Freshfields PIL Brochure
Public international law
A first-class public international law practice.
States, corporations, international organisations, non-governmental organisations and individuals turn to Freshfields to represent them as counsel and to advise them on their most important issues across the full spectrum of public international law.
We have acted as counsel in cases before all major international courts and tribunals, including the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, and many different kinds of specialised courts, tribunals and commissions.
We also have a very active advisory practice, evaluating risks and opportunities presented by issues of public international law and helping our clients determine their best course of action.
Our recent experience includes work on:
- sovereignty over territory;
- boundary disputes;
- the law of the sea;
- rights to and regulation of natural resources, including hydrocarbons, fresh water and fisheries;
- inter-state arrangements for sharing resources;
- statehood and recognition of governments;
- the law of treaties;
- international environmental law;
- cross-boundary infrastructure;
- control over airspace;
- state immunity and diplomatic immunity;
- acting for investors and states in arbitrations under treaties on the protection of foreign investments;
- issues of public international law arising before national or regional courts or regulatory authorities;
- international human rights law;
- business and human rights issues;
- international humanitarian law; and
- international criminal law.
Members of our public international law practice come from both common law and civil law backgrounds, and among other languages can work in Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish. They hold doctorates in international law, regularly teach postgraduate courses at leading universities, and deliver and publish academic and practical papers on international law and its application.
Examples of our work
Representing Chile in a dispute with Bolivia before the International Court of Justice concerning Bolivia’s claim to sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean.
Representing Italy in a dispute with India before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and an arbitral tribunal constituted under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea concerning which of them has criminal jurisdiction over two Italian marines accused of wrongdoing off the coast of India.
Representing Belize in the proceedings before the International Court of Justice on the request for an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965.
Representing Slovenia in an inter-state dispute with Croatia before the European Court of Human Rights concerning the treatment by the Croatian authorities of a Slovenian state-owned bank.
Representing Chile in its dispute with Peru before the International Court of Justice concerning the two countries' common maritime boundary.
Representing Bahrain in its dispute with Qatar before the International Court of Justice concerning sovereignty over territory and boundaries.
Representing the Republic of Turkey in three arbitrations commenced by a foreign investor under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), and in related proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights.
Representing Liechtenstein in its dispute with Germany before the International Court of Justice concerning assets taken from Liechtenstein at the end of the Second World War.
Acting as standing advisor to different states on different continents on issues of public international law as they arise.
Advising Cambodia on its overlapping maritime claims with Thailand, including on the negotiation of a joint development treaty.
Advising a European state in a dispute with a neighbouring state concerning issues of state succession, territorial sovereignty and their common maritime boundary.
Representing a coalition of NGOs focused on freedom of speech, led by the International Press Institute, in an intervention before the European Court of Human Rights.
Advising the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on issues of public international law.
Acting for NGO interveners in cases before the European Court of Human Rights regarding the assessment of victims of trafficking.
Assisting REDRESS with three amicus curiae submissions before the International Criminal Court concerning the charging of rape and sexual slavery as torture, and reparations for international crimes committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
Acting for individuals in human rights claims before the European Court of Human Rights regarding gender identity.
Will Thomas KC Partner, Head of Public International Law
Lluís Paradell Trius Counsel
Alexandra van der Meulen Counsel
Nigel Blackaby KC Partner, Co-Head of Latin America Practice