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Belinda McRae

Belinda is developing a strong practice in commercial law, public and private international law, and domestic public law. Since joining Chambers in September 2015, she has appeared twice in the Supreme Court, as well as in the High Court and County Court. She has also been instructed (both as sole counsel and as junior counsel) in multiple international arbitrations, seated in both London and New York. 

Belinda brings several years of experience as an associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in Paris. During that time, she gained particular experience of acting as counsel in international arbitrations under the ICC, ICSID, UNCITRAL, CRCICA and LCIA rules in high-profile cases. Belinda also advised on issues of public international law, developing the experience that she gained while working for Judge James Crawford (of the International Court of Justice) at the University of Cambridge and at two international criminal tribunals (the ICTR in Tanzania and the ECCC in Cambodia).

Belinda originally qualified in Australia in 2010, but was called to the Bar in 2014. She is a graduate of the University of Queensland, Australia (where she was the Law School Valedictorian) and the University of Cambridge (which she attended as a Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholar).

Specialisations: 

Arbitration/Mediation

Belinda has acted as counsel in both investment and commercial international arbitrations across a range of sectors (including the mining, electricity, gas production, sale and distribution, and cement production sectors) governed by a variety of arbitration rules (including the ICSID, UNCITRAL, CRCICA, LCIA and ICC Rules) and applicable laws (including English, Chilean, Malaysian, Mongolian, New York, Iraqi and international law). In addition, she has experience of post-M&A and gas pricing arbitrations, and is very comfortable dealing with issues of quantum of damages in both commercial and investment arbitration.

Since joining Chambers in September 2015, Belinda has been instructed in several international arbitrations. Her recent experience includes:

  • Acting as Counsel for the Claimants in China Heilongjiang International Economic & Technical Cooperative Corp (and others) v Mongolia (PCA Case No. 2010-20), a PCA-administered ad hoc arbitration (using both the UNCITRAL and ICSID Rules for guidance) under the China-Mongolia BIT relating to the expropriation of a mining licence;
  • Acting as Secretary to the Tribunal in an international arbitration in the aviation sector under the ICC Rules and seated in London;
  • Acting as a member of the Claimant's legal team in an international arbitration governed by the UNCITRAL Rules and seated in Malaysia relating to allegations of fraud and secret commissions in contract procurement; and
  • Acting as sole counsel for the Claimant in an ad hoc arbitration under the UNCITRAL Rules and seated in London relating to a claim under a guarantee, which involved the construction of a sales contract and a related letter of credit.

While Belinda was an associate at Freshfields, she also worked on several high-profile arbitrations. This included advising:

  • East Mediterranean Gas, S.A.E. and its foreign shareholders in multi-billion dollar ICSID, UNCITRAL, ICC and CRCICA arbitrations against Egypt and Egyptian state entities involving termination of gas supply from Egypt to Israel;
  • Guaracachi America and Rurelec in a UNCITRAL arbitration administered by the PCA (PCA Case No. 2011-17) regarding measures taken by the Bolivian government adversely affecting their investments;
  • an international oil company on an investment arbitration relating to the denial of justice in domestic courts; and
  • an international cement company in relation to a post-M&A contractual dispute under the ICC Rules in which Chilean law was the governing law.

Belinda has also assisted with several London arbitrations under the LMAA Rules and gained a thorough understanding of both the LMAA Rules and the Arbitration Act 1996. She has particular experience of applications under sections 68 and 69 of that Act in the English courts.

Civil Fraud

Belinda is developing a busy practice in civil fraud, across both litigation and arbitration.

Since joining Chambers, she has worked on several matters involving allegations of fraud and corruption, including: 

  • Acting as a member of the Claimant's legal team in an international arbitration governed by the UNCITRAL Rules and seated in Malaysia relating to allegations of fraud and secret commissions in contract procurement;
  • Acting as junior counsel for the Claimant in a banking case in the Commercial Court, which involved allegations of breach of mandate and fraud; and
  • Acting as sole counsel for the Claimant in a commercial case involving allegations of misrepresentation.
Commercial law

Belinda has significant experience of a broad range of commercial matters, including her international arbitration experience set out above.

Since joining Chambers, she has been instructed on a range of commercial cases. Her experience includes:

  • Acting as a member of the Claimant's legal team in an international arbitration governed by the UNCITRAL Rules and seated in Malaysia relating to allegations of fraud and secret commissions in contract procurement;
  • Acting as junior counsel for the Claimant in a banking case in the Commercial Court, which involved allegations of breach of mandate and fraud;
  • Acting as counsel for the Claimant in a commodities case in the Commercial Court, in a claim for damages for non-performance of contract; and
  • Acting as sole counsel for the Claimant in an ad hoc arbitration under the UNCITRAL Rules and seated in London relating to a claim under a guarantee, which involved the construction of a sales contract and a related letter of credit.

She is regularly asked to draft pleadings, advise in writing and appear in arbitrations, the High Court and the County Court. She has particular experience of applications for summary judgment and default judgment, as well as CMCs.

Constitutional, public and human rights law

Belinda is developing a strong public law practice. She has particular experience of immigration matters, including unlawful detention claims and claims relating to the Refugee Convention and ECHR.

Since joining Chambers, Belinda has appeared as junior counsel in:

  • R (O) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department (UKSC 2014/0227) (a challenge to the lawfulness of detention heard by the Supreme Court) (with Robin Tam QC and Julie Anderson);
  • R (Ibrahimi & Abasi) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department (CO/5201/2015 and CO/5067/2015) (lead litigation in the High Court relating to Dublin returns to Hungary) (with Julie Anderson); and
  • R (Khalili et al) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department (CO/843/2015, CO/1367/2015, CO/2899/2015, CO/3267/2015, CO/6016/2015) (lead litigation in the High Court relating to Dublin returns to Bulgaria) (with Julie Anderson).

Belinda is registered on the Government Legal Department's Baby Barrister Scheme. She accepts instructions from claimants and defendants alike, as well as pro bono clients.

Energy and Natural Resources

Aside from the commodities experience listed below, Belinda has significant experience in matters concerning energy and natural resources. She has been involved in arbitrations in the oil and gas, electricity and mining sectors. In particular, she acted for:

  • East Mediterranean Gas, S.A.E. and its foreign shareholders in multi-billion dollar ICSID, UNCITRAL, ICC and CRCICA arbitrations against Egypt and Egyptian state entities involving termination of gas supply from Egypt to Israel;
  • Guaracachi America and Rurelec in a UNCITRAL arbitration administered by the PCA (PCA Case No. 2011-17) regarding measures taken by the Bolivian government adversely affecting their investments in the Bolivia electricity generation sector; and
  • Three Chinese investors in a PCA-administered ad hoc arbitration (using both the UNCITRAL and ICSID Rules for guidance) under the China-Mongolia BIT relating to the expropriation of a mining licence for iron ore.

As a result of this experience, Belinda is particularly familiar with the workings of complex long-term gas supply agreements.

Private international law

Belinda is continuing to develop her expertise in private international law.

Belinda has a particular interest in anti-suit injunctions. She recently published an article on the topic with Sara Masters QC entitled, 'Anti-Suit Injunctions After Gazprom: Business as Usual?' (2015) Butterworths Journal of Banking and Financial Law 576. She is also contributing to a forthcoming monograph on the subject.

Belinda has assisted members of Chambers in several matters involving issues of jurisdiction, applicable law and lis pendens under the Brussels Regulation (both in its recast and original form).

Public international law

Belinda has a background in public international law, having worked in the Public International Law and International Arbitration Groups at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in Paris, as a research associate to Judge James Crawford (of the International Court of Justice) at the University of Cambridge and at two international criminal tribunals (the ICTR in Tanzania and the ECCC in Cambodia). She also specialised in international law in her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, writing a thesis on the procedure of the International Court of Justice.

Notably, Belinda has acted in four high-profile investment treaty cases. Those that are in the public domain include:

  • China Heilongjiang International Economic & Technical Cooperative Corp et al (China) v Mongolia (PCA Case No. 2010-20);
  • Guaracachi America, Inc. (U.S.) & 2. Rurelec plc (U.K.) v Plurinational State of Bolivia (PCA Case No. 2011-17); and
  • Ampal-American Israel Corporation (U.S.) et al v The Arab Repulic of Egypt (ICSID Case No. ARB/12/11).

Belinda also regularly advises on the application of public international law in both public law and commercial matters. Her experience includes advising:

  • several international companies on the application of UN, EU and domestic sanctions;
  • an international oil and gas company on the impact of rules of secession and statehood in the Middle East;
  • a state in Africa in respect of its entitlement to maritime zones under international law;
  • an international company operating in the Middle East as to a state's right to secrecy;
  • an international oil company on an investment arbitration relating to the denial of justice in domestic courts; and
  • numerous international companies as to their rights under bilateral investment treaties.

She has particular experience of UN, EU and UK sanctions, including their application in commercial cases.

Shipping and International Trade

Belinda is regularly instructed in shipping matters. Her recent experience includes:

  • Acting as junior counsel for the Respondent in The "Global Santosh" (UKSC 2014/0143), a case before the Supreme Court concerning the construction of a provision in the ASBATIME form (with Tim Young QC);
  • Advising an insurer in respect of a claim under the 2001 Bunkers Convention arising out of a collision, including issues of recognition and enforcement; and
  • Advising owners in respect of an off-hire claim under a time charter.

She has experience of the following issues:

  • cargo damage
  • charterparty construction
  • demurrage
  • hire/off-hire
  • redelivery
  • sale of goods
  • sale of yachts
  • seaworthiness
  • shipbuilding
  • time bars

Belinda is developing an expertise in commodities cases, in both arbitration and litigation. Her recent experience includes:

  • Acting as counsel for the Claimant in a commodities case in the Commercial Court, in a claim for damages for non-performance of contract; and
  • Acting as sole counsel for the Claimant in an ad hoc arbitration under the UNCITRAL Rules and seated in London relating to a claim under a guarantee, which involved the construction of a sales contract and a related letter of credit.

Education and Career: 

Education
 

University of Cambridge LLM (First) (2011)

Australian National University. Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Distinction) (2010)

University of Queensland, Australia BA/ LLB (First Class Honours) (2009)

 
Career
 
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Paris (10/2011 - 06/2014)
Associate, International Arbitration and Public International Law Groups
 
Lauterpacht Centre of International Law, University of Cambridge (07/2011 - 09/2011)
Research Associate to Professor James Crawford AC SC
 
Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Phnom Penh (06/2010 - 08/2010)
Legal intern, Office of the Co-Prosecutors
 
United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Arusha (03/2010 - 05/2010)
Legal intern, Defence Team of Joseph Nzirorera
 
High Court of Australia, Canberra (02/2009 - 02/2010)
Associate to the Hon. Justice Dyson Heydon AC
 
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Paris (06/2008 - 08/2008)
Stagiaire, International Arbitration Group
 
Linklaters LLP, London (11/2007 - 12/2007)
Vacation clerk, Competition and International Arbitration Groups
 
Minter Ellison Lawyers, Brisbane (06/2007 - 11/2007)
Vacation clerk and subsequently research assistant
 
Professor James Allan, University of Queensland (06/2007 - 11/2007)
Research Assistant
 
Bar Council of the Queensland Bar Association, Brisbane (03/2007 - 11/2007)
Research Assistant
 
Scholarships and prizes
 
  • Foundation Scholarship, Jesus College, University of Cambridge (2011)
  • Australian Bicentennial Scholarship (2010)
  • Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholarship (2010)
  • University of Queensland Law School Valedictorian (2009)
  • University of Queensland Travel Scholarship and Grant (2008)
  • Dr MHM Kidwai Memorial Prize (2007)
  • Allens Arthur Robinson Law Prize for Overall Excellence (2006)
  • Dean's Commendation for High Achievement (2004 - 2007)
Mooting
  • Semi-finalist, International Jessup Moot Court Competition, Washington DC (2007)
  • Winner and Third-Placed Oralist, Australian Jessup Moot Court Competition (2007)
  • Winner, Asia-Pacific Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot, Hong Kong (2006)
  • Winner, Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot, Perth (2005)
  • Runner-Up, Sir Harry Gibbs National Constitutional Law Moot, Brisbane (2004)
Bar admissions
  • Bar of England and Wales (Inner Temple) (2014)
  • Supreme Court of Queensland (2010) (non-practising)
  • High Court of Australia (2013) (non-practising)

Publications: 

S. Masters QC and B. McRae, 'What would Brexit mean for the Brussels I Regulation?' 

S. Masters QC and B. McRae, 'Anti-Suit Injunctions After Gazprom: Business as Usual' (2015) Butterworths Journal of Banking and Financial Law 576

B. McRae, 'ICCA Panel B2 Report', (2015) ICCA Congress Series no. 18

B. McRae, 'Case Comment: Ruby Roz v Kazakhstan' (2014) 15 Journal of World Investment and Trade 1032

 

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

  • The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
  • American Society of International Law
  • ICC Young Arbitrators Forum
  • LCIA Young International Arbitration Group
  • Young ICCA (International Council for Commercial Arbitration)
  • COMBAR
  • LCLCBA
  • Young Maritime Practitioners (and LSLC)
  • Government Legal Department's Junior Junior Barrister Scheme
  • Bar Pro Bono Unit
  • Young Fraud Lawyers Association (YFLA)

Lectures and Teaching: 

Conferences

ICCA Congress 2014, Miami: Panellist on Closing Ceremony Panel ('Panel Wrap-Up') and Rapporteur on Panel B2 ('Arbitral Institutions Can Do More To Further Legitimacy. True or False?')