Power Lawyer Sir David Williams KC Retires

david williams arbitrator

A long-time resident on the LawFuel Power List, Sir David Williams KC may have commenced his early life with a less than stellar academic record at Mt Albert Grammar, but his subsequent career trajectory has left him as one of the country’s foremost legal leaders and possibly its greatest arbitration success story.

Sir David’s earlier career saw him study at Harvard Law School, lecture at Auckland Law School, work for major US law firm Ropes & Gray before moving home to work at Russell McVeagh, where he subsequently lead the firm’s litigation team.

His arbitration career has been stellar.

Among his many notable arbitration disputes has been a multi-billion dollar dispute between Iraq and turkey over crude oil exports from Kurdistan which concluded last March with a $1.5 billion award in favour of Iraq.

The award has been widely reported, although a serious blow to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

He has been active before the International Court of Arbitration in Paris, the London Court of International Arbitration, the governing board of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA), and was also involved in the production of the International Bar Association’s guide on conflicts of interest in international arbitration.

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At Russell McVeagh, with colleague Andrew Brown KC, he set up the Environmental Defence Society and his passion for environmental protection issues has remained with him throughout his legal career.

After becoming a High Court Judge, resigning after two years’ too much of what was described as ‘sordid details of criminal offending’, his arbitration career saw a strong shift towards arbitrating environmental law issues, which later crowned his remarkable career. He arbitrated many other matters also, including sports and commercial matters, and has spent 20 years on the Cook Islands High Court and Court of Appeal.

A farewell sitting at the Cook Islands Courts is to follow shortly, doubtless a popular location that will be well attended by the legal fraternity who doubtless will be respectfully raising the roof at the Tamarind House Restaurant, or some other worthy venue celebrating the work of a ‘tribal’ legal leader.

But it won’t just be Muri Lagoon that beckons Sir David who intends spending more time with family, travel and pursuing his interest in environmental protection issues.

Power Lawyer Sir David Williams KC Retires
Power Lawyer Sir David Williams KC Retires

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