Simon Olleson (PDF)
Year of Call: 2002
Education: B.A. (Hons) (Cantab) (2000); LL.M. (NYU); Dip. Int. Law. (Cantab)
Languages: French (fluent); Italian (fluent); German (basic)
Areas of practice
Simon specializes in public international law; his practice includes advice and advocacy in relation to traditional inter-State disputes (including before the International Court of Justice), investment protection disputes, international human rights law, issues of sovereign immunity, State succession and the law of the sea, as well as litigation before the English courts involving issues of public international law.
Simon has appeared as counsel before the International Court of Justice, as well as before arbitral tribunals operating under the auspices of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. He has also acted as secretary or clerk to the tribunal in a number of international investment protection disputes, as well as acting as clerk to the tribunal in a multi-million dollar commercial arbitration in relation to a failed tourism infrastructure project.
Simon is recommended as a Leading Junior (Band 3) for Public International Law in Chambers and Partners UK 2015 where he is described as “fantastic”, as having “a practice that spans the full spectrum of the field” and an “in-depth understanding of matters concerning state responsibility”, and as being “an experienced performer in international human rights and environmental law”.
He has previously been recommended in Chambers and Partners UK since 2008: described variously as having a “serious practice in the field”, as being a “good all-round general international lawyer” and “clear and level-headed”, and having a “wealth of knowledge of investor-State arbitrations” (Chambers 2014); as being “increasingly good and gaining more and more experience” in the PIL arena, and as having expertise extending to “state-to-state disputes, law of the sea, sovereign immunity issues and human rights law” (Chambers 2013); as “quickly establishing a reputation as an ‘excellent junior’ for a wide array of PIL matters” and as having “supported many of the leading silks in the field on investment protection disputes, international human rights law cases, and issues of sovereign immunity, state succession and the law of the sea” (Chambers and Partners 2012); as having “a growing practice in a wide range of PIL matters, including maritime delimitation, [ICSID] cases and immunity/succession matters” (Chambers and Partners 2011); as handling “all aspects of PIL”; as being “held in high regard by his peers” (Chambers and Partners UK 2010), and as “extremely intelligent, astute and very practical,” (Chambers and Partners UK 2009).
In addition to his work in public international law, Simon also has experience in domestic practice, advising and providing advocacy in general chancery and commercial law (including in particular arbitration matters). He has appeared in the County Courts, as well as in the High Court (Chancery Division, Queen's Bench Division, Commercial Court and Mercantile Court).
Prior to coming to the Bar, Simon was a Research Associate and subsequently Fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law of the University of Cambridge, with which he still retains links. He acted as assistant to Professor James Crawford, Special Rapporteur on State Responsibility, in the summer of 2001 during the International Law Commission’s final consideration and adoption of the Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts and accompanying commentaries. Previously, he also acted for a time as an external legal adviser to the Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations, New York.
Simon was a Visiting Fellow at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law from February to August 2007, during which time he undertook a research project, partially funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, investigating reliance on the International Law Commission’s Articles on State Responsibility by international and domestic courts and tribunals.
He has also provided commentary for television on questions of international law, and has been invited to speak at academic conferences in the UK, Romania and Ukraine.
In May 2009, at a ceremony in Bucharest hosted by the President of Romania, Simon was made Cavaler (Knight) of the Ordinul Naţional "Serviciul Credincios" of Romania (National Order "Faithful Service") in recognition of his work on behalf of Romania in the Case Concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine) before the International Court of Justice.
He is a member of the European Society of International Law (ESIL) and the British Branch of the International Law Association (ILA), and is a Member of the ILA’s Committee on Baselines under the International Law of the Sea. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of International Dispute Settlement.
Notable cases and recent work
- Certain Activities in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua); Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica) (International Court of Justice): counsel for Costa Rica in joined disputes before the International Court of Justice concerning, inter alia, the occupation of territory and environmental damage (pending)
- Railway Land Arbitration (Malaysia/Singapore) (PCA Case MY-SG 70514), Award of 30 October 2014: junior Counsel for Malaysia (led by Professor James Crawford AC SC) in relation to a dispute relating to the interpretation of a bilateral treaty
- Deutsche Bank AG v. Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (ICSID Case ARB/09/2); junior Counsel for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in its Application for Annulment of the Award of 31 October 2012 (ongoing);
- The "Arctic Sunrise" (Kingdom of the Netherlands v. Russian Federation) (Annex VII UNCLOS Arbitral Tribunal, PCA-administered); submission of an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Greenpeace International (with Professor Philippe Sands QC);
- Advising Greenpeace International in relation to the making of an application to the European Court of Human rights against the Russian Federation in respect of the arrest and detention of the crew and others on board the "Arctic Sunrise" ("Arctic 30") ;
- The "Arctic Sunrise" (Kingdom of the Netherlands v. Russian Federation), Provisional Measures, Order of 22 November 2013 (International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea); submission of an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Greenpeace International (with Professor Philippe Sands QC);
- Advising on the possibility of bringing a challenge to the award of an arbitral tribunal operating under the UNCITRAL Rules as to its substantive jurisdiction under a bilateral investment treaty under s. 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996;
- AES Corporation and Tau Power BV v. Republic of Kazakhstan (ICSID Case No. ARB/10/16), Award of 1 November 2013 (not public); junior Counsel for the Respondent (claims totalling approximately US$1.3 bn under a BIT and the ECT in relation to an investment in the electricity generation sector);
- Assistant / Secretary to the Tribunal in a PCA-administered arbitration under the UNCITRAL Rules (claims of breach of a bilateral investment treaty in relation to a property development project) (Award not public);
- Junior Counsel for the Respondent State in a dispute before the International Court of Justice involving claims of violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and breaches of international environmental and human rights law;
- Deutsche Bank AG v. Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (ICSID Case No. ARB/09/2), Award of 31 October 2012; Junior Counsel for the Respondent in relation to claims by an investor of wrongful interference by the State with a hedging contract entered into by a State-owned oil company;
- Republic of Croatia v. Republic of Serbia  EWHC 1559 (Ch.);  Ch. 200,  2 WLR 555,  1 P. & C.R. 5,  All ER (D) 30 (Jul) (Briggs J, 2 July 2009); junior counsel for Croatia in a successful appeal against a decision of the Adjudicator to HM Land Registry. The appeal related to the entry of a restriction under the Land Registration Act 2002 against title to property registered in the name of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; issues of State succession and non-justiciability;
- Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine), ICJ Reports 2009, p. 61 (judgment of 3 February 2009); Junior Counsel and Advocate for Romania before the International Court of Justice in its dispute with Ukraine relating to the delimitation of their respective Exclusive Economic Zones and Continental Shelves;
- Asian Village Antigua Limited v. Government of Antigua and Barbuda, Award of 28 September 2007; clerk to the tribunal in a multi-million dollar commercial arbitration under the UNCITRAL rules administered by the LCIA, relating to a failed tourism infrastructure project;
- Barmek Holding v. Republic of Azerbaijan (ICSID Case No. ARB/06/16); counsel for the claimant in a claim relating to the claimant’s investment consisting of contracts for the management of electricity distribution networks in Azerbaijan, including an application for Provisional Measures (decision of 9 September 2007);
- Advising a rebel group in relation to a peace settlement;
- Advising (with leading counsel) a prominent multi-national company on the prospects of bringing a claim under a bilateral investment treaty;
- Advising (both alone and with leading counsel) on a number of other matters under bilateral investment treaties and under NAFTA;
- Advising an international telecommunications company on matters relating to the International Telecommunications Union;
- Alstom Power Italia S.P.A and Alstom S.P.A. v. Republic of Mongolia (ICSID Case No. ARB/04/10); junior counsel for the Claimant
- "Gómez Paquiyauri Brothers" v. Peru, Inter-Am.Ct.H.R., Series C, No. 110, (judgment of 8 July 2004); joint submission (with Professor J. Crawford, SC) of an amicus curiae brief to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on issues of State responsibility in a case involving torture and extra-judicial killing by State agents; issues of reparation.
- "A Summary Assessment of the 1950 Advisory Opinions of the International Court of Justice on Interpretation of Peace Treaties with Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania", in B. Aurescu (ed.) Romania and the International Court of Justice (Editura Hamangiu, Bucharest, 2014), pp. 102-133
- "The Character and Forms of International Responsibility", in M.D. Evans (ed.), International Law (4rd ed.) (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014), pp. 443-476 (with J. Crawford) (previously also 1st ed. (2003); 2nd ed. (2006); and 3rd ed. (2010) (as "The Nature and Forms of International Responsibility"));
- "Internationally Wrongful Acts in the Domestic Courts: The Contribution of Domestic Courts to the Development of Customary International Law Relating to the Engagement of International Responsibility", Leiden Journal of International Law, vol. 26(3) (2013), pp. 615-642;
- "Article 8: Effect of Participation in a Proceeding Before a Court", in C.J. Tams and R. O’Keefe (eds), The United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property: A Commentary (Oxford University Press, Oxford 2013), pp. 124-136 (with S. Borelli);
- "Article 9: Counterclaims", in C.J. Tams and R. O’Keefe (eds), The United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property: A Commentary (Oxford University Press, Oxford 2013), pp. 137-151 (with S. Borelli);
- Co-editor (with J. Crawford and A. Pellet), The Law of International Responsibility (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010);
- "Countermeasures: Obligations Relating to Human Rights and Humanitarian Law" in J. Crawford, A. Pellet and S. Olleson (eds.) The Law of International Responsibility (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2010) (with S. Borelli)
- Contributor of the parts on "International Responsibility" and "Diplomatic Protection and Consular Assistance" to the International Relations title of Halsbury’s Laws of England (5th ed.) (Lexis-Nexis, London, 2010);
- Contributing editor for entries relating to public international law to D. Greenberg (ed.) Jowitt’s Dictionary of English Law (Sweet & Maxwell, London, 2010);
- "A Summary Assessment of the ICJ Judgment of 3 February 2009 in the Case Concerning Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine), Revista Română de Drept Internaţional [Romanian Journal of International Law], vol. 8 (2009), p. 104 (with J. Crawford, V. Lowe, A. Pellet, and D. Müller);
- "The Kadi and Yusuf Cases before the Court of First Instance - Jus Cogens and Review of Security Council Resolutions", INTERIGHTS Bulletin, vol. 15 (2006), p. 135;
- "The Continuing Debate on a UN Convention on State Responsibility", International and Comparative Law Quarterly, vol. 54 (2005), p. 959 (with J. Crawford);
- "Killing Three Birds With One Stone"? The Judgments of the International Court of Justice in the Legality of Use of Force Cases", Leiden Journal of International Law, vol. 18 (2005), p. 237;
- "Responsibility, State" in Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity (Macmillan, New York, 2004) (with J. Crawford);
- "The ILC’s Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts: Completion of the Second Reading", European Journal of International Law, vol. 12, (2001), p. 963 (with J. Crawford and J. Peel);
- "The Exception of Non-performance: Links between the Law of Treaties and the Law of State Responsibility", Australian Yearbook of International Law, vol. 21 (2001), p. 55; (with J. Crawford)
- "The Limits of the Law on the Use of Force: Turkey, Iraq and the Kurds", Finnish Yearbook of International Law, vol. XII (2001), p. 387 (with C.D. Gray)
- "Application of the Rules of State Responsibility" in M. Bungenberg, J. Griebel, S. Hobe and A. Reinisch (eds) International Investment Law: A Handbook (Nomos/Beck/Hart Publishing, in press) (with J. Crawford);
- The Impact of the ILC’s Articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts (monograph) (OUP, forthcoming).
- (with S. Borelli) "Contre-mesures: Obligations relatives aux droits de l’homme et au droit humanitaire" in J. Crawford and A. Pellet, Manuel de la responsabilité internationale (Pedone, Paris, forthcoming)