Matthew Parish is an international lawyer specialising in cross-border arbitration, litigation and enforcement, international trade, foreign investment, resource extraction and export, emerging markets and public international law. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and accepts appointments to sit as an arbitrator across Europe.

He has broad experience before a variety of international courts and tribunals, including arbitration before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), United Nations Commission On International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) tribunals, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), the Grain and Free Trade Association (GAFTA), the Federation of Oils, Seeds and Fats Associations (FOSFA), the London Maritime Arbitrators’ Association (LMAA), the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and the European Union (EU) courts in Luxembourg. Dr Parish is an experienced advocate and holds a solicitors’ higher rights of audience (all courts) qualification in England and Wales. He frequently advises on contentious issues of English law before English courts and tribunals.

Dr Parish has represented clients across a wide variety of industries, including shipping, international trade, energy and infrastructure sectors, banking, insurance and financial services, governments and international organizations. He has a particular focus on issues of international law affecting emerging markets, with experience most recently covering Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and has dealt with expropriation claims arising out of alleged government confiscations. He also has extensive experience of arbitrating shipping and international trade disputes under trade associations’ arbitral rules and of claims under international investment treaties.

Dr Parish has authored publications on a variety of topics, including investment treaty law, English insurance law, European Commission competition law, international project finance, EU litigation, regulation of international trade, rule of law in transition economies and the legal role of international organizations in post-conflict countries. His doctoral thesis, on public international law arbitration, was supervised by the Honorable Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, IL.

Dr Parish formerly served as a legal intern (stagiaire) to Advocate-General Francis Jacobs at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. He has a particular experience in the European law of state aids, having given evidence on reform of state aid law to the European Parliament. Dr Parish has also provided numerous media commentaries and interviews on topics relating to international organizations as well as to the law and politics of the Western Balkans.

In addition to his work at international law firms, Dr Parish has worked as the head of a legal department in the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a UN specialist agency, where he was the chief legal adviser to an international civil servant. He managed proceedings before an international public law arbitration tribunal and oversaw several legal reform programmes.

Formerly, he worked in the legal department of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Washington, D.C., on a project finance portfolio focusing upon the Middle East and taught a course to World Bank staff on project finance dispute resolution. He has also practiced with leading international law firms in London, England, and Cairo, Egypt. In Cairo, he worked on a range of banking, aviation, project finance and international law matters before the Egyptian courts and other tribunals in the Middle East.

Dr Parish is a member of the Association Suisse de L’Arbitrage and the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was formerly a visiting fellow of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law. He teaches two postgraduate degree courses on commodities trading at the University of Geneva, where he lectures on international litigation, arbitration and enforcement of judgments, and he is a frequent guest lecturer on international relations at a number of universities across Europe. He also speaks on the subject of commodities trading and international investment at a range of conferences. He is a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Comparative Law in Belgrade.

Dr Parish is the Co-Chair of an International Law Association policy committee based in New York. He was formerly a committee member with the British Swiss Chamber of Commerce and Vice President of the Oxford and Cambridge Society in Geneva, and provides pro bono legal advice to two Geneva nongovernmental organisations. He is recognised by the Journal of Export Controls as one of the world’s leading experts on international sanctions. His status as a Young Global Leader with the World Economic Forum and participation at its annual conference in Davos gives him unparalleled access to some of the world’s most senior political and business leaders.

Global Arbitration Review says this: “Matthew Parish is very well organised, dedicated to his job, responsible, honest, good at creative thinking with a solution to all problems, and client-orientated … Matthew and his team are excellent professionals and committed hard workers, who effectively and promptly respond to clients on all requests … and who are practically available on a 24-hour basis.

 Representative experience

International arbitration (general commercial)

  • Representation of Elektrim Finance B.V., an entity responsible for financing the now insolvent Polish telecommunications company, in ongoing litigation and ICC arbitration proceedings between Vivendi, Deutsche Telekom and Elektrim in a dispute over ownership of the Polish Telecommunications Operator PTC, in a claim worth in excess of €3 billion.
  • Acting for a major Russian precious metals mining company in ICC disputes with its financiers about withdrawal of funding for projects in the CIS.
  • Acting for a Russian media group in arbitration proceedings before the Chamber of Commerce of the Russian Federation arising out of a disputed joint venture agreement over a major Russian mobile telecommunications operator.
  • Representation of a Cypriot construction and shipping family in a dispute over ownership of and income from a major international construction company operating in the Middle East.
  • Acting for a Russian joint venture partner in an ICC dispute arising out of defaults by its US counterpart in respect of commitments to exploit oil concessions in Western Africa.
  • Acting for an international project management company in an ICC dispute with a major Western European oil company over a project to construct a liquid natural gas refinery plant in Yemen.
  • Acting for a Russian construction financier in a US$120 million LCIA dispute over a Russian-Austrian joint venture to construct a shopping mall in eastern Russia.
  • Acting for a major British-Australian bank in a regulatory dispute and litigation about fraudulent misselling of life insurance policies and pensions products.
  • Acting for the vendors of a Russian beverages company in a US$140m M&A dispute with private equity buyers.
  • Acting for a Russian telecommunications company in its ongoing joint venture dispute with Russian and European partners, arising out of a multi-billion Dollar corporate restructuring deal.
  • Advising a mining company on obtaining financing for a €250 million quarry development project in West Africa, and negotiating project and contractual documents; advising on international taxation issues.
  • Representing a global mining conglomerate with Russian headquarters in a dispute with a rival international mining group over ownership of a multi-billion Dollar southern African precious metal concession.

Trading and Maritime

  • ICC Geneva arbitration relating to shipbuilding dispute concerning subcontractor fraud for construction of major pipe laying vessel constructed in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Acting for a national state-owned East Asian petroleum corporation in connection with allegations of fraudulent preparation of trading contracts by a counterpart in another nationally owned petroleum corporation in the same region; arbitration proceedings before the International Chamber of Commerce worth over US$100 million were commenced in London under English law.
  • Claim related to fraudulent non-delivery and cancellation under a grain contract relating to a Middle Eastern sovereign purchaser and a “long company” (i.e. with a fraudulent trading record) based in a major western jurisdiction.
  • Acting for a state-owned Gulf shipping corporation in a gasoil shipment demurrage claim arising out of force majeureevents in the Far East; arbitration proceedings before the London Maritime Arbitrators’ Association.
  • Time charter dispute before the English High Court arising out of unauthorised substitution of vessels, charter of a repair rig and consequential losses and other damages for delay.
  • Acting for one of several defendants in a claim by a major international London-based bank against a state-owned South Asian shipping corporation, involving fraudulent amendments to a bill of lading and other transaction documents and wrongful payment out on a letter of credit.
  • Representing a private individual and his family companies in a series of investments in the gold mining industry in two African states, including negotiations with prospective international financiers and investment banks.
  • Acting for charterers associated with a major international commodity trader in proceedings before the London Maritime Arbitrators’ Association proceedings with a disponent owner concerning forum shopping and alleged repudiation of an arbitration agreement.
  • London based arbitration concerning demurrage claims relating to leak of seawater and vessel acceptability warranty relating to delays in receiving delivery of crude oil in the Middle East.
  • Claim relating to in transit contamination of mono-ethylene glycol with impurities in transit from the Middle East to a far Eastern country; proceedings before an arbitral tribunal in London under the Arbitration Act 1996.
  • Barratry claim, involving deliberately berthing a vessel in a jurisdiction in which it would be subject to arrest, to blackmail the disponent owner into satisfying the debts in respect of which arrest was obtained.
  • Grounding claim in India (unsafe berth for a vessel of the requisite tonnage); apportionment of responsibility.

Investment disputes and state contracts

  • Claim relating to fraudulent misprocurement of a state contract with a national port authority in a west-African post-conflict state; arbitration proceedings before the London Court of International Arbitration relating to payment of bribes, followed by advice and representation on legal proceedings before the High Court in London and enforcement proceedings in Washington, DC.
  • Representing a unit of Russian local government in a complaint of judicial expropriation of that entity’s interest in a major oil refinery by the government of a neighbouring state; advice and representation in relation to investment treaty arbitration proceedings.
  • Claim relating to judicial expropriation of real estate assets in the centre of a major Eastern European capital relating to inconsistent commercial and administrative proceedings pursued by differing political interests.
  • Acting for a major Russian entrepreneur in a complaint of government expropriation of his assets; multiple proceedings in offshore jurisdictions as well as arbitral proceedings before the London Court of International Arbitration, worth US$250 million.
  • Acting for the Government of the State of Kuwait in proceedings before the UN Compensation Commission, relating to clean-up costs after the First Gulf War.
  • Acting for the Government of a West African country in an arbitration matter worth approximately US$50m, arising out of a cancelled BOT contract to manage the country’s national port facilities.
  • Acting for a major Russian oil company in investment treaty disputes with Ukraine concerning judicial expropriation of a joint venture refinery, involving claims worth several hundred million US Dollars.
  • Representation of an international bank in the Balkans in a complaint before the European Court of Human Rights regarding judicial expropriation of property.
  • Acting for a major Eastern European steel company in a complaint before the European Court of Human Rights regarding government expropriation of contractual rights through corrupt insolvency proceedings in respect of a state-owned company.

Transactional and other

  • Advising a West African country on sovereign lending in the value of €150 million for a comprehensive infrastructure development project; advising on sovereign risk and procurement issues, and transaction structure with a major British-based investment bank.
  • Representing a Swiss-owned financial services company on corporate and regulatory issues in connection with establishment of a UK-based subsidiary.
  • Advising a French company in connection with negotiation of international distributorship contracts governed by English law.
  • Advising a Russian property conglomerate over security to be taken by an international bank in respect of corporate and other assets located in miscellaneous offshore jurisdictions including the BVI, Cyprus and Gibraltar.
  • Representing a major Eastern European pharmaceutical distribution company on establishment of a Swiss trading presence, corporate, taxation, immigration and employment issues, and preparation of international sale and purchase contracts.
  • Advising a Swiss-based family investment office on residential real estate investment and development projects in London; joint venture structure, shareholders’ agreement, international tax issues.
  • Advising an English human resources company on establishing a presence in Switzerland, including corporate advice, relations with the administration, employment issues and domestic contractual issues.
  • Advising a major CIS-based insurance company on international corporate restructuring in connection with threatened corporate raids.

Representing a purchaser on Swiss bank escrow arrangements in relation to a €100 million company share purchase agreement for transfer of corporate assets located in the CIS.

Practice Areas: Intellectual Property, International Arbitration, M&A Disputes, Mediation
Affiliations and Certifications:

Law Society of England and Wales (higher rights of audience – all courts)
Bar Council of England and Wales (non-practising)
Attorney and counsellor-at-law, New York
Registered at the Bar in the canton of Fribourg, Switzerland
Registered at the courts of the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre)

Awards and Recognition:

Young Global Leader (2013) World Economic Forum
One of the 300 most influential people in Switzerland, Bilan magazine, 17 April 2013
Jean-Pierre Warner and Lord Eastham Scholarships, Lincoln’s Inn, 2000
Clifford Chance Prize for Corporate Finance, 1998


J.S.D. University of Chicago Law School, 2007
LL.M. University of Chicago Law School, summa cum laude, 2004
L.P.C. College of Law, London, Commendation, 1998
C.P.E. College of Law, London, Commendation, 1997
M.A. / B.A. University of Cambridge, Triple First Class honours, 1996 

Language/s: English, French

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