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Michael Polkinghorne


Michael Polkinghorne is a dual-qualified lawyer, resident in Paris where he heads the office's arbitration group. He is joint-head of the firm's energy practice, as well as pro bono leader of the firm's Paris office. He has a widely acknowledged range of experience in arbitration and litigation in the areas of energy, telecommunications, project finance, and infrastructure. He has served as counsel and arbitrator in arbitrations conducted under most major institutional rules and is the former Australian member of the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC. He is a council member of the ICC Institute and was a member of the ICC Task Force on arbitrations involving state entities. He has covered disputes arising involving over thirty countries, and has significant expertise in the area of foreign direct investment and acting for and against states. He has in recent years been involved in a number of mediations, notably in the industrial gas sector, and has served in over two dozen cases as arbitrator (sole, party-appointed or chair), predominantly in the energy sector, under the ICC, LCIA, Bahrain, Thai MoJ and UNCITRAL rules. He has also testified as an expert witness on international best energy practices.


Michael is also a member of the panel of arbitrators of the BVI International Arbitration Centre, the Asian International Arbitration Centre, OHADA, and the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board.


Michael has a significant transactional practice, advising clients in the energy and infrastructure development fields. He has advised a number of petroleum clients on projects in South East Asia, the Russian Federation, India, China, and West and North Africa.


Admitted to practice in both common and civil law jurisdictions, Michael is presently a member of the Legal Advisory Taskforce of the European Energy Charter Secretariat. He has written extensively on energy dispute resolution and foreign investment and provides courses on long-term energy contracts and dispute resolution. He has taught at the Paris Bar School and several business schools.


Michael is consistently ranked in the top tier of arbitration practitioners in Paris and was the winner of the French Arbitration & ADR Client Choice Award in 2017 and 2019. He was also named "Energy Lawyer of the Year" at Euromoney's 2014 Global Commercial Arbitration Awards. He is a Leading Individual for International Arbitration (Legal 500 2019).