a “first-rate mind.” Clients say he is “smooth, calm and collected,” “it is a real pleasure to work with someone with such wisdom and experience,” and that “his insights are invaluable.” He has also been described as a “fantastic advocate” as well as “devastating in the courtroom and tremendously smart.” Various editions of the guides have quoted clients saying 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, 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 (2020) 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 clients as saying 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 (2020), 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.

Lord Goldsmith is recommended for his litigation and anti-corruption and compliance practices in Hong Kong by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2020). Chambers Global (2020) and Chambers Asia-Pacific (2020) recommend Lord Goldsmith’s work in India, with clients describing him as “the bomb.” 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, ICC (for whom he co-chaired the task force on Arbitration for States and State entities), the HKIAC and the SIAC. He also has been appointed or confirmed as arbitrator by LCIA, SIAC and the ICC, 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.

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; and a nominated member of the P.R.I.M.E. Finance Panel of Experts.

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 center 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 publications include “Tipping Point,” India Business Law Journal (March, 2019); “International Race Discrimination,” The Law Society Gazette (February, 2019); contributing to “English Court Of Appeal Clarifies Test For Abuse Of Process In Subsequent Litigation Collaterally Challenging An Arbitral Award,” The ALI Adviser (March, 2017); “Britain and Europe: a new settlement?” EPC Challenge Europe (May, 2016); “An Introduction to International Public Policy,” International Arbitration and Public Policy, edited by Devin Bray and Heather L. Bray (October, 2014); “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 “Issues of Arbitrability, Cyber-Security and Public Law,” 13th edition of National Law School Trilegal International Arbitration Moot (May, 2020); the keynote address “Alternative Dispute Resolution in Investment -- The Role of Complementary Mechanisms,” 5th EFILA Annual Conference (January, 2020); “In conversation with Lord Nicholas of Worth Matravers,” YSIAC London Fireside Chat (October, 2019); “Steps 1-3 of the Draft Toolkit for Arbitrators: Corruption in Substance,” Arbitration and Crime-Dealing with Allegations of Economic Crime in Arbitration (October, 2019); “Sources of Law in Commercial Cases (U.S./UK),” Paris Common Law Seminar (May, 2019); “Contributory Fault, Responsibility for Continuous and Composite Acts, Cumulative Effect of a Series of Acts,” Thirty Second ITF Public Conference: State Responsibility in Investment Law (May, 2019); “Oxford Union Debate: This House Believes that an Increasingly Populist World is Bad for Arbitration,” GAR Live London (May, 2019); “Business & Human Rights Arbitration: What's in it for the Corporations?,” World Law Forum Conference on Arbitration of Business & Human Rights Disputes (March, 2019); delivering the keynote addresses at Tel Aviv Arbitration Day and the Delhi NPAC Conference (February, 2019); “Brexit,” Wealth Forum Advisors (February, 2019); “Evaluating the New Opportunities that Brexit May Open for Legal Firms,” The Legal Services Brexit Summit: Practical Implications, Challenges and Opportunities (February, 2019); “Investment Treaties” Investment Treaty Seminar (January, 2019); “Russia and China: Hong Kong at the Intersection of the Big Business and Big Politics as a Global Dispute Resolutions Venue,” Keynote Speaker Event for HKIAC (November, 2018); “Is it Time to Align the Fees of Law Firms and Tribunals?,” The GAR Live Conference (November, 2018); “Inter-State Arbitration,” The 2nd Permanent Court Of Arbitration India Conference (October, 2018); “Timeline prescribed under the Indian Arbitration Act - The pendulum has swung too far the other way!,” Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration’s Annual Conference (October, 2018); “Growth of International Arbitration: Trails and Triumphs,” Young MCIA Conference (October, 2018); “Brexit, sanctions, Russian investment in the UK, and the UK/Russian relationship,” Vedomosti 14th Annual Business Forum (April, 2018); “Legal Challenges,” Arbitration and Crime—Dealing with Allegations of Economic Crime in Arbitration (January, 2018); “The Role of Legislation in Developing and Sustaining an Arbitration Friendly Seat,” CIArb International Arbitration Conference 2017 (December, 2017); “London as a seat for Middle East Arbitration,” ICC—Arbitration in the Middle East (December, 2017); “Arbitration in a Changing World,” ADR in Asia Conference Hong Kong Arbitration Week (October, 2017); delivering the keynote address at the Eastern European Dispute Resolution Forum (September, 2017); “Parameters of Third Party Funding in International Arbitration, Essar decision and ICCA/Queen Mary Task Force,” Third Party Funding in International Arbitration Breakfast Seminar (July, 2017); “The Challenges and Opportunities of Dispute Resolution in Asia,” ICC UK Host Singapore Trade Minister (May, 2017); “ASIL Council Meeting Speech,” 2017 ASIL Annual Meeting (April, 2017); “Brexit, Devolution, and Dissolution in Europe: Can the Center Hold?,” 2017 ASIL Annual Meeting (April, 2017); delivering the keynote address at CIArb’s Dispute Appointment Service Convention 2016 (December, 2016); “Redefining Arbitrability: To Expand or Not to Expand,” The UNCITRAL 50 Years—Global Standards For Rule-Based Commerce (November, 2016); “Brexit and its Implications for International Arbitration,” ACICA Seminar (October, 2016); The GAR Live Oxford Union-style debate—Motion: “This house believes that advocates should be appointed to plead on behalf of non-appearing respondents in arbitrations,” 6th Annual GAR Live Hong Kong (October, 2016); “The Efficiency and Effectiveness of Arbitration,” IBA Conference 2016 (September, 2016); “The Role of Good Faith in MENA Region Arbitration,” Arab Arbitration Forum; (September, 2016); “Are Arbitrators Under Attack?,” International Bar Association Conference (September, 2016); “Special Relationship Between US and the UK,” LCIA Conference (September, 2016); “2019 and All That,” LCIA Annual Symposium (September, 2016) and Guest Speaker at the Government Counter Fraud Awards 2016 (September, 2016).

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.