Shawn Kirby


About Shawn Kirby

Shawn is an international dispute resolution specialist with a particular focus on complex commercial disputes before arbitral institutions and courts around the world.

Shawn is dual-qualified as an English solicitor and as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand. His contentious work has included acting in ICC, LCIA, SIAC, LMAA, UNCITRAL and ad hoc arbitrations subject to numerous governing laws, as well as in English court proceedings and in an advisory capacity in relation to court proceedings in many other jurisdictions.

Based on his dispute experience, Shawn is also often asked to assist clients in the negotiation of high value contracts, particularly in the energy, construction and shipbuilding arenas.

Shawn led the WR team which won "Deal of the Year: Disputes" in the Latin Lawyer Awards 2021 and he is recognised in the Legal 500 rankings with clients describing him as "extremely pragmatic and [a] solution maker" (Legal 500, 2023: Projects, Energy & Natural Resources: Oil & Gas).

Work experience
  • 2018 -

    Partner, Wikborg Rein, London

  • 2016 - 2017

    Senior Lawyer, Wikborg Rein, London

  • 2008 - 2016

    Associate/Senior Associate/Managing Associate, Ince & Co, London

  • 2004 - 2007

    Lawyer, DLA Piper, Wellington

  • 2004

    LLB (Hons) BCom (Hons), University of Otago

Selected projects
  • Lead counsel for an oil company in an UNCITRAL arbitration subject to Brazilian law in relation to disputes between members of a consortium arising under a Joint Operating Agreement, including responsibility for delay, the right of forfeiture and compensation due in such circumstances.

  • Lead counsel for an international contractor in an ICC arbitration concerning a construction project in Turkey, subject to Swiss law and jurisdiction.

  • Acting for an international telecommunications company in multiple international arbitrations concerning the supply of new technology and associated services.

  • National Joint Stock Company Naftogaz of Ukraine v Public Joint Stock Company Gazprom [2019] 2 Lloyd's Rep 20: Acting for Naftogaz seeking to enforce an arbitration award of US$2.6 billion against Gazprom in England. Successfully obtaining a freezing injunction over Gazprom's assets and security.

  • Acting for a Chinese shipyard in a US$200 million dispute in relation to the termination of a contract for the construction of a drilling unit, including successfully seeking an ex parte injunction to prevent a call on refund guarantees issued.

  • LexisNexis PSL Arbitration - Contributing Author LMAA Arbitration

Honor awards
  • 2023

    Recommended, Legal 500 - Shipping

  • 2023

    Recommended, Legal 500 - Contentious Construction

  • 2023

    Recommended, Legal 500 - Projects, Energy And Natural Resources: Oil And Gas

  • 2021

    Deal of the Year Winner: Disputes, Latin Lawyer