John Gaffney is a Senior Counsel with the Abu Dhabi office of Al Tamimi & Company, where he leads the office’s arbitration practice.

John previously worked with the international arbitration practices of King & Spalding and Freshfields in Paris, and Skadden, Arps in London. He has served with the United Nations Compensation Commission in Geneva. He is listed in the Legal 500 Arbitration Powerlist, the Who’s Who of International Commercial Arbitration and the Euromoney Guide to Leading Commercial Arbitration Experts.

John holds degrees from the National University of Ireland, and an LLM from the University of Amsterdam. He has also studied at the University of Modena, Italy. He is admitted to practice in England & Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

John is an Adjunct Professor at the UCC School of Law in Ireland and a guest lecturer at the Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi. John serves as a Member of: the Editorial Board of the ICSID Review, the List of Candidates Suitable for Appointment as Arbitrators under EU trade agreements, the ICC Commission for Arbitration and ADR (representing Ireland), the Sounding Board, Business and Human Rights Arbitration Project, the Consultative Committee of the ELI project on Business and Human Rights and the Advisory Board of the Indian Women in International Arbitration.

He has published extensively and spoken widely on international dispute resolution. In 2018, he was nominated for the Global Arbitration Review Award for Innovation for his article, “Has the Time Come for Full and Frank Disclosure?” and in 2023 he was nominated for the Global Arbitration Review Award for Best Lecture or Speech for his speech at the , “We need to talk about ESG” which he gave at the 2022 ADGM-ICSID joint conference.

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Thought Leadership


  • Ambassador, ICC Commission on the Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Member, ICC Commission for Arbitration and ADR
  • Nominated for the 2018 Global Arbitration Review (GAR) Award for Innovation
  • Member of the Sounding Board, Business and Human Rights Arbitration Project
  • Country Reporter for the UAE, ITA Board of Reporters
  • Guest Lecturer, International Commercial Arbitration, Sorbonne University, Abu Dhabi
  • Editorial Board, Law Update (an Al Tamimi & Company publication)
  • ICCA Ambassador – ICCA Congress, Mauritius, May 2016
  • Reporter for European Parliament Study on Arbitration, January 2015
  • Rapporteur for the popular OGEMID Listserv, and Associate Editor, TDM
  • Former Case Notes Editor of the European International Arbitration Review
  • Member of the Drafting Committee for the 2011, 2015 Skadden, Arps FDI Moot
  • Listed in Who’s Who Legal (for Arbitration, Construction), Roster of International Arbitrators, and Euromoney Guide to Leading Commercial Arbitration Experts.


Books and special editions:

  • Rapporteur, “Legal Instruments and Practice of Arbitration in the EU”, a Study prepared for the JURI Committee of the European Parliament, and the Case Notes editor of the European International Arbitration Review.
  • Co-Editor, TDM Special Issue on the Modernisation of the Energy Charter Treaty (‘ECT’), TDM (2019)
  • Part V (Court Decisions) of Yearbook Commercial Arbitration Volume XLII (2017)(with M. Nasreddine)
  • UAE Chapter in Delos Guide to Arbitration Places (2018) (co-author with S. Aranjo and M. Nasreddine)
  • UAE Chapter in Commercial Arbitration, Global Arbitration Review (2018)(co-author with T Snider and D Al Houti)
  • Contribution to the UAE Arbitration Yearbook 2017 entitled, The QMUL Study on Resolving TMT Disputes: What Lessons for the UAE (co-author with M. Nasreddine)
  • Chapter entitled ‘Overview of Recent EU-Related Developments in Commercial and Investor-State Arbitration’, in Contemporary Issues in International Arbitration and Mediation: The Fordham Papers 2015 (ed. Rovine)(2016)
  • Co-Editor, TDM Special Issue on “Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the European Union and Canada (CETA)”, TDM 1 (2016)
  • National Report on Ireland in World Arbitration Reporter (2018)(with E. Crowley)
  • Chapter entitled ‘European Bilateral Approaches’ in International Investment Law: A Handbook (ed. Bungenberg, Griebel et al) (2015) (with Z. Akcay)
  • Chapter entitled ‘How Important Is It To Develop A Coherent Case Law?: The Role Of Judicial Dialogue In Investment Arbitration’ in Droit européen (Le) et l’investissement, Colloque (2011)
  • Chapter entitled ‘Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: Wälde’s Defence of ‘Specialisation’ in the Interpretation of Investment Treaties’ in Liber Amicorum: Thomas Walde, Law Beyond Conventional Thought, edited by Thomas Wälde, Jacques Werner and Arif Hyder Ali (2009)
  • Chapter on ‘Enforcement’ in Practical Aspects of Arbitrating EC Competition Law (Schulthess, Zurich) (with S. Wade) (2007)
  • Chapter on ‘Ireland’ in Transnational Litigation: A Practitioner’s Guide, (ed. John Fellas) (co-author with A. Collins and P.A. McDermott) (2006).


  • “Intra-EU investment protection in a post-Achmea world,’ Columbia FDI Perspectives, No. 266, December 2, 2019 (with George A Bermann)
  • “The Abu Dhabi Global Market: An Arbitral Seat Open to All”, Kluwer Arbitration Blog, 14 May 2019
  • “Achmea and Commercial Arbitration”, Global Arbitration Review, 29 April 2019
  • “The Arbitral Jurisdiction of the Abu Dhabi Global Market”, ICC Institute Newsletter – Issue 11, December 20, 2018
  • Overview of the UAE Federal Arbitration Law No. 6 of 2018, (4 October 2018, Kluwer Arbitration ITA Arbitration Report, Volume No. XVI, Issue No. 9)
  • “X v. Y, Court of First Instance of Dubai, 1289 of 2018, 19 September 2018”, (Kluwer Arbitration ITA Arbitration Report, Volume No. XVI, Issue No. 11-12)
  • “Slovak Republic v. Achmea: A Disproportionate Judgment?”, Kluwer Arbitration Blog, Sep 14, 2018
  • “Could BITs and BATs be combined to ensure access to human rights remedies?”, Columbia FDI Perspectives, No. 229, July 2, 2018
  • “Has the Time come for Full and Frank Financial Disclosure in International Commercial Arbitration?”, ICC Institute Newsletter (2017) (nominated for GAR Award)
  • “Should the European Union regulate commercial arbitration?”, Arbitration International (2017) 33 (1): 81-98
  • “The revision of Article 257 of the UAE Penal Code”, ICC Institute Newsletter, No 8 (2017)
  • “The Revision of Article 257 of the UAE Penal Code: Concerns, Context, and a call to Countermand”, International Journal of Arab Arbitration, Volume 8 – No. (2) (co-author with Hassan Arab & Malak Nasreddine)
  • “The Revision of Article 257 of the UAE Penal Code: A problem also for Party-Appointed Experts?”, Kluwer Arbitration Blog, 10 March 2017
  • “Banyan Tree Corporate Pte Ltd v. Meydan Group LLC and Meydan City Corporation, Court of First Instance of Dubai, Case No. 1619/2016, 15 February 2017”, (Kluwer Arbitration ITA Arbitration Report)
  • “Arbitrating in Abu Dhabi’s commercial freezone – an overview”, Global Arbitration Review, February 06, 2017
  • “State Courts and the Proposed New Investment First Instance and Appellate Decisions”, TDM 1 (2017)
  • “The Rule of Law and Alternatives to Investment Arbitration”, European Investment Law and Arbitration Review (EILARev), 2016
  • “The Enforceability of DIAC Arbitral Awards by the DIFC Courts in Confirmed: the DRA and DIAC join forces”, (28 October 2016, Kluwer Arbitration Blog)
  • “Fluor Transworld Services v. Petrixo Oil, Court of Appeal of Dubai, Commercial Appeal No. 52-2016, 28 September 2016”, (Kluwer Arbitration ITA Arbitration Report)
  • “How to navigate the UAE’s complex jurisdictions”, The Lawyer, Sept 2016 (with T. Shrayh)
  • “The EU proposal for an Investment Court System: what lessons can be learned from the Arab Investment Court?”, Columbia FDI Perspectives, Aug. 29, 2016
  • “Arbitration Awards as Works of Art”, Kluwer Arbitration Blog, June 1, 2016
  • “X v. Y, Court of Cassation of Dubai, Commercial Appeal No. 38-2016, 29 May 2016”, (31 August 2016, Kluwer Arbitration ITA Arbitration Report, Volume No. XIV, Issue No. 8)
  • “Gavin v. Gaynor, Court of First Instance of the DIFC, 03 April 2016”, (Kluwer Arbitration ITA Arbitration Report)
  • “When is investor-state dispute settlement appropriate to resolve investment disputes? An idea for a rule-of-law ratings mechanism,” Columbia FDI Perspectives, June 8, 2015
  • “International Commercial Arbitration – Procedural Approaches: Civil Law versus Common Law”, Transnational Dispute Management, January 2015 (with A. Ndong)
  • “Appellant v. Respondent, Court of Cassation of Abu Dhabi, Judgment No. 708-2014, 29 October 2014”, (2 October 2017, Kluwer Arbitration ITA Arbitration Report, Volume No. XV, Issue No. 9)
  • “Cost allocation in investment arbitration: Forward toward incentivization”, Columbia FDI Perspective No. 123 June 9, 2014 (with J. Nicholson)
  • Achieving sustainable development objectives in international investment: Could future IIAs impose sustainable development-related obligations on investors?”, Columbia FDI Perspective (co-author with J. Sarvanantham)
  • “Intra-EU BITs: Toothless Tigers Or Do They Still Bite?”, SchiedsVZ 2013, Heft 2, 68 (German Arbitration Journal) (co-author with J. Schaefer)
  • “Should Investment Treaty Tribunals Be Permitted to Request Preliminary Rulings From the Court of Justice of the European Union?”, Transnational Dispute Management, Vol. 2 (2013)
  • “EU Member State Defends Measures Adverse to Energy Sector Investments on the basis of EU law,” in King & Spalding Energy Newsletter (February 2013) (with C. Soule)
  • “Case Comment – Slovak Republic v. Eureko B.V., OLF Frankfurt (10 May 2012),” in The Paris Journal of International Arbitration, Vol. 4, (2012) (with C. Soule)
  • “Threats to Investment Protection in the EU Energy Sector,” in King & Spalding Energy Newsletter (August 2012)
  • “Non-party Autonomy:  Displacing the Negative effect of the Principle of ‘Competence-Competence’ in England?” in 1 Journal of International Arbitration (2012)
  • “How Important is it to Develop a Coherent Case Law?: The Role of Judicial Dialogue in Investment Arbitration” in Le droit européen et l’arbitrage d’investissement (2011).
  • “Tilting at Windmills?: The Quest for Independence of Party-Appointed Expert Witnesses in International Arbitration,” Asian Dispute Review, July 2011 (co-author with G. O’Leary).
  • “EC Law and Intra-EU Investment Treaties:  AES Summit Generation Limited and AES-Tisza Eromu Kft. v. Republic of Hungary,” KLRCA Newsletter, October 2010.
  • “Counsel Must Ensure The Right of Cross-Examination In Arbitration”, International Litigation Quarterly (Fall 2010)
  • “Abuse of Process in Investment Treaty Arbitration”, Journal of World Investment & Trade, Vol. 11 No. 4 (August 2010)
  • “West Tankers: Fuelling the Debate on the Position of Arbitration” (co-author with Colm P. McInerney), The International Litigation Quarterly, Vol. 25, Issue 3 (Summer 2009)
  • “Is an investment treaty tribunal entitled to dismiss a claim where it amounts to an ‘abuse of process?”, Kluwer Arbitration Blog, August 4, 2009
  • “The New York Convention: A Basis For The Enforcement By National Courts Of A Justiciable Liberty Of Decision Of The Arbitral Tribunal,” in The New York Convention: 50 Years Of Experience, Mealey’s Executive Summary (Oct. 2008)
  • “Precedent in the United Nations Compensation Commission,” 5(3) TDM (May 2008)
  • “The ‘Effective Ordinary Meaning’ of BITs and the Jurisdiction of Treaty-Based Tribunals to Hear Contract Claims,” Volume 8, No.1 Journal of World Investment & Trade5 (Mar. 2007)(with J. L. Loftis)
  • “Jurisdiction ratione temporis of ICSID Tribunals: Lucchetti and Jan De Nul considered,” 3(5) Transnational Dispute Management (2006)
  • “Immunity of arbitrators from suit,” IBA Committee D Newsletter, Vol. XI, No. 1, at 26 (Feb. 2006)(with P. Griffin)
  • “European Community Law and International Arbitration: A recent OGEMID discussion,” Transnational Dispute Management, Vol. 2, No. 5 (Nov. 2005)
  • “Salini v. Jordan – An Important Contribution To ICSID Jurisprudence on Jurisdictional Issues,” 20(4) Int’l Arb. Rep. 35 (2005)
  • “Ireland- Scope of arbitration clause,” 9(2) Arb. & ADR 62 (2004)
  • “The Group of Companies Doctrine and the Law Applicable to the Arbitration Agreement,” 19(6) Int’l Arb. Rep. 47 (2004)
  • “Confidentiality in International Arbitration: A Recent English Decision,” 18(5) Int’l Arb. Rep. 18 (2003)
  • “Ex Parte Measures in International Arbitration,” 17(11) Int’l Arb. Rep. 39 (2002)
  • “Evidentiary privileges in international arbitration – Ireland,” 7(2) Arb. & ADR 36 (2002)
  • “The Bay Hotel Case: Accommodating the Parties’ Wishes,” 17(1) Int’l Arb. Rep. 31 (2002)(with D. Rosenblum)
  • ‘International, Foreign and Domestic Arbitrations and the Granting of Interim Relief in Ireland’, 16(9) Int’l Arb. Rep. 37 (2001) (with O. O’Sullivan).

International Law Publications:

  • ‘Due Process in the United Nations Compensation Commission’, Mealey’s International Arbitration Report (October 2000)
  • ‘Precedent in the United Nations Compensation Commission, Mealey’s International Arbitration Report (December 1999)
  • ‘The United Nations Compensation Commission: A Structural and Procedural Overview’, Arbitration – Journal of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (August 1999)
  • ‘An Overview of WTO Law’, Commercial Law Practitioner (August/September 1999);
  • ‘Due Process in the WTO: The Need for Procedural Justice in the Dispute Settlement System’, 14 American University International Law Review (1999) (Special Edition dedicated to the World Trade Organization)
  • ‘The GATT and the GATS: Should they be Mutually Exclusive Agreements?’ 12 Leiden Journal of International Law (1999)
  • ‘Enforcement Proceedings under Article 169 EC and the Duty of Member States to Furnish Information Requested by the Commission: Is There a Regulatory Gap?’ 25 Legal Issues of European Integration (1998)
  • ‘The Review of Corporate Claims by the United Nations Compensation Commission’, Commercial Law Practitioner (March 1999).
  • ‘The Status of Customary International Law in Irish Domestic Law: a Review of the “Toledo” Case’, Irish Law Times (August 1996).

Energy and Natural Resources Law Publications:

  • Ireland: Market Arrangements in Electricity and Gas Sectors’, Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence, Issue: Vol. 2 – issue 1.
  • ‘Climate Change: A Taxing Issue for Ireland, Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence, Issue: Vol. 2 – issue 3.
  • ‘Current Practice: Ireland’, Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law: Vol. 18 No. 4, Vol. 18 No. 3; Vol. 19 No. 2 (coauthor with Claire Waterson); Vol. 19 No. 4 (with Claire Waterson); Vol. 20 No. 1 (with Claire Waterson); Volume 20 Number 3 (with Gayle McGratten); Vol. 20 No. 4 (with Claire Waterson).

Commercial Law Publications:

  • ‘Competition Issues in Commercial Agreements’ (co-author) European Business Law Review (2007) (with Fiona O’Connell and Emily Gibson).
  • ‘New E-Commerce Regulations: Ireland Catches Up!’, International Business Lawyer, October 2003 (with Clare McGuinness).
  • The Irish Copyright Act’, Journal of World Intellectual Property, July 2002.
  • ‘The Regulation of Electronic Commerce in the European Community’, Irish Journal of European Law, 2001 (with Sandra Delaney).
  • ‘Ireland’s E-Commerce Regulatory Framework: A Practitioners Perspective’, Electronic Commerce & Law, Volume 6, Number 24 (13 June 2001)
  • ‘Electronic Commerce and European Community Competition Law’, International Business Lawyer (June 2001).
  • ‘To B2B or not to be’, Gazette of the Law Society of Ireland, January/February 2001.
  • Electronic Commerce Act 2000: Ireland leads the way’ International Business Lawyer, (December 2000) (with Vincent Nolan)
  • ‘B2B Exchanges: Competitive or Anti-competitive?’ International Business Lawyer (November 2000)
  • “EU Directive on Electronic Commerce”, Gazette of the Law Society of Ireland (October 2000)
  • ‘Electronic Commerce: Commercial, Legal and Regulatory Issues’ Irish Business Law (August 2000) (with Sandra Delany).
  • ‘The Use of Minimum Pre-qualification criteria: the Whelan Group case’, Public Procurement Law Review, January 2003
  • ‘Public Procurement in Ireland: Recent Developments’, Law Society Gazette, December 2002
  • ‘New Competition Act’, Newsletter of the IBA Antitrust and Trade Law Committee, July 2002
  • ‘Public Procurement in Ireland: Recent Developments’, Law Society Gazette, December 2001
  • ‘The European Company Statute: A Case of “All Kinds of Everything”’, Commercial Law Practitioner (May 1998).
  • ‘Staff Consultation and European Works Councils’, Gazette of the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland (March 1997).

Speaking Engagements:

  • Guest Lecturer, International Commercial Arbitration, Sorbonne University, Abu Dhabi, February 2019
  • Commentator on Keynote Speech: Constructing a multilateral investment court: the path ahead, EFILA Conference, London, Jan. 2019
  • Panelist, Conduct within the arbitration process, Dublin International Arbitration Day, Nov 2018
  • Presentation on UAE Law to the DIFC Courts’ Annual Judges Meeting, DIFC, Nov 2018
  • Visiting Lecturer, International Commercial Arbitration, Paris Sorbonne University, Abu Dhabi, March 2018 (with Michael Hwang SC)
  • Panelist, “Rethinking the Role of Courts and Judges in Supporting Arbitration in Africa”, Lagos Court of Arbitration Centre, 2016
  • Speaker, International Arbitration Symposium, CILS, Salzburg, Jun. 2016
  • Speaker, EFILA Conference, Paris, Feb. 2016
  • Moderator, “Queen Mary School of International Arbitration – Inaugural Working Seminar on Group Claims in Arbitration”, Nov. 2015
  • Moderator & Speaker, “The Confluence of EU Law and International Arbitration—Both Commercial and Investor-State”, 10th Annual Conference on International Arbitration and Mediation, Fordham Law School, New York, Nov. 2015
  • Speaker, Energy Disputes, CIArb Centenary Conference, Dublin, Oct. 2015
  • Speaker ICC PIDA conference, Dubai, 2014
  • Speaker, McGill University & QMUL, CETA Conference, Montreal, 2014
  • Speaker, Eighth Dublin Forum on Resolution of International Commercial Disputes, 2014
  • Keynote speaker, CIArb European Branch AGM and Conference, Warsaw, 2014
  • Panelist, “Non-enforcement of Arbitration Awards as Breaches of Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) obligations”, ICC YAF Conference, Bangalore, 2014
  • Panelist, Inaugural Conference of the CIArb Young Members Group in Dublin on “Investment Arbitration: Fit for purpose?’, Dublin, 2012
  • Speaker, Journée d’étude/Seminar, Le droit européen et l’arbitrage d’investissement, European Law and Investment Arbitration, Paris, 2010
  • Speaker, UCC Annual Law Conference, Cork, Ireland, on “The Impact of European Community Law in Irish Litigation”, November 2008
  • Panelist, Arbitration and ADR Section, International Bar Association Annual Meeting, Singapore, 2007
  • Panelist, International Arbitration Seminar, Association International de Jeunes Avocats (AIJA) Congress, Geneva, 2006.
  • Guest Speaker at Annual Conference organized by University College Cork Law Society on “The Role of Community Law in the Irish Legal System: Parasitic or Symbiotic?”, December 2005.
  • Lecture on “Pleading EC Law in Irish Litigation”, PPC 1 Course, Law Society of Ireland, 5 December 2005 and 16 January 2006.
  • Guest Speaker at Annual CPD Conference organized by University College Cork on “Pleading EC Law in Irish Litigation”, November 2005
  • Guest Speaker at presentation organized by University College, Cork for students of the Franklin Pierce Law Center on “The role of Community Law in the Irish Legal System”, July 2005.
  • Guest Speaker at ETC Seminar to local authority employees on Tendering and Public Procurement, Cork, 2005.
  • Guest Speaker at CPD Conference, University College, Cork on “”Recent Developments in Competition Law”, December 2004.
  • Guest Speaker at Irish Centre for European Law/Law Society Conference, Dublin on “Pleading in EC Law in Irish Litigation: A Case Study”, September 2004.
  • Guest Speaker at CPD Conference, University College, Cork on “”Data Protection and Business: Some Key Legal Issues”, May 2004.
  • Chairman, SMI “Irish Energy” Conference, Dublin, November, 2002.
  • Speaker at the SMI “Irish Energy” Conference, on “Regulation of Electricity Market in Ireland: Recent Developments”, September 2001.
  • Guest Speaker at ETC Seminars on Tendering and Public Procurement, Dublin, 2001/ 2002/2003.
  • “Irish Competition Law”, Diploma in Commercial Law, Law Society of Ireland, June 2002.
  • “Electronic Commerce and Competition Law”, Diploma in Electronic Commerce Law, Law Society of Ireland, May and December 2001 and January 2003.
  • “E-Commerce legislation in Ireland: A Practitioners view”, International Law Congress, Dublin, 14 May 2001.
  • “E-Commerce – Getting value from your technology”, Hibernian Learning Partnership, April 2001 (with David Cullen).
  • “Enforcement of EC and Irish competition law”, Diploma in Commercial Law, Law Society of Ireland, April 2001.
  • Chairman of Law Society Conference on E-Commerce Law, 8 March 2001;
  • “E-Commerce: Commercial, Legal and Regulatory Issues”, Advanced Course, Law Society of Ireland, July, November 2000 and January 2001.
  • “Electronic Commerce”, European Law Health Check, Law Society of Ireland, October 2000.
  • “Practitioner’s Guide to E-Commerce”, Law Society of Ireland, 15 June 2000.
  • EC Rules on State Aids”, Diploma in Applied EC Law, Law Society of Ireland, 17 June 2000.
  • “Electronic Commerce”, Continuing Legal Education, November 2000;
  • “Free Movement of Capital and Payments”, Diploma in Applied EC Law, Law Society of Ireland, 30 April 2000;
  • “The Societas Europaea: Is the Commission trying to make it all things to all persons?’ Paper presented at a meeting of the Union de Jeunes Avocats in Paris in March 1997.

Recent Experience

  • Subsidiary of a leading UAE telecommunications service provider in an arbitration with a UAE service provided (DIFC-LCIA arbitration, DIFC seat)
  • Subsidiary of a global provider for hospitals and other facilities in the healthcare sector in a dispute with a UAE hospitals company concerning the development of hospital (ICC arbitration, Abu Dhabi seat)
  • International industrial service provider in a dispute with a Korean contractor on major infrastructure project in Abu Dhabi (ICC arbitration, Abu Dhabi seat)
  • UAE insurance company (owned by one of the UAE’s leading banks) in an insurance policy related dispute with a state-owned oil company (ICC, Abu Dhabi seat)
  • UAE gypsum products supplier in an arbitration with an Indian company (ICC, Singapore)
  • Abu Dhabi aluminum extrusions company in a construction dispute with a Lebanese contractor (ICC Expertise Rules & ADCCAC arbitration, Abu Dhabi seat


  • English
  • French
  • Italian


  • 2002 – Diploma in International Arbitration, National University of Ireland
  • 1999 – International Arbitration Course, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • 1998 – Masters of Laws (LL.M.) with distinction in EU & International Trade Law, University of Amsterdam
  • 1991 – Completing LL.B. dissertation on an EEC Law issue, Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
  • 1990 – Diploma Dublin Institute on International & Comparative law, University of San Diego at Trinity College
  • 1990 – Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL), University of Ireland


  • 2007 – Solicitor in England & Wales