Jonathan Worboys has an international and domestic practice focusing on public international law, international arbitration and international criminal law. His practice further includes public and commercial law.

Jonathan acts as counsel in cases before international courts and tribunals (ICJ, ECHR, international criminal tribunals, LCIA, ICC, UNCITRAL etc.) and litigation before the English courts (High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court). He also frequently acts as adviser to Governments and sub-State entities during complex international negotiations, peace processes and other high stakes international law advisory projects.

Jonathan is a Visiting Lecturer in public international law at King’s College London. He is a former Assistant Legal Adviser at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and a leading expert in the peaceful resolution of major international and non-international armed conflicts.

Examples of current and recent litigation and Government advisory work include:

  • Chagos Request for an Advisory Opinion (ICJ) – Counsel for the United Kingdom before the International Court of Justice.
  • Micula & Others v Romania (Commercial Court; Court of Appeal; currently on appeal to the Supreme Court) – junior counsel for the claimant in enforcement proceedings arising out of the Award in ICSID Case No. ARB/05/20.
  • Brexit – advising and acting for various United Kingdom government departments in respect of international law issues arising out of Brexit (ongoing, details confidential).
  • Four major international peace processes – advising parties to negotiations on questions on international law and negotiation strategies.
  • An unprecedented, large-scale and comprehensive investigation into international crimes that have taken place in Myanmar against the Rohingya – acting as part of a team that conducted an investigation into crimes committed and drafting a full report.
  • A large-scale and strategically important international investigation – advising and acting for a State (ongoing, details confidential).
  • A long-term strategically important international criminal law advisory project – advising and acting for a State (ongoing, details confidential).

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Areas of Expertise

Public International Law

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Jonathan’s practice focuses on disputes and situations across all areas of public international law (e.g. the law of treaties, law of the sea, human rights, state responsibilities, immunities, laws of war etc.).  Jonathan is highly experienced working with States and Governments and is a leading expert on the peaceful resolution of major international and non-international armed conflicts.

Jonathan is a Visiting Lecturer in public international law at King’s College London. He is a former Assistant Legal Adviser at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office where he focused on overseas territories, maritime law and the law of treaties.

Current and recent work includes:

  • Chagos Request for an Advisory Opinion (ICJ) – Counsel for the United Kingdom before the International Court of Justice.
  • An international criminal law matter – Counsel to a State (details confidential)
  • Brexit – advising and acting for various United Kingdom government departments in respect of international law issues arising out of Brexit (ongoing, details confidential).
  • An unprecedented, large-scale and comprehensive investigation into international crimes that have taken place in Myanmar against the Rohingya – acting as part of a team that conducted an investigation into crimes that have been committed and drafting a full report (ongoing).
  • A large-scale and strategically important international investigation – advising and acting for a State (ongoing, details confidential).
  • A long-term strategically important international criminal law related advisory project – advising and acting for a State (ongoing, details confidential).
  • The Syrian Geneva Peace Process – advising the Syrian High Negotiating Committee / Syrian National Coalition during Geneva peace negotiations with the Government of Syria.
  • An African peace process – advising an African group during peace negotiations with a Government (ongoing, attended multiple rounds of negotiations with the Government in Africa and Europe).
  • A maritime boundary delimitation – acting for a State (details confidential).
  • A high profile international criminal law matter arising out of an armed conflict – acting for a State (details confidential).
  • Treaty ratification – advising a group of States on various aspects of ratifying a multilateral treaty (details confidential).
  • Burma’s peace process – advising the United Nationalities Federal Council of Burma during peace negotiations with the Government of Burma.
  • A Permanent Mission of a State to the WTO – providing technical assistance to the Permanent Mission of a State to the World Trade Organization and other economic institutions.
  • A Permanent Mission of a State to the UN Human Rights Council – providing technical assistance to the Permanent Mission of a State to the UN Human Rights Council. Attended 23rd, 24th and 27th sessions of the UN Human Rights Council as a member of the State’s delegation. Acted for the State in negotiations resulting in the first ever UN resolution on early and child forced marriage.

International Arbitration

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Jonathan acts as counsel and adviser for commercial parties, States and governments in high-profile arbitrations under the LCIA, ICC, ICSID, UNCITRAL and AAA rules.  He also acts in arbitration related court proceedings before the English courts.

Current and recent work includes:

  • An UNCITRAL Arbitration – acting for a claimant in an UNCITRAL arbitration against a State arising out of contract disruption due to an armed conflict.
  • Micula & Others v Romania (Commercial Court; Court of Appeal; currently on appeal to the Supreme Court) – junior counsel for the claimant in enforcement proceedings arising out of the Award in ICSID Case No. ARB/05/20.
  • A multi-billion-euro LCIA arbitration representing one of Europe’s largest companies in two multi-billion-euro LCIA arbitrations against a European State.
  • A multi-million-dollar ICC arbitration – representing a construction company in a multi-million-dollar ICC arbitration arising out of a main contractor’s failure to pay following the construction of a major Middle Eastern airport.
  • A LCIA arbitration following a merger – representing a North American gaming company in an LCIA arbitration arising out of indemnity obligations pursuant to a merger.
  • A commercial arbitration – advising (as sole counsel) in commercial arbitration arising out of failure to pay for services provided.
  • A section 69 Arbitration Act Appeal – acting for a major UK entity in an appeal on a point of law under section 69 of the Arbitration Act 1996.

International Criminal Law

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Jonathan’s practice focuses on cases relating to crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes.  He frequently acts for States and individuals as counsel before international courts and tribunals and has experience in relation to both domestic and hybrid tribunals as well as the International Criminal Court.

Jonathan is a former Assistant Legal Adviser at the Foreign Office and a Visiting Lecturer King’s College London.

Current and recent work includes:

  • An international criminal law matter – Counsel to a State (details confidential).
  • An unprecedented, large-scale and comprehensive investigation into international crimes that have taken place in Myanmar against the Rohingya – acting as part of a team that conducted an investigation into crimes that have been committed and drafting a full report.
  • A large-scale and strategically important international investigation – advising and acting for a State (ongoing, details confidential).
  • A long-term strategically important international criminal law related advisory project – advising and acting for a State (ongoing, details confidential).
  • A v State Badvising on accountability mechanisms for victims of war crimes.
  • The Syrian Geneva Peace Process – advising the Syrian High Negotiating Committee / Syrian National Coalition during Geneva peace negotiations with the Government of Syria.
  • An African peace process – advising an African opposition group during peace negotiations with a Government (attended a round of negotiations with the Government in Africa).
  • Burma’s peace process – advising the United Nationalities Federal Council of Burma during peace negotiations with the Government of Burma.

Public Law

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Jonathan appears before immigration tribunals and acts in cases concerning all aspects of domestic public law.  He further acts as counsel or adviser on matters relating to British Overseas Territory law.

Current and recent work includes:

  • Bancoult (No 5) and Chagossian Committee Seychelles v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – acting for the FCO in judicial review proceedings arising out of UK policy regarding the British Indian Ocean Territory.
  • Brexit – advising various government department on public law issues arising out of Brexit (details confidential)
  • British Overseas Territory law – acting for the FCO in relation to various overseas territories matters (details confidential)

Commercial Law

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Jonathan represents clients in a range of commercial disputes before the Commercial Court, County Courts. His work has a particular focus on cases with an international dimension, and he frequently acts as counsel or adviser in cases raising questions of jurisdiction and / or applicable law.

Current and recent work includes:

  • Palram v LG Chem Limited (Commercial Court) – junior counsel for a defendant in an application to set aside service of the Claim Form and Particulars of Claim out of the jurisdiction (common law rules, parallel proceedings, complex questions as to the applicable law).
  • Micula & Others v Romania (Commercial Court; Court of Appeal; currently on appeal to the Supreme Court) – junior counsel for the claimant in enforcement proceedings arising out of the Award in ICSID Case No. ARB/05/20.

Qualifications & Memberships

Education

  • Bachelor of Civil Law, University of Oxford (2011)
  • Bachelor of Laws, King’s College London (First Class Honours) (2009)

Book Chapters

  • The Interpretation and Application of Peace Agreements, International Law and Peace Settlements (Cambridge University Press) (forthcoming).
  • Elections and Electoral Law, Handbook on Post-Conflict State Building (Edward Elgar Publishing) (forthcoming).

Law Journal

  • Reflections on a Potential Peace Treaty for the Korean Peninsula YJIL Forum (August 2015) (co-authored).
  • Introductory Note to the Report on the Protection of Civilians in the Non-International Armed Conflict in Iraq: UNHRC Res S-22/1; UNSCRs 2170 and 2178 (54 ILM 306 (2015)).
  • Book Review: Customary International Law in Times of Fundamental Change (25 (2) KLJ (2014)).
  • Preventing Mass Atrocity Crimes: The Responsibility to Protect and the Syria Crisis, 45 (1 and 2) CWRJIL (2012) (co-authored)).

Policy Articles and Op-Eds

  • The Legal Case for Using Force to Prevent a Government from Employing Chemical Weapons to Commit Mass Atrocities, The Atlantic Council, Sept. 2012 (co-authored).
  • Chemical Red Lines on Syria, Foreign Policy, Dec. 2012 (co-authored).
  • Preventing Atrocity Crimes, The Atlantic Council, Sept. 2012 (co-authored).

 Invited Lectures and Other Speaking Engagements

  • Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, the UN Human Rights Council, June 2018.
  • Burma’s Constitutional Reform Process, PILPG and DLA Piper, Dec. 2013.
  • International Law and Transitional Justice, Integrity Research and Consulting, Dec. 2013.
  • Peace Agreements in International Law, 9 Bedford Row International, Dec. 2012.
  • State Interventions: Somalia to Libya, George Washington University, Nov. 2012.
  • International Law and the English Legal System, American University J.D/M.A, Oct. 2012.
  • The Responsibility to Protect, Georgetown University, Sept. 2012.