Godwin Tan


Godwin advises on investment treaty arbitration, international commercial arbitration, public international law, and business and human rights. As a dual-qualified lawyer (English solicitor and New York attorney), he has advised or represented governments, companies and international organisations in multi-jurisdictional arbitration proceedings under ICSID, LCIA, ICC and UNCITRAL Rules.

Godwin also has experience in arbitration-related litigation and enforcement proceedings, as well as in gas price arbitration and insurance disputes.

Godwin has lectured on arbitration at several universities, including Harvard University, the University of Cambridge, the London School of Economics, King’s College London, the University of Hong Kong, and the Singapore University of Social Sciences. He regularly speaks at conferences and panel events on dispute resolution and international law.

He has published articles in leading journals, including the ICSID Review and the Cambridge International Law Journal, and a book chapter on developments in international arbitration. He was the Lead Editor of the ninth edition of the Allen & Overy Business and Human Rights Review.

Alongside his work as counsel, Godwin was appointed to the Committee of the Beihai Asia International Arbitration Centre in Singapore, where he is also an empanelled arbitrator, and the Executive Committee of CamARB. He is the Founder and Chair of the firm’s Society of East Asian Lawyers and sits on the firm’s Race & Ethnicity Committee. 

Prior to joining the firm, Godwin read law at the University of Cambridge (First Class in all subjects) and University College London (First Class Honours). He was a military policeman in Singapore and received the Full-Time National Serviceman of the Year Award.

Godwin is fluent in English and Mandarin Chinese.


Representative matters

A telecommunications company in pursuing investment treaty claims against an Asian State in an UNCITRAL arbitration.  

The Kingdom of Morocco in defending an ICSID arbitration claim brought by a Swedish investor in relation to an oil refinery.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in defending an ICSID arbitration claim brought by a Turkish investor in the construction sector.

A Middle Eastern LNG producer in an ICC gas price arbitration against a Spanish company. 

A telecommunications company in pursuing investment treaty claims against the Republic of India.  

An Asian oil company with defending claims and bringing counterclaims in an ICC arbitration.

A British conglomerate on potential breaches of human rights and general supply chain litigation risks, including restitutionary claims under English and US law.

An American energy company on the interpretation of price review and hardship clauses in relation to an ICC arbitration.

A West African conglomerate on the interpretation of its contracts and wrongful termination risks.

Pro bono

Godwin is actively involved in pro bono initiatives and has acted as a lead advocate before courts and tribunals on behalf of pro bono clients. Recent pro bono work: 

Successfully represented five appellants before disability benefits tribunals in England 

Assisted a non-governmental organisation with its amicus curiae brief to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights 

Assisted a charity with its application to intervene in proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights 

Assisted the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice and other human rights charities with legal research and information gathering

Published Work

  • Katrina Limond and Godwin Tan, “The ICJ and the Climate Crisis—Advisory Opinion”, LexisNexis (2023)
  • Guled Yusuf and Godwin Tan, “Prohibition, Regulation or Laissez Faire? Policy Trade-Offs of Double Hatting in Investment Treaty Arbitration”, Investment Treaty Arbitration and International Law - Volume 14 (2021)
  • Guled Yusuf and Godwin Tan, “ICSID Arbitration after Achmea: The Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning?”, ICSID Review—Foreign Investment Law Journal (2021)
  • Godwin Tan and Andrea Chong, “The Future of Environmental Counterclaims in ICSID Arbitration: Challenges, Treaties and Interpretations”, Cambridge International Law Journal (2020)

Speaking Engagements

  • Guest Speaker, “Arbitral Landscape in Singapore: Policy, Institution and Law”, University of Hong Kong, 2024
  • Guest Speaker, “Business and Human Rights: The UNGPs and Norms in Investment Treaty Arbitration”, London School of Economics, 2024
  • Guest Speaker, “The Uncharted Dimension: Leveraging Synergies for Access to Justice”, Institute of Small and Micro States Conference, 2023
  • Guest Speaker, “Business and Human Rights Panel: Perspectives of an Arbitration Practitioner”, University of Oxford, 2023

Leadership Positions And Professional Affiliations

  • Committee Member and Empanelled Arbitrator, Beihai Asia International Arbitration Centre (BAIAC), Singapore
  • Executive Committee Member, University of Cambridge Alumni Arbitration Law Association (CamARB)
  • Member, London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) EDI Steering Group



Solicitor, England and Wales, 2021

Admitted to the Bar (State of New York, USA), 2022


LL.B., University College London, 2017 (First Class Honours, Dean's List, Simon Wallace Prize)

LL.M., University of Cambridge, 2018 (First Class Honours, Foundation Scholar)

L.P.C. LL.M., BPP Law School, 2019 (Distinction) 


Chinese (Mandarin)
A&O Shearman was formed on May 1, 2024 by the combination of Shearman & Sterling LLP and Allen & Overy LLP and their respective affiliates (the legacy firms). Any matters referred to above may include matters undertaken by one or more of the legacy firms rather than A&O Shearman.