Matthew Parish

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Matthew Parish
Matthew Thomas Parish

(1975-07-21) 21 July 1975 (age 47)
Headingley, Leeds, England
EducationHarrogate Grammar School
Alma materChrist's College, Cambridge
University of Chicago Law School
OccupationLawyer, academic, author, international relations expert
Years active1998–present
TitleHonorary Professor, University of Leicester (2016–present)
Chief Executive, Foundation for Development

Matthew Parish (born 1975 in Leeds[1]) is a British international lawyer and scholar of international relations, based in England and Eastern Europe. In September 2021, Parish was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a fake arbitration in a dispute between rival members of the Kuwaiti ruling family.

Early life and education[edit]

Parish was born in Leeds, in West Yorkshire, the son of a biochemist and of a social worker.[2]

Parish attended Harrogate Grammar School before he moved to Cambridge University where he graduated from Christ's College, Cambridge in 1996.[citation needed] In 2004, he earned a Master of law degree from the University of Chicago Law School, and a Doctor of Juridical Science in 2007, with a thesis titled 'Reconstructing a divided society: learning from northeast Bosnia' [3] whose supervisors were Richard A. Posner and Eric Posner.

From 2000, Parish has been a non-practicing English barrister, English solicitor, a member of the Swiss bar and a New York attorney since 2005.[2][1]

Career and publications[edit]

Before 2005 Parish worked in the legal department of the World Bank.[2]

Between 2005 and 2007 Parish worked as head of legal department for the Brcko Final Award Office of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina (OHR).[1] He then moved to Geneva, where he worked in different law firms and held positions as visiting lecturer and honorary professor in various universities.[1]

Parish's book on reconstruction in post-war Brcko, A Free City in the Balkans (2009),[4] has attracted domestic and international attention.[5][6] The book has been criticized for being too sceptical of the international community's statebuilding efforts in the country.[7]

Parish's book Mirages of International Justice (2011) advances a constructivist account of international law.[citation needed]

Parish was named as one of the 300 most influential people in Switzerland by Bilan Magazine.[8]

Private practice[edit]

Parish left Akin Gump's Geneva office for Holman Fenwick Willan's (HFW) Geneva office in 2011.[9] In December 2014 he and a colleague at HFW set up their own practice, Gentium Law Group.[10][11] Gentium was one of the first in a new breed of "boutique" arbitration law firms that involves teams of senior arbitration lawyers splitting away from large established law firms and forming their own smaller practices under new brands. The group was the first firm to be nominated as a Global Arbitration Review Top 100 Law Firm worldwide within the first year of its operation.[12] The Gentium Law Group, has been named by Global Arbitration Review[13] in consecutive years as one of the top one hundred law firms worldwide in its field. In November 2018 Parish ceased to manage the company having handed control to a new partner.[14]

In 2013 and 2018 Parish was named by Bilan magazine as one of the three hundred most influential people in Switzerland.[15]

Legal issues[edit]

In 2018, Parish was found guilty of criminal defamation in Switzerland for making the reports to Western intelligence services accusing his former clients, Murat Seitnepesov and Konstantin Ryndin, of money laundering, fraud and financing terrorism.[16] Sentenced to two months,[17] Parish reports in a self-published book that he spent 23 days in prison.[18]

Parish was further charged in 2019.[19] He was subsequently fined, given a one-year suspended prison sentence and instructed by the court to see a psychiatrist. Reuters reported that a spokesman for the Geneva prosecutor's office said: "Mr. Parish is found guilty of defamation, calumny, a coercion attempt and of failing to conform with an authority’s decision." Parish indicated his intention to appeal the conviction.[20]

Parish has also been indicted for his alleged role in a fake arbitration in a dispute between rival members of the Kuwaiti ruling family about the authenticity of videos showing corruption and breach of Iran sanctions.[21][22][23][24] AP reported in February 2021 that a court hearing had been held and adjourned until August 2021.[25][26] In September 2021, Parish was convicted and sentenced to three years' jail time and was banned from practicing law in Switzerland.[27] As AP reports, "Judge Gonseth said he was an arbitration expert and 'manifestly' involved at all stages of the process".[28][29]



  • A Free City in the Balkans: Reconstructing a Divided Society in Bosnia I.B. Tauris, London, October 2009. ISBN 978-1848850026
  • Mirages of International Justice: The Elusive Pursuit of a Transnational Legal Edward Elgar, London, May 2011. ISBN 978-1849804080
  • Ethnic Civil War and the Promise of Law Edward Elgar, London, 2016. ISBN 978-0857934192


  1. ^ a b c d "Dr Matthew Parish".
  2. ^ a b c Biography,
  3. ^ Holdings: Reconstructing a divided society. 2007.
  4. ^ Matthew Parish, "A Free City in the Balkans: Reconstructing a Divided Society in Bosnia" (London: I.B.Tauris 2009)
  5. ^ Muharem Bazdulj, Brcko kao Gdanjsk ili Trst, Oslobodjenje, 20 March 2010
  6. ^ Kenneth Morrison, Balkan Insight 15 June 2010 Archived 12 July 2012 at Retrieved 2012-06-14.
  7. ^ Jelena Subotic, Nationalities Papers, 38(3):440 (May 2010)
  8. ^ "Bilan | La référence suisse de l'économie, finance, immobilier, entreprises". Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  9. ^ Muckle, Adam. "CDR – Commercial Dispute Resolution". Arbitration,Litigation,Dispute Resolution | CDR Magazine.
  10. ^[bare URL PDF]
  11. ^[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Global Arbitration Review – GAR 100 – 9th Edition".
  13. ^ "GAR Arbitration Surveys". Retrieved 2017-02-23.
  14. ^[bare URL PDF]
  15. ^ "The Legal 500". Archived from the original on 2017-03-07. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  16. ^ Miller, Hugo; Hoffman, Andy (June 5, 2018). "Telling Tale About Russian Client Lands Swiss Lawyer in Jail". Bloomberg L.P.
  17. ^ Osborne, Lydia (6 June 2018). "Swiss Lawyer Imprisoned After Making Fraud Accusations". Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  18. ^ Parish, Matthew (2018). Spy's Diary: Essays from a Maximum Security Swiss Prison (PDF). Matthew Parish.
  19. ^ "British lawyer faces new charges in Geneva".
  20. ^ Farge, Emma (29 February 2020). "Swiss court convicts British lawyer of defaming oil trader to MI5". Reuters. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  21. ^ "A Genève, trois avocats et un cheikh sont inculpés pour faux arbitrage". Le Temps. September 16, 2016 – via
  22. ^ Besson, Sylvain (16 Nov 2018). "Un puissant membre du CIO renvoyé au tribunal pour faux arbitrage". Le Temps (in French). Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  23. ^ "Powerful Kuwaiti IOC member to be tried in Switzerland for forgery". Agence France-Presse. 17 Nov 2018. Retrieved 2018-11-17.
  24. ^ "Lawyers charged in Geneva over fake arbitration". Retrieved 2021-07-20.
  25. ^ "Trial of Olympic sheikh on forgery charge pushed back". AP NEWS. 20 April 2021. Retrieved 2021-05-08.
  26. ^ AP (2021-04-13). "Forgery trial of Olympic powerbroker now set to open in August". Business Standard India. Retrieved 2021-05-08.
  27. ^ "مركز رفع وتحميل صور وملفات رابط مباشر" (PDF).
  28. ^ "Olympic power broker Sheikh Ahmad found guilty of forgery". Associated Press. 10 September 2021.
  29. ^ "Five convicted over fake arbitration in Geneva".

External links[edit]