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Penelope Nevill

LLB (Hons)/BA (Auckland); LLM (Cantab)

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Penelope has a broad public international law practice, which combines traditional interstate cases with investment treaty arbitration and domestic litigation and advice work.  Her practice encompasses investment treaty arbitration, law of the sea, law of territory, recognition, environment and wildlife law, sanctions (EU, UN and national), treaty law, human rights, corporate social responsibility (OECD Guidelines and Ruggie Principles), international and regional organisations, jurisdiction and immunities, public law and EU law.  She also has considerable knowledge of international humanitarian law and the use of force and has worked on territorial sovereignty and delimitation disputes.

Penelope has particular expertise in dealing with the complex interface between public international law, EU law and domestic law, and how law and 'soft law' from one legal system is implemented, interpreted and applied in another.  She is on the Attorney-General's Specialist Public International Law "B Panel", and the general "C Panel".  She is an experienced practitioner, starting her career as a litigation lawyer at leading New Zealand law firm, Chapman Tripp, in 1997 before working moving to academia following her LLM (2001-02), and the Bar in 2010.

In addition to her professional practice, Penelope is a Senior Research Fellow and Affiliated Lecturer at the Transnational Law Institute, King's College London, where she lectures on undergraduate and post-graduate courses. She has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Auckland and the University of Cambridge, having previously held a College Lectureship and Fellowship at Downing College between 2005-2010, and a Fellowship at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law.   

Current and recent cases include: 

  • Acting for the Home Office in a judicial review action concerning the Refugee Convention and the Sovereign Base Areas of Dhekelia and Akrotiri, Bashir v Secretary of State for the Home Office [2016] EWHC 954 (Admin)  (tbr)
  • Acting for the FCO in an Employment Tribunal claim arising out of a secondment to EULEX in Kosovo, Bamieh v EULEX Kosovo and Ors, Decision on Preliminary Issues, 15 April 2016
  • Advising the Marine Management Organisation on various issues, including implementation of marine licensing exemptions and the relationship of UNCLOS with the licensing of marine activities concerning underwater cultural heritage
  • Working with claimants in several ongoing investment treaty arbitrations
  • Advising on potential proceedings under the UN Law of the Sea Convention concerning an arrested vessel
  • Judicial review claim in R (Bancoult) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, successfully defending the challenge to the declaration of the large-scale BIOT Marine Protected Area in the Admin Court and Court of Appeal and in the application to appeal to the Supreme Court
  • Successfully making a damages claim against charterers/owners in arbitration arising out of a refusal to comply with a voyage order to a north Cyprus port
  • Acting for the United Kingdom in Mauritius v UK, an Annex VII arbitration under the Law of the Sea Convention, raising Mauritius's claim to sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory and its challenge to the large-scale BIOT Marine Protected Area and advising on subsequent related matters.



  • Specialisations: 

    Public International Law
    Human Rights
    EU law
    Environmental Law
    International Arbitration

Principal Cases: 

General PIL

Case Concerning Sovereignty Over Pulau Batu Puteh/Pedra Branca, Middle Rocks and South Ledge (Malaysia/Singapore), Judgment, ICJ Reports 2002, p 625 - counsel for Malaysia in dispute with Singapore over the sovereignty of an island at the eastern entrance of the Singapore Strait

Khurts Bat v Investing Judge of the German Federal Court [2011] EWHC 2029 - assisted counsel for the Foreign Office as intervenor responding to Mr Bat's claims of special mission, high ranking office and official act immunity

Advice to a European energy company on various public international law issues arising from the proposed trans-Caspian Sea pipeline, which included presentation of the opinion to the European Commission and a foreign ministry

Assisted counsel for the UK government with preparation for arbitration before an Annex VII UNCLOS tribunal in the dispute with Ireland over the environmental impact of the Sellafield plant (one of the Mox Plant cases)

Assisted counsel for Barbados with initial phases of preparation for arbitration before an UNCLOS Annex VII tribunal over delimitation of the maritime and continental shelf boundaries with Trinidad and Tobago

Investment treaties/Trade

Assisted senior counsel with advice for commercial client on liability under UN, EU and national sanctions measures and related dual-use measures.

Azurix Corp v Argentine Republic, ICSID Case No. ARB/01/12 - assisted arbitrator in jurisdictional phase of a bilateral investment treaty claim arising out of investment in a water utilities concession

Waste Management v Mexico, ICSID Case No. ARB(AF)/00/3) - assisted president of the tribunal in a NAFTA Chapter 11 dispute

Assisted counsel with advice to a government on the interpretation of the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement

Assisted counsel with advice to a global company on potential claims under a bilateral investment treaty and prospects of success

Human rights

Xenides-Arestis v Turkey, Application No. 46347/99, European Court of Human Rights, 22 December 2005 - counsel for Turkey in test case concerning the Court's jurisdiction over property rights claims arising out of the situation in northern Cyprus

Assisted counsel for the defendant with response to article 6 ECHR claims arising in proceedings concerning recognition of a foreign judgment

Environmental Law





Advice to a European energy company on various public international law issues arising from the proposed trans-Caspian Sea pipeline, which included presentation of the opinion to the European Commission and a foreign ministry.

Instructed on investment treaty arbitrations arising out of the energy sector.

Advice on application of EU and UN sanctions regimes concerning the DPRK to potential investment and project in North Korea.

Education and Career: 

  • Education and Career: 

    LLB (Hons)/BA (English), University of Auckland, 1992-1996

    Solicitor, Chapman Tripp (Auckland), 1997-2001

    LLM (First Class), University of Cambridge, 2001-2002

    Research Fellow, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, working with Sir Elihu Lauterpacht QC, Professor James Crawford SC and Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC, University of Cambridge, 2002-2005

    Fellow and College Lecturer in Law, Downing College, and Fellow, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, 2005-2010


  • "Article 6" (with Clare Da Silva) and "Article 22" (with Mubarak Waseem) in Da Silva and Woods eds., Commentary on the Arms Trade Treaty (Lalive, 2015)
  • 'Sanctions and commercial law', in Happold and Eden eds., Sanctions and Embargoes in International Law, Hart, (forthcoming)
  • 'Military sanctions enforcement in the absence of express authorization', chapter 12 in Weller, ed., The Handbook on the Use of Force (OUP, 2015)
  • 'Such uncertainty as a sure thing: Legal uncertainty and North Sea oil post-Scottish independence', (with Angharad Parry), (2014) 5 International Energy Law Review 180
  • 'When diplomacy fails - the complex legal fallout from imposing sanctions' (with Sara Masters), Legal Week, 9 March 2012
  • "The European Union as a Source of Public International Law" (2013) Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law 281
  • 'Relations Between International Courts and Tribunals', with James Crawford, in Margaret Young ed, Regime Interaction in International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2011)
  • 'Treaty Interpretation and Troubled Treaty Regimes: The Case of International Investment Law', in Marcel Szabó ed, State Responsibility and the Law of Treaties (Eleven International Publishing, 2010), 161
  • 'Interest', (with Elihu Lauterpacht), in James Crawford, Alain Pellet and Simon Olleson (eds) (with the collaboration of Kate Parlett), The Law of International Responsibility (Oxford University Press, May 2010)
  • 'The Treatment of Interest in International Awards' [2007] 78 British Year Book of International Law 255
  • 'Reconciling the Clash Between UK Obligations under the UN Charter and the ECHR in Domestic Law: Towards Systemic Integration?' (2008) 67 Cambridge Law Journal 447 (case note)
  • 'Qualifying the Human Rights Act: Detention under Security Council Resolutions' (2006) 65 Cambridge Law Journal 476 (case note)
  • 'New Zealand: The Privy Council is replaced with a Supreme Court' (2005) 3 International Journal of Constitutional Law (I*CON) 115




  • "Business and International Law", invited expert panel speaker, British Branch of the International Law Association, Spring Conference, 8-9 April 2016, Non-State Actors and Changing Relations in International Law
  • 20 Essex Street Workshop on Investment Treaty Arbitration, Slaughter and May, 31 March 2016
  • London International Boundary Conference, 1-2 December 2015, "New Boundaries: Ethics and High Seas Marine Protected Areas"
  • Guest Speaker, Auckland University Law Review Alumni Symposium, "Sanctions, International Public Policy and the Architecture of the International Legal System", 14 October 2015
  • English Common Law for international commerce in Latin America, Arbitral Institution of the Chamber of Industry in Guatemala and the Honduran Bar Association. October 2015
  • "Review and Interpretation of UN Sanctions", UN Sanctions in the 21st Century, University of Leiden, 26-27 June 2015
  • 24th Annual SLS-BIICL Conference on Theory and International Law, "Technology, non-obvious warfare and the concept of "attack" in LOAC", 15 May 2015
  • Ministry of Defence, 14 May 2015, "The BIOT Marine Protected Area: The Litigation Landscape"
  • Centre for International Law, National University Singapore, "Marine Protected Areas and Freedom of the High Seas", 6 May 2015
  • International Investment Law: The State's Perspective, Brunei Darussalem, organized by MFA for officials from various government departments and open to the public, 2 May 2015
  • "Migration and the EU: Third country nationals and the construction of citizenship from above", Multilevel Implications of a Changing Concept of Citizenship, 23-24 May 2013, Pázmány Péter Catholic University Faculty of Law and Political Sciences   
  • "Caspian Sea Legal Study: The proposed pipeline between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan" at the CIS Oil And Gas Transportation Conference: Strengthening The Oil And Gas Links Between the CIS, Europe And Asia, 13th Annual Meeting, 25-27 October 2011, Istanbul.
  • "EU-Caspian Basin Legal Issues: The Use of Law for Strategic Ends - The proposed pipeline between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan & EU-Iran Sanctions Law". This was the keynote speech at the EU Energy Law and Policy Workshop, Florence School of Regulation, EUI.
  • "Immunities and the Balance Between Diplomacy and Accountability" at a seminar to mark Sir Elihu Lauterpacht's 60 years in international law, October 2011
  • "Cleaning-up the rule-books - Law-making in response to marine pollution disasters" - paper, Marine Lawyers Network Conference, Marine Managemet Organisation, Nottingham, 27 June 2012
  • 'Sanctions and Commercial Law', paper presented at 22nd Annual Society of Legal Scholars international law section/British Institute of International and Comparative Law conference on theory and international law, "Sanctions and Embargoes: International Law and Contemporary Practice", 29 April 2013
  • 'Migration and the EU: Third country nationals and the construction of citizenship from above', paper presented at a conference on 23-24 May 2013, Budapest, Hungary on 'Multilevel Implications of a Changing Concept of Citizenship'
  • 'Public international law and the lex mercatoria', International Law Association, British Branch, 31 July 2013
  • "Sanctions: current issues of implementation and enforcement", Friday 14 February 2014, Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge (part of the Friday lunchtime series)
  • 'New Zealand in the International Court of Justice', 12 June 2014, Anglo-Australasian Law Society, London
  • 'The interface between public international law and commercial law', Maxwell Chambers, Singapore 4 September 2014, and Attorney General's Chambers, Singapore, 5 September 2014
  • 'Introduction to investment treaties', Lee & Lee, Singapore, 5 September 2014


Appointments and Society Memberships: 

Attorney-General's Specialist Public International Law "B Panel" (effective from 1 March 2014)
Senior Research Fellow and Affiliated Lecturer at the Transnational Law Institute, King's College London
Affiliated Lecturer at the University of Cambridge
Attorney General's Panel of Junior Counsel (C Panel) (effective from 1 March 2013)

Lectures and Teaching: 

Lectures and Teaching: 

The United Nations: International Institution and Domestic Legal Spaces (LLM) King’s College London (2015 module leader and lecturer, 2016 lecturer)
Public International Law (undergraduate) King's College London (2011-2012 module leader, lecturer and tutor, 2012-13 lecturer and tutor, 2013-2016 lecturer Law of the Sea classes
Law of the Armed Conflict (LLM), Cambridge (lecturer 2006-2009, 2011-2016)
International Dispute Resolution (LLM), Auckland (2014 course convener and sole lecturer)

Public International Law (undergraduate), University of Cambridge (2006-2010 (lecturer, law of treaties), 2006-2007 (lecturer, jurisdiction and immunities)

College Lecturer, Public International Law and EU Law, Downing College, University of Cambridge (2005-2010)

Supervisor, Public International Law University of Cambridge (2004-2005).


She is an excellent public international lawyer. She has exceptional experience and is enormously talented. A real rising star of the Bar.” Chambers & Partners UK 2018

"She has exceptional experience and is enormously talented." Legal 500 2017