Sir David Keene was educated at Hampton Grammar School and Balliol College, Oxford, where he took a First in law and then obtained the postgraduate BCL degree. He was awarded the University's Winter Williams Prize and subsequently its Eldon Scholarship. He was called to the Bar in 1964 (winning the Bar Finals International Law Prize) by the Inner Temple, of which he later became a bencher and, in 2006, its Treasurer.
He practised mainly in planning, public law and commercial law. He took silk in 1980 and was chairman of the Planning Bar in 1994, in which year was appointed to the High Court Bench (QBD). In that capacity he also sat in the Administrative Court and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. From 2000 until his retirement in 2009 he was a judge of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. Since then he has continued to sit on a part-time basis in that court and the Privy Council.
From 2003 to 2007 he was Chairman of the Judicial Studies Board, responsible for the training of all Judge's and Magistrates in England and Wales, having previously been chairman of its Equal Treatment Committee for five years. He was a member of the QC Selection Panel from 2010-2012. He is an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford and the Society of Advanced Legal Studies, and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He was Deputy President of the QFC Civil and Commercial Court in Qatar between 2010 - 2013 and since 2013 has been the Chairman of the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Tribunal.
During his time at the Bar Sir David acted as lead counsel with Mark Littman QC in an ICC Arbitration acting for Shell where the other side, The Qatar nationalized natural gas companies, were unsuccessful in their claim for £750 million.
Sir David accepts appointments as an Arbitrator for both domestic and international arbitrations. Sir David also accepts appointments as a Mediator. He is also a Licensed Arbitrator and Mediator for Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA).David is also a member of the Sport Resolutions' panel of arbitrators and mediators.