Donny Surtani is a barrister, arbitrator and mediator called to the Bar in Ontario and England & Wales. He is a resident neutral at Arbitration Place and also practises through Crown Office Chambers in London. He was formerly a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills, having worked in their London office for 15 years. Prior to his legal career, Donny was a chartered management accountant working in the energy sector. Donny is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and is accredited as a mediator by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) in the UK.
Originally from Sri Lanka, Donny has lived and worked in four countries, and is a graduate of the London School of Economics. In light of his accounting background, Donny’s legal practice has often involved complex financial and quantum aspects, from banking and derivatives cases through M&A and joint ventures to multi-billion dollar energy and infrastructure disputes. A large part of his work has involved cases of civil fraud (and resulting claims against auditors, bankers and solicitors), and he is very familiar with the use of interim injunctive measures alongside arbitration processes.
His experience spans cases under ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, SIAC and other rules, including ad-hoc proceedings. He has dealt with cases seated in Canadian centres as well as London, The Hague, New Delhi, Singapore and elsewhere. Donny also advises a UK-based litigation funder on its current and prospective case portfolio.
He has acted as arbitrator in multi-million dollar disputes arising from complex M&A agreements, as well as smaller cases where procedural efficiency is of heightened importance. As a mediator, he has experience of substantial commercial cases as well as matters involving private individuals’ concerns.
Donny is a member of the ICC Canada National Committee, the Toronto Commercial Arbitration Society, and the Young Canadian Arbitration Practitioners. He was a member of the ICC’s Task Force on Arbitration and ADR (2020-2023), culminating in a report for users on the use of ADR in arbitration, and is regularly invited as a guest lecturer on LLM programmes at Osgoode Hall Law School and at Queen Mary University of London, among others.