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Courtenay Barklem

Trial lawyer , Perren Buildings Chambers

Solicitor-Advocate ,

Courtenay Barklem specialises in civil/commercial litigation and arbitration, including construction disputes and the regulation of money services businesses.  He is an authority on employment law, in particular on (cross-jurisdictional) whistleblowing and discrimination claims.

Courtenay regularly appears in the High Court and County Courts conducting multi-track and fast track cases.  He is a solicitor-advocate and a trial attorney qualified in both England and Wales and California. 

He is a consultant at the specialist construction law firm, Thea Limited, and at arbitration specialists, Dallas & Co.  He is also an adviser at the London Centre of International Law Practice.

Legal highlights include:

Commercial litigation: Courtenay was both advocate and litigator in the Commercial Court case of Catalyst Managerial Services v Libya Africa Investment Portfolio.  He succeeded in obtaining a summary judgment on the first $15 million of the claim [1].

Construction: He was lead lawyer in the reported High Court cases of ERDC Group Ltd v Brunel University (successfully representing a contractor claiming payment for construction of state-of-the-art athletics facilities) and Multiplex Constructions (UK) Ltd v West India Quay Development company (Eastern) Ltd (enforcement of an adjudicator’s award for a major contractor in relation to a 5-star hotel development) [2].

Money services businesses: Courtenay advised on judicial review of the UK Government’s regulatory stance in relation to one of the largest money transfer companies in Africa.  His advice was co-ordinated to support related competition proceedings [3].

Employment: He successfully represented the claimant in the Employment Appeal Tribunal case of Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v Kevin Maxwell, where the Metropolitan Police was found to have committed 41 acts of race/sexual orientation discrimination [4].

Phone hacking: Courtenay has successfully obtained settlements for several high-profile/celebrity victims of phone hacking by a national newspaper.


From 2000 to 2006, Courtenay specialised in high-value complex construction disputes in the High Court, international and investment treaty arbitrations, and other forms of ADR (e.g. expert determination, mediation, adjudication) working for several large and/or multi-national construction companies, including a secondment in-house for a UK PLC.

From 2007 to 2012, Courtenay was the Human Rights Adviser at the Law Society of England and Wales, working on international justice sector reform. He is currently a member of the Law Society's Human Rights Committee and the American Bar Association's Business and Human Rights Project. His current research is on the interaction between human rights and investment treaty arbitration.

Courtenay was a partner at the Legal 500 ranked law firm, McCue and Partners until September 2016.

International human rights work

Courtenay has worked on a number of high profile international human rights cases for example:

·         In November 2016, he was mentioned in the international and domestic press in relation to a Communiqué which he submitted to the International Criminal Court as a legal challenge to Australia’s asylum policies [5].


·         He has been additional counsel on two US Supreme Court Amicus Curiae Briefs in relation to life without parole sentences for juvenile offenders (January 2012) [6] and the length of time on death row amounting to cruel and unusual punishment (September 2011) [7].


·         He represented one of the joint applicants in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) case challenging Trinidad’s use of the mandatory death penalty [8].  He also spent a sabbatical working in South Carolina, USA, on death penalty and freedom of speech/ assembly cases, as reported in the Foreign Office’s Annual Human Rights Report [9].

International legal development

Courtenay has also developed extensive experience in legal development and international law reform, for example:

·         Algeria – He has acted as an expert adviser to the UK Ministry of Justice regarding justice sector reform in Algeria, including carrying out an in-country fact-finding visit in September 2012 and organising/leading in-country mission and training programme in March 2013;


·         Colombia – He led a fact-finding delegation to Colombia in 2008, and met with Colombian President in November 2011 regarding human rights and law reform.  He co-authored an academic article in Colombia on how investment treaty protections can interfere with governments’ ability to regulate social issues, e.g. human rights [10];


·         Mexico – In 2011, he authored a report for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers on attacks on lawyers and compliance with judgments of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights [11].  As a result he was invited to Geneva to present his findings at a meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur during the XVI session of the UN Human Rights Council.


[1] Courtenay is named in the following articles: ; and

[2] ERDC Group Ltd. v Brunel University [2006] All ER (D) 468, [2006] BLR 255 TCC,; Multiplex Constructions (UK) Ltd v West India Quay Development Company (Eastern) Ltd, [2006] EWHC 1569 (TCC), (2006) 111 Con LR 33

[3] Dahabshiil Transfer Services Limited v Barclays Bank PLC [2013] EWHC 3379 (Ch),

[4] See

[5] Courtenay is named in the following articles: “Lawyers want [Australian] PMs from John Howard to Malcolm Turnbull in dock over asylum detention”, (Sydney Morning Herald), Call for Australia to be prosecuted over refugee treatment, The Times newspaper’s The Brief, 16 November 2016 at See also press release and Communiqué at

[6] See Amicus Brief in Miller and Jackson v Arkansas, at (Courtenay is named on page 2)

[7] See Amicus Brief in Valle v Florida, at (Courtenay is named on page 43)

[8] Hilaire, Constantine and Benjamin et al. v. Trinidad and Tobago, Merits, Reparations and Costs. Judgment of June 21, 2002. Series C No. 94

[9] See  (pages 163 and 177)

[10] The Concept of 'Indirect Expropriation', its Appearance in the International System and its Effects in the Regulatory Activity of Governments”, Civlizar Ciencias Sociales y Humanas - Universidad Sergio Arboleda Volumen 11 No. 21, see

[11] See

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