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Belinda McRae

Belinda has a broad practice encompassing all aspects of commercial, public and international law. She has appeared on multiple occasions in the UK Supreme Court, as well as in the High Court and County Courts. She has also appeared, both as sole counsel and as junior counsel, in international arbitrations under a variety of institutional rules (including the ICSID, UNCITRAL, CRCICA, ICC, LMAA and CAS Rules), seated in London, Paris, New York, Lausanne, Geneva, Kuala Lumpur and Cairo. Belinda has acted as arbitrator on a three-person London-seated tribunal. She was appointed to the UK Attorney General’s Panel of Counsel (C Panel, Public International Law) in 2017 and as the joint UK representative of the LCIA’s Young International Arbitration Group in 2016.

Belinda is developing an expertise in Brexit-related matters. In 2016-2017, she served on the Lord Chief Justice’s Advisory Committee on Brexit and Civil Jurisdiction, chaired by Lord Justice Hamblen, as well as on the COMBAR Brexit Conflict of Laws Group. She was seconded to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Legal Directorate in 2016-2017, where she worked on Brexit-related international and domestic law issues, including the Miller litigation. She has also spoken and published widely on the topic.

Before coming to the Bar, Belinda amassed a wealth of international legal experience. She was an Associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in Paris, where she specialised in international arbitration and public international law. Belinda also worked as a research assistant for Judge James Crawford while at the University of Cambridge and at international courts and tribunals in Cambodia, Tanzania and Australia, where she was a Judicial Assistant to the Hon. Justice J.D. Heydon AC at the High Court, Australia’s equivalent of the UK Supreme Court.

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

Belinda is national security vetted (‘Security Check’ level) and is comfortable working with sensitive material.

Specialisations: 

Arbitration

As counsel

Commercial arbitration

Jersey Football Association v UEFA, Court of Arbitration for Sport (2017-): Counsel for the Appellant, a national football association, in an appeal in respect of its admission for membership of UEFA (with Christopher Hancock QC)

UNCITRAL Arbitration (2017-): Part of the counsel team for the Claimant, a major national oil company, in an ongoing US$300+ million dispute under a drilling services contract (with Duncan Matthews QC and Edward Ho), including applications before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court (with Timothy Young QC)

UNCITRAL Arbitration (2016): Sole counsel for the Claimant in an ad hoc arbitration seated in London relating to a claim under a guarantee in respect of an iron ore shipment

UNCITRAL Arbitration (2015-2016): Part of the counsel team for the Claimant in an international arbitration in the health care sector, governed by the UNCITRAL Rules and seated in Malaysia, relating to allegations of fraud and secret commissions in contract procurement

East Mediterranean Gas, S.A.E. v EGPC and EGAS (2012-2014): Counsel for EMG in multi-billion dollar ICC and CRCICA arbitrations against Egyptian state entities involving the cessation of gas supply to Israel

ICC Arbitration (2012): Counsel for the Respondent, 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 (with Peter Turner QC)

Arbitration-related court applications

The Kyrgyz Republic v Stans Energy Corp and Kutisay Mining LLC [2017] EWHC: Counsel for the Defendants in Commercial Court proceedings in respect of a challenge to the jurisdiction of an UNCITRAL tribunal in an investment treaty claim under section 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (with Ben Juratowitch QC)

Section 67 and 68 Application (2017-): Counsel for the Defendant in Commercial Court proceedings resisting an application to set aside an ICC Award under section 67 and 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (with Charles Kimmins QC)

Section 66 Application (2016-): Counsel for the Defendant in Commercial Court proceedings resisting the enforcement of a US$1.2 billion LCIA Award in the Commercial Court under section 66 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC, Charles Kimmins QC and others)

Investment treaty arbitration

China Heilongjiang International Economic & Technical Cooperative Corp (and others) v Mongolia (PCA Case No. 2010-20): Counsel for the Claimants 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 (with Peter Turner QC)

Yosef Maiman, v The Arab Republic of Egypt (PCA Case No. 2012-026) and Ampal-American Israel Corporation v The Arab Republic of Egypt (ICSID Case No. ARB/12/11): Counsel for two consortiums of investors in multi-billion dollar arbitrations under the UNCITRAL and ICSID Rules against Egypt involving the cessation of gas supply to Israel

Guaracachi America & Rurelec v Bolivia (PCA Case No. 2011-17): Counsel for the Claimants in a UNCITRAL arbitration seated in The Hague and administered by the PCA regarding measures taken by Bolivia affecting their investments in the electricity industry

As arbitrator

LMAA Arbitration (2016): Tribunal-appointed arbitrator in a dispute under a voyage charterparty on the Exxonmobil VOY2005 form involving a claim for freight, interests and costs

As tribunal secretary

ICC Arbitration (2015): Secretary to the Tribunal in an international arbitration in the aviation sector under the ICC Rules and seated in London

Civil fraud

Petrosaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Ltd v Novo Banco SA and PDVSA (2017): Part of the counsel team for the Second Defendant in a dispute concerning allegedly fraudulent demands for US$129 million under a letter of credit, involving applications before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court (with Timothy Young QC)

ED&F Man Sugar Limited v T&L Sugars & Ors (2016): Acting for the Claimants in a claim in the Commercial Court for £30 million alleging unlawful means conspiracy, procurement of breach of contract and conversion, relating to a contract from the shipment of raw sugar (with Anthony Trace QC and Christopher Newman)

Freezing Order Application (2016): Part of the counsel team advising the Defendant on EU and English law issues in foreign court proceedings seeking freezing orders and disclosure orders in connection with a fraud claim in the banking sector

UNCITRAL Arbitration (2015-2016): Part of the counsel team for the Claimant in an international arbitration in the health care sector, governed by the UNCITRAL Rules and seated in Malaysia, relating to allegations of fraud and secret commissions in contract procurement

January Investments Limited v Habib Bank AG Zurich (2015): Counsel for the Claimant, a BVI company, in a banking case in the Commercial Court involving allegations of breach of mandate and fraud (with Christopher Moger QC and Susannah Jones)

Commercial litigation

The Kyrgyz Republic v Stans Energy Corp and Kutisay Mining LLC [2017] EWHC: Counsel for the Defendant in Commercial Court proceedings in respect of a challenge to the jurisdiction of an UNCITRAL tribunal in an investment treaty claim under section 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (with Ben Juratowitch QC)

Section 67 and 68 Application (2017-): Counsel for the Defendant in Commercial Court proceedings resisting an application to set aside an ICC Award under section 67 and 68 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (with Charles Kimmins QC)

Petrosaudi Oil Services (Venezuela) Ltd v Novo Banco SA and PDVSA (2017): Part of the counsel team for the Second Defendant in a dispute concerning allegedly fraudulent demands for $129 million under a letter of credit, involving applications before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court (with Timothy Young QC)

Commercial Court Agency Claim (2016-2017): Counsel for the Claimant in a dispute relating to the recovery of fees for estate agency services in respect of a large residential development (with Julian Kenny QC)

Interpoise Limited v Balaji Hotels Limited (2016-2017): Counsel for the Claimant in a dispute in the Central London County Court and Liverpool County Court relating to the payment of arrears of rent, successfully obtaining summary judgment and a bankruptcy order against one of the defendants

ED&F Man Sugar Limited v T&L Sugars & Ors (2016): Counsel for the Claimants in a claim in the Commercial Court for £30 million alleging unlawful means conspiracy, procurement of breach of contract and conversion, relating to a contract from the shipment of raw sugar (with Anthony Trace QC and Christopher Newman)

Section 66 Application in the Commercial Court (2016-): Counsel for the Defendant in Commercial Court proceedings resisting the enforcement of a US$1.2 billion LCIA Award in the Commercial Court under section 66 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (with Laurence Rabinowitz QC, Charles Kimmins QC and others)

Ainsworth v Stradze (2016): Counsel for the First Defendant in a contractual dispute in the Central London County Court, successfully setting aside default judgment

January Investments Limited v Habib Bank AG Zurich (2015): Counsel for the Claimant, a BVI company, in a banking case in the Commercial Court involving allegations of breach of mandate and fraud (with Christopher Moger QC and Susannah Jones)

Energy and natural resources

China Heilongjiang International Economic & Technical Cooperative Corp (and others) v Mongolia (PCA Case No. 2010-20) (Mining): Counsel for the Claimants 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 (with Peter Turner QC)

Yosef Maiman, v The Arab Republic of Egypt (PCA Case No. 2012-026) and Ampal-American Israel Corporation v The Arab Republic of Egypt (ICSID Case No. ARB/12/11) (Oil and gas): Counsel for two consortiums of investors in multi-billion dollar arbitrations under the UNCITRAL and ICSID Rules against Egypt involving the cessation of gas supply to Israel

East Mediterranean Gas, S.A.E. v EGPC and EGAS (2012-2014) (Oil and gas): Counsel for EMG in multi-billion dollar ICC and CRCICA arbitrations against Egyptian state entities involving the cessation of gas supply to Israel

Guaracachi America & Rurelec v Bolivia (PCA Case No. 2011-17) (Electricity): Counsel for the Claimants in a UNCITRAL arbitration seated in The Hague and administered by the PCA regarding measures taken by Bolivia affecting their investments in the electricity industry 

Private international law

Belinda has expertise in the impact of Brexit on conflicts issues. In 2016-2017, she served on the Lord Chief Justice’s Advisory Committee on Brexit and Civil Jurisdiction, chaired by Lord Justice Hamblen, as well as on the COMBAR Brexit Conflict of Laws Group. She has also spoken and published widely on the topic.

Belinda has advised private entities and government bodies on the application of:

  • the Brussels I Regulation (Recast) and its predecessor;
  • the Rome I and Rome II Regulations;
  • the 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements;
  • the Lugano II Convention;
  • bilateral recognition and enforcement conventions;and
  • common law rules on choice law, jurisdiction and the recognition and enorcement of judgments.

 

In addition, she has advised on and publishes about anti-suit injunctions.

Public international law

Belinda was seconded to the Legal Directorate of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, where she advised on a variety of public international law issues, including privileges and immunities (diplomatic, consular, state and UN), treaties, counter-terrorism and human rights and sanctions. She was appointed to the UK Attorney General’s Panel of Counsel (C Panel, Public International Law) in 2017.

As to her broader practice, Belinda has advised governments, private entities and NGOs on a range of issues, including:

  • the impact of Brexit on treaties involving the UK;
  • the application of UN, EU and domestic sanctions;
  • rules of secession and statehood;
  • land and maritime boundaries;
  • the recognition of states;
  • consular and diplomatic immunity;
  • state immunity;
  • dispute resolution options before international organisations; and
  • prospective treaty claims.

 

During her time at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Belinda was also involved in the Miller litigation before the Supreme Court, which addressed the implementation of treaties in domestic law.

Her publicly-available cases involving issues of public international law include:

China Heilongjiang International Economic & Technical Cooperative Corp (and others) v Mongolia (PCA Case No. 2010-20): Counsel for the Claimants 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

Yosef Maiman, v The Arab Republic of Egypt (PCA Case No. 2012-026) and Ampal-American Israel Corporation v The Arab Republic of Egypt (ICSID Case No. ARB/12/11): Counsel for two consortiums of investors in multi-billion dollar arbitrations under the UNCITRAL and ICSID Rules against Egypt involving the cessation of gas supply to Israel

Guaracachi America & Rurelec v Bolivia (PCA Case No. 2011-17): Counsel for the Claimants in a UNCITRAL arbitration seated in The Hague and administered by the PCA regarding measures taken by Bolivia affecting their investments in the electricity industry

Public law

R (on the application of TN (Vietnam)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWHC 59 (Admin); [2017] 1 WLR 2595: Counsel for the Secretary of State in two conjoined cases in which the court had to consider the vires of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (Fast Track Procedure) Rules 2005 (with Robin Tam QC and Natasha Barnes)

R (on the application of Ibrahimi) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 2049 (Admin): Counsel for the Secretary of State in cases involving two Iranian nationals seeking judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to certify their asylum applications on "safe third country" grounds and subsequently to decline their human rights challenges to the safety of their planned return to Hungary (with Julie Anderson)

R (on the application of K) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 1394 (Admin); [2016] 1 WLR 4243 and R (on the application of HK (Bulgaria)) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 857 (Admin): Counsel for the Secretary of State in joined cases in which the claimant asylum seekers applied for judicial review of the Secretary of State’s decision to return them to Bulgaria, which involved the application of the Hardial Singh principles and the issue of whether Article 28 of EU Regulation 604/2013 concerning detention had direct effect (with Julie Anderson)

R (on the application of O) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] UKSC 19; [2016] 1 WLR 1717; [2016] 4 All ER 1003: Counsel for the Secretary of State in a Supreme Court unlawful detention case relating to the application of Home Office policy relating to the detention of the mentally ill pending deportation (with Robin Tam QC and Julie Anderson)

During her time at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Belinda was also involved in the Miller litigation before the Supreme Court.

Shipping and commodities

LMAA Arbitration (2016): Tribunal-appointed arbitrator in a dispute under a voyage charterparty on the Exxonmobil VOY2005 form involving a claim for freight, interests and costs

ED&F Man Sugar Limited v T&L Sugars & Ors (2016): Counsel for the Claimants in a claim in the Commercial Court for £30 million alleging unlawful means conspiracy, procurement of breach of contract and conversion, relating to a contract from the shipment of raw sugar (with Anthony Trace QC and Christopher Newman)

UNCITRAL Arbitration (2016): Sole counsel for the Claimant in an ad hoc arbitration seated in London relating to a claim under a guarantee in respect of an iron ore shipment

NYK Bulkship (Atlantic) NV v Cargill International SA [2016] UKSC 20; [2016] 1 WLR 1853: Counsel for the Respondent in a Supreme Court case raising important points on the NYPE form and agency in the context of delegated or vicarious performance of contractual rights and obligations (with Timothy Young QC)

Belinda has advised on and drafted pleadings regarding the following issues:

  • bills of lading;
  • cargo damage;
  • charterparty construction;
  • demurrage;
  • hire/off-hire;
  • redelivery;
  • sale of yachts;
  • seaworthiness;
  • shipbuilding; and
  • time bars.
Sports law

Jersey Football Association v UEFA, Court of Arbitration for Sport (2017-): Counsel for the Appellant, a national football association, in an appeal in respect of its admission for membership of UEFA (with Christopher Hancock QC)

Education and Career: 

Education

  • University of Cambridge, LLM (First) (2011)
  • University of Queensland, BA/LLB (First) (2009)

 

Career

  • Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Paris (2011 - 2014): Associate, International Arbitration and Public International Law Groups
  • Lauterpacht Centre of International Law, University of Cambridge (2011): Research Associate to Professor James Crawford AC SC (now Judge of the International Court of Justice)
  • Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Phnom Penh (2010): Legal intern, Office of the Co-Prosecutors
  • United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Arusha (2010): Legal intern, Defence Team of Joseph Nzirorera
  • High Court of Australia, Canberra (2009): Associate to the Hon. Justice J.D. Heydon AC

 

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)
  • Semi-finalist, International Jessup Moot Court Competition, Washington DC (2007)
  • Winner and Third-Placed Oralist, Australian Jessup Moot Court Competition (2007)
  • Allens Arthur Robinson Law Prize for Overall Excellence (2006)
  • 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)
  • Dean's Commendation for High Achievement (2004 - 2007)

Publications: 

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

Bar admissions

  • Bar of England and Wales (Inner Temple) (2014)
  • High Court of Australia (2013) (non-practising)
  • Supreme Court of Queensland (2010) (non-practising)

 

Appointments

  • Attorney General’s C Panel of Counsel, Public International Law (2017-)
  • UK Regional Representative for LCIA’s YIAG in 2016 (2016-)
  • Lord Chief Justice’s Advisory Committee on Brexit and Civil Jurisdiction (2016-2017)
  • COMBAR Brexit Conflict of Laws Group (2016-2017)
  • Government Legal Department's ‘Junior Junior’ Barrister Scheme (2015-)

 

Society memberships

  • Bar European Group
  • Bar Pro Bono Unit/ CLIPS
  • COMBAR
  • ICC Young Arbitrators Forum
  • LCIA YIAG
  • The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
  • Young Fraud Lawyers Association
  • Young ICCA/ ICCA

Lectures and Teaching: 

  • Young Maritime Professionals Lecture (20 July 2017), ‘The future of commercial dispute resolution in London’
  • Clifford Chance and 20 Essex Street Public International Law Conference (21 June 2017), ‘Treaties in the age of Brexit’
  • Bar European Group Conference, Chania (May 2017): ‘Is the party over for commercial dispute resolution in London?’ (Private international law panel)
  • BIICL Seminar on Investment Arbitration Strategy (November 2016): ‘Security for costs: a useful procedural tool?’ 
  • King’s College London Conference (30 September – 1 October 2016), ‘Stress Testing the Law of the Sea: Dispute Resolution, Disasters and New Challenges’ 
  • Launch of Kluwer International Arbitration Journal's special Brexit edition at Wilmer Hale (October 2016):  ‘What does Brexit mean for the Brussels regime?’ (with Sara Masters QC) 
  • London Solicitors Litigation Association, Autumn/Winter Lectures 2016/17 (September 2016): ‘What does Brexit mean for the Brussels regime?’ (with Sara Masters QC) 
  • London International Commercial Law Conference 2016 (COMBAR and Victorian Bar Association) (July 2016): ‘State Courts and Arbitration’ 
  • Bar European Group Conference, Taormina (May 2016): ‘Civil jurisdiction and judgments post Brexit’
  • London Shipping Law Centre Maritime Business Forum (March 2016): ‘Update on Damages for Breach/ Repudiation: The New Flamenco’ 
  • ICCA Congress, Miami (April 2014): Panellist on Closing Panel and Rapporteur on Panel B2 ('Arbitral Institutions Can Do More To Further Legitimacy: True or False?')

 

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Interventions in Arbitration Awards by English Courts.pdf171.85 KB
Anti-Suit Injunctions After Gazprom Business as Usual.pdf143.95 KB
Case Comment Ruby Roz v Kazakhstan.pdf483.53 KB