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Work 020 3889 9800

Stephen Fietta

Work 0203 889 9800
Fietta LLP


Principal and founder of Fietta. Specialist area of practice: public international law and international arbitration. Stephen advises sovereign States and private clients on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious public international law and related dispute resolution issues, including: the protection of international investments under bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, free trade agreements and concession contracts; treaty drafting and interpretation; State sovereignty over natural resources; land and maritime boundary issues; the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); transboundary pipeline projects and the Energy Charter Treaty; sovereign and diplomatic immunity; State succession over the property of dissolved States; State responsibility for the acts and omissions of public authorities and domestic courts; UN, EU and domestic trade sanctions regimes; international environmental law; and human rights. Stephen regularly leads teams of lawyers representing clients before the world's leading public international law courts and tribunals.


Stephen has advised in connection with disputes at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and a multitude of ad hoc and institutional arbitral fora (including under UNCLOS, ICSID, PCA, SCC, ICC, LCIA and UNCITRAL Rules). He has been particularly active as counsel for both investors and States in investment arbitration proceedings pursuant to the ICSID, UNCITRAL, SCC and ad hoc arbitral rules, and has won some of the largest investment arbitration awards of recent history.


Stephen’s work frequently requires him to manage large teams of lawyers from both within and outside the firm and in multiple jurisdictions. Important career cases: counsel to a major US corporation in connection with one of the largest successful ICSID claims in history (resulting in an award of more than $450m plus costs); counsel to the investor in one of the largest ever successful investment arbitration claims against an EU State; counsel to 955 Greek Claimants in a pending mass ICSID claim against Greece arising out of the 2013 banking crisis; counsel to a US energy company in a pending ICSID case against Kazakhstan arising out of the expropriation of three oil concessions; counsel to the Republic of Croatia in connection with the defeat of a major BIT claim by an Austrian investor; counsel to Barbados in its UNCLOS maritime boundary arbitration against the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, under the aegis of the Permanent Court of Arbitration; counsel to the Republic of Colombia in connection with its Aerial Spray case against the Republic of Ecuador before the ICJ (settled); counsel to Tatar and Tatar in their successful environmental claims against Romania at the ECHR.



Trained Herbert Smith; qualified 1995; Herbert Smith, associate 1997; trainee solicitor 1995-97; United Kingdom Government (Home Office), lawyer 1997-2002 (with 18-month secondment as UK National Expert to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France 2001-02); Herbert Smith, associate 2002-05; Latham & Watkins, partner 2009-11, senior associate 2005-08; Volterra Fietta, founding partner 2011 to 2015; Fietta, founder and principal 2015 to date. Kings College London, 2003 to date, visiting senior lecturer in MA course ‘Geopolitics, Territory and Security’; University College London, 2005 to date, external examiner on LLM course, ‘International Law of Foreign Investment’ 2003-04; co-lecturer in LLM course ‘International Law of Natural Resources’. Publications of note: Author of “A Practitioner's Guide to Maritime Boundary Delimitation”, March 2016; various articles in Journal of International Arbitration, American Journal of International Law, Arbitration International, Journal of World Trade and Investment, International Arbitration Law Review; winner of the Smit-Lowenfeld Prize 2015 (awarded by the International Arbitration Club of New York) for his article ‘Public International Law, Investment Treaties and Commercial Arbitration: an emerging system of complementarity?’  (co-authored with Dr James Upcher). 


French and Italian.




St Alban's School; Jesus College, University of Cambridge (1993 BA; 1994 MA).


Cycling, tennis, skiing, history, philosophy and writing

London: Dispute resolution

International arbitration

Within: International arbitration

Fietta LLP fields 'a stellar group of lawyers who can turn to arbitration nicely, particularly investment arbitration'. The practice acted for PL Holdings in treaty arbitration proceedings brought against the Republic of Poland; the dispute concerned the expropriation of a bank. Stephen Fietta QC is 'very good' and Jiries Saadeh is a highly rated counsel.

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Public international law

Within: Leading individuals

Stephen Fietta QC - Fietta LLP

Within: Public international law

Fietta LLP is a boutique public international law (PIL) firm with experience in a broad range of advisory and contentious PIL matters, including state-state, investor-state, human rights, boundary and sovereignty disputes.  The team acted on behalf of a large group of Greek investors, as lead counsel, in a case brought against the Republic of Cyprus at ICSID; the matter marks the first time that the Greece-Cyprus bilateral treaty is being tested in a mass claim by investors suffering losses stemming from the mismanagement of a serious financial crisis. Stephen Fietta QC is 'highly professional in fact-finding processes whether by analysing facts or determining the key elements of the dispute, and his professionalism and work ethic are remarkable'. Counsel Jiries Saadeh's practice includes representing clients in investor-state arbitrations under the ICSID, UNCITRAL and other institutional rules. The key senior associates are Ashique Rahman and Laura Rees-Evans.

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