Michael Polkinghorne focuses on advising clients on arbitration and litigation matters, notably in the areas of energy, telecommunications, project finance and infrastructure.
He has served as counsel and arbitrator in numerous arbitrations conducted under most major institutional rules, helping to resolve disputes for a range of significant commercial and sovereign clients. He is the former Australian member of the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC, and was formerly a member of the ICC Task Force on arbitrations involving state entities.
Michael has handled disputes arising in many different countries, and has significant experience in the area of foreign direct investment and acting for and against states. He is able to apply his considerable knowledge and insight, gained through years of experience, to guide his clients through sometimes prolonged and highly complex proceedings.
Michael is consistently ranked in the top tier of arbitration practitioners in Paris, and was named "Energy Lawyer of the Year" at Euromoney's 2014 Global Commercial Arbitration Awards, and was the winner of the French Arbitration and ADR Client Choice Award in 2017.
In recent years Michael has been involved in a number of mediations, particularly in the industrial gas sector. He 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.
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 also has a significant transactional practice, advising clients in the energy and infrastructure development fields. He has been involved with a number of petroleum clients on projects in South East Asia, the Russian Federation, India, China and West and North Africa.
He is presently a member of the Legal Advisory Taskforce of the European Energy Charter Secretariat, and lectures regularly on oil and gas issues throughout the world. He has written extensively on energy dispute resolution and foreign investment, and provides courses on long-term energy contracts and dispute resolution.
Michael is a dual-qualified lawyer, resident in Paris where he heads the office's arbitration group. He is joint-head of the firm's oil and gas practice, as well as pro bono leader of the firm's Paris office.