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About Joshua Kelly

Joshua is an associate in our international arbitration group and public international law practice in London. He has previously spent time in our Paris office.

Joshua acts in commercial, investor-state and inter-State arbitration and litigation, representing and advising a broad range of clients (including States and State-owned entities) with a focus on Africa, Russia, the CIS and offshore. He has experience in disputes across the mining, oil and gas, finance, telecoms, pharma, defence and construction sectors.

Joshua has particular expertise in issues arising from:

  • investments in high-risk jurisdictions
  • commercial contractual disputes and foreign torts
  • the law of the sea 
  • land and maritime boundary disputes 
  • immunities under international law
  • anti-corruption laws and sanctions, and
  • international humanitarian law and human rights.

Prior to joining Freshfields, Joshua worked as a government lawyer in Australia providing legal advice to senior government officials on issues of international law and public law.


Recent work

Public international law and investor-State disputes

  • Representing a sovereign State in an inter-State arbitration concerning law of the sea issues.
  • Advising a sovereign State on a dispute arising under an international human rights law treaty.
  • Advising international organisations on a range of issues, including membership.
  • Advising an oil and gas company on the arrest of a vessel by a State.
  • Representing a mining investor in an UNCITRAL arbitration against a central Asian state under an investment law (including parallel proceedings in the English courts).
  • Advising oil and gas companies on issues arising from maritime boundary disputes.
  • Advising development banks on their immunities and dispute resolution options for financing, particularly in emerging markets.
  • Advising a FTSE100 company on the structuring of its investments in high risk jurisdictions.

Commercial arbitration and litigation

  • Representing a multinational conglomerate in defending a US$1bn LCIA arbitration claim brought by a shareholder in relation to a telecoms project.
  • Representing a national oil company in defending a potential arbitration claim under an English law governed farmout agreement.
  • Representing a Russian development company in a dispute under an English law governed project management agreement, including parallel proceedings in the US and Cyprus courts (conducted in English and Russian).
  • Representing a venture capital fund in three parallel arbitrations (LCIA and SCC Expedited Rules) for the recovery of debts owed under English law financing agreements, including parallel interim relief and insolvency proceedings in offshore courts (conducted in English and Russian).
  • Advising on claims in the English courts arising out of breaches of international law and foreign torts.

Pro bono work

  • Filing complaints with the United Nations Human Rights Committee on behalf of individuals from a Central Asian State who have suffered breaches of their human rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
  • Advising NGOs on EU/UK sanctions issues.
  • Assisting an international NGO providing advice to small and developing States on the negotiation of a treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of marine life in the high seas.

Joshua also regularly appears as a volunteer advocate on behalf of appellants before the Asylum Support Tribunal, working with the Asylum Support Appeals Project (ASAP).



  • Master of Laws specialising in international law, Australian National University (Dean's Prize)
  • Bachelor of Laws (Hons), University of Technology, Sydney (ranked 2nd in graduating year; subject prizes for torts, succession, industrial law; prizes for best oral advocate in various mooting competitions)
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Technology, Sydney

Professional qualifications

  • Solicitor-Advocate (Higher Courts - Civil), England & Wales 
  • Solicitor, New South Wales, Australia 

Professional memberships

  • European Society of International Law
  • International Law Association (British Branch)
  • Young International Arbitration Group

Languages: Portuguese, French (working), Russian (basic).