Duncan Speller


Speller, Duncan

Duncan Speller is a partner in the firm's Litigation/Controversy Department, and a member of the International Arbitration Practice Group. He joined the firm in 2002. Mr. Speller is based in the London office, where he practices International Arbitration and English High Court Litigation.


Mr. Speller is an English barrister. He has represented clients in numerous institutional and ad hoc arbitrations, sited in both common and civil law jurisdictions, including England, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria and Germany. Mr. Speller also has substantial experience of international commercial litigation in both the English Court of Appeal and in the Commercial and Chancery Divisions of the High Court. He has particular experience of litigation concerning aviation, oil and gas, insurance and reinsurance, telecommunications, banking and competition law issues.

Honors & Awards

  • Featured in Who's Who Legal: Arbitration and named a leading arbitrator in the inaugural edition of Who's Who Legal: Arbitration - Future Leaders 2017—a guide profiling the foremost practitioners in the arbitration community. Mr. Speller was cited as "phenomenal; extremely effective and doing exceptionally well."
  • Listed as a leader in aviation in the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 editions of The Legal 500 UK. Mr. Speller was cited for his vast experience with aviation disputes and recognized as a "key figure" of WilmerHale's top tier UK aviation team. He was also recommended for dispute resolution: international arbitration in the 2013 and 2016 editions.

Publications & News


June 7, 2017

Oil and Gas Arbitration in the Asia-Pacific Region

An article by Duncan Speller, Jane Rahman and Jonathan Lim, first published by Global Arbitration Review in The Asia-Pacific Arbitration Review (June 2017).

March 8, 2017

International Arbitration in the Financial Services Sector: Room to Grow?

An article by Duncan Speller and Francis Hornyold-Strickland, published in the Spring 2017 edition of Commercial Dispute Resolution, discusses the opportunities for international arbitration in the financial services sector.

December 20, 2016

Who's Who Legal Names Seven Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr International Arbitration Practitioners as "Future Leaders of International Arbitration"

Who's Who Legal has ranked Rachael Kent, Franz Schwarz, Duncan Speller, Maxi Scherer, Michelle Bock, Sarah Ganz and Helmut Ortner in its inaugural listing of the "Future Leaders of International Arbitration."

September 19, 2016

The Legal 500 UK Recognizes Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP as a Top-Tier Firm

In the 2016 edition of The Legal 500 UK, WilmerHale is named a top-tier firm for dispute resolution - international arbitration and crime, fraud and licensing - fraud: white-collar crime, and is recommended in four other practice areas. The guide also names four partners to its "Leading lawyers" list, and recognizes a total of nine of the firm's London-based lawyers.

June 6, 2016

The International Arbitration Review: Seventh Edition

The Law Reviews has published the seventh edition of The International Arbitration Review, with Senior Counsel James Carter serving as editor and Partner Duncan Speller and Associate Francis Hornyold-Strickland serving as authors of the England & Wales chapter. Reproduced with permission from Law Business Research Ltd. This chapter was first published in The International Arbitration Review, 7th edition (June 2016).

April 25, 2016

WilmerHale's Antitrust Practice Receives GCR Matter of the Year Awards

WilmerHale's Antitrust and Competition Practice received two awards, Behavioural Matter of the Year (Agency) – Europe and Matter of the Year, at Global Competition Review's 6th Annual Awards Ceremony on April 5 in Washington DC.

April 21, 2016

Preliminary Determinations – Path to Efficiency OR Treacherous Shortcut?

Preliminary determinations provide a potential mechanism to streamline proceedings, but should be used with caution. This article by Duncan Speller and Francis Hornyold-Strickland, published by the Kluwer Arbitration Blog, examines the increased attention given to preliminary determinations in international arbitration.

August 11, 2015

The International Arbitration Review, Sixth Edition, Features Works from WilmerHale's Leading International Arbitration Practice Group

The Law Reviews has published the sixth edition of The International Arbitration Review, with Senior Counsel James Carter serving as editor and co-author of the United States chapter, along with Counsel Claudio Salas; and Partner Duncan Speller and Associate Francis Hornyold-Strickland serving as authors of the England & Wales chapter.

October 3, 2014

The Legal 500 UK Honors WilmerHale with Top Rankings in 2014 Edition

The Legal 500, the United Kingdom's guide to outstanding lawyers, has again selected WilmerHale as a top-tier law firm in dispute resolution - international arbitration, and highly recommends the firm in nine other categories. The guide also names three lawyers to its "leading individuals" list, and recognizes a total of eight of the firm’s London-based lawyers

October 1, 2014

Revised LCIA Arbitration Rules

The London Court of International Arbitration (“LCIA”) has revised its international arbitration rules. The LCIA's revised rules, came into force on 1 October 2014.

Speaking Engagements

March 17-18, 2017

4th Annual Cambridge Arbitration Day

Cambridge, UK

May 22, 2014

Stockholm Arbitration Summit: The Role of Law

Stockholm, Sweden

April 1-5, 2014

American Bar Association: Section of International Law 2014 Spring Meeting

New York, New York

February 21, 2014

Tbilisi Arbitration Conference

Tbilisi, Georgia

April 11-13, 2011

International Arbitration in the Oil, Gas and Energy Industries Workshop

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

April 6-8, 2011

International Arbitration in the Oil, Gas and Energy Industries Workshop

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

October 29, 2010

ASA Below 40 Conference

Zurich, Switzerland

August 24-28, 2010

AIJA 48th Congress

Charleston, South Carolina

June 18-19, 2010

AIJA/ICDR Annual Arbitration Conference

London, England

Recent Highlights

  • Successfully representing a North American company in defeating claims of over US $60 million in an ICC arbitration sited in London regarding a business venture in Africa.
  • Successfully representing a multinational company in defeating claims in excess of Euro 35 million in an arbitration sited in Munich under the DIS Rules.
  • Successfully representing an Asian airline in pursuing substantial claims under aircraft lease agreements in an LCIA arbitration sited in London.
  • Successfully representing the contractor in two parallel ICC arbitrations governed by English law and sited in Stockholm with an amount in excess of US$ 80 million arising out of a construction contract.
  • Successfully representing a North American company in a series of ad hoc arbitrations sited in London and Bermuda concerning insurance coverage disputes governed by New York law.
  • Successfully representing a Russian investment bank in an ICC arbitration in relation to an investment in the Russian oil industry.
  • Successfully representing a North American company in an ICC arbitration concerning contracts for the supply of capital goods for an oil field in Central Asia.
  • Successfully representing a hedge fund in pursuing claims in the English Commercial Court arising from a default under a Euro 350 million bond. The client obtained summary judgment in its favor with indemnity costs.
  • Successfully representing a North American company in a technically complex dispute in the Commercial Court in London arising out of a joint collaboration agreement.
  • Advising the shareholders in a telecommunications joint venture on their position in relation to concurrent proceedings in two Caribbean jurisdictions and two Swiss-sited arbitrations.
  • Advising a European oil company in relation to a number of disputes arising under Production Sharing Contracts concerning oil fields in India.

Professional Activities

Mr. Speller was called to the Bar of England and Wales by Lincoln’s Inn in November 2001. Mr. Speller has taught commercial law, the conflict of laws and EU law at the University of Cambridge.


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Inns of Court School of Law, 2001, Wolfson Scholarship and Hardwick Entrance Award (Lincoln’s Inn, London)

BCL, with Distinction, University of Oxford, Magdalen College, 2000, Scholarship from British Academy for B.C.L.

BA, with First Class Honours, University of Cambridge, Robinson College, 1999, George Long Prize for Civil Law, University of Cambridge

Bar Admissions

England and Wales, Barrister




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