Donny Surtani


Donny Surtani

Donny Surtani, FCIARb.
Barrister, Arbitrator, Mediator

Law office of Surtani, Toronto, ON (Ontario), CA (Canada)

ADR Certified Designation : FCIArb

VanIAC Panel(s) : Expedited Procedures Arbitrator, Mediation

Practice Areas : Commercial Lease, Construction, Consumer, Corporate Commercial, Financial Services, Insurance and Reinsurance, Partnership and Shareholder, Real Estate, Technology

Professional Experience

Donny Surtani has an independent practice advising and representing parties or acting as a neutral in arbitration or in mediation. He is dual-qualified in England and Ontario, and is a former Chartered Management Accountant. Formerly a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) in London, he now practises independently through Crown Office Chambers.

In addition to counsel work, Donny accepts appointments to act in a neutral capacity as an arbitrator or mediator, particularly in cases with a substantial accounting, banking or financial element, or with complex quantum of damages issues. His practice experience encompasses financial services, energy, TMT, corporate, construction, insurance, joint venture disputes, M&A disputes, and civil fraud.

Before moving to Toronto in 2019, he spent 15 years practising in London, England, and has appeared as an advocate before the High Court, Court of Appeal and various tribunals. In addition to the arbitration and mediation experience below, he has acted in complex commercial litigation, often with a cross-border element, including in the RBS Rights Issue Litigation (a £4 billion dispute settled in 2017) and the Construction All Risks coverage claim brought by Single Buoy Moorings against a variety of insurers (for US$1.3 billion, settled in 2018).

He has been a guest lecturer on arbitration and ADR at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary University of London, the Academy of Financial Crime Litigators, and Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a member of the ICC Task Force on Arbitration and ADR. He has been accredited as a mediator by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (UK), and co-authored the leading practitioner text Class Actions in England & Wales (Sweet & Maxwell, 2018). He is an Advisory Board member for the Centre for the Online Resolution of Disputes (CORD).

Dispute Resolution Experience and Training

Donny is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and has appeared as counsel in numerous arbitrations as well as in the English High Court and Court of Appeal. His arbitration experience includes disputes seated in London, The Hague, Singapore and New Delhi, and he has advised on disputes under the laws of England, Ontario, Alberta, New York and India. His cases have often involved complex multi-party and multi-contract scenarios. He is on the HKIAC List of Arbitrators, and the ICC and LCIA databases. In mediation, he has trained with and is accredited by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (UK). He has acted in several cases involving multiple parties, multiple days and/or co-mediators. As a neutral, he has acted as sole or joint mediator or conciliator in over half a dozen cases.

Professional and Other Activities

Publications: see list on website at

LL.B (Hons), London School of Economics: 2003 – LSE Hughes Parry Prize (Law of Obligations: 2001)

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (Associate Member): 2001-2003 – CIMA Leverhulme Prize – Management Accounting Applications: 1998

Academic Qualifications

Barrister and Solicitor, Law Society of Ontario: 2020

Barrister, England & Wales (Inner Temple): 2020

Accredited Mediator, Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution: 2017

Solicitor, England & Wales: 2006 (Higher Rights All Courts since 2008)