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Firms To Watch: Public international law

Advising on all aspects of investor-state arbitration, independent disputes practice Vail Dispute Resolution was launched in 2019 by former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and White & Case LLP arbitration lawyer, Tomas Vail.
In September 2020, Brussels-based firm Van Bael & Bellis opened up Van Bael & Bellis (London) LLP, quickly expanding its international, EU and UK law teams with key hires, including the 2021 addition of Nick Lawn (a former Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP counsel) as partner and head of the London-based international dispute resolution team.

Public international law in London

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP's 'uniquely varied practice' covers the full range of public international law (PIL) matters for states and international organisations, including financial institutions. In addition to representing clients in litigation and investment treaty arbitration cases, the team is highly rated for its expertise in international business-related human rights law, sanctions regimes, sovereign immunity and state succession issues, along with trade and WTO matters. 'Excellent advocate' Mark Levy QC leads the PIL practice in London, which includes Suzanne Spears, who co-heads the firm's global business and human rights group with Andrew DennyJames Freeman acts for clients in high-profile investment treaty arbitration cases. Matthew Townsend is a co-head of the global sanctions practice and also has notable expertise in export controls, customs law and trade agreements, among other matters. Kate Davies and counsel Sarah Garvey are other names to note. In 2020, Naomi Briercliffe and Guled Yusuf were promoted to counsel.

Practice head(s):

Mark Levy QC

Other key lawyers:

Suzanne Spears; Andrew Denny; James Freeman; Matthew Townsend; Kate Davies; Sarah Garvey; Katrina Limond; Naomi Briercliffe; Guled Yusuf

Testimonials

The team has a uniquely varied practice in public international law, including human rights, international trade and investment treaty arbitration.

The best corporate law firm in London on business and human rights.

Their team is broad and any specialist knowledge can be easily found within the firm. Furthermore, I got the impression of excellent teamwork within the firm.

Mark Levy QC is an excellent advocate and very client friendly. He’s a great strategic thinker and always one step ahead of his opponents.

Andrew Denny – very strong across all areas, and thoughtful and knowledgeable.

Suzanne Spears is the best corporate lawyer on business and human rights – exceptionally talented and engaging; she is also highly efficient and has relevant legal knowledge based on her involvement in other cases of a similar nature.

I would specifically cite counsel Naomi Briercliffe for her outstanding service and work.

Counsel Guled Yusuf is a future leader in the field, standing out for his expertise in international law and international arbitration – an outstanding lawyer and a pleasure to work with!

Key clients

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

UniCredit

Genossenschaft Elektra Baselland

United Arab Emirates

Bridgepoint Capital

Republic of Korea

The Kingdom of Morocco

Federal Republic of Somalia

RWE Innogy

Work highlights

  • Represented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in defending an investment treaty claim at ICSID, which was brought against it by Turkish construction company DSG Yapi.
  • Represented UniCredit in an investment treaty claim at ICSID against Croatia, which related to legislation passed by Croatia allowing borrowers to convert Swiss Franc (denominated or indexed) loans into Euro loans at historic exchange rates.
  • Represented the United Arab Emirates in separate claims brought at ICSID by a British investor, which concerned alleged investments in real estate projects.

Clifford Chance LLP

Clifford Chance LLP's credentials as a market-leader are reflected by the breadth and complexity of its work for states, international organisations, multinationals and individuals. Recent matters included treaty negotiations; human rights and investment treaty claims, and claims to self-governance by constituent territories within states. Other drivers of work include constitutional challenges, advice on policy compliance with WTO law, and trade and investment treaties. Rae Lindsay is an expert in international law, litigation, economic sanctions, and business and human rights. Jessica Gladstone is an expert in PIL and international disputes, business and human rights, and international trade and sanctions. Audley Sheppard QC is another key partner. At senior associate level, names to note are Anna KirkpatrickCarla LewisChristina SchuetzAnne Collins and Jeremy Stewart.

Practice head(s):

Rae Lindsay; Jessica Gladstone

Other key lawyers:

Audley Sheppard QC; Anna Kirkpatrick; Carla Lewis; Christina Schuetz; Anne Collins; Jeremy Stewart; Michael Lyons; Roland Scarlett

Testimonials

Excellent experience and expertise in all aspects of energy, infrastructure and investment arbitration.

Breadth of expertise in public international law and investment treaty arbitration, and great collaboration with industry experts.

An uncommon grasp of international organisations and their policy frameworks, and how they relate to equivalent frameworks for private sector entities and emerging issues in litigation and regulation.

One of the most well-staffed practices on the London dispute resolution market, with its PIL and DR teams coordinating well with other teams.

Audley Sheppard QC is particilarly impressive, with excellent oral and written advocacy skills and attention to detail.

Audley Sheppard QC is a leading figure, and one of the most respected individuals in the field.

Audley Sheppard QC is one of the most experienced and even-handed counsel in investment arbitration.

Jessica Gladstone is a star performer of the younger generation.

Key clients

United Nations

HMG

Standard Chartered Bank

Dr David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights and the Environment

ITV

One Young World

IMS

Tantalum International

Pacific Wildcat Resources Corp

Cortec

Kingsgate Consolidated

Invenergy Renewable

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

As 'a steadfast and brilliant partner' to its clients, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP's London team consistently provides market-leading PIL and international arbitration services through the firm’s global international dispute resolution group. The group generates work from sovereign governments, corporates, high-profile individuals, NGOs and international organisations. The wide-ranging scope of its expertise includes human rights, international humanitarian and environmental law, the Law of Treaties, diplomatic issues and foreign investment. Former UK Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith QC, who has appeared before a number of international courts and tribunals, leads the department, which includes a co-head of the firm’s Africa practice group, Patrick TaylorSamantha Rowe is a PIL and international arbitration specialist. Other key names at the firm are international counsels Aimee-Jane Lee and Conway Blake, as is associate Merryl Lawry-WhiteWendy Miles QC left for Twenty Essex in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Lord Peter Goldsmith QC

Other key lawyers:

Patrick Taylor; Samantha Rowe; Aimee-Jane Lee; Conway Blake; Merryl Lawry-White

Testimonials

The Debevoise team has been a steadfast and brilliant partner.

The group in London has considerable weight and ability.

This is a very experienced and dynamic PIL team doing cutting edge work – deep experience at all levels of the team.

Lord Peter Goldsmith QC’s leadership of the team sets the benchmark, conveying to clients that the firm can dedicate time and resources to human rights public interest work.

Lord Goldsmith and Patrick Taylor are solid pairs of hands.

Patrick Taylor is a strategic partner, who has gone beyond the traditional pro bono lawyering model.

International counsel Aimee-Jane Lee remains one of the maximum horsepower intellects in the firm as a whole, and can be trusted to bring true excellence to her matters.

Associate Merryl Lawrey-White is a true colleague to clients.’

Key clients

Royal Dutch Shell

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria

Shell International Trading and Shipping Company

Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company

Center for Reproductive Rights

State of Qatar

The Ocean Foundation

United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Work highlights

  • Acted as co-counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights in bringing four communications before the Human Rights Committee against Ecuador, Nicaragua and Guatemala.
  • Engaged as counsel by the State of Qatar (Qatar) in a series of high-profile public international law disputes being pursued by Qatar.
  • Assisted the Ocean Foundation with public international law issues, which relate to the negotiation of an international treaty under the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea.

Fietta LLP

With an enviable track record of winning treaty cases, boutique law firm Fietta LLP fields 'truly standout individuals', who are dedicated to PIL and international arbitration work. The team consistently achieves substantial damages awards, with a particular niche in investment disputes that raise novel PIL issues. Founding partner Stephen Fietta QC frequently advises sovereign states on highly sensitive PIL matters, including some of the world’s highest profile territorial disputes. Also recommended is international investment treaty specialist Jiries Saadeh, who is 'truly an exceptional talent in PIL'. Counsel Ashique Rahman represents states and foreign investors in their PIL disputes. Reflective of the growth of the practice, in 2020, the 'highly competent' Laura Rees-Evans and Oonagh Sands made counsels.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Fietta QC; Jiries Saadeh

Other key lawyers:

Ashique Rahman; Laura Rees-Evans; Oonagh Sands

Testimonials

This is a boutique law firm specialising in international law – and it is a very good one.

Fietta has a strong arbitration and PIL group, with some truly standout individuals – a great hand-picked and close-knit team.’

The firm may be small in size, but it compensates by being nimble in addressing the needs of clients. They have amassed a cohesive group of talented lawyers who are adept at collaborating with outside consultants to address technical questions that exceed their internal competencies.

I have had an excellent experience with this firm and its team. They are extremely committed and understand clients’ needs and how to adjust to hectic timeframes – they deliver quality input and advice.

Stephen Fietta is highly competent and covers a broad spectrum of advice. An excellent lawyer and first-rate advocate, Stephen has an unusual range of genuine expertise – not just investment treaty work but also maritime delimitation matters. I have also worked with the associates and thought they were excellent.

Stephen Fietta is very knowledgeable, and has strategic thinking and a very comprehensive understanding of the law. His invaluable input is always accompanied by pleasantness and he is always available.

Jiries Saadeh is among the very best of his generation – he is truly an exceptional talent in PIL.

Laura Rees-Evans is a highly competent and valued counsel.

Key clients

PL Holdings

Theodoros Adamakopoulos and others

Mohamed Abdel Raouf Bahgat

Big Sky Energy Corporation

Littop Enterprises

Bridgemont Ventures

Bordo Management

Vincent Ryan

Schooner Capital

Work highlights

  • Advising the Government of Malaysia on various public international law questions relating to sovereignty, maritime delimitation, offshore petroleum development and international environmental law.
  • Represented PL Holdings in an arbitration pursuant to the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union – Poland BIT against the Republic of Poland.
  • Represented the Republic of Croatia, as respondent state, in an ad hoc arbitration brought by a Canadian investor under a bilateral investment treaty, which involved state succession issues in the former Yugoslavia.

Volterra Fietta

Volterra Fietta has one of the largest PIL practices in the world and its team regularly appears for private entities, states and international organisations before The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) and other public international courts and tribunals constituted under the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other conventions. Consistently involved in some of the most high-profile PIL matters in the world, founding partner and ‘recognised leading expertRobert Volterra heads up the group, which includes Graham Coop, who assists with numerous PIL and investment treaty matters. Recently promoted counsel Gunjan Sharma is another key individual in the team, which was bolstered in 2020 by the arrival of consultant Peter Flint from Gowling WLG, where he was international arbitration head.

Practice head(s):

Robert Volterra

Other key lawyers:

Graham Coop; Gunjan Sharma; Peter Flint

Testimonials

Leading specialist expertise in complex, high-value investment treaty disputes.

This is one of very few boutique law firms, and the best, specialising in public international law.

Partners that are very able and experienced; and from my dealings with them, the same is true of the associates.

The founder and senior partner, Robert Volterra, has great experience and knowledge in this field, is very intelligent, and has good practical sense.

Robert Volterra is a recognised leading expert in complex, high-value investment treaty disputes.

Robert Volterra is the standout in the firm.

Robert Volterra has decades of experience and real commercial nous.

Consultant Peter Flint has extensive experience and expertise in complex investment treaty disputes.

Key clients

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar

The Republic of Kenya

The Republic of Ghana

The United Arab Emirates

The Democratic Republic of the Congo

The United States of America

The Arab Republic of Egypt

The Republic of Croatia

The Federal Republic of Nigeria

Barbados

The Republic of Lithuania

Mineralogy Pty

Nordgold

Koch Industries

Owens Illinois

Work highlights

  • Assisting Myanmar (through the anti-coup parliamentary committee) with international legal proceedings against the military leaders responsible for violent armed aggression against the people of Myanmar and their legitimate democratic representatives.
  • Representing the Democratic Republic of the Congo before the ICJ in the reparations phase of the landmark “Armed Activities” case.
  • Representing the Republic of Kenya in its high-profile maritime delimitation dispute against the Federal Republic of Somalia.

Arnold & Porter

Arnold & Porter consistently achieves ‘great results in investment cases‘ for sovereign states. Its key areas of focus include investment treaty arbitrations under the ICSID rules, as well as UNCITRAL arbitrations conducted under the auspices of the PCA in The Hague. Patricio Grané Labat has over 20 years of experience in investor-state arbitration cases, as well as international trade and PIL matters. He co-heads the practice with Dmitri Evseev, who is an expert in investment arbitrations, international humanitarian law and the relationship between investment protection treaties and EU law. Monty Taylor‘s sector experience covers mining, pharmaceuticals, energy, shipping, and banking and finance. David Reed is highly rated for his representation of multinational corporates, sovereign states and government-owned entities in investment arbitrations. Senior associates Bart Wasiak and Tim Smyth are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

David Reed; Dmitri Evseev; Patricio Grané Labat; Monty Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Bart Wasiak; Tim Smyth; Alice Osman; Alexander Witt; Alvaro Nistal

Testimonials

Very capable people with good methodology.

Arnold & Porter has a strong public international law practice; its team consists of members who offer a wide range of qualifications in terms of sector, language and legal expertise.

Their level of public international law expertise allows them to achieve great results in investment cases.

The partners offer sound leadership and they maintain good client relationships; they also collaborate well with clients and co-counsel.

The team is made up of very good individuals and operates as a cohesive unit.

David Reed brings substantial experience and knowledge in international commercial arbitration to his practice with a detailed, hands-on approach. He makes himself available by attending meetings and calls himself, as opposed to sending an associate, which stood out to me as an advantage compared with many partners in international law firms.

David Reed is good at balancing necessary revisions to his strategy while keeping a solid grasp of the main goals. David is able to see and focus on the big picture while paying attention to every detail, and is excellent at establishing strategy.

Monty Taylor stood out for his talent, work ethic and well-maintained client relationships. He has developed excellent cross-examination skills, and has a solid reputation among many notable senior lawyers working in arbitration.

Key clients

Kingdom of Sweden

Republic of Turkey

Republic of Peru

Republic of Bulgaria

Kingdom of Thailand

Czech Republic

Republic of Costa Rica

Colombia

Republic of Chile

Republic of Philippines

Republic of Korea

The Dominican Republic

Republic of Panama

EU Commission

Karkey Karadeniz Elektrik Uretim

Work highlights

  • Acting for Peru in seven separate investment treaty cases.
  • Represented the Kingdom of Sweden in its first-ever investment treaty defence dispute, which was initiated by Huawei over Sweden’s ban on Huawei 5G and other telecoms equipment (on national security grounds).
  • Represented the Kingdom of Thailand, as respondent, in an UNCITRAL investment arbitration involving Thailand’s largest gold mine.

Cooley (UK) LLP

Cooley (UK) LLP's London team acts for clients across a broad spectrum of PIL areas, with work ranging from investment treaty and international trade disputes to Law of the Sea advice, state responsibility issues and international asset recovery. Leading the firm's UK disputes practice is James Maton, whose PIL experience covers investor-state arbitration and treaty disputes. His team includes Laurence Harris, whose broad practice includes cross-border fraud and asset tracing disputes, and litigator Henry Stewart. The department also features consultant John Brown, who was previously the head of the law of the sea group at the UK Hydrographic Office. In addition, independent consultant Tim Daniel has extensive experience of international arbitration proceedings under ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL and ad hoc rules.

Practice head(s):

James Maton  

Other key lawyers:

Laurence Harris; Henry Stewart; John Brown; Tim Daniel; Juan Nascimbene

Testimonials

Consultant John Brown is very personable, responsive and a great team player.

John Brown is excellent to work with, very knowledgable and willing to engage in different activities – a really great individual to work with.

John Brown is at the core of the public international law team. With his prior background working in the government and military, he really understands the clients.

Key clients

Maritime Heritage Foundation

Odyssey Marine Exploration

Government of the Republic of Maldives

Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria

Government of Turks & Caicos Islands

Government of Qatar

Tekfen İnşaat ve Tesisat A Ş

TML İnşaat A Ş

Work highlights

  • Representing Odyssey Marine Exploration in an UNCITRAL arbitration, brought under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement, against Mexico.
  • Ongoing advice to the Turks and Caicos Islands Government on claims for the recovery of land and money from parties involved in corrupt practices/fraud.
  • Acted for The Government of Maldives in delimitation of maritime boundaries and continental shelf matters, in response to claims from Mauritius’ government.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's 'large, highly-qualified team' was recently heavily involved in advising clients on the UK's exit from the EU, as well as assisting major clients with international law issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. The practice covers the full spectrum of PIL matters, including boundary disputes, the Law of the Sea, treaty interpretation, sovereign and international organisation immunity, state recognition and human rights, as well as international trade law, WTO law, climate change and sanctions. Global PIL co-head Andrew Cannon has extensive experience of advising states, state-owned entities and major companies on PIL issues. He works with a number of key senior associates, including Hannah Ambrose, Aaron McDonaldLouise BarberMarco de Sousa and Naomi Lisney. In a recent development, Nick Peacock joined Bird & Bird LLP. Adam Johnson QC became a High Court judge in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Cannon

Other key lawyers:

Hannah Ambrose; Aaron McDonald; Louise Barber; Marco de Sousa; Naomi Lisney

Testimonials

Excellent and well-integrated global network of lawyers, who are particularly strong in the UK and Asia.

One of the best in the market, with people who are proper PIL specialists at the forefront of business and human rights.

One of the best teams I’ve worked with in this area of work – exceptionally high quality, with great legal knowledge, drafting skills, advocacy and strategy.

Although a huge firm, they work in small and effective teams, with lots of hands-on partner engagement and very high quality associates.

A large, highly-qualified team.’

Andrew Cannon has a wealth of experience in the area of international public law.

Andrew Cannon is very knowledgeable.

Senior associate Marco de Sousa is a great lawyer and very easy to work with.

Key clients

Nord Stream 2 AG

Standard Chartered Bank

Vedanta

Work highlights

  • Acted for Nord Stream 2 AG, a project development company undertaking the construction, financing and operation of a cross-boundary pipeline, in arbitration proceedings against the European Union under the Energy Charter Treaty.
  • Acted for the Bank of England, as defendant, in proceedings issued with a view to releasing gold deposits held by the Bank of England, in order to fund Covid-19 pandemic efforts in Venezuela.
  • Successfully represented Standard Chartered Bank in a string of long-running ICSID arbitration claims against Tanzania and TANESCO, the Tanzanian state electricity company.

Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins' long-established practice has a strong track record in achieving successful outcomes for state and investor clients. Areas of strength range from international boundary law and Law of the Sea disputes to matters concerning investment treaty law, international trade, sanctions, state and sovereign immunity law, and human rights law, among others. Charles Claypoole is particularly focused on investment treaty arbitration, international trade law and the law of state immunity. He co-heads the practice with Sebastian Seelmann-Eggebert, whose time is split between the London and Hamburg offices, and who works on highly significant PIL matters. Other names to note include arbitration specialist Sophie Lamb QC, as well as experienced associates Robert Price and Thomas Lane.

Practice head(s):

Charles Claypoole; Sebastian Seelmann-Eggebert

Other key lawyers:

Sophie Lamb QC; Robert Price; Thomas Lane

Testimonials

A highly skilled team in the PIL sector, especially in the context of investment treaty disputes.

First-rate team with depths of international law expertise and a strategic approach to litigation.

A strong and dedicated international arbitration team that is very timely and effective, and proceeds exactly in accordance with the necessities of the client and the case – very happy to work with this team.

Charles Claypoole is a genius when it comes to investment treaty work. There is nothing about this field which he does not know intimately.

Charles Claypoole is a great arbitration partner of the firm – always on top of the case, works closely with the client, and has very good knowledge of international arbitration.

Sebastian Seelmann-Eggebert and Charles Claypoole are a first-class act in investment arbitration and international law more generally.

Thomas Lane is a hardworking and highly intelligent associate, who leaves no stone unturned.

Key clients

Ukraine

Strabag

Mason Capital

Mason Management

Ipek Investment

The Republic of Croatia

The Republic of Colombia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

VTB Bank

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended Ukraine in an SCC arbitration in which the claimants claimed over $6bn for alleged breaches of the Energy Charter Treaty.
  • Assisted Strabag, an Austrian construction company, with securing a €100m arbitral award (including the majority of its legal costs) in an ICSID Additional Facility arbitration against Libya that was brought under the Libya/Austria BIT.
  • Representing Mason Capital, a US-based investment management firm, in a $240m investor-state arbitration against the Republic of Korea, which concerns a government corruption scandal in Korea.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP has enviable experience in PIL matters and investment treaty arbitration cases. The 'excellent team' is best known for handling large-value arbitrations involving the oil and gas, mining, energy, telecoms, construction and infrastructure sectors. Stephen Jagusch QC is the global chair of the firm's international arbitration practice. He works with Anthony Sinclair, who is experienced in acting for clients in both Energy Charter Treaty and investment treaty arbitrations. Epaminontas Triantafilou's practice spans a wide spectrum of disputes under international treaties and contracts. Also integral to the practice is Alex Gerbi, whose experience includes representing Ukraine in significant PIL matters. In addition, senior associate Laila Hamzi and associate Odysseas Repousis both act in investor-state disputes. At consultant level, Peter Hood specialises in international criminal law and international human rights law.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Sinclair; Stephen Jagusch QC; Epaminontas Triantafilou

Other key lawyers:

Alex Gerbi; Laila Hamzi; Odysseas Repousis; Peter Hood; Justin Michaelson; Ted Greeno; Nick Marsh

Testimonials

An excellent team that is hardworking and bright.

Stephen Jagusch QC is outstanding.

Key clients

AS PNB Banka

Grigory Guselnikov

Ukraine

Sergei Paushok

Republic of Azerbaijan

Samax Resources

Geita Gold Mine

JSC CB PrivatBank

PJSC Oschadbank

United Group

Schindler Holding

Alverley Investments

Germen Properties

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

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP's team is widely respected for its experience of investment treaty arbitrations, particularly where PIL and treaty interpretation issues feature heavily. In addition, it also represents states in major inter-state matters and fields a government enforcement team that advises on international sanctions. One of the key individuals at the firm is Karyl Nairn QC, who acts for governments and corporations across the banking and finance, oil and gas, mining, pharmaceuticals and telecoms sectors. Another name to note is David Kavanagh QC, whose 'presentation of a case is second to none'. Also key to the group are David HerlihyBruce Macaulay and Daniel Gal QC; the latter practitioner took silk in 2021. At associate level, Devika Khopkar's experience includes investor-state arbitration cases and India-related disputes. Teresa Queiros is active in investment treaty disputes.

Practice head(s):

Karyl Nairn QC; David Kavanagh QC

Other key lawyers:

David Herlihy; Bruce Macaulay; Daniel Gal QC; Devika Khopkar; Teresa Queiros; Ryan Junck

Testimonials

Great for responsiveness, regardless of the time difference, day or hour.

The team I worked with was really a team, where everybody had their own responsibilities and opportunities to show their talents – great to see this.

David Kavanagh QC has the capability and skill to keep things simple. I think this is a rare virtue, not only for lawyers but for every professional in this domain.

David Kavanagh QC’s presentation of a case is second to none, and he is capable of focusing on the essential points, while setting up a strategy to deal with the case, leaving the impression that the approach is simple and easy. This charisma, accompanied by a sense of humour, facilitates discussions and delivers an air of understanding and togetherness.

David Kavanagh QC is willing to help and provide the necessary explanations, and above all he always seems certain and remains firm, leaving no space for doubt. Finally, he reacts calmly, considering all ideas without overreacting; and what is most impressive is his willingness to convince rather than enforce his view.

Daniel Gal QC leads his team as one (I imagine) would lead an orchestra -he doesn’t try to do the work of others, but considers the interaction of the team members and the interests of the client.

Key clients

Vodafone International Holdings

NextEra Energy Spain Holdings

DP World

Vodafone Group

CC/Devas (Mauritius)

Devas Employees Mauritius  Private

Telcom Devas Mauritius

The Human Dignity Trust

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Work highlights

  • Secured a landmark all-round victory for Vodafone International Holdings, in one of the largest and most high-profile BIT disputes in the world, namely its $5.5bn dispute with India.
  • Currently representing NextEra Energy Spain Holdings and NextEra Energy Global Holdings in the defence of annulment proceedings, which were filed by Spain under the ICSID Convention.
  • Continues to act as lead counsel to DP World in only the second ever BIT claim against the Kingdom of Belgium.

Three Crowns LLP

Three Crowns LLP's sizeable team represents both states and corporations in high-profile and business-critical investor-state disputes, including a large number of treaty cases that raise complex PIL issues. It also undertakes work on a pro bono basis, particularly human rights cases involving issues of self-determination, indigenous rights, torture and religious persecution. Constantine Partasides QC frequently acts as lead counsel in globally significant investor-state disputes. He co-heads the practice with Gaëtan  Verhoosel, who handles high-value treaty arbitrations across all continents and a range of industry sectors, including power, oil and gas, banking and infrastructure. Other highly rated practitioners are Middle Eastern disputes expert Reza Mohtashami QC and Carmen Martinez Lopez, whose practice covers high-stakes investor-state disputes and PIL issues. Manish Aggarwal and counsel Leilah Bruton are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Constantine Partasides QC; Gaëtan Verhoosel

Other key lawyers:

Reza Mohtashami QC; Carmen Martinez Lopez; Manish Aggarwal; Leilah Bruton

Testimonials

What makes Three Crowns unique is that the lawyers know not only the rules of arbitration, but they know the material law of different countries perfectly – that is really special.

Always sends the draft with a lot of time to review, and they prepare for hearings in a very efficient way.

All the individuals at Three Crowns give clients the same treatment, whether they are partners or not.

Superb international arbitration expertise, particularly in investment treaty cases.

Focus on international arbitration pays off, with excellent industry knowledge (energy).

Billing is appropriate for this level of service. They do not waste time, with associates effectively allocated to matters.

Key clients

Kingdom of Bahrain

Sultanate of Oman

ExxonMobil

Total

Trafigura

ConocoPhillips

REDRESS

Sabafon

Elliot Associates

Naturgy

ContourGlobal

MTN

Sacyr

Work highlights

  • Acted for oil supermajor Eni in an exceptionally high-stakes and politically sensitive dispute against the Federal Government of Nigeria, involving allegations of corruption (criminal and civil proceedings) and claims under the Netherlands-Nigeria BIT.
  • Represented Sabafon in an UNCITRAL arbitration against the Government of Yemen, the decision setting a precedent on an international law point concerning which of two competing factions is the legitimate government.
  • Assisted REDRESS with the extremely high-profile case of Mariam Yahia Ibraheem et al. v. Sudan (currently before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights), which concerns religious persecution in Sudan.

Withers LLP

Withers LLP‘s ‘consistently outstanding‘ practice is highly-reputed for its PIL and state-state work, and it also demonstrates strong credentials in investment treaty arbitration cases. In a notable development, Sir Geoffrey Cox QC (the former Attorney General of England and Wales) joined the firm in September 2020 as consultant global counsel to lead the PIL practice alongside Hussein Haeri. Other international law specialists include consultant Aniruddha Rajput (a member of the UN International Law Commission) and special counsel Robert Civics, who specialises in PIL, international arbitration, and business and human rights. Senior associate Camilla Gambarini acts for clients in investment treaty arbitrations and state-side public international disputes. Another key individual is associate Claudia Baró Huelmo, who is an expert in PIL, international arbitration and international criminal law.

Practice head(s):

Hussein Haeri; Sir Geoffrey Cox QC

Other key lawyers:

Aniruddha Rajput; Robert Kovacs; Camilla Gambarini; Claudia Baró Huelmo

Testimonials

This group is very strong in PIL work.

Withers is unique because it offers personalised services tailored to the needs and circumstances of clients.

They are professional and offer diversity in unique and specialized areas of public international law, particularly in relation to the concerns of small island states.

The members of the Withers team are professional and approachable, as well as being trustworthy and with high ethical practice standards. Clients can feel confident about the quality of advice they receive.

The Withers team comprises outstanding attorneys who have deep knowledge of human rights law, and the work across several regions is consistently outstanding. I always have full confidence that they will do an excellent job with minimal supervision from us.

Excellent strength and depth in the Withers team, led by the outstanding Hussein Haeri, who is exceptionally intelligent and commercially astute.

Hussein Haeri is a superstar intellect, who has been rewarded with some of the most interesting PIL briefs in London.

Senior associate Camilla Gambarini is an outstanding attorney, who in addition to her legal skills, brings Spanish fluency that is vital for our work in Latin America. In addition, she has deep knowledge of human rights law, and is able to grasp quickly the concepts and principles that we need to convey.

Key clients

The Government of the British Virgin Islands (BVI)

Scholz Holding

Government of Ukraine

Gesenu

The Center for Reproductive Rights

High Seas Alliance

Raffaele Mincione

WRM CapInvest

WRM

Work highlights

  • Defended the Government of Ukraine against an UNCITRAL arbitration, which was commenced by Olympic, an Estonian gambling business.
  • Represented Gesenu, an Italian waste management company, in ICSID arbitration proceedings against Egypt.
  • Advised the Government of the Virgin Islands (BVI) on a Commission of Inquiry.

Baker Botts (UK) LLP

Baker Botts (UK) LLP's UK team acts as a hub for the firm’s PIL practice globally, with the wider group comprising of specialists in the Americas, Middle East and Russia/CIS. The practice is also closely linked to the firm's projects and energy and natural resources groups. Jay Alexander, who is a co-head of the global disputes offering, divides his time between the London and Washington DC offices. The group also includes UK and Chile-qualified partner Alejandro Escobar, who leads the London office's high-end PIL matters. Also recommended are Johannes Koepp, sanctions expert Chris Caulfield and Dorine Farah. Senior associate Ernesto Féliz De Jesús is also 'a great lawyer'.

Practice head(s):

Jay Alexander

Other key lawyers:

Alejandro Escobar; Johannes Koepp; Chris Caulfield; Dorine Farah; Ernesto Féliz De Jesús; Valeriya Kirsey; David Turner

Testimonials

We have been working with Baker Botts for several years with excellent results.

The people working here are of the highest professional standards.

They are always available to attend to our requests, and understand that relationships between firms and public entities demand extra paperwork and additional requirements because public resources are involved.

Baker Botts has experience in working with governments, as well as multilingual professionals, which is especiallly important for us because most of ourt witnesses and experts do not speak English fluently.

Baker Botts uses the newest technology and software, which guarantee the confidentiality of the information and meetings that we have. They are also very accurate with billing, which is highly valued by states.

Baker Botts has a great team of lawyers.

Alejandro Escobar’s knowledge of international law, arbitration and civil law are impressive. He speaks Spanish and English fluently, and this is very helpful in our meetings as he can read the files of the case without any delay.

Senior associate Ernesto Féliz De Jesús is a great lawyer who works very hard and remembers the case’s details impressively.

Key clients

Republic of Iraq

Mobile TeleSystems

Samsung Engineering Company

Work highlights

  • Representing the Republic of Iraq in an ICSID case brought by AHG Industry GmbH & Co, which concerns the alleged expropriation of its cement production business.
  • Representing Mobile TeleSystems, which was subject to expropriatory measures adopted by Turkmenistan, in an ICSID-administered treaty claim against Turkmenistan.
  • Representing Samsung Engineering Company in a $60m-plus ICSID convention dispute, arising from Samsung’s investment in a flagship power generating project in Saudi Arabia.

Carter-Ruck

Carter-Ruck's 'particularly good' PIL team is sought out for its advice on human rights, including the application of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development guidelines to multinational enterprises. In addition, the firm advises clients on targeted sanctions, mutual legal assistance, extradition, Red INTERPOL notices, bids for independence and statehood recognition, and diplomatic protection. The 'brilliant' Guy Martin leads the firm's international law practice, which includes 'very trusted' senior partner Cameron Doley, whose clients include governments, heads of state and leading political figures. Alasdair Pepper, assists clients with arbitrations under several institutions' rules. Senior associates Charles Enderby SmithLawrence Northmore-Ball and François Holmey also advise on PIL issues.

Practice head(s):

Guy Martin

Other key lawyers:

Cameron Doley; Alasdair Pepper; Charles Enderby Smith; Lawrence Northmore-Ball; François Holmey; Helena Shipman; Helena Shipman; Jennifer Harvey

Testimonials

Carter-Ruck are particularly good at dealing with cases that have political and geopolitical sensitivities. This comes from the fact that they do a lot of work in the diplomatic sector, which in itself makes them uniquely placed.

Huge experience in the area, particularly sanctions, with several notable successes over the course of the year.

The collaboration among the team, including the recommendation and selection of barristers (and co-ordinating with them closely throughout) was in my view one of the strengths I experienced when dealing with Carter Ruck and the team assigned to my case.

One of the few firms in London with a specialist public international law department, headed by the brilliant Guy Martin.

Guy Martin is a senior lawyer of impeccable judgement, with an exceptional work ethic and fundamental decency – a powerful combination.

Guy Martin is a clear leader in the field.

Cameron Doley has huge political and diplomatic experience, and is very well known in political circles in the countries I work within – and very trusted as a consequence.

Senior associate Charles Enderby Smith is a future superstar.

Key clients

Al Jazeera Media Network

The State of Qatar

Sheikh Yassin Abdullah Kadi

Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy

Hosni Mubarak

Fahd Mohamed Sakher Ben El-Materi

Alaa Mubarak

Gamal Mubarak

Suha Arafat

Qatar Embassy

Clyde & Co LLP

Clyde & Co LLP's 'dynamic' PIL team excels in high-profile or politically sensitive claims involving expropriation, discrimination, denial of justice and fair and equitable treatment issues. The practice also includes specialists in compliance, dispute resolution, corruption, anti-money laundering, trade and sanctions. Team head John Whittaker has longstanding experience in investment disputes, sovereign immunity and sanctions. Ben Knowles represents states in energy, aviation, telecoms, and trade and commodities matters. Maurice Kenton is active in Africa, Latin America and Asia-related disputes. Alejandro Garcia specialises in treaty disputes in the renewable energy sector. At consultant level, Clare Hatcher advises on international sanctions.

Practice head(s):

John Whittaker

Other key lawyers:

Ben Knowles; Maurice Kenton; Alejandro Garcia; Clare Hatcher; Lee Bacon; Ian Hopkinson; Simon Schooling

Testimonials

The team is dynamic and not afraid to work hard.

John Whittaker is a standout partner, who is fully committed to delivering the best outcome for his clients. He is also very strategic and applies worldly wisdom and experience to great effect, as well as being a great pleasure to work with and very easy to communicate with.

Key clients

Shanara Maritime International

Marfield

The Government of the Republic of Yemen

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Sri Lankan Government in a dispute with property developers that concerned the requisitioning of land.

DLA Piper

In addition to acting for clients in investor-state disputes, DLA Piper's London team advises states and companies on Brexit-related matters, which are led by Paul Hardy. Other notable drivers of work include maritime boundary disputes, immunity issues and treaty matters. The group houses practitioners such as investment treaty expert Kate Cervantes-Knox and John Forrest, who is knowledgeable about export controls, sanctions and international trade law. Senior consultant Scott Horton is another key individual, as is of counsel Ben Sanderson, who splits his time between the London and Madrid offices. Legal director Elinor Thomas is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Paul Hardy

Other key lawyers:

Kate Cervantes-Knox; John Forrest; Scott Horton; Ben Sanderson; Elinor Thomas

Testimonials

Large firm, with appropriate resources and coverage, but has a small-firm feel in terms of careful oversight and detailed approach.

Excellent public international law capabilities.

First-rate team of lawyers with depth of expertise and breadth of experience.

Very good client management.

Of counsel Ben Sanderson combines an extensive and impressive practice in public international law and arbitration matters, as well as an exceptionally deep academic understanding of public international law. In that regard, not only he is a veteran practitioner, but he is also equal to international law academics of the highest profile.

Key clients

Republic of Kenya

Republic of Guinea

Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

Gazprom

Government of Ghana

Hungary

Thailand

Turkcell

Lithuania

INTERPOL

United Kingdom – Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Department for International Trade

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended the Republic of Kenya in ICSID proceedings.
  • Acted for INTERPOL in a high-profile public international law case.
  • Representing Lithuania in UNCITRAL investment arbitration, in relation to the renationalisation of Snoras Bank.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP's PIL team is best known for acting for states and state-owned entities, both in state-to-state and investor-state arbitration, and it has particular expertise in emerging markets jurisdictions. Global co-chair of international arbitration Jonathan Leach has longstanding experience of investor-state arbitrations. The group also includes Greg Falkof, who focuses on large, complex disputes in the oil and gas, construction and infrastructure sectors, primarily in Africa and the Middle East. Claire Stockford is experienced in acting for claimants and governments in investor-state cases. Additional support is provided by experienced principal associates Cameron Forsaith (who has 'excellent PIL knowledge') and Ahmed Abdel-Hakam.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Leach

Other key lawyers:

Greg Falkof; Claire Stockford; Cameron Forsaith; Ahmed Abdel-Hakam

Testimonials

They have a good mix of investment treaty arbitration and also more “pure” public international law specialists.

One of the top global firms for public international law and increasingly centred in the firm’s London office.

Eversheds have an incredibly strong team of international arbitration practitioners and a great diversity of talent in their ranks, drawn from a multitude of legal disciplines and jurisdictions, which allows them really to get to grips with public international law disputes.

Jonathan Leach is meticulous in his approach and will leave no stone unturned. He is also easy to deal with and proactive in dealing with any potential problems.

Greg Falkof is a great asset to the Eversheds team. Greg is a well-respected international arbitration specialist who knows the law inside out, and is a pleasure to work with. He is also incredibly intelligent, tenacious about getting his client the right result, and very down to earth and a pleasure to deal with.

Claire Stockford was very hardworking, and managed to pull together a complex submission in challenging circumstances.

Principal associate Cameron Forsaith has excellent PIL knowledge, and is very pleasant to deal with. He has a relaxed manner but is always on top of things.

Senior associate Ahmed Abdel-Hakam is a fantastic, up-and-coming international arbitration specialist, who brings a great deal of energy and rigour to cases, and has a thorough grounding in international law. His ability to operate in French and Arabic, as well as English, also sets him apart as a truly international practitioner.

Key clients

State of Libya

Islamic Republic of Iran

Government of Malaysia

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

The London office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher handles all aspects of PIL work, representing a diverse range of major clients in high-profile, high-value and cutting-edge matters. The practice is co-led by Penny Madden QC (who also co-chairs the firm's international arbitration practice group) and Cyrus Benson, who regularly acts before commercial and investment treaty tribunals, with particular experience of telecoms, oil and gas, mining and infrastructure disputes. Providing additional heavyweight support is recently appointed silk Jeffrey Sullivan QC, who specialises in investment treaty arbitration and all aspects of PIL work.

Practice head(s):

Penny Madden QC; Cyrus Benson

Other key lawyers:

Jeffrey Sullivan QC

Key clients

Yukos Capital

Corral Morocco Holdings

Bechtel Corporation

Agility Public Warehousing

VEON

Infrastructure Services Luxembourg

Energia Termosolar

Hydro Energy 1

Hydroxana Sweden

InfraCapital

Luxtona

RREEF Infrastructure

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Hogan Lovells International LLP‘s team handles a broad scope of work, which sees it act for states, state-owned entities and investors. It advises on claims arising from bilateral investment treaties, and has a notable strength in energy and TMT sector disputes. In addition, the firm assists clients with Brexit-related issues. Markus Burgstaller is an international disputes specialist, while Charles Brasted heads up the public law and policy practice.

Practice head(s):

Markus Burgstaller

Other key lawyers:

Charles Brasted; Scott Macpherson

Key clients

Government of the Slovak Republic

Government of the Republic of India

Cascade Investments

Penwell

Cunico

NATS (formerly National Air Traffic Services)

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Government of the Slovak Republic on consequences of the landmark judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) before the German Constitutional Court.
  • Defending the Government of the Republic of India in a very significant investment claim brought by a Mauritian entity linked to a British private equity firm.
  • Acting for Cascade Investments NV in an investment claim against the Republic of Turkey before ICSID.

Jones Day

In February 2021, Jones Day recruited Michelle Bradfield as London PIL head from Dechert LLP, where she had led the international arbitration practice. Bradfield has significant PIL expertise, including maritime and land delimitation and demarcation issues. The firm also has an established investor-state arbitration practice that dates back to the early 2000s. Also integral to the group is Sylvia Tonova, who represents both investors and states in investment treaty arbitration cases. Lee Coffey is another key individual, as are Philip Devenish ('one of the standout associates in the City') and solicitor Anatoly Matveev.

Practice head(s):

Michelle Bradfield

Other key lawyers:

Sylvia Tonova; Lee Coffey; Philip Devenish; Anatoly Matveev

Testimonials

Jones Day has an established reputation across the globe and across practice areas; indeed, its global/local reach is one of its unique features.

Ability to combine professionals from a number of offices across geographical areas in different time zones to provide an integrated and dynamic team offering a seamless service.

They are a very integrated team – all the offices work closely together, which means they offer a bespoke team for any given case; and they boast expertise in all areas of public international law and have the resources to fully deliver on every aspect of a case.

The firm has recently recruited Michelle Bradfield to this area, and has thus taken a step up.

Michelle Bradfield has immense pedigree in PIL – a very sure hand in the area.

Michelle Bradfield is a well-established expert in public international law. She has worked in the field for many years and has fantastic litigation experience. The skill which sets her apart as a litigation lawyer is her excellent understanding of the law, combined with top-notch tactical and strategic skills, and the ability to assemble and organise a great team when running a case.

Sylvia Tonova has a very good understanding of technically challenging concepts.

Philip Devenish is a very effective communicator and great to work with – one of the standout associates in the City. His dedication to work, detail orientation and client management are absolutely second to none.

Key clients

Visor Group (Vladislav Kim and others)

World Wide Minerals

Omega Engineering

Alhambra Resources

Windoor AS

Gold Pool JV

Work highlights

  • Defended a major Gulf Cooperation Council State in a $2bn-plus investment treaty arbitration, which related to an alleged politically-motivated expropriation.
  • Successfully represented Kazakhstani claimants, Vladislav Kim and others, in a $835m ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Uzbekistan, which related to investments made in the Uzbek cement industry.
  • Representing engineering company Omega Engineering, and its CEO Oscar Rivera, in an ongoing $100m ICSID claim against the Republic of Panama, which relates to the expropriation of a construction investment.

Linklaters LLP

Linklaters LLP's PIL team is best known for state-to-state disputes, international trade law, state immunity and the immunities of intergovernmental organisations, and investor-state disputes. Other key areas concern international human rights law, sanctions, and business and human rights. The principal figures are global international arbitration chair Matthew Weiniger QC, global co-head of trade law Charlotte Morgan and Vanessa Havard-Williams, who is a co-head of the business and human rights group. In addition, other key advisers are energy disputes head Ben CarrollTeresa Laboucarié-Polak and counsel Jacqueline Chaplin.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Weiniger QC; Charlotte Morgan

Other key lawyers:

Vanessa Havard-Williams; Ben Carroll; Teresa Laboucarié-Polak; Jacqueline Chaplin; Airlie Goodman; Adrien Canivet; Rebecca James; Alex Fawke

Testimonials

Their practice group is very solid and boasts a well-established name, along with very experienced practice members.

Extremely talented and dedicated team that has exceeded our expectations as to the commitment to the needs of the case and the client.

Able to dig into the depth of experience and expertise within the firm to assist, but also showed willingness to research and learn in the area, and use blue-sky thinking and creativity to come up with solutions where needed.

Key clients

Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Bank of New York Mellon (London Branch)

Legal Response Initiative

HSBC Alternative Investments

PJSC Gazprom

Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong)

Korea National Oil Corporation

Gavi Alliance

Work highlights

  • Represents the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, as co-counsel, in its seeking to annul a $6bn award rendered in favour of Tethyan Copper Company, further to proceedings brought under the Australia-Pakistan bilateral investment treaty.
  • Representing HSBC in a potential investment treaty claim against the Republic of El Salvador (under the UK-El Salvador bilateral investment treaty), which concerns an El Salvadorian subsidiary of HSBC that sought to enforce a loan.

Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP has 'market-leading expertise in energy and natural resources-related investment treaty arbitrations'. In addition, the sizeable group also has construction, telecoms and banking sector expertise. Belinda Paisley and Chloe Carswell co-head the practice, which includes Patrick Beale, who is 'an enormous asset to any team'.  Ben Summerfield also has significant investment treaty arbitration experience. Beyond the partners at the firm, counsel Suzie Savage is 'enormously hardworking, responsive and committed'. 'Up-and-coming' associate Lucy Winnington-Ingram is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Belinda Paisley; Chloe Carswell

Other key lawyers:

Chloe Carswell; Patrick Beale; Ben Summerfield; Suzie Savage; Dina Nazargalina; Lucian Ilie; Lucy Winnington-Ingram

Testimonials

Great expertise in CIS-related disputes, and Reed Smith has very good partners and seemless communication throughout the team – authentic, empathetic and totally professional.

The practice has market-leading expertise in energy and natural resources-related investment treaty arbitrations, with in-depth knowledge of the commodities markets, including oil and gas and precious metals, as well as the technical aspects of operations in these industries.

Belinda Paisley is hardworking, creative and achieves results. For any bet-the-company dispute, Belinda will get the results you need – a superstar practitioner.

Chloe Carswell is one of the most experienced public international law practitioners in the London market – knowledgeable, smart, and her attention to detail is impressive.

Patrick Beale is a formidable lawyer and an enormous asset to any team. He is deeply analytical and always on top of the detail, while never losing sight of the bigger picture. As a result, he is extremely well versed in handling complicated technical and quantum-related matters in high-value disputes.

Counsel Suzie Savage is enormously hardworking, responsive, and committed, with superb forensic skills and extraordinary attention to detail – always a team player and a pleasure to work with.

Associate Lucy Winnington-Ingram is an up-and-coming arbitration lawyer with enormous potential, and who focuses on investment treaty arbitration. She pairs first class analytical skills and strategic instincts with a phenomenal work ethic. Definitely one to watch and a potential star of the future.

Lucy Winnington-Ingram is a real class act.

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons' 'exceptionally skilled team' includes Stuart Dutson, whose experience includes arbitration proceedings under the major institutional rules in London, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Another key individual is TMT disputes head Jayne Bentham, who acts for clients in multijurisdictional arbitration cases. Managing associate Basil Woodd-Walker is also a highly regarded practitioner, with much of his work involving Africa and Asia.

Other key lawyers:

Stuart Dutson; Jayne Bentham; Basil Woodd-Walker; Eleanore Di Claudio

Testimonials

They offer an exceptionally skilled team of individuals, who provide advice that is always considered and to the point – they have developed a very strong following in the market.

Successfully involved in a large number of very substantial and high-profile cases, and showed complete mastery of the relevant principles.

Simmons & Simmons has an extremely strong practice under the fantastic leadership of Stuart Dutson.

Stuart Dutson is superb and was a key hire for Simmons & Simmons. He is one of the top intellects in this area and an opponent to be feared. He has professorial specialist knowledge of public international law and is definitely one of the leading stars in the field (including treaty arbitration).

Stuart Dutson’s capacity for work is phenomenal and he has an unbeatable intellect. Under his guidance, Simmons & Simmons’ practice will inevitably continue to grow in depth and skillsets.

Steptoe and Johnson UK LLP

Steptoe and Johnson UK LLP is frequently instructed by states and investors in PIL-governed arbitrations, while the firm's international trade team is experienced in representing governments in cases before the WTO Appellate Body. Other key areas are sovereign immunity and enforcement, and anti-corruption and sanctions. The group has sector strengths in agriculture, energy and natural resources. As a go-to counsel for claims against African states, Matthew Coleman chairs the investment treaty arbitration practice. Christophe Bondy, who joined in 2020 from Cooley (UK) LLP, is another active practitioner, as is experienced associate Thomas Innes.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Coleman

Other key lawyers:

Christophe Bondy; Thomas Innes

Testimonials

They showed great knowledge and expertise in public international law.

Matthew Coleman stands out for his deep knowledge of public international law, and his ability to apply this to complex cases.

The individual who particularly stands out for his knowledge, commitment and expertise in international public law is associate Thomas Innes.

Matthew Coleman and Thomas Innes are both excellent.

Key clients

European Commission Legal Services on behalf of the European Union

Sunlodges

The Paglieri Family

The von Pezold family & Border Timbers

The Republic of Armenia

Koch Supply and Trading

Koch Industries

Saint Patrick Properties Corporation

Neustar

The UK government

Government of Canada

Exxon Mobil Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acting as external counsel to the European Union, in its defence of a €10bn investment claim brought against it by Nord Stream 2 (under the Energy Charter Treaty).
  • Represented European investors in an investment treaty arbitration against an African state, which related to an expropriation and resulted in an award of over $20m.
  • Represented the von Pezold family and Border Timbers in parallel cases against Zimbabwe, which arose from one of the largest post-war expropriation programmes and resulted in awards for $196m and $125m plus interest and costs.

WilmerHale

WilmerHale's PIL team is active in cases involving territorial boundaries, including state-to-state matters and investor-state disputes. In addition, its team has expertise in PIL issues arising in national courts, which involve transnational litigation and enforcement issues, as well as sovereign-related matters and legal proceedings over rights of freedom of speech and belief. International arbitration practice chair Gary Born has longstanding experience acting as lead counsel in PIL matters. Steven Finizio, who has experience of serving as an arbitrator, is also a name to note.

Practice head(s):

Gary Born

Other key lawyers:

Steven Finizio

Testimonials

Absolutely top international arbitration group – Gary Born may be best known, but there is a deep bench of talent.

Gary Born is an outstanding arbitration lawyer.

Gary Born is a real star.

Key clients

Asian Development Bank

Media Defence

Federal Government of Somalia

CMS

CMS' practice covers jurisdictional, immunity and enforcement issues, along with evidence for use in overseas proceedings, expropriation, the Law of the Sea, treaties and state responsibility. The 'exceptionally good' Karen Denny and 'versatile PIL lawyer' Pieter Bekker co-head the team, which includes experienced litigator Christopher Gooding and senior associate Zainab Hodgson.

Practice head(s):

Karen Denny; Pieter Bekker

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Gooding; Zainab Hodgson; Sukhi Kaler; Anita de Villiers; Jessica Foley; Tom Sandeman

Testimonials

A very able team with particularly strong expertise in acting for states.

Excellent packaging of instructions and documents for counsel – a highly organised team that is personable and reliable.

This practice stands out for its balanced combination of a solid theoretical grasp of public international law and its practical application.

The lawyers are exceptionally intelligent and pay great attention to detail; they are also very responsive, even in the evenings or when on annual leave. Thank you CMS, particularly Christopher Gooding.

Karen Denny is very engaged and involved in the detail of a case, despite being a partner, and focuses on building relationships even with junior counsel – she is exceptionally good, with breadth of expertise in working for governments and corporations.

Karen Denny has great knowledge of and interest in public international law. She really keeps up her knowledge in the area, and has genuine commitment to the field.

Pieter Bekker is a versatile PIL lawyer.

Senior associate Zainab Hodgson is reliable and aware of the detail of a case.

Key clients

Erste Group Bank

Steiermaerkische Bank und Sparkassen

Erste & Steiermaerkische Bank

Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines

Fugro

Work highlights

  • Acting for claimant investors, including Erste Group Bank, in an ICSID case arising from Croatia’s enactment of retroactive legislation on the conversion of Swiss franc loans.
  • Assisting the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) with its ongoing dispute with the European Commission, following the black-listing of SVG due to alleged Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities by SVG-flagged vessels.
  • Advises Fugro, the Netherlands-headquartered global geo data specialist, on PIL issues, including Law of the Sea matters.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP's London team is regularly sought out for its representation of sovereign nations in investor-state arbitrations. PIL head Charles Buderi assists with international arbitration disputes involving states, and it advises governments on sovereignty, treaty and diplomatic matters. Luciana Ricart made partner in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Charles Buderi

Other key lawyers:

Luciana Ricart; Belén Ibañez

Testimonials

‘They stand out for their unique expertise in exclusively representing sovereign states in high-stakes investor-state arbitrations. This exclusive service lives up to its reputation, as they provide their sovereign client with the highest level of expert advice and representation at all stages of the case. They are true leaders in a niche market of cases and deservingly rank as such.’

Key clients

UAE

Kuwait

Argentine Republic

Republic of Cyprus

Republic of Kazakhstan

Republic of India

Work highlights

  • Secured a victory for the UAE during the jurisdictional phase of ICJ proceedings brought by Qatar, which alleged violations of the 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
  • Acted for Kuwait in dismissing a claim brought by a Swiss entity, which alleged it had shares in a Kuwaiti company that had a contract with the Kuwaiti Ministry of Health.

Dentons

Dentons' practice covers investment treaty disputes, treaty interpretation, investment protection, sovereign immunity, state responsibility, state succession and sanctions. In addition, other key areas include WTO issues, and business and human rights issues. Energy specialist Liz Tout leads the practice, which includes experienced partners Roger Matthews, James Langley and senior associate Catherine Gilfedder.

Practice head(s):

Liz Tout

Other key lawyers:

Roger Matthews; James Langley; Catherine Gilfedder

Testimonials

The Dentons London team wins interesting instructions and is a safe pair of hands.

Really good, likeable team that devotes itself to difficult cases.

Long established and well-deserved reputation for very high-quality work in London.

Dentons provides great quality legal services at reasonable pricing, with adequate staffing at all seniority levels.

Liz Tout has excellent judgement.

James Langley is a reassuring presence and Catherine Gilfedder is a notably exceptional senior associate. Top-class, hands-on performers.

James Langley is an absolutely hands-on partner. He is always responsive and has a quick turn-around time.

Work highlights

  • Assisted an overseas government with its defence of a bilateral investment treaty claim, which was brought by a UAE entity and conducted in accordance with the UNCITRAL Rules.
  • Assisted a Dubai-based manufacturing company with its bilateral investment treaty claim against the Arab Republic of Egypt.

King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons' experience includes successfully defending states against investor claims in the banking, energy, telecoms, mining, natural resources and real estate sectors. The 'highly sophisticated' PIL group, which is jointly led by Andrei Yakovlev and Wilson Antoon, has substantial Russian, CIS and Eastern Europe market expertise.

Practice head(s):

Andrei Yakovlev; Wilson Antoon

Other key lawyers:

Viktoriya Krasyuk

Testimonials

Smaller team but highly sophisticated and skilled.

As a firm, KWM has a unique combination of deep benches in China and Australia, complemented by strong positions in the Middle East and Europe. Their international arbitration practice bears that out, and we often see them in a wide variety of cases.

Andrei Yakovlev is qualified in Russia, England and New York, and his expertise reflects his experience in cross-border disputes, including in investment arbitrations. He and his team do a high-quality job.

Key clients

People’s Republic of China

Work highlights

  • Defending the People’s Republic of China in an ICSID arbitration (under the China-Japan BIT) brought by a Japanese investor, Macro Trading Co, which concerns the alleged expropriation of a real estate development.
  • Advised a Middle Eastern construction company on bringing an ICSID claim against a Middle Eastern state, in relation to a delayed infrastructure project.
  • Advised a Russian investor on an investment treaty claim against an Eastern European state, which concerned the public prosecutor’s arrest and seizure of the investor’s account and denial of justice by the courts.

Lindeborg Counsellors at Law

Boutique PIL firm Lindeborg Counsellors at Law acts for a mix of states, international organisations, corporates, politically-exposed persons and individuals. It advises on INTERPOL red notices, treaty-based arbitration and international organisations' laws. Founding partner Rutsel Silvestre Martha is a former INTERPOL general counsel and legal affairs director. Counsel Stephen Bailey is 'an outstanding lawyer.'

Practice head(s):

Rutsel Silvestre Martha

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Bailey

Testimonials

As a boutique specialising in public international law, Lindeborg is (to my knowledge) virtually unique; and the Lindeborg team does not shy away from accepting controversial instructions in areas that are underdeveloped in public international law.

A talented multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multijurisdictional team of lawyers who are specialised in public international law, with advanced degrees to prove it – they are super-motivated.

A multifacted approach to a case, together with a deep knowledge of public international law and arbitration, makes the team highly rigorous but also very creative in its legal approach, especially in cases where there is no precedent. Very much built around Rutsel Silvestre Martha, but in my experience there is a team of genuine specialists around him.

Having been a general counsel at various international organisations, including INTERPOL, Rutsel Silvestre Martha brings real experience of how international law may affect individuals and businesses.

Rutsel Silvestre Martha is one of the most innovative and inventive lawyers practising in the field of public international law, who brings with him a wealth of experience from having served at the highest levels in government and in intergovernmental organisations. He was the top lawyer for INTERPOL and is tenacious and thorough – no matter is too challenging for him.

Rutsel Silvestre Martha is uniquely capable of coming up with legal arguments that no-one has thought of, thereby adding phenomenal value for his clients. As a peer, I would be concerned if I were on the other side from him in a contentious matter.

Rutsel Silvestre Martha uses his deep knowledge of international law to come up with often imaginative solutions for advancing a client’s cause. He is also a pleasure to work with.

Counsel Stephen Bailey is an outstanding lawyer and great person; he combines brilliant, fast and very thorough case making with procedural vision, and has extensive and very helpful public international law knowledge.

Key clients

Jochem Buse

Hongwei Meng

Ge Gao

Zihong Meng

Ziheng Meng

Alex Saab

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Government of Venezuela’s Special Envoy, Alex Saab, in both proceedings before the Court of Justice of ECOWAS and extradition proceedings before the courts of Cabo Verde.
  • Acted for the former INTERPOL President, Hongwei Meng (and his family) in a Permanent Court of Arbitration matter against INTERPOL, which was commenced under the Headquarters Agreement between France and INTERPOL.
  • Acted for Jochem Buse in an arbitration commenced under the Netherlands-Panama BIT, which concerned the intervention and subsequent liquidation of Jochem Buse’s brokerage firm in Panama.

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP acts for clients in PIL matters that cut across multiple jurisdictions. The team, which is led by Michael O’Kane, includes human rights violations expert Jasvinder Nakwal and international criminal law specialist Nick Vamos. In addition, Anna Bradshaw is knowledgeable about economic sanctions and export control. Neil Swift is a specialist in extradition and INTERPOL red notices.

Practice head(s):

Michael O’Kane

Other key lawyers:

Jasvinder Nakwal; Nick Vamos; Anna Bradshaw; Neil Swift

Testimonials

Subject knowledge is excellent and right up to date.

The delivery of on-point advice and flexibility to be available at short notice is without fault.

Anna Bradshaw is extremely pragmatic – I can’t recommend her highly enough, as her knowledge is excellent and her approach to client care just what you want.

Key clients

Hermitage Capital Management

Bill Browder

MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas Company

Olga Egorova

Alexey Ananiev

Dmitry Ananiev

The family of Harry Dunn

Abdelakder Sabra

Alexander Zmikhnovskiy

Work highlights

  • Continues to act for Hermitage Capital Management (HCM) in one of the highest profile INTERPOL cases involving Russia, including successfully securing the removal of an INTERPOL Red Notice against HCM’s founder Bill Browder.
  • Represented MOL (Hungarian national oil and gas company), which in 2009 entered into agreements with Croatia in relation to Croatian national oil and gas company, INA, such agreements later attacked through legal means by Croatia.

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood's team consistently represents governments and state-owned companies in high-profile PIL-related work, and is particularly active in financial sanctions work. It has also expanded its investment treaty and investor-state disputes capabilities. Kamal Shah heads up the practice, which fields experienced advisers Richard GarciaSue Millar, Ben Sigler and of counsel Stephen Ashley.

Practice head(s):

Kamal Shah

Other key lawyers:

Richard Garcia; Sue Millar; Ben Sigler; Stephen Ashley

Testimonials

Highly skilled and experienced litigators.

Richard Garcia is a very careful, thorough and thoughtful solicitor.

Sue Millar has great negotiating skills, and superb knowledge and experience of sanctions.

Key clients

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation

Petroleos de Venezuela

Arab Republic of Egypt

Libyan Investment Authority

High Commissioner for Pakistan in the United Kingdom

Ministry of Defence and Support for the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Bank Saderat

Persia International Bank

Bank Sepah International

Melli Bank

Work highlights

  • Acted for Iran’s Ministry of Defence, MODSAF, in a longrunning commercial dispute with International Military Services, a UK Ministry of Defence subsidiary, which concerns the enforcement of two ICC awards in favour of MODSAF.
  • Acted for the Arab Republic of Egypt in relation to the tracing of assets that were misappropriated by the Hosni Mubarak regime.
  • Acted for the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), as represented by AbdulMagid Breish (chairman in relation to LIA’s affairs), in various claims concerning misappropriation of Libyan assets during the Gaddafi era.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP's London practice has longstanding experience in matters involving PIL issues. Andrea Menaker has experience of acting as counsel in over 30 investor-state arbitrations. David Goldberg, who divides his time between the firm's London and Moscow offices, is highly rated for investment disputes and claims involving states.

Practice head(s):

Andrea Menaker

Other key lawyers:

David Goldberg; Agnieszka Zarówna

Key clients

Government of the United Kingdom

Daniel Kappes

Kappes, Cassiday & Associates

Republic of Belarus

Belarus state entities

Belgorkhimprom

Republic of Uzbekistan

JSC Tashkent Mechanical Plant

JSC National Bank for Foreign Economic Activity of the Republic of Uzbekistan

JSCB Asaka

JSCB Uzbek Industrial and Construction Bank

Russian Federation

TECO Guatemala Holdings

Kornikom EOOD

WorleyParsons International

Republic of Peru

Work highlights

  • Advised the UK government (in the context of a WTO dispute) on the post-Brexit scenario, with the UK a member of the WTO but no longer a European Union member.
  • Represented the Russian Federation in its defence of a claim by Russian oligarch Sergei Pugachev, who commenced arbitration proceedings pursuant to the French-Russian bilateral investment treaty (on the basis that he had acquired French nationality.)
  • Representing Daniel W Kappes and Kappes, Cassiday & Associates, as claimants, in an ICSID arbitration against Guatemala (under the The Dominican Republic-Central America free trade agreement), which concerned the suspension of operations at a mine.