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Prof. Philippe Sands QC
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Prof. Philippe Sands QC

"Very prominent, influential, extremely good and one of the big names of his age."

Chambers Global 2016
Called: 1985 | Silk: 2003 | Academic

Philippe is Professor of public understanding of law at University College London, and Samuel and Judith Pisar Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is President of English PEN and on the board of the Hay Festival of Arts and Literature.

Author of many books, including East West Street (2016) and The Ratline (2020), Philippe is an occasional contributor to many publications, including the Guardian, Financial Times and New York Times, and appears regularly on the BBC and CNN. His next book, The Last Colony, will be published in September 2022.

Over recent years, Philippe has developed a practice in general international law, covering a wide range of subjects, acting as counsel and arbitrator.

Areas in which he currently advises, litigates and arbitrates include:

  • maritime boundary disputes in the Caribbean, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans;
  • international claims relating to natural resources, pollution and environmental protection;
  • international investment disputes, as arbitrator;
  • issues relating to human rights and immunities;
  • international claims relating to the use of force and allegations of genocide and crimes against humanity, and other violations of fundamental human rights;
  • cases relating to individual violations of international criminal laws;
  • international sports disputes, as arbitrator .

He has appeared before many international courts, including the European Court of Justice; the International Court of Justice; the World Trade Organisation dispute settlement organs; the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea; the International Criminal Court; and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He has appeared in arbitrations under the rules of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Chamber of Commerce; the World Bank Inspection Panel; and the Special Court for Sierra Leone).  Philippe also appears before the English courts.

Philippe has accepted appointments as an arbitrator in several cases under ICSID and UNCITRAL rules. He is on the list of arbitrators in the field of natural resources and the environment maintained by the Secretary General to the Permanent Court of Arbitration and is a designated Member of the Panel of Arbitrators established by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes. Having accepted an appointment as ICSID arbitrator, since July 2007 he has not accepted new instructions to act as counsel in investment treaty arbitrations. In June 2011, he was appointed to the panel of arbitrators of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS), and has been appointed as arbitrator in several cases since September 2011.

His academic publications include Bowett’s Law of International Institutions (Sweet & Maxwell, 6th edition, 2009), From Nuremberg to The Hague (CUP, 2003), Principles of International Environmental Law (CUP, 3rd edition, 2012, with Jacqueline Peel), and the Manual of International Courts and Tribunals (2nd ed., 2010, OUP, co-editor).

His writings include The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive (Weidnefeld, 2016),  East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide & Crimes against Humanity (Weidenfeld, 2016), Torture Team: Uncovering War Crimes in the Land of the Free (Penguin/Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and Lawless World (Penguin, 2005).

Professor of Laws and Director of the Centre on International Courts and Tribunals, University College London, University of London (since January 2002)

Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School (since 2019)

Member of the Bar of England and Wales (called 1985), former Member of the Irish Bar (called 2002)

Queen’s Counsel (2003)

Founder Member of Matrix Chambers, Grays Inn, London WC1 (www.matrixlaw.co.uk)

Previously held academic positions at the Universities of Cambridge (1984-8, Research Fellow, St Catharine’s College) and Kings College London (1988-91).

Founder and Director of Studies, Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (SOAS) (1989-1999)

Global Professor of Law, New York University School of Law (1994-2003)

Professor of International Law, University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies), (1999-2002) (previously Reader in International Law (1996 to 1999; Lecturer in Law, 1992-6)

Commission on a Bill of Rights, independent Commission established by the Government of the United Kingdom, Member (2011-2013)

Permanent Court of Arbitration, Appointed by Secretary General to Panel of Arbitrators pursuant to Article 8(3) of the PCA Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Natural Resources and the Environment (2002-2014)

Member of the Panel of Arbitrators established by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, designated by Guyana (since 2005)

Member, Panel of Arbitrators, International Court of Arbitration for Sport (since June 2011)

Philippe is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to his clients, including advice and representation services, Philippe needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes his client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which he is instructed. To read Philippe’s privacy notice in full, please see here.

Philippe is regulated by the Bar Standards Board and accepts instructions under Standard Contractual Terms. To find out more information on this and the way we work at Matrix, including our fee transparency statement, please see our see our service standards.

DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"A brilliant advocate, a great strategist and a wonderful orator. He is absolutely terrific to work with."

"An esteemed practitioner who is often retained by NGOs and states on matters of international significance."

"He’s a very impressive barrister who’s written a leading textbook on international environmental law."

"A highly regarded PIL practitioner, with significant expertise spanning international environmental law, international criminal law and international maritime law."

"He has the best oral advocacy skills of anyone out there. He is terrifically eloquent and is unmatched in his ability to present complicated legal issues before courts and tribunals."

"An important and talented figure with a diverse practice."

"He’s very dynamic, with a diverse range of experience in different contexts and fields of international law. Very prominent, influential, extremely good and one of the big names of his age."

Chambers & Partners
Matrix Chambers
24 HOUR ASSISTANCE
+44 (0)20 7404 3447
Prof. Philippe Sands QC
Called: 1985 | Silk: 2003 | Academic

"Very prominent, influential, extremely good and one of the big names of his age."

Chambers Global 2016

MAIN AREAS OF PRACTICE

  • International arbitration
  • Commercial Law
  • Environmental Law and Natural Resources
  • Civil Liberties and Human Rights
  • Mediation
  • Public International Law
  • Sports Law
  • Commercial Public Law

Prof. Philippe Sands QC

Contact Philippe: philippesands@matrixlaw.co.uk | +44 (0)20 7404 3447

Contact Philippe's Practice Team (Team T): TeamT@matrixlaw.co.uk


Philippe is Professor of public understanding of law at University College London, and Samuel and Judith Pisar Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He is President of English PEN and on the board of the Hay Festival of Arts and Literature.

Author of many books, including East West Street (2016) and The Ratline (2020), Philippe is an occasional contributor to many publications, including the Guardian, Financial Times and New York Times, and appears regularly on the BBC and CNN. His next book, The Last Colony, will be published in September 2022.

International Law

Over recent years, Philippe has developed a practice in general international law, covering a wide range of subjects, acting as counsel and arbitrator. Areas in which he currently advises, litigates and arbitrates include: maritime boundary disputes in the Caribbean, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; international claims relating to natural resources, pollution and environmental protection; international investment disputes, as arbitrator; issues relating to human rights and immunities; international claims relating to the use of force and allegations of genocide and crimes against humanity, and other violations of fundamental human rights; cases relating to individual violations of international criminal laws; international sports disputes, as arbitrator . He has appeared before many international courts, including the European Court of Justice; the International Court of Justice; the World Trade Organisation dispute settlement organs; the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea; the International Criminal Court; and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He has appeared in arbitrations under the rules of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Chamber of Commerce; the World Bank Inspection Panel; and the Special Court for Sierra Leone).  Philippe also appears before the English courts. Philippe has accepted appointments as an arbitrator in several cases under ICSID and UNCITRAL rules. He is on the list of arbitrators in the field of natural resources and the environment maintained by the Secretary General to the Permanent Court of Arbitration and is a designated Member of the Panel of Arbitrators established by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes. Having accepted an appointment as ICSID arbitrator, since July 2007 he has not accepted new instructions to act as counsel in investment treaty arbitrations. In June 2011, he was appointed to the panel of arbitrators of the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS), and has been appointed as arbitrator in several cases since September 2011.

Academic Publications

His academic publications include Bowett’s Law of International Institutions (Sweet & Maxwell, 6th edition, 2009), From Nuremberg to The Hague (CUP, 2003), Principles of International Environmental Law (CUP, 3rd edition, 2012, with Jacqueline Peel), and the Manual of International Courts and Tribunals (2nd ed., 2010, OUP, co-editor).

Books and other writings

His writings include The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive (Weidnefeld, 2016),  East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide & Crimes against Humanity (Weidenfeld, 2016), Torture Team: Uncovering War Crimes in the Land of the Free (Penguin/Palgrave Macmillan, 2008) and Lawless World (Penguin, 2005).

Current Academic Positions

Professor of Laws and Director of the Centre on International Courts and Tribunals, University College London, University of London (since January 2002) Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School (since 2019)

Professional Qualifications

Member of the Bar of England and Wales (called 1985), former Member of the Irish Bar (called 2002) Queen’s Counsel (2003) Founder Member of Matrix Chambers, Grays Inn, London WC1 (www.matrixlaw.co.uk)

Previous Academic Positions

Previously held academic positions at the Universities of Cambridge (1984-8, Research Fellow, St Catharine’s College) and Kings College London (1988-91). Founder and Director of Studies, Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (SOAS) (1989-1999) Global Professor of Law, New York University School of Law (1994-2003) Professor of International Law, University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies), (1999-2002) (previously Reader in International Law (1996 to 1999; Lecturer in Law, 1992-6)

Public Appointments

Commission on a Bill of Rights, independent Commission established by the Government of the United Kingdom, Member (2011-2013)

Arbitral Appointments

Permanent Court of Arbitration, Appointed by Secretary General to Panel of Arbitrators pursuant to Article 8(3) of the PCA Optional Rules for Arbitration of Disputes Relating to Natural Resources and the Environment (2002-2014) Member of the Panel of Arbitrators established by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, designated by Guyana (since 2005) Member, Panel of Arbitrators, International Court of Arbitration for Sport (since June 2011)
Philippe's Privacy Notice

Philippe is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. In order to provide legal services to his clients, including advice and representation services, Philippe needs to collect and hold personal data. This includes his client’s personal data and the personal data of others who feature in the matter upon which he is instructed. To read Philippe’s privacy notice in full, please see here.


DIRECTORY RECOMMENDATIONS

"A brilliant advocate, a great strategist and a wonderful orator. He is absolutely terrific to work with."

"An esteemed practitioner who is often retained by NGOs and states on matters of international significance."

"He’s a very impressive barrister who’s written a leading textbook on international environmental law."

"A highly regarded PIL practitioner, with significant expertise spanning international environmental law, international criminal law and international maritime law."

"He has the best oral advocacy skills of anyone out there. He is terrifically eloquent and is unmatched in his ability to present complicated legal issues before courts and tribunals."

"An important and talented figure with a diverse practice."

"He’s very dynamic, with a diverse range of experience in different contexts and fields of international law. Very prominent, influential, extremely good and one of the big names of his age."

Chambers & Partners