James Freeman


James has conducted arbitrations under all of the major institutional rules and at all of the main seats, in a wide range of industry sectors. He acts in both commercial and investor-state cases.

He is a Solicitor Advocate and routinely appears as an advocate at substantive hearings. Legal 500 and Chambers UK has described him as an "excellent advocate", "a class act" and "particularly impressive."

James has a particular focus on energy, and he is highly valued by clients for, among other things, his expertise in gas and LNG pricing disputes. He is acknowledged to be leading current thinking in this area, co-editing the 2nd edition of the Gas Price Arbitrations – the only textbook on the subject. James is also known for his expertise in finance sector arbitrations and has acted as counsel for ISDA on its Arbitration Guide.

Widely respected in the market, James features in all of the leading legal directories. In Chambers & Partners UK 2024, it is stated that James is “an exemplary lawyer” and “highly effective” and who is “very creative and adapts to the situation that you are in. He is also sensitive to the client's issues and needs”. It is also stated that “James provides an excellent legal service in an ever-changing business environment with a clear client and commercial focus. He thinks outside of the box and moves things forward. He strikes the balance between sufficient depth of advice and efficiency and commercial practicability.” Previous editions have described him as “bright, hard-working and someone you want on your team”; “an impressive advocate and commercial arbitrator”, that “He provides excellent service on matters involving complex commercial and tactical issues” and is “a pleasure to work with. He's super bright and intellectually rigorous”; “A class act. He's thoughtful and sensible”; and “all over the facts of a case,”... “He knows exactly why he's there and is massively persuasive.” Legal 500, 2023 describes James as having a “brilliant mind”. Previous editions have said he is “versatile, smart and pragmatic”; “engaging and always very calm and measured, as well as being fun to work with – responsive and on top of all of the details.” Who’s Who Legal Arbitration 2023 states that “James Freeman excels on the international stage, being described as ‘really good practitioner’ who is consistently ‘meticulous and thoughtful’”. 



Representative matters

USD100m: An oil major in an arbitration with a joint venture partner in a deep-water exploration project off West Africa.
USD500m: A major LNG producer in a price review arbitration of unrivalled complexity involving six European markets and EU competition law issues.
EUR200m: Bank of Cyprus in defeating complex ICC arbitration claims arising out of the Eurozone crisis and the 2013 Cypriot bail-in legislation.
USD200m: JKX Oil & Gas on three investment treaty claims against Ukraine.
A private equity group in a USD250m dispute over warranty claims arising from claims by third parties under Indonesian law to rights in Indonesian mining interests.
The Republic of Slovenia in an ICSID arbitration under the Energy Charter Treaty and a bilateral treaty, defending claims brought by Hrvatska Elektroprivreda (HEP), the national electricity company of Croatia.
An international bank in successfully defending a claim by an Indonesia-based Private Wealth Management client alleging mis-selling of FX and equity-linked derivatives.
A major LNG producer in an arbitration in which a buyer alleged that the parties were under an obligation to extend two LNG supply agreements and claimed a sum of almost USD800m. We succeeded in having the buyer’s claim entirely dismissed and, very unusually, our client was awarded 100% of its costs.
A major LNG producer in a price review arbitration concerning the price of LNG supplies under two long-term LNG supply agreements into two different European markets.
An LNG buyer in a price review arbitration concerning the price of LNG supplies into a European market, in which both buyer and seller are making claims for a price adjustment.
A global commodities company in four arbitrations arising out of its over-USD2bn acquisition of a commodities business.
A manufacturer and operator of a large portfolio of aircraft in a claim for more than USD1.5bn.
Belize Bank Limited in an LCIA arbitration against the Government of Belize, and in numerous local court proceedings, two of which proceeded on appeal to the Privy Council.
A European bank in an LCIA arbitration, defending claims arising out of its divestment of an Asian insurance business. The claim was settled on mutually agreed terms. 

Published Work

  • Joint editor of "Gas Price Arbitrations" (2nd edition, 2015)
  • Chapter on "Practical aspects of price reviews" in "The Law and Business of LNG" (2nd edition)
  • Chapter on "Practical issues specific to arbitration concerning financial products" in "International Financial Disputes - Arbitration and Mediation" (2015)
  • "The use of arbitration in the financial services industry" in Business Law International (December 2014)

Leadership Positions And Professional Affiliations

  • Former Co-Chair of the LCIA Young International Arbitration Group
  • Former Steering Committee member of CPR Y-ADR
  • Member of the ICC Global Commission on Arbitration and ADR
Most highly regarded individuals.” among non-partners in Europe.
Who’s Who Legal’s Arbitration Future Leaders 2018
James is a quality guy: excellent all round, highly visible on the circuit and very well respected.
Who’s Who Legal’s Arbitration Future Leaders 2017



Partner, 2018
Counsel, 2015
Admitted as solicitor, England and Wales, 2004


BA (Hons), First Class, Ancient & Modern History, New College Oxford University, 1998
Post Graduate Diploma in Law, Distinction, City University London, 2000
LPC, Commendation, The College Of Law, London, 2001
Diploma in International Arbitration, Distinction, Queen Mary College, University of London, 2010


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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.