UK-wide - International Arbitration: Investor-State Arbitration Lawyers & Law Firms - UK | Chambers and Partners
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UK Guide

International Arbitration: Investor-State Arbitration — UK-wide

Overview

Commercial arbitration in the UK

The United Kingdom’s referendum vote in June 2016 to leave the European Union – “Brexit”, as it has been termed – has become the prevalent topic of discussion in the London legal market. That is with good reason. Assuming that it goes ahead, Brexit will be one of the biggest political and legal shifts in at least a generation.

The impact of Brexit

For practitioners and users of international commercial arbitration in London, views have been fairly neutral. Most forthrightly hold the view that Brexit is unlikely to have any material impact on London’s standing as a, if not the, leading European arbitration seat – Lord Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice until July 2017, perhaps foremost among them. Proponents of alternative arbitral seats tend to highlight concerns about what the uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with the EU might mean for the practice of commercial dispute resolution in London generally, and international commercial arbitration in particular.

Those positing the second viewpoint often do so with one eye on using Brexit to improve London’s competition for the role of premier seat in international commercial arbitration. The most frequently cited concrete aspects of this argument rest in two areas: potential restrictions on parties being able to freely travel to hearings in the UK, and the potential impact of Brexit on English law as a choice of governing law for agreements.

Uncertainties in relation to freedom of movement more broadly may persist until around the time the final terms are agreed in March 2019, but it certainly seems that Brexit will have only a limited impact on the practice of international commercial arbitration in London.

There is no suggestion that Brexit will change the substantive content and application of English contract law and commercial law: those have never materially been affected by EU law, and so should not be affected by the UK’s withdrawal. There is therefore no reason why English law as a governing law should not remain a popular choice for parties in their international contracts.

Equally, for the UK in general and London in particular as a seat of arbitration, there seems little reason for concern. Research shows that users value London as a seat because of the clarity and supportiveness of the English Arbitration Act 1996, the high standards of integrity and understanding of arbitration within the judiciary, the independence and stellar quality of the arbitration specialists practising in London, and the efficiency of arbitral decision-making. None of these factors will be diminished by Brexit. Indeed, as some have noted, the potential restoration to the English courts of supervisory powers that were lost as a result of EU membership, particularly the ability to grant anti-suit injunctions against proceedings in the courts of other Member States, may mean that London as a seat becomes more attractive.

The UK’s position as a signatory to the New York Convention 1958 – the most widely used tool for enforcing international arbitration awards – will also remain unaffected. Arbitral awards issued in London will therefore continue to be enforceable in all jurisdictions that are signatories to the Convention, including the remaining 27 EU Member States.

In terms of accessibility, too, London will remain home to world-leading facilities for the conduct of disputes. There has been no suggestion that the UK Government intends to introduce any changes to its rules on obtaining travel visas that would affect the abilities of parties to attend hearings, and its leading hearing venues, hotels, restaurants and other support services.

However, during the period of uncertainty, users’ perceptions are more important than the ultimate outcome. It is all very well for arbitration practitioners in the UK to know that nothing much relevant to arbitration will change, but it is the views of their clients – frequently not lawyers, or lawyers from other jurisdictions with varying familiarity with English law – that will determine whether London as a seat and English law as a governing law continue to appear in parties’ contracts. The challenge for the UK-based arbitration community will be to ensure that the reality is explained and the concerns of users allayed.

All of this serves as a reminder of the need for London, as much as any other seat, to avoid the risk of resting on its laurels. In the face of increasing competition from developing seats around the world, particularly in Singapore and Hong Kong, London needs to continue to innovate and advance to defend its position of pre-eminence.

In that respect, there have been important developments for London arbitration as the arbitration community adopts new approaches to meet users’ concerns.

Third party funding

Third party funding has been flourishing in UK commercial dispute resolution for some years. It is becoming increasingly mainstream in international commercial arbitration, as claimants seek out funding either because otherwise a claim could not be brought, or in order to hedge and share litigation risk. The decision of the High Court in Essar v Norscot, confirming that a London-seated arbitration tribunal may award the costs of such third party funding (including a success premium) against an unsuccessful respondent, continues to aid in the development of this sector.

The ICCA-Queen Mary Task Force Report on Third Party Funding in International Arbitration, anticipated in draft in September 2017 and in final form in December 2017, is expected to provide guidance and further recommendations on what should be done to address the issues to which third party funding gives rise.

Tribunal secretaries

Tribunal secretaries – that is, juniors employed by arbitral tribunals to assist with the administration of their functions – have long been a feature of commercial arbitration, helping to improve arbitrator efficiency and reduce overall costs. Their use was called into question in 2015, when an alleged over-use of an assistant to the tribunal was advanced as a line of argument in the challenge in the Dutch courts to the award in the Yukos arbitration. In February 2017, the English High Court in P v Q, R, S and U helpfully confirmed that, in English-seated arbitration at least, there is nothing wrong with the appropriate use of a tribunal secretary.

Forthcoming legislation

Further developments to improve the efficiency of arbitration in England may also be afoot. The England and Wales Law Commission has invited comments from the public on whether to revise the Arbitration Act 1996 within its 13th Programme of law reform. Revisions already under consideration include whether explicit statutory provision should be made for tribunals to grant summary judgment or other streamlined procedures, responding to the concern that frequently arbitrators will avoid such approaches, even where they would clearly be more efficient and appropriate, for fear any award will be challenged on “due process” grounds.

It may be hoped, then, that Brexit will create the impetus to adapt and maintain pace with competitor jurisdictions. With that additional effort, it seems unlikely that London’s position as a leading centre for commercial arbitration will slip any time soon.

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Allen & Overy LLP - International Arbitration

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
-11 partners
-22 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Highly regarded for its stellar track record in representing sovereign states and corporates in high-value investment treaty disputes. Considerable experience carrying out its own advocacy before courts and tribunals. Also adept at handling a number of other public international law (PIL) matters, such as Energy Charter Treaty claims, WTO cases, sovereign immunity concerns and international treaty drafting and negotiation. Has appeared before tribunals under the auspices of UNCITRAL and ICSID, among others.

Strengths One client comments: "They are skilled lawyers who are pleasant to work with."

Sources say: "They're very focused on the end results from the client perspective."

Work highlights Acted on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in defending two parallel investment treaty claims under the UNCITRAL rules. Progas Group of Companies and a former Minister of Finance of Iraq had claimed damages of USD575 million for the alleged expropriation interests in a Pakistani company.

Instructed by UniCredit to bring a claim against Croatia under the Croatia-Austria bilateral investment treaty, in respect of the passing of legislation allowing borrowers to unilaterally convert Swiss franc-denominated or franc-indexed loans into euro loans at the historic exchange rates.

Significant clients Eiser Infrastructure, Rreef Infrastructure, Masdar, Bridgepoint Capital, AES.

Notable practitioners

Kate Davies is respected for her commercial arbitration work. She is experienced at handling matters involving complex joint venture and IP disputes, among others. Her clients describe her as "considerate and focused."

Mark Levy specialises in commercial arbitrations relating to energy, particularly gas price arbitrations. One source comments: "He is a really excellent tactician and a tenacious advocate."

James Freeman is well regarded for his work as an advocate in commercial arbitration cases concerning upstream oil and gas disputes. Sources comment that he is "very clever and a real pleasure to work with."

Richard Smith is a solicitor advocate who concentrates his practice on insurance-related arbitrations, with particular expertise in arbitrations conducted under the Bermuda Form insurance policy. Market insiders say: "He is very much hands on, keeps calm, has a good sense of humour and very good judgement."

Department profile by Allen & Overy LLP

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Baker Botts UK LLP - International Arbitration

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
-4 partners
-8 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Respected for its strong bench of bilingual and dual-qualified arbitration practitioners. Active across a range of jurisdictions, including Europe, Russia and Latin America. Experienced in ad hoc and institutional arbitrations, with particular expertise in the construction, energy and natural resources sectors. Also acts for both states and corporations in investment treaty disputes.

Strengths One client says: "They are very efficient and they are very easy to contact 24/7."

Notable practitioners

Jay Alexander advises clients on commercial international arbitrations, with particular expertise in the energy and technology sectors. He regularly acts on energy-related arbitrations worth billions of dollars. His clients report he is "thoughtful, thorough and innovative," adding: "He commands respect."

Alejandro Escobar focuses his practice on commercial and investor-state international arbitrations in Latin America, Europe and Russia. Clients appreciate his fluency in Spanish and dual legal qualification in the UK and Chile.

Johannes Koepp acts for corporations in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations under the auspices of UNCITRAL and the ICC, among others. He garners high praise for his business-minded approach. One client comments: "He became an expert on our business, our products and our long-term business goals."

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Clifford Chance LLP - International Arbitration

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 4 partners
-21 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Robust commercial arbitration practice representing blue-chip clients from the financial services sector and the extractive industries. Its strong bench handles both ad hoc and institutional arbitrations, including those under the rules of the LCIA, AAA, SIAC and ICC. Also has a strong investor-state arbitration practice, advising on ICSID and UNCITRAL disputes. Highly regarded for its counsel and advocacy work.

Strengths Sources say: "There is a can-do attitude which permeates throughout the firm."

Market commentators say: "They are incredibly efficient and a joy to work with."

Notable practitioners

Audley Sheppard QC draws on over three decades of experience in international commercial and investment treaty arbitrations. He focuses his practice on energy and infrastructure projects, international investment and trade. He is also highly regarded for his work as an arbitrator. Market commentators describe him as "one of the most assured players in the field," with another source commenting that "he instinctively knows what points will impress a tribunal."

Robert Lambert regularly acts as counsel to clients in commercial arbitrations arising in the spheres of construction, engineering and energy, among others. He has appeared in multiple institutional and ad hoc arbitrations under the auspices of the ICC, LCIA, ICSID and UNCITRAL. Clients consider him "a phenomenal lawyer."

Alex Panayides has substantial experience advising on complex international arbitration proceedings. He has particular experience representing clients in the oil and energy industry in disputes arising in the UK, the Middle East and the USA.

Marie Berard is experienced acting in commercial arbitration proceedings under ad hoc and institutional rules. Market sources are impressed with her client-handling skills and her "ability to absorb vast amounts of detail while not losing sight of the key issues in a case."

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Debevoise & Plimpton LLP - International Arbitration

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
-7 partners
-38 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Well-known name in the market handling high-value commercial arbitrations for energy sector clients, investment funds and other corporate entities. In addition, maintains a strong investment treaty and investor-state arbitration practice, acting on behalf of a number of sovereign states. Advises clients in proceedings under ICC, ICSID, LCIA, SSCC and SIAC rules, among others. Works closely with the firm's pre-eminent New York office.

Strengths One client says: "They constructed an incredibly effective argument - their help was instrumental in guiding us and achieving a settlement."

Work highlights Represented The Nova Group in an ICSID claim against the Romanian government in respect of the purported expropriation of its Romanian assets and breaches of relevant BIT protections.

Significant clients Russian Federation, government of the Republic of Korea, Helios Investment Partners LLP, Occidental Petroleum.

Notable practitioners

Wendy Miles QC joined the firm in 2017 from Boies, Schiller & Flexner. Her practice in international commercial arbitration focuses on acting for clients in a range of sectors including natural resources, manufacturing, insurance, financial services and construction in the Middle East and Latin America. She is also an accomplished arbitrator. Sources describe her as "outstanding" and "a force in international arbitration."

Peter Goldsmith QC is described by market sources as "super-bright," while clients say that he produces "exceptional work" in the field of international commercial and investment treaty arbitrations. He has developed a formidable reputation in acting for clients in proceedings before the leading arbitral institutions ICSID, LCIA and ICC rules, as well as in ad hoc arbitrations.

Department profile by Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

For more than four decades, Debevoise has maintained one of the world’s foremost arbitration practices, representing clients in the most challenging, complex and highest-value disputes around the world.

We also take a leadership role in developing the practice of international arbitration, participating on the boards of leading arbitration institutions and acting as arbitrators in high stakes disputes.

Debevoise’s London office is a key limb of this global practice. Its senior arbitration experts include Lord Goldsmith QC, the former Attorney-General of the UK; Wendy Miles, QC, a leading light in the arbitration community with over twenty years’ experience; and Tony Dymond, the former head of the Seoul office of a leading international law firm. The wider senior team includes David W. Rivkin, described as a “giant” in the field of international arbitration, partner Patrick Taylor, and international counsel Aimee-Jane Lee.

Our London team advises clients on disputes arising in jurisdictions all around the world. As well as significant matters in North America and Europe, nearly 60% of the Group’s matters involved disputes in emerging market jurisdictions in Latin America, Africa or Asia.

Our practice is advocacy led, counting amongst its members some of the country’s foremost advocates. We take cases through every stage, from initial advice and strategy through to the various stages of arbitration and hearings.

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Fietta LLP - International Arbitration

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
-1 partner
-6 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Boutique firm specialising in investment arbitrations and PIL. Has expertise in advising states and international organisations on investor-state disputes, especially those governed by investment treaties.

Strengths One source comments: "They are an exceptional bunch of individuals - they had an amazing grasp of the details and memory for the facts and figures. They had a very detailed grasp of a complicated case."

Market commentators add: "They are easy-going and excellent lawyers - a real joy to work with."

Work highlights Represented a number of claimants, including City-State NV, in an ICSID arbitration against Ukraine brought under the Netherlands-Ukraine bilateral investment treaty (BIT). The dispute concerns allegations that Ukraine failed to protect the claimants’ investment in a Ukrainian bank from illegal asset-stripping by a Ukrainian oligarch.

Lead counsel for PL Holdings in treaty arbitration proceedings brought against the Republic of Poland at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. The dispute concerns the alleged expropriation of a bank by Poland’s financial regulatory authority, by way of forced sale and a freeze on voting rights.

Significant clients Vincent Ryan / Schooner Capital LLC, CARICOM, Mr Mohamed Abdel Raouf Bahgat.

Notable practitioners

Stephen Fietta is well established in the field of investment treaty disputes and is identified as "one of the best lawyers of his generation" by market commentators. He is well versed in investor-state proceedings under ICSID, UNCITRAL, LCIA and SCC rules. One source comments: "He is one of the brightest lawyers that I have ever worked with, he has excellent writing skills and is extremely persuasive." An interviewee adds: "Stephen’s cross-examination was incisive and a pleasure to observe."

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP - International Arbitration

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 21 other qualified solicitors

What the team is known for Formidable team handling commercial arbitration for well-known multinational companies in the energy, natural resources, financial services and telecoms sectors. Manages an active caseload of disputes arising around the globe, especially in Europe, Asia, the CIS and Africa. Respected for its work advising on investor-state disputes, including those governed by BITs, and for handling commercial disputes involving state-owned entities. Experienced handling arbitrations in leading arbitral institutions including the ICC, LCIA and UNCITRAL.

Strengths One client says: "They have an immense amount of arbitration know-how. What they produce is well crafted and thoughtful. They have quality individuals - the team works very hard night and day whenever it is required."

One source comments: "It's a fabulous practice and they are doing 'Rolls-Royce' work."

Work highlights Represented Anglo American in a BIT arbitration against the Venezuelan government under the ICSID Additional Facility Rules. Anglo American's claims are that Venezuela expropriated a number of its ferronickel processing assets, and refused to issue tax credits to which Anglo American’s local subsidiary was entitled.

Acted for Beijing Urban Construction Group in a USD60 million ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Yemen under the China-Yemen BIT. BUCG's claim arises out of a contract to construct a new international terminal at the Sanaa International Airport.

Significant clients Crescent Petroleum, Deutsche Telekom, Econet Wireless, Tata Sons, Vestey Group.

Notable practitioners

"Outstanding practitioner" Nigel Rawding QC heads the firm's international arbitration practice. He is highly respected for his work in arbitrations under the auspices of UNCITRAL, ICC and LCIA, as well as ad hoc arbitrations. He is described as "a smooth, controlled advocate who possesses forensic skill."

Sylvia Noury has substantial experience in investment treaty and investor-state arbitrations, acting in disputes before the LCIA, ICSID and other leading arbitration institutions. She represents clients in the telecommunications, energy and natural resources industries. Clients say she "exhibits deep knowledge of the field."

William Thomas recently joined the firm from Eversheds Sutherland's Paris office. He has experience acting in investment treaty arbitrations. Clients say he is "very user-friendly."

Reza Mohtashami spent five years in the firm's Dubai office and retains an expertise in arbitrations arising in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He regularly acts for energy and construction companies, often in relation to contractual disputes with states and state-owned entities. Clients say: "He is very capable, intelligent and hard working. He is a very good project manager, gets along with clients very well and has a nice manner - he is able to convey his experience and style without any arrogance."

Department profile by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Please visit the Freshfields website for more details about our work in this category: http://www.freshfields.com/en-gb/what-we-do/services/disputes-litigation-and-arbitration/international-arbitration/

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Herbert Smith Freehills - International Arbitration

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
-6 partners
-21 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Accomplished team conducting its own advocacy in ad hoc proceedings as well as those under institutional rules. Well regarded for its representation of arbitration clients, particularly those in the oil and gas industry. Active in disputes arising in Asia, Africa, Europe, Russia and the USA. Respected for its work in both commercial and investor-state arbitrations.

Strengths One client says: "They were excellent. Their ability to mobilise an effective team in a short timeframe was impressive."

Other sources comment on the practice's "excellent strength and depth."

Notable practitioners

Paula Hodges QC heads the firm's global arbitration practice. She also appears as an arbitrator. One client says: "I've been very impressed. She is very commercial, practical, has good judgement, and is measured in what she does."

Department profile by Herbert Smith Freehills

Our specialist arbitration practitioners based in the UK have extensive experience of advising clients on commercial, investor-state and state-to-state arbitration. 

We advise clients on arbitrations under a broad spectrum of civil and common laws as well as public international law. We are experienced in arbitrating under the rules of all major arbitration institutions, as well as having conducted numerous ad hoc arbitrations. Our genuine sector knowledge, commercial awareness and regional sensitivity are unrivalled. We advise clients and conduct arbitrations in a number of languages. Once you have an arbitral award, we can help you to enforce it around the world.

Conducting our own advocacy means our skilled advocates play a critical role in the strategy of the case from the outset. It also minimises the cost and time involved for our clients in instructing external counsel.

Choosing arbitrators and expert witnesses can be highly significant in achieving a successful outcome and we offer our clients in-depth knowledge of both. Members of the arbitration group regularly sit as arbitrators and this valuable insight into the arbitral process from a different perspective helps us to identify winning strategies.

Whether you are a financial institution, a multinational, a government or state-owned entity, we combine in-depth legal and sector knowledge with a proven track record of successfully acting in complex disputes, working alongside local counsel where appropriate.




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Hogan Lovells - International Arbitration

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
-9 partners
-42 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Strong bench of dedicated arbitration specialists with particular expertise in the energy sector, as well as African and CIS disputes. Well-established arbitration practice attracting instructions from significant entities in the construction, oil and gas, telecommunications and financial services sectors. Also respected for its work in investor-state disputes, in which the team has experience acting for both sovereign states and corporate clients. Has particular expertise in the Energy Charter Treaty and has appeared before leading arbitral institutions including the ICC and LCIA.

Strengths Clients say: "They were all incredibly diligent and team-oriented. Their proposed strategies were always very thoughtful and creative."

One market commentator says: "It's an excellent firm and I enjoy working with them. What I have observed is the quality of the lawyers at all levels, and how nice they are to work with."

Work highlights Acted for the Slovak Republic against Achmea, a financial services company, in a challenge of a final award on the basis of the Netherlands–Slovak Republic BIT.

Acted for a number of UK investors in an ICSID arbitration against Mauritius under the BIT between Mauritius and the UK. The claim relates to two real estate projects in Mauritius.

Significant clients Alstom, Eni, Grupo Evya, government of Vietnam, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Notable practitioners

Markus Burgstaller has a strong reputation among his clients for advising states, state-owned entities and investors on investor-state disputes. One client comments: "He's experienced and has good insight into how the administration of governments of foreign states actually works." Another client observes: "He has a good intellect, and an objective and clinical approach. He is analytical, has an impressive grip on precedent, is personally supportive and pleasant to deal with."

Michael Davison has over three decades of experience advising his clients on international commercial arbitration under the rules of a range of the leading arbitration institutions in Europe, Latin America, Russia and the Middle East.

Kieron O'Callaghan specialises in arbitrations in the energy industry, including disputes arising from production sharing agreements and gas supply reviews. He heads the London international arbitration team.

Department profile by Hogan Lovells

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Latham & Watkins - International Arbitration

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
-7 partners
-12 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Extensive experience in disputes with European, Middle Eastern, Russian and CIS elements. Sought after by high-profile clients, including financial institutions, energy companies and telecoms providers. Also noted for its expertise in arbitral award enforcement matters, and for its work in investor-state disputes. Experienced handling disputes in a range of industries including technology, energy and infrastructure, aerospace and defence, and mining and minerals.

Strengths Clients say: "The firm has great lawyers at all levels and immense strength and depth."

Market sources comment: "It's a very high-quality outfit."

Significant clients Indorama International Finance, Mobile TeleSystems Finance, Republic of Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Travis Coal Restructured Holdings.

Notable practitioners

Charles Claypoole specialises in investment treaty disputes and PIL. He regularly represents clients in disputes involving BITs and the Energy Charter Treaty.

Sophie Lamb has a strong practice in commercial and investor-state arbitration. She is experienced in acting for states, investors and boards of public companies. Her clients find her to be "well prepared, responsive and sensitive to the needs of the client."

Philip Clifford co-chairs the firm's international arbitration group. He has experience advising clients on commercial arbitrations involving oil and gas, engineering and construction, among other areas. One market source comments: "He is excellent. He is particularly liked by clients: he is very good at the client management side."

Oliver Browne focuses his practice on handling complex, commercial arbitrations. He has handled arbitrations under the auspices of leading arbitral institutions, as well as ad hoc arbitrations. His clients describe him as "a business-orientated arbitration lawyer who is well aware of his client's expectations." Other market sources comment that "he is a formidable lawyer with a deeply analytical mind."

Department profile by Latham & Watkins

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Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP - International Arbitration

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
-14 partners
-17 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Highly respected international arbitration practice with expertise in handling disputes arising in the construction, infrastructure, oil and gas, mining and telecommunications sectors. Represents clients in arbitrations conducted under the rules of leading institutions, including the ICC, LCIA, DIAC, HKIAC, SCC and SIAC. Also highly regarded for investment treaty work, with expertise in numerous BITs and the Energy Charter Treaty.

Strengths Clients say: "They are very commercial in their approach, and their responsiveness across the firm - from all their lawyers - is to be applauded."

Market sources comment: "It's a smart and talented team with brilliant partners."

Work highlights Represented Abed El Jaouni and his Lebanese aviation company Imperial Holding in an ICSID investment treaty arbitration against the Lebanese Republic. He contends that Lebanon drove his business out of the market in favour of the incumbent and politically connected national airline of Lebanon. The matter is valued at USD1.2 billion.

Represented Ukraine’s largest state-owned commercial bank, Oschadbank, in UNCITRAL arbitration proceedings against the Russian Federation. The claim was brought under the Ukraine-Russia BIT and concerns Oschadbank's claim for the recovery of investments lost in Crimea due to Russia's annexation of the region in 2014.

Significant clients AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana), Amaya, AmTrust Europe and AmTrust Financial Services, WNC Factoring, KivuWatt.

Notable practitioners

Stephen Jagusch QC, "a master" of international arbitration, is a leading individual in both investment treaty and commercial arbitration disputes. He focuses his practice on construction, energy and commercial contract disputes and has been before the leading arbitral tribunals and ad hoc tribunals worldwide. A source says of his skills as an advocate: "He is the deadliest cross-examiner that I have seen outside of the Bar. He is a first-class arbitration advocate. Bright, hard, tough and a forensic cross-examiner." He also sits as an arbitrator.

Anthony Sinclair handles both commercial and investment treaty arbitrations. He has particular experience handling disputes relating to energy, infrastructure, telecommunications and mining. Clients say: "He is extremely responsive and accessible. He has been quick to offer commercial solutions."

Epaminontas Triantafilou is experienced in investment treaty arbitrations, acting for clients in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. One source says: "His advocacy was fantastic: it was a very well-formulated case and he just ripped apart the opposing counsel."

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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP - International Arbitration

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
-6 partners
-3 counsel
-24 other qualified solicitors

What the team is known for Renowned international arbitration practice with significant experience representing clients in the energy and telecommunications sectors, as well as handling matters for engineering and financial services clients. Handles arbitral proceedings under a range of institutional rules, such as those of the ICC, CIETAC, PCA, LCIA and ICDR. Also adept at representing sovereign states and investors in investment treaty cases, with expertise on the Energy Charter Treaty and BITs.

Strengths One client says: "Skadden’s service is without peer, I would say it is flawless. Skadden is very skilled at creating teams that integrate experts from different offices and practices, making it easier to manage the larger international disputes."

Another source comments: "They are a very professional team of lawyers. They respond immediately to he other side's tactics, and they seem to have an excellent knowledge of arbitration procedures. We get good and detailed advice on things like proposed arbitrators, which I find very helpful."

Work highlights Won a significant victory on behalf of NTT DOCOMO, Japan's largest telecommunications company, in an LCIA arbitration against Tata Sons. The dispute concerned the buyout price due upon NTT DOCOMO's exit from their joint venture.

Advised the Republic of South Sudan on defending an ICSID arbitration claim brought by the Republic of Sudan's state-owned oil company, Sudapet.

Significant clients Devas Multimedia, Alfa Telecom Turkey, Vodafone, Republic of Cyprus, Gennady Bogolyubov.

Notable practitioners

Karyl Nairn QC is a leading practitioner in the field of commercial arbitration and is held in high regard by those in the market. She takes regular instruction on Russia-related arbitration matters and is also recognised for her experience handling investment treaty arbitrations.

David Herlihy regularly represents sovereign states and investors in investment treaty arbitrations, and has expertise in BIT and the Energy Charter Treaty. Commentators praise his "very forensic" approach.

David Kavanagh is a popular choice as counsel in commercial arbitrations seated in London, Paris, Geneva, The Hague, Stockholm and Vienna. He experienced at handling energy and telecommunications-related disputes. Market sources comment that "he's a serious player" in the arbitration world and that he "has terrific people skills, which means he can get a good measure of a tribunal."

Daniel Gal advises international corporations on an array of commercial arbitration matters. He has particular experience in arbitrations arising in the banking and finance, construction and infrastructure sectors.

Bruce Macaulay represents clients in a range of complex commercial arbitrations, both institutional and ad hoc. Clients say that he is "dangerous for his opponents and a great success for his clients."

Department profile by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP

The European International Litigation and Arbitration Group advises on international commercial disputes for multinational companies and major institutions, particularly in the commercial, engineering, energy and financial services fields, including arbitrations under bilateral investment treaties, ICC, LCIA and UNCITRAL rules, and under the auspices of all the major international arbitration institutions. The firm’s practice also encompasses mediation, conciliation and the representation of clients before the English courts. Our lawyers also have served as arbitrators in a number of complex international arbitrations.

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Three Crowns LLP - International Arbitration

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
-4 partners
-14 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Acclaimed international arbitration boutique with an impressive client roster, featuring well-known names from the energy, natural resources and financial services sectors. Fields a heavyweight team of arbitration specialists, with expertise in both commercial arbitrations and investor-state disputes. Experienced acting for clients in arbitrations under the rules of the major arbitration institutions as well as ad hoc arbitrations.

Strengths Clients say: "The team has a good distribution of lawyers at various levels of seniority working to deliver a seamless product."

Work highlights Represented ConocoPhillips in an ICC arbitration against PDVSA. The dispute relates to the alleged expropriation of ConocoPhillips interests in two major heavy-oil projects in the Orinoco belt.

Advised Gas Natural on an ICC arbitration worth USD500 million. This was relating to a liquefaction plant in Egypt which had been affected by political disruption with ramifications for downstream buyers and sellers.

Significant clients ExxonMobil, Sultanate of Oman, American Express, BP, Dana Gas.

Notable practitioners

Constantine Partasides QC regularly appears as counsel in commercial and investor-state arbitrations, particularly concerning major disputes in the energy sector. He has an enviable reputation for representing corporate clients against sovereign and state-owned entities. He is also a highly respected arbitrator. Clients say: "He is one of the best advocates around at the moment. He is excellent, a class act, and wonderful to work with."

Gaëtan Verhoosel is a well-respected practitioner in the fields of investor-state and commercial arbitration. He focuses his practice on acting for clients in the mining, construction and energy sectors.

Carmen Martinez Lopez has advised her clients on a range of commercial arbitrations. She has experience representing energy clients in disputes relating to joint operating agreements and shareholder agreements, among others.

Department profile by Three Crowns LLP

Department profile not yet provided by Three Crowns LLP. Please see their firm profile.

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Volterra Fietta - International Arbitration

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
-5 partners
-15 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Formidable boutique specialising in PIL and investor-state arbitrations. Regularly represents international corporations and sovereign states in oil and gas BIT disputes. Also provides advice on treaty interpretation and state responsibility.

Strengths Sources say: "For such a boutique law firm, the profile of the team is extremely diverse with regards to the coverage of jurisdictions, languages and cultures. This brings improved communication skills and better understanding of the clients’ needs."

Work highlights The firm represented Koch Minerals and Koch Nitrogen International in an ICSID arbitration against Venezuela, under the Switzerland-Venezuela investment treaty. The case concerns allegations that Venezuela expropriated Koch’s investment in a fertiliser plant in 2010.

Acted as counsel for the Fábrica de Vidrios Los Andes and Owens-Illinois de Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration under the Switzerland-Venezuela investment treaty. The dispute concerns allegations expropriation in relation to two glass bottling plants reportedly worth USD1 billion.

Significant clients OI European Group BV, Barbados, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Progas, Allawi.

Notable practitioners

Robert Volterra has an impressive market reputation for being highly specialised in PIL and investment treaty disputes. He has acted for sovereign states and commercial corporations in arbitrations under the auspices of the LCIA, ICC, SCC, WTO and ICSID, as well as ad hoc arbitrations. Sources say he is "an extraordinary lawyer with a profound knowledge on his field."

Department profile by Volterra Fietta

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WilmerHale - International Arbitration

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Commentary from the Chambers UK guide

Basic facts about the department
-5 partners
-38 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Outstanding international arbitration practice with an enviable track record handling complex institutional and ad hoc arbitrations. Significant experience in joint venture disputes and in the oil and gas sector. Team members appear before tribunals seated across a number of arbitration hubs, including London, Zürich, Vienna, Geneva and Stockholm, often in connection with multimillion and multibillion-dollar disputes. Also has expertise acting for states and corporations in arbitrations concerning investment treaties, including BITs.

Strengths A client describes WilmerHale as "one of the best firms that I have dealt with so far in the international arbitration space. They are at the top of their game and are very client and service-oriented."

Commentators add: "It's a quality firm in a class of its own."

Significant clients Kurdistan Regional Government, Merck & Co, Koito Manufacturing.

Notable practitioners

Gary Born has represented companies in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations under the auspices of all the leading institutions, including the ICC, LCIA and ICSID as well as in ad hoc arbitrations. His deep expertise includes acting in high-value disputes arising in the energy, insurance and financial services industries, among others. He also has a stellar reputation as an arbitrator. Sources say of him: "He is a fantastic arbitrator and lawyer; he really is very special."

Steven Finizio is well known for his work on behalf of major energy companies in complex commercial arbitrations. One market commentator says that his performance as an advocate is "impressive and fully in keeping with WilmerHale's excellent reputation."

Franz Schwarz focuses his practice on commercial arbitrations concerning enforcement, corporate disputes, M&A and joint ventures. He has acted for clients in ad hoc arbitrations and before the leading arbitral institutions.

Department profile by WilmerHale

WilmerHale offers one of the world's premier international arbitration and dispute resolution
practices.


Our international arbitration group has been involved in more than 650 proceedings in recent years. We have successfully represented clients in a number of the largest institutional arbitrations and several of the most significant ad hoc arbitrations to arise in the past decade. We have extensive experience with arbitrations administered by all of the major international arbitration institutions (including the ICC, LCIA,  AAA/ICDR, SIAC, HKIAC, SCC, VIAC and others), as well as more specialised forms of institutional arbitration and ad hoc arbitrations, including arbitration of public international law issues. We pride ourselves on consistently achieving our clients' objectives through efficient staffing and the use of in-house know-how and precedents.

Centred in the London office, our multinational team consists of more than 70 lawyers in Europe and the United States, all of whom practice principally in the international arbitration field and many of whom specialise in particular areas (such as oil and gas, insurance, joint venture and M&A). Our international arbitration group includes both common and civil law practitioners, and prides itself on working together as an integrated team. In addition to representing clients as counsel, many of our lawyers regularly sit as arbitrators.

To learn more, visit us at www.wilmerhale.com/litigation/international_arbitration/





 



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Overview

Commercial arbitration in the UK

The United Kingdom’s referendum vote in June 2016 to leave the European Union – “Brexit”, as it has been termed – has become the prevalent topic of discussion in the London legal market. That is with good reason. Assuming that it goes ahead, Brexit will be one of the biggest political and legal shifts in at least a generation.

The impact of Brexit

For practitioners and users of international commercial arbitration in London, views have been fairly neutral. Most forthrightly hold the view that Brexit is unlikely to have any material impact on London’s standing as a, if not the, leading European arbitration seat – Lord Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice until July 2017, perhaps foremost among them. Proponents of alternative arbitral seats tend to highlight concerns about what the uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with the EU might mean for the practice of commercial dispute resolution in London generally, and international commercial arbitration in particular.

Those positing the second viewpoint often do so with one eye on using Brexit to improve London’s competition for the role of premier seat in international commercial arbitration. The most frequently cited concrete aspects of this argument rest in two areas: potential restrictions on parties being able to freely travel to hearings in the UK, and the potential impact of Brexit on English law as a choice of governing law for agreements.

Uncertainties in relation to freedom of movement more broadly may persist until around the time the final terms are agreed in March 2019, but it certainly seems that Brexit will have only a limited impact on the practice of international commercial arbitration in London.

There is no suggestion that Brexit will change the substantive content and application of English contract law and commercial law: those have never materially been affected by EU law, and so should not be affected by the UK’s withdrawal. There is therefore no reason why English law as a governing law should not remain a popular choice for parties in their international contracts.

Equally, for the UK in general and London in particular as a seat of arbitration, there seems little reason for concern. Research shows that users value London as a seat because of the clarity and supportiveness of the English Arbitration Act 1996, the high standards of integrity and understanding of arbitration within the judiciary, the independence and stellar quality of the arbitration specialists practising in London, and the efficiency of arbitral decision-making. None of these factors will be diminished by Brexit. Indeed, as some have noted, the potential restoration to the English courts of supervisory powers that were lost as a result of EU membership, particularly the ability to grant anti-suit injunctions against proceedings in the courts of other Member States, may mean that London as a seat becomes more attractive.

The UK’s position as a signatory to the New York Convention 1958 – the most widely used tool for enforcing international arbitration awards – will also remain unaffected. Arbitral awards issued in London will therefore continue to be enforceable in all jurisdictions that are signatories to the Convention, including the remaining 27 EU Member States.

In terms of accessibility, too, London will remain home to world-leading facilities for the conduct of disputes. There has been no suggestion that the UK Government intends to introduce any changes to its rules on obtaining travel visas that would affect the abilities of parties to attend hearings, and its leading hearing venues, hotels, restaurants and other support services.

However, during the period of uncertainty, users’ perceptions are more important than the ultimate outcome. It is all very well for arbitration practitioners in the UK to know that nothing much relevant to arbitration will change, but it is the views of their clients – frequently not lawyers, or lawyers from other jurisdictions with varying familiarity with English law – that will determine whether London as a seat and English law as a governing law continue to appear in parties’ contracts. The challenge for the UK-based arbitration community will be to ensure that the reality is explained and the concerns of users allayed.

All of this serves as a reminder of the need for London, as much as any other seat, to avoid the risk of resting on its laurels. In the face of increasing competition from developing seats around the world, particularly in Singapore and Hong Kong, London needs to continue to innovate and advance to defend its position of pre-eminence.

In that respect, there have been important developments for London arbitration as the arbitration community adopts new approaches to meet users’ concerns.

Third party funding

Third party funding has been flourishing in UK commercial dispute resolution for some years. It is becoming increasingly mainstream in international commercial arbitration, as claimants seek out funding either because otherwise a claim could not be brought, or in order to hedge and share litigation risk. The decision of the High Court in Essar v Norscot, confirming that a London-seated arbitration tribunal may award the costs of such third party funding (including a success premium) against an unsuccessful respondent, continues to aid in the development of this sector.

The ICCA-Queen Mary Task Force Report on Third Party Funding in International Arbitration, anticipated in draft in September 2017 and in final form in December 2017, is expected to provide guidance and further recommendations on what should be done to address the issues to which third party funding gives rise.

Tribunal secretaries

Tribunal secretaries – that is, juniors employed by arbitral tribunals to assist with the administration of their functions – have long been a feature of commercial arbitration, helping to improve arbitrator efficiency and reduce overall costs. Their use was called into question in 2015, when an alleged over-use of an assistant to the tribunal was advanced as a line of argument in the challenge in the Dutch courts to the award in the Yukos arbitration. In February 2017, the English High Court in P v Q, R, S and U helpfully confirmed that, in English-seated arbitration at least, there is nothing wrong with the appropriate use of a tribunal secretary.

Forthcoming legislation

Further developments to improve the efficiency of arbitration in England may also be afoot. The England and Wales Law Commission has invited comments from the public on whether to revise the Arbitration Act 1996 within its 13th Programme of law reform. Revisions already under consideration include whether explicit statutory provision should be made for tribunals to grant summary judgment or other streamlined procedures, responding to the concern that frequently arbitrators will avoid such approaches, even where they would clearly be more efficient and appropriate, for fear any award will be challenged on “due process” grounds.

It may be hoped, then, that Brexit will create the impetus to adapt and maintain pace with competitor jurisdictions. With that additional effort, it seems unlikely that London’s position as a leading centre for commercial arbitration will slip any time soon.

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WilmerHale

From the Chambers UK guide

Gary Born has represented companies in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations under the auspices of all the leading institutions, including the ICC, LCIA and ICSID as well as in ad hoc arbitrations. His deep expertise includes acting in high-value disputes arising in the energy, insurance and financial services industries, among others. He also has a stellar reputation as an arbitrator. Sources say of him: "He is a fantastic arbitrator and lawyer; he really is very special."

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Fietta LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Stephen Fietta is well established in the field of investment treaty disputes and is identified as "one of the best lawyers of his generation" by market commentators. He is well versed in investor-state proceedings under ICSID, UNCITRAL, LCIA and SCC rules. One source comments: "He is one of the brightest lawyers that I have ever worked with, he has excellent writing skills and is extremely persuasive." An interviewee adds: "Stephen’s cross-examination was incisive and a pleasure to observe."

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Peter Goldsmith QC

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Peter Goldsmith QC is described by market sources as "super-bright," while clients say that he produces "exceptional work" in the field of international commercial and investment treaty arbitrations. He has developed a formidable reputation in acting for clients in proceedings before the leading arbitral institutions ICSID, LCIA and ICC rules, as well as in ad hoc arbitrations.

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Stephen Jagusch QC

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Stephen Jagusch QC, "a master" of international arbitration, is a leading individual in both investment treaty and commercial arbitration disputes. He focuses his practice on construction, energy and commercial contract disputes and has been before the leading arbitral tribunals and ad hoc tribunals worldwide. A source says of his skills as an advocate: "He is the deadliest cross-examiner that I have seen outside of the Bar. He is a first-class arbitration advocate. Bright, hard, tough and a forensic cross-examiner." He also sits as an arbitrator.

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Audley Sheppard QC

Clifford Chance LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Audley Sheppard QC draws on over three decades of experience in international commercial and investment treaty arbitrations. He focuses his practice on energy and infrastructure projects, international investment and trade. He is also highly regarded for his work as an arbitrator. Market commentators describe him as "one of the most assured players in the field," with another source commenting that "he instinctively knows what points will impress a tribunal." 

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Volterra Fietta

From the Chambers UK guide

Robert Volterra has an impressive market reputation for being highly specialised in PIL and investment treaty disputes. He has acted for sovereign states and commercial corporations in arbitrations under the auspices of the LCIA, ICC, SCC, WTO and ICSID, as well as ad hoc arbitrations. Sources say he is "an extraordinary lawyer with a profound knowledge on his field."

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Alejandro Escobar

Baker Botts UK LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Alejandro Escobar focuses his practice on commercial and investor-state international arbitrations in Latin America, Europe and Russia. Clients appreciate his fluency in Spanish and dual legal qualification in the UK and Chile.

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Constantine Partasides QC

Three Crowns LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Constantine Partasides QC regularly appears as counsel in commercial and investor-state arbitrations, particularly concerning major disputes in the energy sector. He has an enviable reputation for representing corporate clients against sovereign and state-owned entities. He is also a highly respected arbitrator. Clients say: "He is one of the best advocates around at the moment. He is excellent, a class act, and wonderful to work with."

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Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Anthony Sinclair handles both commercial and investment treaty arbitrations. He has particular experience handling disputes relating to energy, infrastructure, telecommunications and mining. Clients say: "He is extremely responsive and accessible. He has been quick to offer commercial solutions."

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Matthew Weiniger QC

Linklaters

From the Chambers UK guide

Matthew Weiniger QC has a strong reputation for his advocacy skills and has substantial experience in both commercial and investor-state arbitrations, including those disputes arising in the energy and mining industries. Clients say: "His advocacy skills are outstanding - he is very clear, structured and logical."

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Markus Burgstaller

Hogan Lovells

From the Chambers UK guide

Markus Burgstaller has a strong reputation among his clients for advising states, state-owned entities and investors on investor-state disputes. One client comments: "He's experienced and has good insight into how the administration of governments of foreign states actually works." Another client observes: "He has a good intellect, and an objective and clinical approach. He is analytical, has an impressive grip on precedent, is personally supportive and pleasant to deal with."

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Charles Claypoole

Latham & Watkins

From the Chambers UK guide

Charles Claypoole specialises in investment treaty disputes and PIL. He regularly represents clients in disputes involving BITs and the Energy Charter Treaty.

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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

David Herlihy regularly represents sovereign states and investors in investment treaty arbitrations, and has expertise in BIT and the Energy Charter Treaty. Commentators praise his "very forensic" approach.

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Latham & Watkins

From the Chambers UK guide

Sophie Lamb has a strong practice in commercial and investor-state arbitration. She is experienced in acting for states, investors and boards of public companies. Her clients find her to be "well prepared, responsive and sensitive to the needs of the client."

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Eversheds Sutherland

From the Chambers UK guide

Jonathan Leach heads Eversheds Sutherland's London international arbitration practice, having recently joined the firm from Hogan Lovells. He is particularly experienced in international investment treaty arbitrations, acting for sovereign states, as well as entities in the life sciences and energy sectors.

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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Karyl Nairn QC is a leading practitioner in the field of commercial arbitration and is held in high regard by those in the market. She takes regular instruction on Russia-related arbitration matters and is also recognised for her experience handling investment treaty arbitrations.

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Sylvia Noury has substantial experience in investment treaty and investor-state arbitrations, acting in disputes before the LCIA, ICSID and other leading arbitration institutions. She represents clients in the telecommunications, energy and natural resources industries. Clients say she "exhibits deep knowledge of the field."

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Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Dominic Roughton recently joined Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP from Herbert Smith Freehills. He often represents oil and gas companies in investment treaty arbitrations involving disputed interests in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

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Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Jeffrey Sullivan is well regarded for investment treaty cases and is experienced in acting for investors and states in ICSID and UNCITRAL arbitrations. Clients comment: "Jeff has always displayed an excellent tactical mind, a high level of client commitment and an impressive ability to grasp complicated, nuanced matters very quickly."

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Gaëtan Verhoosel

Three Crowns LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Gaëtan Verhoosel is a well-respected practitioner in the fields of investor-state and commercial arbitration. He focuses his practice on acting for clients in the mining, construction and energy sectors.

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Steptoe & Johnson

From the Chambers UK guide

Matthew Coleman of Steptoe & Johnson is praised by his clients as "a brilliant lawyer on investor-state treaty issues." His clients include sovereign states, state-owned entities and international corporations.

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Simmons & Simmons LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Stuart Dutson of Simmons & Simmons LLP is recognised by the market for his work in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations. He focuses his practice on M&A and energy disputes in the Middle East, Nigeria and Russia. Market sources say: "He has a very good reputation in international arbitration, he is a proactive partner and strong player in the field."

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Reed Smith LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Belinda Paisley specialises in investment treaty work, regularly acting for the Republic of Kazakhstan. Market sources say that she has "gone from strength to strength in developing this part of the firm's practice."

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Ashurst

From the Chambers UK guide

Matthew Saunders acts for energy and natural resources clients in international arbitrations, and has noted expertise in Scandinavian-seated proceedings. His clients appreciate that he is "humble and pragmatic" and that he "takes on board and engages with the client's rationale, arguments and thought process and, where possible, tries to incorporate it into the case strategy."

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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

William Thomas recently joined the firm from Eversheds Sutherland's Paris office. He has experience acting in investment treaty arbitrations. Clients say he is "very user-friendly."

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Epaminontas Triantafilou

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

From the Chambers UK guide

Epaminontas Triantafilou is experienced in investment treaty arbitrations, acting for clients in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. One source says: "His advocacy was fantastic: it was a very well-formulated case and he just ripped apart the opposing counsel."

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Up and Coming

Jones Day

From the Chambers UK guide

Baiju Vasani of Jones Day has a growing reputation in the investment treaty arbitration space. He has acted as counsel in the proceedings under the rules of arbitral institutions, including the LCIA, ICSID, ICC and others. Sources find him to be "dedicated to his clients and a persuasive advocate."

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