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Simon Olleson

Call 2002

Simon specialises in public international law; his practice includes advice and advocacy in relation to traditional inter-State disputes (including before the International Court of Justice), investment protection disputes, international human rights law, issues of sovereign immunity, State succession and the law of the sea, as well as litigation before the English courts involving issues of public international law.

Simon has appeared as counsel before the International Court of Justice, as well as before arbitral tribunals operating under the auspices of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. He has also acted as secretary or clerk to the tribunal in a number of international investment protection disputes, as well as acting as clerk to the tribunal in a multi-million dollar commercial arbitration in relation to a failed tourism infrastructure project.

In addition to his work in public international law, Simon also has experience in domestic practice, advising and providing advocacy in general chancery and commercial law (including in particular matters relating to arbitration). He has appeared in the County Court, as well as in the High Court (Chancery Division, Queen’s Bench Division, Commercial Court and Mercantile Court).

He publishes regularly in the field of public international law, including contributing to the ‘International Relations Law’ title of Halsbury’s Laws of England (5th ed., 2010; vol. 61) (6th ed., forthcoming 2018). He has also provided commentary for television on questions of international law, and has been invited to speak at academic conferences in, inter alia, the UK, Romania, Sweden and Ukraine.

In May 2009, at a ceremony in Bucharest hosted by the President of Romania, Simon was made Cavaler (Knight) of the Ordinul National “Serviciul Credincios” of Romania (National Order “Faithful Service”) in recognition of his work on behalf of Romania in the Case Concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine) before the International Court of Justice.

Simon is recommended as a Leading Junior (Band 2) for Public International Law in the UK Bar and Global editions of Chambers and Partners 2018, and by the 2017 edition of the Legal 500 for Public International Law.

He has previously been recommended in Chambers and Partners since 2008: described variously as “fantastic”, as having “a fantastic academic background in PIL”; a “good all-round general international lawyer”; “a good BIT junior”; “clear and level-headed”, “an excellent junior” and “extremely intelligent, astute and very practical”.

  • What the directories say
    • Leading Junior Band 2, Public International Law,
      Simon is described as having “a strong academic background in PIL”, and as having “shown himself to be an expert in maritime delimitation cases, BIT disputes and inter-state arbitration”. “He is a good BIT junior.” “He has a fantastic academic background in PIL.”
      Chambers & Partners UK & Global 2018
    • Leading Junior Band 3, Public International Law
      “A very good junior and international lawyer”.
      Legal 500 2017
    • Described as “[v]ery clever and very knowledgeable on public international law and the case law of the International Court of Justice”Legal 500 2016
    • Leading Junior Band 3

      Simon is described as having “a strong PIL practice spanning inter-state disputes, investment treaty arbitrations, Law of the Sea and state immunity issues”, and as being “superb at getting things done in a timely way and good with demanding clients”.

      Chambers & Partners UK 2016
    • Simon is described as “fantastic" , having “a practice that spans the full spectrum of the field” and an “in-depth understanding of matters concerning state responsibility”

      “an experienced performer in international human rights and environmental law”.
      Chambers & Partners UK 2015
  • Cases of interest
    • Swissbourgh Diamond Mines (Pty) Ltd and others v. Kingdom of Lesotho Representing the Kingdom of Lesotho in very substantial multi-faceted proceedings involving multiple inter-connected arbitrations and associated litigation before the courts of Singapore:
      • Advising and acting on in the final stages of the proceedings on jurisdiction and the merits in Swissbourgh Diamond Mines (Pty) Ltd and others v. Kingdom of Lesotho (PCA Case No. 2013/29), Partial Final Award of 18 April 2016.
      • Advising and acting in relation to substantial post-award proceedings following the Partial Final Award of 18 April 2016, including an application for interpretation of the Award (Decision on Interpretation, 27 June 2016); and very substantial submissions (three rounds) as to costs (Final Award on Costs, 20 October 2016).
      • Advising the Kingdom of Lesotho in relation to proceedings before the Singapore courts concerning an application to set aside the award of an investment treaty tribunal seated in Singapore on jurisdictional grounds, and a challenge to the Tribunal’s ruling as to costs on due process grounds.
        • Application successful before the Singapore High Court, and Partial Final Award set aside on the jurisdictional grounds: Kingdom of Lesotho v. Swissbourgh Diamond Mines (Pty) Ltd and others [2017] SGHC 195 (14 August 2017).
        • Appeal currently pending before the Singapore Court of Appeal (hearing scheduled for May 2018).
      • Advising in relation to substantial related satellite litigation before the Singapore courts in relation to an attempt to enforce the Tribunal’s Final Award on Costs; issues of State immunity and the appropriate method for service of process on a State: see [2017] SGHCR 02 (14 March 2017) and [2017] SGHC 104 (8 May 2017); further proceedings currently stayed pending outcome of appeal before the Singapore Court of Appeal;
      • Advising and acting on behalf of the Kingdom of Lesotho in relation to a Mauritius-seated arbitration relating to claims of expropriation of concessions for diamond mining (Van Zyl and Others v. Kingdom of Lesotho (PCA Case No. 2016/21) (UNCITRAL)), including as regards the impact on the proceedings of the jurisdictional challenge before the Singapore Courts; proceedings currently stayed pending outcome of the proceedings before the Singapore courts;
      • Led by Sam Wordsworth QC; in conjunction with Rajah and Tann (as regards the Singapore litigation)
    • X v. Y: Substantial advisory work as to the extent to which suspension of performance of treaty obligations may be justified as a countermeasure under customary international law (confidential)
    • Maritime Delimitation in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) and Land Boundary in the Northern Part of Isla Portillos (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua), International Court of Justice, judgment of 2 February 2018: counsel for Costa Rica in joined disputes before the International Court of Justice concerning sovereignty over land territory and maritime delimitation
    • Certain Activities in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua); Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica), International Court of Justice, judgment of 16 December 2015: counsel for Costa Rica in joined disputes before the International Court of Justice concerning, inter alia, the military occupation of territory, the causing of environmental damage, and the obligation to carry out Environmental Impact Assessments.
    • Railway Land Arbitration (Malaysia/Singapore) (PCA Case MY-SG 70514), Award of 30 October 2014: junior Counsel for Malaysia (led by Professor James Crawford AC SC) in relation to a dispute relating to the interpretation of a bilateral treaty.
    • The “Arctic Sunrise” (Kingdom of the Netherlands v. Russian Federation) (Annex VII UNCLOS Arbitral Tribunal, PCA-administered); submission of an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Greenpeace International (with Professor Philippe Sands QC).
      • Advising Greenpeace International in relation to the making of an application to the European Court of Human rights against the Russian Federation in respect of the arrest and detention of the crew and others on board the “Arctic Sunrise” (“Arctic 30”).
    • The “Arctic Sunrise” (Kingdom of the Netherlands v. Russian Federation), Provisional Measures, Order of 22 November 2013 (International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea); submission of an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Greenpeace International (with Professor Philippe Sands QC).
    • X Ltd and others v. State Y (UNCITRAL ad hoc arbitration); advising the respondent on a potentially ground-breaking claim relating to the closing of a regional international court. Complex issues of jurisdiction and of State responsibility for the conduct of an international organization.
      • Advising a provider of a leading international currency trading platform as to a potential claim against a State for losses caused as a result of the conduct of a Central Bank; issues of jurisdiction, State succession.
      • Advising on the possibility of bringing a challenge to the award of an arbitral tribunal operating under the UNCITRAL Rules as to its substantive jurisdiction under a bilateral investment treaty under s. 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
    • Deutsche Bank AG v. Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (ICSID Case ARB/09/2); Junior Counsel for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in its Application for Annulment.
    • AES Corporation and Tau Power BV v. Republic of Kazakhstan (ICSID Case No. ARB/10/16), Award of 1 November 2013; junior Counsel for the Respondent in its successful defence aginst claims totalling approximately US$1.3 bn under a BIT and the ECT in relation to an investment in the electricity generation sector.
    • ECE Projektmanagment International GmbH and another v. Czech Republic (PCA Case No. 2010-5): Assistant/Secretary to the Tribunal in PCA administered arbitration under the UNCITRAL Rules concerning claims of breach of a bilateral investment treaty in relation to a property development project.
    • Aerial Herbicide Spraying (Ecuador v. Colombia): Junior Counsel for Colombia in a dispute before the International Court of Justice involving claims of violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and breaches of international environmental and human rights law (subsequently settled).
    • Deutsche Bank AG v. Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (ICSID Case No. ARB/09/2), Award of 31 October 2012; Junior Counsel for the Respondent in relation to claims by an investor of wrongful interference by the State with a hedging contract entered into by a State-owned oil company.
    • Republic of Croatia v. Republic of Serbia [2009] EWHC 1559 (Ch.); [2010] Ch. 200, [2010] 2 WLR 555, [2010] 1 P. & C.R. 5, [2009] All ER (D) 30 (Jul) (Briggs J, 2 July 2009); junior counsel for Croatia in a successful appeal against a decision of the Adjudicator to HM Land Registry. The appeal related to the entry of a restriction under the Land Registration Act 2002 against title to property registered in the name of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; issues of State succession and non-justiciability.
    • Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine) ICJ Reports 2009, p. 61 (judgment of 3 February 2009); Junior Counsel and Advocate for Romania before the International Court of Justice in its dispute with Ukraine relating to the delimitation of their respective Exclusive Economic Zones and Continental Shelves.
  • Education

    B.A. (Hons) and M.A. (Cantab); LL.M. (NYU); Dip. Int. Law. (Cantab)

  • Languages

    Italian (fluent); French (fluent); German (basic)

  • Publications

    Selected publications:

    • “The Character and Forms of International Responsibility”, in M.D. Evans (ed.), International Law (5th ed.) (Oxford University Press, Oxford, forthcoming 2018); (with J. Crawford) also previously 4th ed. (2014); and 1st ed. (2003); 2nd ed. (2006); and 3rd ed. (2010) (as “The Nature and Forms of International Responsibility”));
    • Contributor of the parts on “International Responsibility” and “Diplomatic Protection and Consular Assistance” to the International Relations title of Halsbury’s Laws of England 6th ed. (forthcoming 2018); previously also contributor to the 5th ed., (Lexis-Nexis, London, 2010);
    • “Attribution in Investment Treaty Arbitration” (2016) 31 ICSID Review – Foreign Investment Law Journal (in press)
    • “Chapter 5: International Investment Agreements and the General Body of Rules of Public International Law; Section III: The Application of the Rules of State Responsibility”, in M. Bungenberg, J. Griebel, S. Hobe and A. Reinisch (eds) International Investment Law: A Handbook (Nomos/Beck/Hart Publishing, 2015), pp. 411-441 (with J. Crawford)
    • “A Summary Assessment of the 1950 Advisory Opinions of the International Court of Justice on Interpretation of Peace Treaties with Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania“, in B. Aurescu (ed.) Romania and the International Court of Justice (Editura Hamangiu, Bucharest, 2014), pp. 102-133
    • “Internationally Wrongful Acts in the Domestic Courts: The Contribution of Domestic Courts to the Development of Customary International Law Relating to the Engagement of International Responsibility”, Leiden Journal of International Law, vol. 26(3) (2013), pp. 615-642;
    • “Article 8: Effect of Participation in a Proceeding Before a Court”, in C.J. Tams and R. O’Keefe (eds), The United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property: A Commentary (Oxford University Press, Oxford 2013), pp. 124-136 (with S. Borelli);
    • “Article 9: Counterclaims”, in C.J. Tams and R. O’Keefe (eds), The United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property: A Commentary (Oxford University Press, Oxford 2013), pp. 137-151 (with S. Borelli);
    • Co-editor (with J. Crawford and A. Pellet), The Law of International Responsibility (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010);
    • “Countermeasures: Obligations Relating to Human Rights and Humanitarian Law” in J. Crawford, A. Pellet and S. Olleson (eds.) The Law of International Responsibility (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010) (with S. Borelli)
    • Contributing editor for entries relating to public international law to D. Greenberg (ed.) Jowitt’s Dictionary of English Law (Sweet & Maxwell, London, 2010);
    • “A Summary Assessment of the ICJ Judgment of 3 February 2009 in the Case Concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine), Revista Română de Drept Internaţional [Romanian Journal of International Law], vol. 8 (2009), p. 104 (with J. Crawford, V. Lowe, A. Pellet, and D. Müller);
    • “The Continuing Debate on a UN Convention on State Responsibility”, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, vol. 54 (2005), p. 959 (with J. Crawford);
  • Memberships
    • Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration (CIArb)
    • Member, European Society of International Law (ESIL)
    • Member, British Branch of the International Law Association (ILA),
    • Member, ILA’s Committee on Baselines under the International Law of the Sea.
    • Member of the Editorial Board, Journal of International Dispute Settlement
    • Member of the drafting group for the SHARES ‘Commentaries on the Law of International Responsibility’ project (Amsterdam Centre for International Law (UvA)).
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