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Kate Parlett

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Clerks' direct contact:
+44 (0)20 7842 1200
Clerks [at] 20essexst [dot] com

Kate specialises in public international law and international arbitration. She acts for States and private entities on issues including land and maritime boundaries, investment treaty and contract disputes, human rights, law of the sea, State responsibility, treaty obligations, immunities, environmental law, sanctions and international crimes.

Kate regularly appears as advocate before the International Court of Justice. Kate is currently instructed in four pending cases before the International Court of Justice, concerning land and maritime boundaries, transboundary environmental harm, and an impugned obligation to negotiate.

Kate was appointed to the UK Attorney General’s Specialist Public International Law B Panel of Junior Counsel in 2017. In addition, in view of Kate’s particular expertise in the law of the sea, she was appointed to the consultant panel for the Commonwealth Secretariat on Oceans and Natural Resources, covering matters including maritime boundary delimitations and joint development zones for natural resources.

Kate also represents States and investors in investment treaty arbitrations, under the ICSID and UNCITRAL Rules, and companies in international commercial arbitrations under the ICC, LCIA and SCC Rules. She has also advised clients on how to structure their investments in order to take advantage of protections offered by investment treaties and foreign investment laws. Kate also has experience in international commercial arbitrations, especially in relation to concession agreements in the energy and transport sectors.

Kate's advice is frequently sought in matters involving the intersection of public international law with other areas of law, including EU law, international and regional human rights regimes, and commercial law.

Kate has a doctorate and a masters degree in public international law from the University of Cambridge and is widely published, particularly in the law of international dispute settlement. She has taught public international law, international investment and commercial arbitration and international human rights law, at the universities of Cambridge, Geneva, Paris-II (Panthéon-Assas), Queen Mary (University of London), and Queensland.

Specialisations: 

  • Human Rights
  • International Arbitration
  • Public International Law
  • Sanctions
  • Energy and Natural Resources

Specialisations: 

Public International Law

Counsel to the Republic of Costa Rica in Land Boundary in the Northern Part of Isla Portillos (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua), International Court of Justice, concerning a dispute over sovereign territory adjacent to the Caribbean Sea.

Counsel to the Republic of Costa Rica in Maritime Delimitation (Costa Rica v Nicaragua),  International Court of Justice, concerning delimitation of the maritime boundaries in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

Counsel to the Republic of Chile in Obligation to Negotiate Access to the Pacific Ocean (Bolivia v Chile), International Court of Justice, concerning Bolivia’s claim for sovereign access to the sea.

Advising a State on the implications of a decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the light of EU law.

Advising a State on a joint development zone for maritime areas, to permit exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons by two neighbouring States while a maritime boundary dispute is pending.

Advising an international organization on the implementation of its international law privileges by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Acting for a coalition of NGOs intervening in a case before the European Court of Human Rights concerning freedom of expression.

Advising a State on an extradition request for an individual alleged to have committed war crimes.

Advising a State on immunities of a government minister in response to a request for information by financial services authorities of another State.

Advising multiple companies in respect of sanctions imposed by the EU, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Certain Activities Carried Out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v Nicaragua), International Court of Justice, Counsel to the Republic of Costa Rica. Following Nicaragua's occupation of Costa Rican territory in the border area close to the Caribbean Sea in 2011, the Court definitively recognised Costa Rican sovereignty in its decision on the merits in December 2015, and awarded compensation to Costa Rica for material harm to the environment, to be agreed or assessed in a subsequent phase. 

Construction of a Road in Costa Rica Along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v Costa Rica), International Court of Justice, Counsel to the Republic of Costa Rica. Following Costa Rica's construction of a road in the vicinity of the border with Nicaragua, Nicaragua claimed that Costa Rica was causing significant transboundary environmental harm to the San Juan River, and that Costa Rica had failed to comply with international law requirements concerning environmental impact assessment. In December 2015, the Court gave judgment on the merits in favour of Costa Rica in respect of the allegations of significant transboundary environmental harm. This judgment followed an earlier success in resisting an application for provisional measures by Nicaragua in December 2013. 

Maritime Dispute (Peru v Chile), International Court of Justice, Counsel to the Republic of Chile - Following a request by Peru to delimit its maritime boundary with Chile, the Court in January 2014 recognised an existing agreement for part of the maritime boundary, awarding areas with rich fishing resources to the Republic of Chile.

Navigational and Related Rights on the San Juan River (Costa Rica v Nicaragua), International Court of Justice, Counsel to the Republic of Costa Rica. In a 2009 judgment on the merits, the Court recognised Costa Rica's treaty and customary rights of navigation on the San Juan River, adjacent to the boundary with Nicaragua, including for the purposes of providing essential services to the population, and a right of fishing for subsistence purposes. 

 

International Arbitration

RSM Production Corporation v Saint Lucia (ICSID Case No ARB/12/10). While at Freshfields, Kate acted for Saint Lucia in this ICSID dispute involving the grant of a concession for offshore exploration. In this proceeding, the Tribunal issued the first ever order for security for costs in an investment arbitration. 

Electrabel v Republic of Hungary (ICSID Case No ARB/07/19). While at Freshfields, Kate acted for Electrabel in a dispute with Hungary under the Energy Charter Treaty, involving measures taken in the context of Hungary's accession to the EU impacting upon Electrabel's investment in the energy sector. 

Cambodia in Cambodia Power Company and EDC v Kingdom of Cambodia (ICSID Case No ARB/09/18). While at Freshfields, Kate acted for the Kingdom of Cambodia in this dispute under a contract to construct and operate an electricity power plant. Cambodia's jurisdictional objections were accepted in part and on the merits, all claims were dismissed and substantial costs were awarded to Cambodia.

Advising corporate clients on how to structure their investments in order to take advantage of protections offered by investment treaties and foreign investment laws.

While at Freshfields, Kate advised several investors on potential claims under investment treaties and the ICSID and UNCITRAL rules in relation to expropriation of their investments by Egypt, through the reversal of privatizations under a former regime.

Human Rights

Advising a State on the implications of a decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the light of EU law

Advising non-governmental organizations on an intervention before the European Court of Human Rights 

Energy and Natural Resources

RSM Production Corporation v Saint Lucia (ICSID Case No ARB/12/10). While at Freshfields, Kate acted for Saint Lucia in this ICSID dispute involving the grant of a concession for offshore exploration. In this proceeding, the Tribunal issued the first ever order for security for costs in an investment arbitration. 

Electrabel v Republic of Hungary (ICSID Case No ARB/07/19). While at Freshfields, Kate acted for Electrabel in a dispute with Hungary under the Energy Charter Treaty, involving measures taken in the context of Hungary's accession to the EU impacting upon Electrabel's investment in the energy sector. 

Cambodia in Cambodia Power Company and EDC v Kingdom of Cambodia (ICSID Case No ARB/09/18). While at Freshfields, Kate acted for the Kingdom of Cambodia in this dispute under a contract to construct and operate an electricity power plant. Cambodia's jurisdictional objections were accepted in part and on the merits, all claims were dismissed and substantial costs were awarded to Cambodia.

Advising a State on a joint development zone for maritime areas, to permit exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons by two neighbouring States while a maritime boundary dispute is pending.

Education and Career: 

Education

University of Cambridge, PhD in Public International Law, 2009

University of Cambridge, Master of Laws in International Law (First Class Honours), 2005

University of Queensland, Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours and the University Medal), 2001

University of Queensland, Bachelor of Arts (Major in History, Deans' List), 1999

Career

Senior Associate, International Arbitration and Public International Law, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Paris, 2010-2015

Research Fellow, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge, 2005-2009

Solicitor, Freehills (now Herbert Smith Freehills), Brisbane, Australia, 2004

Associate to the Honourable Michael Black AC, Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, 2003-2004

Associate to the Honourable Margaret White, Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland, 2002-2003

Publications: 

Books

The Individual in the International Legal System: Continuity and Change in International Law (Cambridge, CUP, 2011), reviewed in 23 (2012) EJIL 294

The Law of International Responsibility (Oxford, OUP, 2010), Assistant Editor with J Crawford, A Pellet and S Olleson

Articles and Chapters

"Jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal in Philippines v China under UNCLOS and in the Absence of China" (2016) AJIL Unbound 266

"Investment Protection and Dispute Resolution under newly negotiated free trade agreements: piecemeal reaction or serious reassessment?" (2016, forthcoming)

“Beyond the four corners of the Convention: expanding the scope of jurisdiction of law of the sea tribunals” (2017) Ocean Development and International Law (forthcoming)

"Claims under Customary International Law in Investment Arbitration" 31(2) (2016) ICSID Review 434

"The Relevance of State Conduct in Territorial Disputes", in M Kohen and M Hébié, Research Handbook on Territorial Disputes in International Law (2016, forthcoming)

"Countermeasures in Investment Arbitration: Visions and Realities of International Law as an Open System" in C Chinkin et al (eds), Sovereignty, Statehood and State Responsibility: Essays in Honour of James Crawford (2014, Cambridge, CUP)

"Diplomatic Protection and the International Court of Justice", in C Tams and J Sloan (eds), The Development of International Law by the International Court (Oxford, OUP, 2013)

"Commentary to Article 17 of the 2005 UN Convention on State Immunity", in C Tams and R O'Keefe (eds), Commentary on the United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property (Oxford, OUP, 2013)

"The Individual and Structural Change in the International Legal System" (2012) 1(3) Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law 60

"Diplomatic protection and investment arbitration", in C Tams and R Hofmann (eds), International Investment Law and General International Law (Nomos Publishing, 2011)

"The PCIJ's Opinion in Jurisdiction of the Courts of Danzig: Individual Rights under Treaties" 10(1) (2008) Journal of the History of International Law / Revue d'histoire du droit international 119

"Universal Civil Jurisdiction for Torture" 4 (2007) European Human Rights Law Review 385

"Immunity in Civil Proceedings for Torture: The Emerging Exception" (2006) European Human Rights Law Review 49

 

Appointments and Society Memberships: 

  • Member of the UK Attorney General's Specialist Public International Law B Panel of Junior Counsel, 2017-2022
  • Member of the consultant expert panel for the Commonwealth Secretariat on Oceans and Natural Resources
  • ICDR Young & International, Global Advisory Board, 2017-2020
  • 2017 Annual Meeting Committee Member, American Society of International Law
  • Member of the Academic Review Board of the Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law
  • Member of the International Law Association (Australian Branch) and Member of the ILA Study Group on Individual Responsibility in International Law
  • Member of the Public International Law Advisory Panel of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law
  • Member, The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple
  • Member of Young ICCA, Young ITA, YIAG (LCIA), YSIAC, Combar, and ICC-YAF