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Aaron McDonald

Registered Foreign Lawyer (England and Wales)
Senior Associate
Hong Kong

Aaron specialises in international arbitration and public international law.

Aaron is a senior associate in Herbert Smith Freehills' international arbitration and public international law practice. Prior to joining the London office in 2014, Aaron worked for 3½ years in the arbitration and litigation department of the firm's Perth office.

Aaron specialises in international commercial and investment arbitration, with a focus on disputes in the energy, mining, infrastructure and banking sectors. He also advises clients on issues of public international law, particularly those arising in respect of transboundary energy and infrastructure projects.

Aaron has acted for clients in a variety of jurisdictions, including Russia and the CIS, the Middle East, East Africa and Australia. He has represented clients in ad hoc arbitrations and arbitrations administered by the major institutions, such as the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).

In addition to his expertise in international arbitration, Aaron has worked on complex litigation cases in the English High Court (Commercial Court and Chancery Court), the Federal Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of Western Australia.



Aaron holds a Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) and a Bachelor of Commerce in Quantitative Finance (First Class Honours) from the University of Western Australia. He also holds a Master of Laws (First Class) from the University of Cambridge.
Aaron is qualified as a solicitor in England and a barrister and solicitor in Western Australia.

Experience & expertise

Selected matters

  • acting for Standard Chartered Bank and a subsidiary in two ongoing ICSID arbitrations arising out of the financing of a power station in Tanzania
  • advising a large Russian bank in relation to claims brought by an individual concerning property ventures in Moscow and elsewhere
  • acting for an energy company in relation to an LCIA arbitration brought by a contractor arising from a project in the Middle East
  • acting for a confidential client on an ICC arbitration in London in relation to the development of an Ultra-Mega Project in India and related claims
  • advising an international energy company in relation to the law of the sea‎, international environmental law and other public international law implications and impacts of the construction of a major pipeline in Europe