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Nicholas Padfield QC


    Nicholas Padfield QC has a principally appellate practice both in the UK and internationally. Areas of specialisation include commercial law, international and domestic arbitration, trans-national litigation, public and private international law, banking and financial instruments, international trusts, defence and off shore disputes, judicial review, extradition and immigration law, human rights, constitutional and administrative law, university law, construction, building and engineering, blood stock and stud syndication. He has been called to the Bar in various jurisdictions, both ad hoc and generally, including the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Malaysia, Isle of Man, Anguilla, Antigua, St Kitts and Nevis.

    His first five years of practice were spent in acting for all government departments as the Treasury Devil’s devil when Lord Slynn of Hadley was the Treasury Devil, in whose chambers (then One Hare Court) he has spent most of his professional life.

    As a practising barrister he has been involved for many years both on a domestic level as an adviser and an advocate where issues of public international law have arisen, and on an international level where he has not only advised States or governmental entities but also acted on their behalf. Examples of his involvement on a domestic level include the freezing of Iranian assets, the Turkish intervention in Northern Cyprus, the recovery of assets of the bankrupt estate of Hilmar Reksten (Norway), and representing the Pakistan Ministry of Defence, Hastings Banda (Malawi), Sunny Abacha and Princess Abiola (Nigeria).

    Further examples are the Privy Council case of Horace Fraser (the removal of a judge by unconstitutional means) in St Lucia, and Go Obed (immigration) in the Court of Appeal which overturned 8 years of practice by the AIT Upper Tribunal. He has appeared in more than 200 reported cases, in the majority of which he has represented the successful party as Leader.


    Examples of his involvement on an international level include the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution, the re-scheduling of debt for Peru, advising the Serbian Supreme Court (post Milosevic) on constitutional matters involving the judiciary and human rights, advising on the legality of the bombing of churches in Kosovo, the legality of the invasion of Iraq and vote-rigging in the 2005 Nigerian Presidential elections. He has also represented various parties in relation to disputes involving the WHO, ILO and the World Bank. As well as drafting legislation for foreign states, he has given expert evidence on a number of occasions and has been the legal assessor to a foreign commission of inquiry conducted by Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC in St Kitts into malfeasance in public office by the Government of St Kitts and Nevis.

    His entry in the first edition of Who’s Who in Public International Law 2007 which is by invitation only (he was invited by Sir Elihu Lauterpacht CBE QC) illustrates the scope of his involvement in advising States and appearing on their behalf. The first edition covers the top 600 international lawyers in the world. The second edition is in the course of preparation.

    He has for many years advised on trust and off-shore matters, in particular in the Caribbean, where he has successfully defeated attacks made in the Supreme Court of the Eastern Caribbean on the validity of off-shore trusts set up there and elsewhere.


    He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is a past Chairman of the CIArb (London Branch). He is a Lloyd’s arbitrator for claims without restriction as to amount (i.e. claims in excess of £200,000). He is a founder member of the LCIA (the London Court of International Arbitration). He is also a member of the IBA.


    Former member, Joint Regulations Committee (Chairman of two sub-committees), and former Vice-Chairman of the JRC.
    Opinion for the Bar Council: “The application of the European Convention on Human Rights to Criminal Legal Aid cases in the light of the decision of the European Court in “Granger v United Kingdom” (29th May 1990)
    Opinion for the Bar Council: “In the Matter of Interest recovered on Costs awarded in favour of Legally-aided litigants” (10th May 1991)

    Bar Council panellist for the programme “An American in Europe: Corporate Counsel Relations with European Lawyers” at the American Bar Association, San Francisco, 6-13th August 1992.
    Speaker, Bar European Group Joint Bar Council/Law Society presentation on the Lugano and San Sebastian Conventions (1993).
    Author of the official response by the Bar Council to the European Commission on the EC Diplomas Directive entitled “Re. EC Practitioners Aptitude Test” (8th March 1995).

    The Bar Council’s representative on the two-man UK Delegation for the EC Diplomas Directive Meeting of the Council of the Bars and Law Societies of the European Community on 7th July 1995.
    Briefed (November 1994) by the Bar Council to advise and represent the Bar’s interests re the public interest petition brought by the Delhi Bar in the New Delhi High Court to prevent barristers from being admitted as advocates in India on the ground that “duly qualified” Indian advocates are not automatically admitted to the English Bar.

    Briefed by the Bar Council in a number of cases before the Visitor to the Inns of Court.
    A founder member of the Bar Pro Bono Unit, as the Commercial Bar’s representative.


    Master of the Bench, Inner Temple (1993)
    Former Director of Professional Ethics and Advocacy, Inner Temple.
    Inter-Inns’ Advocacy Committee Member (Inner Temple).
    Deputy High Court Judge, Queen’s Bench Division and Administrative Court
    Recorder of the Crown Court
    Past Chairman of the Commonwealth and Ethnic Barristers’ Association
    Past member of the Committee of the Commercial Bar Association
    Trustee and Member of the Advisory Council of the Lord Slynn European Law Foundation
    Member of the Advisory Council of the International Council for Capital Formation (Brussels and Washington)
    Deputy Chairman Ethics and Integrity Committee of the Conservative Party


    Principal drafter of the IChem E Green and Yellow books (1990)
    Contributor to the private international law treaties on comparative principles of US-UK private international law.
    SAHCA Annual Conference, 14th November 2009: “Skeleton Arguments” (paper delivered to which he spoke)

    Nicholas Padfield QC

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    Year of Call 1972, QC 1991



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    Cliff Alderson

    020 7797 8303

    Paul O'Mullane

    020 7797 8302

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