Tom Cornell is an associate (barrister) in the firm’s International Dispute Resolution Group, resident in London. His practice focuses on international arbitration and complex multijurisdictional litigation. He previously clerked for the Master of the Rolls and practised from a Magic Circle firm.

Mr. Cornell represents corporate clients, sovereigns and international organisations on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters, particularly in investor-state arbitration, public international law disputes, commercial arbitrations and litigation in the English courts. He also has experience of anti-corruption, extradition and related criminal investigations, including parallel litigation in the civil courts.

As a barrister, Mr. Cornell has full rights of audience before all courts and tribunals in England & Wales. Prior to joining Debevoise, Mr. Cornell practised at one of London’s leading barristers’ chambers and was Judicial Assistant to the Rt. Hon. Lord Dyson MR at the Court of Appeal for Easter and Trinity terms 2015. He also worked as a Visiting Professional at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Mr. Cornell graduated from Oxford University with a BA (First Class Honours) and holds an LL.M. (with Distinction) in public international law from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences, where he was awarded the Blackstone Chambers Prize. In addition, Mr. Cornell previously served as a research assistant at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, where he worked on a number of national and international projects. He is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Mr. Cornell has a particular interest in international sanctions law and since 2015 has been a guest lecturer in the subject at Lund University in Sweden. He is the author of a chapter focusing on the impact of sanctions on English-law governed contracts and English-seated arbitrations in International Arbitration in England - Perspectives in Times of Change, published by Wolters Kluwer (August, 2022) and a co-author of Sanctions Law, published by Hart Publishing (January, 2019). Other publications include “Court of Appeal Confirms Sanctions Provision Operates to Bar Recovery of Interest on Arbitral Award (Ministry of Defence & Support for Armed Forces of Islamic Republic of Iran v International Military Services Ltd),” LexisNexis Corporate Crime News (February, 2020); “The EU Blocking Regulation: compliance programmes for US and EU companies,” WorldECR (December, 2018) and “UK High Court rules on sanctions clauses in insurance contracts and considers application of the EU Blocking Regulation,” World ECR (November, 2018).


  • London School of Economics and Political Science, 2014, LL.M.
  • BPP Law School, 2010, GDL
  • University of Oxford, 2008, B.A.