Founder & Principal

Suzanne </br> Spears


Suzanne is recognised globally for her expertise in international law, international arbitration and business and human rights. Prior to founding Paxus, she spent twenty years practicing in these areas with leading global law firms in London and New York. Most recently, she was a Partner in the Litigation, Arbitration & Investigations Group at Allen & Overy, where she co-headed the Global Business & Human Rights Practice and co-founded the ESG Group.

Suzanne advises and represents governments, international organisations and private clients on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious issues arising under public international law. She regularly acts as counsel before international commercial and Investor-State arbitration tribunals (including under the ICC, UNCITRAL, ICSID, PCA and other rules) and she has experience in transnational tort litigation, State-to-State arbitration and proceedings before the International Court of Justice.

Suzanne also advises clients on dispute prevention, risk management, due diligence, compliance and governance with respect to business and human rights. She is often instructed to advise on highly sensitive issues, such as relationships with host governments, security forces, communities and civil society.

In addition to being a lawyer, with a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law, Suzanne is a political and social scientist by background, with a master’s from Colombia’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a bachelor’s in International Relations from Tufts University. She was a U.S. Fulbright Scholar in Spain and has held positions with the United Nations (in New York and Colombia), the Council on Foreign Relations and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights.

Originally from California, Suzanne is admitted in New York and practiced as a foreign registered lawyer in London for many years. She is also Associate Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame Law School.


  • Juris Doctor

    Columbia University School of Law

  • Master of International Affairs (Human Rights & Humanitarian Affairs)

    Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs

  • Graduate of the Inter-Disciplinary Course in Human Rights

    Inter-American Institute of Human Rights

  • U.S. Fulbright Scholar (Women’s History)


  • Bachelor of Arts, International Relations (Nationalism, Culture & Identity)

    Tufts University

Bar Admissions

  • Attorney-at-Law

    State of New York

Awards & Rankings

  • Chambers UK 2024: Public International Law

    Band 3

  • Chambers UK 2023: Public International Law

    Band 3

  • Chambers Global 2023: Business & Human Rights Law

    Band 2

  • Chambers Global 2022: Business & Human Rights Law

    Band 2

  • Legal 500 UK 2024: Public International Law

    Leading Individual

  • Legal 500 UK 2023: Public International Law

    Leading Individual

  • Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration 2022

    Global Leader Recommended

  • Corporate INTL Magazine Global Awards 2017

    International Investments Agreements Dispute Resolution Lawyer of the Year in England

  • Women & Diversity in Law Awards nominee


  • English

  • Spanish


  • International Business and Human Rights: Law and Practice

    Elgar, S. Spears & A. Denny, eds

  • International investment arbitration and Human Rights

    in Investment Arbitration and Climate Change Kluwer, A. Magnusson & A. Ipp eds

  • Just Transitions: Business, Human Rights and Climate Action

    The Business and Human Rights Review
    Allen & Overy

  • Corporate Responsibility and National and International Legal Frameworks

    in Corporate Social Responsibility - Sustainable Business: Environmental, Social and Governance Frameworks for the 21st Century IBA, R. Lindsay & R. Martella eds

  • Protection of Investments in War-Torn States: A Practitioner Perspective on War Clauses in Bilateral Investment Treaties

    in European Yearbook of International Economic Law (EYIEL) with Maria Fogdestam-Agius

  • Environmental and social issues bring litigation risks home to multinationals

    in Corporate Disputes
    with Stephanie Hawes
    July – September 2019

  • Empresas y Derechos Humanos en el Litigio

    in Retos y desafíos de las empresas y derechos humanos (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana & Grupo Editorial Ibáñez)

  • UK multinationals will face greater scrutiny after the Vedanta decision

    in Ethical Corporation
    10 May 2019

  • Foreign liabilities can come home to roost

    Petroleum Review

  • Energy Companies Beware!

    Energy, Oil & Gas

  • International Arbitration and India: ‘A Truly Excellent Judgment!’

    1 Indian Journal of Arbitration L.1 with Gary Born

  • United States to Resume Bilateral Investment Treaty Negotiations on the Basis of a Revised Model Treaty

    North American Free Trade & Investment Report

  • Making Way for the Public Interest in International Investment Agreements

    in Evolution in Investment Treaty Law and Arbitration C. Brown & K. Miles eds.

  • The Quest for Policy Space in a New Generation of International Investment Agreements

    13 Journal of International Economic Law 1037

  • Out of the Conflict Zone: The Case for Community Consent Processes in the Extractive Sector

    11 Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal 178 with Lisa Laplante

"Suzanne is brilliant on business and human rights matters. She's very pragmatic and lovely to work with."

Chambers UK: Public International Law 2024

"She has a really good ear for what the client needs and understands this on the personal level. She also has strong technical skills."

Chambers UK: Public International Law 2024

"Suzanne was able to leverage her extensive experience in international disputes to bring clarity, certainty and strategy. She has fantastic legal nous and an amiable approach."

Chambers UK: Public International Law 2024

“Suzanne Spears is the best corporate lawyer on business and human rights – exceptionally talented and engaging; she is also highly efficient and has relevant legal knowledge based on her involvement in other cases of a similar nature.”

Legal 500 UK: Public International Law 2022

“Suzanne Spears is one of the leading lawyers in business and human rights. She is engaging, alert and reliable, and she is aware of all the rapid developments in this area. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

Legal 500 UK: Public International Law 2022

“Highlighted as ‘one of the leading people in this area,’ Suzanne Spears assists multinational clients with supply chain management, which involves human rights due diligence. The London-based lawyer also advises parent companies on the potential liability of its overseas subsidiaries. A source claims: ‘She is bright, intelligent and able to work out ways forward in any difficult situation.’”

Chambers Global: Business and Human Rights Law, 2022

“Suzanne Spears advises multinational corporations on civil claims concerning alleged human rights violations in developing countries. The London-based lawyer also advises corporates and financial institutions on human rights due diligence and compliance with the UNGP. A source commends her ‘strong expertise,’ adding: ‘She is particularly good at maintaining clarity of the legal issues in the face of quite difficult corporate responses.’”

Chambers Global: Business and Human Rights Law, 2021