Firms To Watch: Public international law

In June 2023, LALIVE hired Nicholas Lawn from Van Bael & Bellis (London) LLP. Lawn brings in particular expertise in regards to investment arbitration and public international law, and has experience in claims across a variety of industries, including banking and finance, energy, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals and telecoms.
Paxus is a public international law, international arbitration and business and human rights boutique, which was launched in June 2022 by Suzanne Spears, the former co-head of A&O Shearman’s global business and human rights practice.
In April 2023, Squire Patton Boggs was joined by former A&O Shearman counsel Naomi Briercliffe - she has extensive experience in investor-state arbitrations, as well as state-to-state disputes, including before the ICJ and Iran-US Claims Tribunal.
The UK's largest disputes-only law firm, Stewarts Law LLP appointed Alejandro Garcia and Daniel Wilmot to co-head the firm's public international law practice from February 2023; investment treaty arbitration specialist Garcia is a May 2022 partner hire from Clyde & Co, while Wilmot has particular expertise in disputes involving oil and gas and technology, as well as the African and Middle Eastern markets.

Firms in the Spotlight Public international law

Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP

Ronald Fletcher Baker has an established track record of success in even the most complex cases. Litigation and Dispute Resolution has been a focus of the firm since its inception in 1948, and our highly experienced team is widely recognised for its skill in this area. The firm deals with a broad range of commercial …

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Public international law in London

A&O Shearman

In addition to its expertise in bilateral and multilateral investment treaty-related disputes, A&O Shearman is consistently sought out by states and international organisations to advise on WTO work, sanctions, sovereign immunities, and state succession. The team also assists with boundary disputes, international humanitarian law, and international anti-terrorism conventions. London PIL leader Mark Levy KC acts in investment treaty arbitration claims, as well as WTO cases; disputes expert David Herlihy is a 2022 partner recruit from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP; James Freeman acts in high-profile investment treaty cases; and Guled Yusuf is a recently-elevated partner. Other key advisers include public law group chair Andrew Denny, and international trade and regulatory law head, Matthew Townsend. Counsel Sarah Garvey is 'incredibly dedicated to her clients', while Katrina Limond and Jack Busby are active senior associates. Investment treaty arbitration partner Matthew Hodgson recently returned to the London office from Hong Kong.

Practice head(s):

Mark Levy KC

Other key lawyers:

David Herlihy; James Freeman; Guled Yusuf; Andrew Denny; Matthew Townsend; Sarah Garvey; Katrina Limond; Jack Busby; Matthew Hodgson


‘Counsel Sarah Garvey isn’t a partner, but she clearly should be.’

‘Sarah Garvey is incredibly dedicated to her clients and cases, and looks at issues from every angle to try and make sure they are covered.’

‘Sarah Garvey has both litigation and transactional experience, which is really useful. A very safe pair of hands, and her work product is first rate.’

‘A&O provides very appropriate teams for cases.’

‘The lawyers at A&O are well-experienced and have strong knowledge of PIL issues.’

‘Mattthew Hodgson performs his job perfectly and is always very responsive to clients’ requests.’

Key clients

Kingdom of Bahrain

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

United Arab Emirates

Kingdom of Morocco

Republic of Korea

Kingdom of Cambodia



Federal Republic of Somalia

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Kingdom of Bahrain in an investment treaty claim brought at ICSID by Naftiran Intertrade Co, a trading subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company.
  • Acting for the Kingdom of Morocco in defending investment treaty claims at ICSID brought by Corral Morocco Holdings (in relation to Morocco’s only oil refinery); and Comercializadora Mediterránea de Viviendas (an investor in a project to build two satellite cities on the outskirts of Rabat and a hotel, residential and business areas near Tangier).
  • Representing Vodafone Group in its arbitration proceedings against India under the UK-India bilateral investment treaty.

Clifford Chance LLP

Fielding ‘one of the most highly regarded teams around for public international law‘, Clifford Chance LLP is particularly well known for complex investment treaty arbitrations. Recent highlights for the practice include a high-profile climate change case; advising on WTO rights, international sanctions, and customs and subsidies control issues; and assisting with sovereign immunity matters. Jessica Gladstone is a specialist in PIL claims, international trade and climate change; Rae Lindsay advises on business and human rights, as well as international organisations’ immunities; and investment treaty protection expert and former partner Audley Sheppard KC is a consultant as of May 2023. At director level, Joanne Neenan (a 2022 hire from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) advises on a range of PIL issues; and the senior associates to note are Anna Kirkpatrick, Jeremy StewartCarla LewisChristina Schuetz and Anne Collins.

Practice head(s):

Jessica Gladstone

Other key lawyers:

Rae Lindsay; Audley Sheppard KC; Joanne Neenan; Anna Kirkpatrick; Jeremy Stewart; Carla Lewis; Christina Schuetz; Anne Collins; Roland Scarlett


‘Clifford Chance is an elite firm capable of handling the most complex of international disputes. Its litigation and arbitration teams have considerable experience of solving cutting-edge legal issues and dealing with unique situations.’

‘Jessica Gladstone is a partner who wins the trust and respect of clients.’

Audley Sheppard KC is exceptionally experienced, and has the specific knowledge to make a decisive contribution to complex disputes, especially in international arbitration.

Carla Lewis is a capable and dedicated senior associate with experience of a wide range of matters.

As good as any, and better than nearly all. Superb quality from top to bottom.

The best of the best.

Christina Shuetz is an excellent solicitor, and a deeply experienced arbitration practitioner. If clients have a complex arbitration, they want her on their team.

One of the most highly regarded teams around for public international law.

Key clients

Plan Vivo Foundation


His Majesty Juan Carlos I, King Emeritus of Spain

United Kingdom Department for International Trade

Work highlights

  • Advising the UK Department for International Trade on the drafting and implementation of its continuity free trade agreements with several non-EU countries.
  • Representing Shell in the appeals phase of a high-profile climate change case, which was brought against Shell by a number of NGOs in The Hague.
  • Acting in OECD NCP complaints on an ongoing basis, including currently assisting a client that is subject to a complaint by a group of NGOs (in connection with alleged polluting incidents).

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

'Continuously demonstrating exceptional legal expertise in public international law', Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has substantial experience in treaty interpretation and enforcement work before international courts and tribunals. Its enviable track record also includes successfully acting in treaty cases before the International Court of Justice. The practice is additionally experienced in litigating PIL issues before domestic courts. Global Co-chair of the firm’s PIL group and former UK Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith KC, 'stands out'; Samantha Rowe is an international arbitration and PIL specialist; and Patrick Taylor's experience includes PIL, human rights and investment disputes throughout the world. At international counsel level, Aimee-Jane Lee focuses on PIL work, international treaties and international arbitrations, while Conway Blake is 'a fantastic legal strategist'. Associate Monika Hlavkova is also a key team member; and in a major boost to the practice, renowned advocate Jeffrey Sullivan KC joined as partner in July 2023 from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.

Practice head(s):

Lord Goldsmith KC

Other key lawyers:

Samantha Rowe; Patrick Taylor; Aimee-Jane Lee; Conway Blake; Monika Hlavkova; Jeffrey Sullivan KC


‘A highly efficient, expert team that still has the human touch and works well with individuals at the Bar.’

‘Continuously demonstrating exceptional legal expertise in public international law and arbitration, as well as professionalism, innovative thinking, and a commitment to client service.’

‘The Debevoise team, comprised of highly experienced and knowledgeable attorneys, distinguishes itself by consistently delivering valuable advice and strategic guidance. Working with them is always truly a pleasure.’

‘Lord Goldsmith KC is highly experienced, service-minded, and dedicated – it is always a pleasure to work with him.’

‘Lord Goldsmith KC’s ability to analyse complex legal situations and find strong and effective legal solutions is remarkable.’

‘Lord Goldsmith KC stands out with his tailor-made advice and his vast wealth of knowledge and experience in arbitration and public international law, in particular as the former UK Attorney General, which makes him an invaluable asset on any team.’

Conway Blake – clients are struck by his exceptional legal knowledge, attention to detail, and ability to think outside the box. He is also very practical and gives clear advice.

Not only is Conway Blake a fantastic legal strategist, he is also a great communicator and never too busy to answer a question or provide guidance.

Key clients

Shell International Trading and Shipping Company

Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company

Shell Petroleum

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria

Republic of Azerbaijan

The Center for Reproductive Rights

Clooney Foundation

The Nova Group Investments



Work highlights

  • Acting for Shell International Trading and Shipping Company (STASCO) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) in major proceedings concerning an oil spill.
  • Represented SPNV and SPDC (as claimants) against the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in an ICSID case that was brought under the Netherlands-Nigeria bilateral investment treaty (in relation to BIT protection breaches).
  • Representing the Republic of Azerbaijan in a large and complex dispute with the Republic of Armenia before the International Court of Justice, arising under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Fietta LLP

Standing out for its ‘strong concentration on investment disputes and public international law matters‘, PIL-dedicated firm Fietta LLP routinely assists states with both high-stakes PIL disputes and advisory matters. The team also acts for investor and respondent state clients in investor-state arbitrations and related domestic court and human rights proceedings. The group’s principal practitioners are founding partner Stephen Fietta KC, who is ‘in his element when discussing maritime boundary and sovereignty issues‘; Jiries Saadeh, who represents both states and investor clients in international investment treaty claims; and recently-elevated partner Ashique Rahman, an expert in disputes under international investment agreements. At counsel level, Laura Rees-Evans advises on a wide range of PIL issues; while ‘very capable and knowledgable individualOonagh Sands represents sovereign states (and their state-owned entities), individuals and private entities before leading world dispute resolution venues.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Fietta KC; Jiries Saadeh; Ashique Rahman

Other key lawyers:

Laura Rees-Evans; Oonagh Sands


‘What makes Fietta LLP’s dispute resolution practice unique in international arbitration is its vast experience and remarkable knowledge, and its strong concentration on investment disputes and public international law matters.’

‘The team’s strengths include its vast expertise in this area and excellent quality of legal services that are tailored towards the client’s needs.’

‘Stephen Fietta KC can determine strategic approach in complex arbitration cases, and has team leadership skills when the members of the legal team are from various offices or chambers.’

‘Stephen Fietta is in his element when discussing maritime boundary and sovereignty issues. He will always give an objective and reasoned opinion with clarity. He does not and will not tailor the advice to only what the client wants to hear. It is this objectivity and his expertise which are highly valuable.’

Jiries Saadeh is highly professional in fact-finding processes, whether by analysing facts or determining the key elements of the dispute. He has vast experience in international arbitration involving investment disputes.

‘Fietta LLP is a very hands-on legal team with extensive experience in public international law, particularly in relation to boundary issues.’

‘The service is par excellence in terms of legal opinion writing and strategy. They have proven themselves as an invaluable asset to clients in achieving their targets and objectives.’

Oonagh Sands is a very capable and knowledgable individual, who stands out as being a very dependable legal focal point when discussing issues related to sovereignty and maritime boundaries.

Key clients

Republic of Croatia

PL Holdings

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Elliott Advisors (UK)

Silver Point

Work highlights

  • Continuing to advise an Asian state on various public international law questions, which relate to sovereignty, maritime delimitation, navigation, and international environmental law.
  • Representing PL Holdings in proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights concerning the annulment by the Swedish Supreme Court of a BIT award against Poland (on EU law grounds following an intervention by the CJEU).
  • Representing Pakistan in two proceedings against India under the 1960 Indus Waters Treaty, in relation to the design and construction by India of several dams on the Indus River system.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

'Simply the best PIL practice for global contexts', Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP‘s London practice is consistently mandated to act in high-stakes and politically sensitive claims, particularly in relation to emerging markets. Its PIL expertise ranges from state-to-state and investor-state disputes, to international law advisory work. 'An excellent lawyer who prioritises exceptional client service', group leader Will Thomas KC is a widely-respected PIL and investment arbitration specialist; and the practice of London arbitration head Sylvia Noury KC (at silk level since 2022) covers PIL issues and investment treaty arbitrations, particularly in relation to Africa, India and Latin America. At counsel level, Lorand Bartels MBE advises states and corporations on PIL matters, with a particular focus on WTO matters and free trade agreements; and senior associate Joshua Kelly regularly acts in state-to-state disputes.

Practice head(s):

Will Thomas KC

Other key lawyers:

Sylvia Noury KC; Lorand Bartels MBE; Joshua Kelly


‘The dispute resolution team is highly skilled and comprises experienced lawyers who possess deep knowledge and expertise in various areas of law.’

‘Will Thomas KC is an excellent lawyer who prioritises exceptional client service by maintaining open lines of communication, keeping clients well-informed about their cases, and promptly addressing any concerns.’

‘Will Thomas KC is very impressive – he grasps very complex issues within a very short time, advises across the board, and has unique and outstanding presentation skills. In addition, he knows the needs and requirements of large international companies and his advice is geared to this.’

Key clients

Convention for Animal Protection

Independent International Legal Advocates

American Bar Association (Center for Human Rights)

Akfel Commodities


Deutsche Telekom


Volterra Fietta

'Able to draw on a range of backgrounds, language skills and cultures', Volterra Fietta is consistently mandated by states, international organisations and private parties across the gamut of PIL issues. The team's representative expertise covers including ICJ claims, maritime boundary disputes, investment treaty arbitration (including ICSID matters), and state immunity issues. The recent track record of Robert Volterra includes high-profile PIL matters at global levels; Peter Flint represents both investors and states in disputes that arise under investment treaties and host state investment protection legislation. Also integral to the group, PIL and international dispute resolution specialist Gunjan Sharma is at partner level since May 2022; energy and natural resources disputes expert Ahmed Abdel Hakam is a March 2023 recruit from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP; and Angela Ha is a recently-elevated counsel. Jehad Mustafa and Magdalena Kowalczuk Asher are the associates to note. Former partner Graham Coop left for Pinsent Masons LLP in March 2023.

Practice head(s):

Robert Volterra; Peter Flint; Gunjan Sharma; Ahmed Abdel Hakam

Other key lawyers:

Angela Ha; Jehad Mustafa; Magdalena Kowalczuk Asher


‘Volterra Fietta is a market-leading arbitration boutique firm.’

‘Its reputation precedes it, and it regularly handles the most complex and high-value investor-state arbitrations.’

‘The team is particularly international, and able to draw on a range of backgrounds, language skills and cultures.’

‘Ahmed Abdel Hakam is an exciting new partner appointment at Volterra Fietta, and he has an excellent profile within public international law.’

‘Ahmed Abdel Hakam brings almost two decades of experience to the role, having previously worked in Geneva and Paris. He is also very personable and nice to work with.’

Key clients

Barbados, Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment

Barbados, Office of Tourism and International Transport

Needham Point

United States of America

Republic of the Union of Myanmar (the democratically-elected Government)

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ministry of Tourism

Kingdom of Bahrain

Republic of Kenya




Koch Industries

Koch Minerals

Koch Nitrogen International

Barbados, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Barbados, Prime Minister’s Office

Barbados, Ministry of Energy and Business Development

Barbados, Office of the Attorney General

Owens – Illinois Inc

Arab Republic of Egypt

Republic of Croatia

Work highlights

  • Representing the Kingdom of Bahrain against Saeed Shehabi and Moosa Mohammed, in relation to state immunity issues before the English courts.
  • Acting for the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (the democratically-elected Government) in international legal proceedings against the military leaders responsible for violent armed aggression against the people of Myanmar and its legitimate democratic representatives.
  • Representing the Republic of Croatia against Société Générale in a high-profile investment treaty arbitration, which concerns the intersection between the Fair and Equitable Treatment standard and the imperatives of consumer protection and financial regulation during times of economic turmoil.

Arnold & Porter

The London arbitration group at Arnold & Porter has a strong track record in representing both states and global corporate clients in high-stakes investor-state arbitrations. The group's cases incorporate a range of industries,  including energy, mining, construction, shipping, hospitality, telecoms, banking, and financial services; and the team is increasingly active in life sciences-related arbitrations. Co-leading the practice, David Reed is an international commercial and international investment arbitration specialist; Patricio Grané Labat has longstanding experience in international investor-state and commercial arbitrations, along with international trade and PIL issues; and Monty Taylor routinely acts for corporations, individuals and governments in international arbitrations. The second line of key practitioners includes counsel Álvaro Nistal, whose experience includes several ICJ proceedings, while senior associates Bart Wasiak and Tim Smyth both assist with PIL-related matters. Former partner Dmitri Evseev recently left to become a full-time, independent arbitrator.

Practice head(s):

Patricio Grané Labat; David Reed; Monty Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Álvaro Nistal; Bart Wasiak; Tim Smyth


‘Arnold & Porter’s research was conducted precisely in accordance with my instructions, was extremely useful and met the highest standards of quality. The work was conducted pro bono; nevertheless, it is evident that a significant amount of time and effort was devoted to producing these memoranda, exemplifying their strong ethical values and commitment to its pro bono practice and human rights more generally.’

‘Álvaro Nistal is an exceptionally skilled lawyer with a level of expertise in public international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, that only very few lawyers (in particular working outside humanitarian organsations) possess. Alvaro understands his clients needs, is clear both in his written and oral communication, has detailed and in-depth knowledge of the areas he advises on and is extremely practical when proposing solutions. He was also very responsive at all times and demonstrated exceptional communication skills.’

‘The team I worked with was very much on the same page and coordinated the work in a very efficient way to meet the tight deadline we faced for the submission before the European Court of Human Rights. They took the time to understand what was needed and really catered the work to meet the highest standards.’

‘Patricio Grané Labat showed a very tailed approach to working with me on the case before the European Court, and organised the work of the team efficiently.’

‘Arnold & Porter has a great number of highly-qualified partners and associates capable of handling every aspect of public international law disputes, such as treaty interpretation, state responsibility and attribution and state immunity. They have significant experience in successfully representing sovereigns and sovereign entities. The team is well organized, and each of its members is knowledgeable in the field of public international law, hard-working and dedicated to the defense of the case.’

‘David Reed is a very experienced and reliable counsel. He stands out with his excellent strategic judgement which helps him identify the most important legal and factual aspects of a case, and on this basis to develop an effective defence.’

‘Monty Taylor is one of the best representatives of his generation. He stands out with his deep knowledge of all procedural and substantive aspects of international investment law, and effective advocacy.’

‘Álvaro Nistal is very knowledgeable in public international law and brings considerable and wide experience from having spent many years in dedicated PIL practice. He has excellent strategic and tactical instincts and cares deeply about his clients.’

Key clients

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association – Europe

Czech Republic

Kingdom of Thailand

Republic of Peru

Republic of Colombia

Republic of Bulgaria

Republic of the Philippines

Republic of Turkey

Kingdom of Sweden

Republic of Korea

Work highlights

  • Representing ILGA-Europe in a number of proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights, concerning LGBTQ+ community protections.
  • Represented Peru in numerous investor-state arbitrations.
  • Represented Colombia, as respondent, in an ICSID arbitration, the dispute concerning novel human rights and environmental law issues (in relation to the claimant’s investment in a Latin American coal mine).

Cooley (UK) LLP

Cooley (UK) LLP‘s London team acts across a broad spectrum of PIL matters. Its coverage ranges from investment treaty and international trade disputes, to providing Law of the Sea advice to coastal states. The group also assists with state responsibility issues, and has longstanding expertise in international asset recovery work. The PIL practice of London disputes head James Maton incorporates both investor-state arbitrations and treaty disputes; Laurence Harris is an expert in advising clients on their government asset recovery programmes; and Henry Stewart's PIL workload includes anti-corruption matters. The 'absolutely superb' John Brown is a renowned consultant on Law of the Sea matters, who advises on maritime boundary delimitation issues, as well as freedom of navigation issues at geo-political levels; and associate Juan Nascimbene routinely acts in major PIL-related disputes.

Practice head(s):

James Maton

Other key lawyers:

Laurence Harris; Henry Stewart; John Brown; Juan Nascimbene


‘John Brown is absolutely superb.’

‘John Brown is the ultimate team player, displaying top-notch technical know-how and savvy strategy skills.’

‘In terms of John Brown’s availability and engagement, quality, efficiency and communication, they are all rated as excellent.’

Key clients

Odyssey Marine Exploration

Government of the Republic of Maldives

Government of Turks & Caicos Islands

Work highlights

  • Represents Odyssey Marine Exploration in an arbitration brought under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement against Mexico (UNCITRAL Rules).
  • Advising (as co-counsel) the Government of the Republic of Maldives on the delimitation of maritime boundaries and continental shelf matters.
  • Acting for the TCI Government in its civil claims to recover land and money from parties involved in corrupt practices/fraud.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

'Very experienced in PIL work', Herbert Smith Freehills LLP‘s sizeable London practice is widely respected for its investor-state arbitration practice. The team is also highly active in relation to Russia's invasion of Ukraine; COVID-19 pandemic-related international law issues; climate change; and sanctions. It additionally advises multinational energy companies on the implications of political instability. 'A proper PIL expert', Andrew Cannon has extensive experience in acting for states, state-owned entities and companies on substantial PIL issues; and elevated to partner in May 2023, Hannah Ambrose's experience covers investment treaty claims, state immunity, and international organisations' immunity. Within the firm's senior associate ranks, Louise Barber focuses on energy and natural resources-related international arbitrations; and Marco de Sousa has particular experience in disputes involving Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Cannon

Other key lawyers:

Hannah Ambrose; Louise Barber; Marco de Sousa


‘A diverse team at the top of the dispute resolution field.’

‘They have a formidable reputation.’

‘Very experienced in PIL work – one of the few firms that walks the walk.’

‘Andrew Cannon is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in international law – he’s seen it all at the FCO, and as a practitioner is a proper PIL expert’

‘Excellent profile in this sector, with huge strength in depth.’

‘All excellent lawyers and very committed.’

Key clients

Standard Chartered Bank






Work highlights

  • Acted for Nord Stream 2 in arbitration proceedings against the European Union (EU) under the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), alleging breach by the EU of its ECT obligations.
  • Representing two major international energy companies in a complex, high-value and highly-politicised dispute over an oil and gas project in Africa.
  • Representing a state in ICSID investment treaty arbitration proceedings.

Latham & Watkins

'Without doubt one of the top firms for PIL work', Latham & Watkins houses specialists in international boundary law disputes, investment treaty law, and international trade (including WTO law). Other areas of expertise include international trade sanctions, sovereign immunity, and international humanitarian law. The London office also has a strong market reputation for investment arbitrations. PIL team leader Charles Claypoole 'lives and breathes public international law'; Sophie Lamb KC regularly acts in investment treaty disputes; Robert Price's wide-ranging practice incorporates international trade issues, in addition to investment treaty arbitrations; and Samuel Pape represents companies and sovereigns in high-value disputes. At associate level, Thomas Lane advises on international trade sanctions and export controls, while Isuru Devendra acts in investor-state matters. Former partner Sebastian Seelmann-Eggebert joined international dispute resolution boutique HANEFELD in April 2023.

Practice head(s):

Charles Claypoole

Other key lawyers:

Sophie Lamb KC; Robert Price; Samuel Pape; Thomas Lane; Isuru Devendra


‘Without doubt one of the top firms for PIL work, with depth of expertise and breadth of litigation experience.’

‘Charles Claypoole lives and breathes public international law.’

‘An innovative, reputable and competitive team of collaborative lawyers, with great knowledge of international arbitration law.’

Wins big and very complex cases.

Professionalism of management and great communication with the client.

Great personal qualities of the partners – calm, always know what to do, always remember important details, and easily available in case of emergencies.

‘Charles Claypoole is outstanding’.

‘Latham & Watkins has very good experience in handling investment treaty cases. ’

Key clients

Strabag SE

The Republic of Ukraine


Mason Capital

The Republic of Colombia

The Republic of Croatia

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia



Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

'One of the most experienced and successful international investment law groups in the field', Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP has significant experience in PIL and investment treaty arbitration work. The London team handles disputes for (and against) sovereign parties in all major fora, including arbitration, transnational litigation and enforcement proceedings; and it is particularly well known for mega-value arbitrations involving states and state entities, in relation to the oil, gas, mining, energy, telecoms, construction and infrastructure sectors. International commercial and investment treaty arbitration specialist Stephen Jagusch KC is the firm's global international arbitration chair; Anthony Sinclair focuses on the energy, mining, telecoms, infrastructure, utilities, and oil and gas sectors; Epaminontas Triantafilou is 'particularly astute and meticulous'; Alex Gerbi's broad practice incorporates investor-state arbitrations; and Julianne Hughes-Jennett leads the firm’s business and human rights unit. Of counsel Jagdish Menezes also acts in investor-state claims.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Jagusch KC; Anthony Sinclair

Other key lawyers:

Epaminontas Triantafilou; Alex Gerbi; Julianne Hughes-Jennett; Ted Greeno; Nick Marsh; James Bremen; Mark Grasso; Gregory Pantlin; Elizabeth Wilson; Adam McWilliams; Marina Boterashvili; Jagdish Menezes; Peter Hillerstom


‘One of the most experienced and successful international investment law groups in the field.’

‘Motivated and hard working.’

‘Epaminontas Triantafilou is particularly astute and meticulous.’

Key clients


DP World

Schindler Holding

United Group

PJSC Oschadbank

Lundin Energy

Work highlights

  • Represented PJSC Oschadbank in UNCITRAL arbitration proceedings against the Russian Federation (over the latter’s expropriation of Oschadbank’s business in Crimea).
  • Represents a major bank in an investment treaty arbitration against a sovereign state, in connection with the expropriation of its assets.
  • Acting for a sovereign state in an investment arbitration claim that was commenced by six individuals, in connection with their purported investments in a company.

Three Crowns LLP

Three Crowns LLP‘s esteemed track record includes representing both states and corporations in business-critical investor-state disputes, including a sizeable number of treaty cases. The London group is also increasingly active in state-to-state cases and related disputes that feature challenging international law points. Constantine Partasides KC‘s recent experience comprises the attainment of mega-value awards, and has a growing arbitration-related litigation practice; and Gaëtan Verhoosel acts in high-value treaty arbitrations across all continents, in relation to the power, oil and gas, renewables, banking and infrastructure sectors. Other key practitioners are Middle Eastern and African disputes expert Reza Mohtashami KCCarmen Martinez Lopez, who routinely acts in heavyweight Latin American investor-state cases; investor-state arbitration specialist Manish Aggarwal; and Leilah Bruton, who acts in treaty disputes. Counsel Hamid Abdulkareem leads the firm's African practice, while senior associate Farouk El-Hosseny's practice incorporates telecoms and oil and gas sector-related investor-state claims.

Practice head(s):

Constantine Partasides KC; Gaëtan Verhoosel KC

Other key lawyers:

Reza Mohtashami KC; Carmen Martinez Lopez; Manish Aggarwal; Leilah Bruton; Hamid Abdulkareem; Farouk El-Hosseny; Ridhi Kabra


‘Simply excellent.’

Key clients



Elliot Associates



Kingdom of Bahrain

Sultanate of Oman

Petroquímica Comodoro Rivadavia

Republic of Chile




Olayan Financing Company

Work highlights

  • Representing the Republic of Chile in a $200m-plus ICSID claim, which was filed under the Chile-Colombia FTA and concerned a large electricity transmission project.
  • Acted for Eni in a high-stakes ICSID arbitration against the Federal Government of Nigeria, which concerned an oil prospecting licence that was the subject of criminal proceedings and significant publicity.
  • Acting for Sacyr in a $1bn-plus dispute, relating to claims brought under the Spain-Panama BIT by a contractor for the Panama Canal Third Set of Locks Project.

Withers LLP

In addition to strong investment treaty arbitration credentials, Withers LLP‘s PIL practice is highly experienced in state-state work. The team also advises individuals and businesses on PIL matters, and is additionally active in relation to international human rights litigation, state immunities, enforcement work, and sanctions. PIL group leader Hussein Haeri routinely advises on sovereign immunity issues arising out of the enforcement of judgments and awards against states, as well as on international sanctions; and consultant global counsel Sir Geoffrey Cox KC (the former Attorney General of England and Wales) maintains a broad PIL practice. Also integral to the team, consultant Aniruddha Rajput's workload covers general international law, international trade, investor-state arbitration, boundary disputes, and the Law Of The Sea. At special counsel level, Robert Kovacs specialises in PIL issues, international arbitration, and business and human rights; while Camilla Gambarini and Ruzin Dagli are experienced senior associates.

Practice head(s):

Hussein Haeri

Other key lawyers:

Sir Geoffrey Cox KC; Aniruddha Rajput; Robert Kovacs; Camilla Gambarini; Ruzin Dagli


‘Ruzin Dagli – consistently able to stay calm and focused. A measured contributor to discussions.’

‘Hussein Haeri is outstanding in every way. A great leader of the firm\’s capability in Public International Law and an excellent lawyer with a great intellect.’

‘Hussein Haeri is one of the best PIL experts working from a law firm. He leads a team of stellar associates. They can handle any dispute in the PIL field – from investment treaty arbitration to boundary disputes. They are also a delight to work with.’

Key clients

The Government of the Virgin Islands (BVI)

Task Force on Accountability for Crimes Committed in Ukraine

The Center for Reproductive Rights

Clooney Foundation for Justice

Zhongshan Fucheng Industrial Investment Co

Frazer Solar

Work highlights

  • Representing the Government of the Virgin Islands (BVI) in proceedings brought against the UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, in relation to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.
  • Working with the Government of Ukraine (as part of the legal Task Force on Accountability for Crimes Committed in Ukraine) to advise on legal responses to Russia’s invasion.
  • Working with the Clooney Foundation for Justice to gather evidence of serious human rights abuses in Venezuela for submission to the International Criminal Court.

Baker Botts (UK) LLP

Baker Botts (UK) LLP‘s 'technically excellent' London office houses experts in public international cases involving Latin America, the Middle East and Africa; and it is particularly well known for its energy and oil and gas industry credentials. The team also advises on economic sanctions and export controls.  Chairing the PIL group, Alejandro Escobar represents investors and sovereign states in investment protection treaty claims; Johannes Koepp is 'outstanding'; and Dorine Farah acts in in both institutional and ad hoc arbitrations. Senior associate Ernesto Féliz De Jesús is also a key group member.

Practice head(s):

Alejandro Escobar

Other key lawyers:

Johannes Koepp; Dorine Farah; Ernesto Féliz De Jesús


‘Alejandro Escobar – personalised treatment of his clients and their cases, vast expertise in the field, and clear and extraordinary understanding of the issues involved.’

‘Alejandro Escobar – sharpness in developing strong, technical and thorough arguments in defence of his client’s rights.’

‘The service provided by Alejandro Escobar and the team he leads is exceptional.’

‘Stands out far above any other international firm in the field of international arbitration.’

‘Technically excellent in what is a complex area of the law.’

‘Dorine Farah is the standout individual – a hugely talented lawyer who is at the top of her game.’

‘Johannes Koepp is outstanding!’

Key clients


World Bank

Jannah Hunt Oil Company

Mobile TeleSystems

Oxford Nanopore


Republic of Ecuador

Republic of Iraq

RSM Production Corporation


Work highlights

  • Acted for the Republic of Iraq in a $1bn ICSID arbitration, brought by German investor AHG Industry GmbH & Co, which alleged that it had been wrongly expelled from a cement factory near Kirkuk (following a conflict between Iraqi armed forces and ISIS).


Carter-Ruck's PIL department is widely respected for its advice on human rights, targeted sanctions, extradition, and INTERPOL notices. The team is also experienced in diplomatic protection, state and diplomatic immunity, and statehood recognition. International department head Guy Martin is a renowned specialist in challenges to targeted sanctions; senior partner Cameron Doley is 'the outstanding figure in this field'; Miranda Rushton advises on matters featuring international law aspects; and Charles Enderby Smith is at partner level since May 2023. Other key advisers include 'phenomenal' consultant Alasdair Pepper, along with 'extremely good' senior associates François Holmey and Lawrence Northmore-Ball.

Practice head(s):

Guy Martin

Other key lawyers:

Cameron Doley; Miranda Rushton; Charles Enderby Smith; Alasdair Pepper; François Holmey; Lawrence Northmore-Ball


‘Cameron Doley’s team at Carter-Ruck is unsurpassed in dealing with cases that involve diplomatic or geopolitical complexities.’

‘Immediately identifies what really matters and never loses sight of it.’

‘Cameron Doley is the outstanding figure in this field. He is fiercely intelligent, and has the necessary breadth of vision to satisfy clients’ complex requirements. His work in the sector is often of a landmark nature.’

The senior associates, particularly Lawrence Northmore-Ball and François Holmey, are extremely good – very intelligent and insightful.

‘An excellent team with extensive experience in various public international law areas.’

‘Guy Martin’s long experience in dealing with EU sanctions can be instrumental to success.’

‘Charles Enderby Smith is very capable of navigating through intricate matters.’

Alasdair Pepper is phenomenal.’

Key clients

Al Jazeera Media Network

The State of Qatar

Al Jazeera Media Network

SA Group

SHS Holdings

Clyde & Co

Clyde & Co‘s London team specialises in international investment agreement-related cases. The team is also experienced in investment treaty arbitrations under BITs and the Energy Charter Treaty. Ben Knowles focuses on the energy, aviation, telecoms, and trade and commodities sectors; John Whittaker is a specialist in investment disputes, and sovereign immunity and sanctions work; and consultant Clare Hatcher is an international sanctions expert. Investment treaty expert Loukas Mistelis is ‘a clever and diligent lawyer‘, who recently joined as partner from Queen Mary University (where he continues to teach).

Practice head(s):

Ben Knowles

Other key lawyers:

John Whittaker; Clare Hatcher; Loukas Mistelis; Lee Bacon; Milena Szuniewicz-Wenzel; Scott Wightman; Hashem Hijjawi; Léonor d’Albiousse


The hire of Loukas Mistelis is a real coup for Clyde & Co – he is a clever and diligent lawyer with an excellent profile.

‘They are ahead of the curve on recent developments and strategy.’

Key clients

The Government of Yemen

DLA Piper

In addition to its involvement in investor-state disputes, DLA Piper‘s PIL team advises on international trade; UK's trade and investment treaty-related disputes; maritime boundary claims; and immunity issues. Paul Hardy's expertise incorporates the UK/EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement; John Forrest is a specialist in export controls, sanctions and international trade; and former partner Kate Cervantes-Knox is a senior counsel since April 2022. Other key practitioners are senior consultant Scott Horton, who assists with developing the firm's work with states and government entities; London and Madrid-based of counsel Ben Sanderson; and legal director and investment treaty dispute expert Elinor Thomas.

Practice head(s):

Paul Hardy

Other key lawyers:

Kate Cervantes-Knox; John Forrest; Scott Horton; Ben Sanderson; Elinor Thomas; Katherine Roe; Lucia Bíziková


‘Good attention to detail, no-nonsense style.’

‘Very agile, flexible and global.’

‘Clients are impressed by the quality of the advice and work that DLA does.’

‘The partners grasp complex matters quickly and assist in a pragmatic and commercially-minded way.’

‘DLA’s team is diverse and professional, and clients greatly profit from its broad network of partner firms internationally.’

‘Ben Sanderson is exceptional – a strong grasp of clients’ particular operational contexts, and gets to the heart of the issues clients face very quickly.’

‘Ben Sanderson navigates the issues clients face in an expert manner.’

‘Ben Sanderson is very sharp and has a wealth of experience.’

Key clients

Republic of Kenya

Republic of Guinea

Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste


Government of Ghana






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

Work highlights

  • Acted for Nasib Hasanov (an Azerbaijani individual who owns the Neqsol group of companies), in an ICSID claim against Georgia over alleged state interference in a local telecoms company.
  • Successfully acted for INTERPOL in a high-profile public international law arbitration.
  • Successfully acted for Lithuania in an UNCITRAL investment arbitration, in relation to the renationalisation of Snoras Bank.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP‘s London team 'comprises ideal litigators for clients seeking to pursue international claims'. The practice covers both major investor-state arbitrations, as well as complex state-to-state arbitrations. Other notable PIL areas are boundary disputes and business and human rights. UK international arbitration head Jonathan Leach and principal associate Cameron Forsaith are both investor-state arbitration and PIL experts; and at senior associate level, Kate Johnston is a Middle East specialist. Former partners Greg Falkof and Claire Stockford recently departed for Mishcon de Reya LLP and Quadrant Chambers, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Jonathan Leach

Other key lawyers:

Cameron Forsaith; Mark Howarth; Alex Cook; Kate Johnston


‘Broad experience in both PIL and investment treaty arbitration.’

‘Jonathan Leach has great attention to detail and is a pleasure to work with.’

‘Cameron Forsaith is very sharp.’

‘The ES team comprises ideal litigators for clients seeking to pursue international claims.’

‘Highly qualified in their domain and make good use of the firm’s international reach.’

‘Jonathan Leach and Cameron Forsaith – both individuals stand out for their punctuality and to-the-point approach.’

‘The Eversheds team is very well organised and managed in terms of assigning appropriate lawyers to different aspects of the case.’

Each of the lawyers has a very sharp eye on the detail and a firm handle on the evidence being prepared, such that they are able to test and challenge the evidence with a high level of scrutiny before it is finalised. This inevitably strengthens the case-wide body of evidence and ensures that all of the key issues relevant to cases are fully addressed.

Key clients

State of Libya

Islamic Republic of Iran

Government of Malaysia

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher‘s ‘first-rate public international law practice‘ is routinely sought out to act in heavyweight investment treaty claims. The team is jointly headed by Penny Madden KC, whose international arbitration  expertise covers shareholder, telecoms energy, international trade, and insurance disputes; and Cyrus Benson, who ‘argues points of public international law with great skill‘. In late 2022, former President of the European Court of Human Rights, Robert Spano, joined the practice, while Piers Plumptre, who ‘has wide experience in public international law issues‘, was elevated to partner. Former partner Jeffrey Sullivan KC joined Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in July 2023.

Practice head(s):

Penny Madden KC; Cyrus Benson

Other key lawyers:

Lord Charles Falconer; Osma Hudda; Ceyda Knoebel; Piers Plumptre; Robert Spano


‘The firm has wide experience in sovereign immunity, and has acted in many of the leading cases in this complex area.’

‘Piers Plumptre has wide experience in public international law issues relating to the enforcement of judgments and awards, in particular sovereign immunity.’

‘Gibson Dunn has a first-rate public international law practice.’

‘Has an excellent understanding of public laws issues, particularly within the context of international arbitration and investment disputes.’

‘Cyrus Benson is rated very highly. He is an exceptional and highly intelligent lawyer who argues points of public international law with great skill.’

‘Penny Madden KC is excellent – knowledgeable and committed.’

Key clients

Corral Morocco Holdings


Yukos Capital


Tethyan Copper Company

Global Telecom Holding

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Consistently acting for investors, states and state-owned entities, Hogan Lovells International LLP‘s 'very competent' London practice is particularly focused on BIT-related claims. The team also houses specialists in energy and infrastructure sector matters, as well as expertise in acting for states, companies and individuals from Eastern Europe. Clients additionally benefit from the group's enviable ability to leverage the firm's network of on-the-ground experts. PIL practice leader Markus Burgstaller is 'a statesman when it comes to investor-state disputes, public international law and EU law'; and senior associate Scott Macpherson has significant experience in energy-related PIL issues.

Practice head(s):

Markus Burgstaller

Other key lawyers:

Scott Macpherson


‘The team is very competent and easy to work with.’

‘Markus Burgstaller is a statesman when it comes to investor-state disputes, public international law and EU law. He is easy to work with and brilliant in his analysis.’

Key clients

Government of the Slovak Republic

Government of the Republic of India

Government of Ukraine

Mainstream Renewable Power

Clara Petroleum

Jones Day

'On top of the latest developments in public international law', Jones Day has longstanding investor-state arbitration expertise. The London office's coverage also incorporates specialisms in sanctions, Brexit issues, sovereign immunity, human rights, extradition, and INTERPOL red notices. Other notable areas are maritime boundaries, state responsibility, and treaty interpretation. Recent work also includes advising on the PIL aspects of corruption, bribery, export controls, and embargoes. The 'exceptional' Michelle Bradfield acts on a wide range of PIL matters, while the track record of recently-raised partner Philip Devenish includes over 25 investor-state arbitrations. Former partner Sylvia Tonova departed for Pinsent Masons LLP in February 2023.

Practice head(s):

Michelle Bradfield

Other key lawyers:

Philip Devenish; Lee Coffey; Isabella Noyen


‘Michelle Bradfield is exceptional – always available, and always with excellent answers/insight.’

‘Michelle Bradfield takes the time to think about what would actually (and practically) be helpful in the given context.’

‘Jones Day’s public international law practice is among the best worldwide.’

‘Enormous experience and knowledge – a top choice.’

‘Great approach to litigation funding.’

Philip Devenish is one of the most experienced arbitration lawyers around. He knows how to handle the most demanding cases and clients can see how he sees through matters to understand the end game thoroughly.

‘Philip Devenish is a superstar! Never imposes his views but rather debates them through to find the best solution.’

‘The team is on top of the latest developments in public international law, and is able to communicate relevant issues concisely and convincingly.’

Key clients

World Wide Minerals

Omega Engineering

Oscar Ivan Rivera

Windoor AS

Gold Pool JV

Abed El Jaouni

Work highlights

  • Represented Canadian uranium mining company WWM in its treaty claims against the Republic of Kazakhstan, arising out of the expropriation of its uranium mining assets in the late 1990s.
  • Successfully represented Gold Pool in bringing an application in the Commercial Court pursuant to s.67 of the Arbitration Act (involving a full re-hearing of the issue of jurisdiction).
  • Acting for Abed El Jaouni in the annulment phase of ICSID proceedings against Lebanon, arising from the politically-motivated expropriation of an investment in a private jet company.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP‘s London office is routinely involved in high-profile inter-state disputes involving territorial issues, along with investment treaty arbitrations and state immunities. The practice also houses experts in international criminal justice and international human rights law. Practice leader Ben Emmerson KC is 'an exceptionally good advocate'; Thomas Sprange KC is an expert in cases concerning sovereign immunity, acts of state, and conflicts of law; and John Savage KC specialises in international arbitration. Also highly regarded, Sajid Ahmed assists with international arbitration and trade issues; Giorgio Mandelli acts in investment arbitrations; and counsel Peter Hood is a PIL specialist.

Practice head(s):

Ben Emmerson KC

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Sprange KC; John Savage KC; Sajid Ahmed; Giorgio Mandelli; Egishe Dzhazoyan; Peter Hood; Kabir Bhalla


Ben Emmerson KC is an exceptionally innovative lawyer, with a formidable legal intellect and a command of all relevant facts and law.

Ben Emmerson KC is an exceptionally good advocate, who is rated very highly.

Key clients


State of Georgia

Government of Turkey

Rockhopper Exploration

Rockhopper Mediterranean

Rockhopper Italia

Obrascón Huarte Lain

Société des Parcs d’Alger

Emirates International Investment Company

Chevron Overseas Finance

Gerald International

Ascom Group

Terra Raf Trans Trading

Linklaters LLP

Linklaters LLP's London team is routinely instructed by both investors and states on PIL disputes. The group also advises on international trade, international human rights, state sovereignty, and sanctions. The global international arbitration practice is chaired by Matthew Weiniger KC, whose broad practice includes inter-state disputes, while Charlotte Morgan advises on international trade. Also highly regarded, Vanessa Havard-Williams and Rachel Barrett co-head the business and human rights group, and Ben Carroll is energy disputes head. At managing associate level, Rebecca James specialises in international arbitration and international law, and William Chan advises international and supranational organisations on PIL issues.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Weiniger KC; Charlotte Morgan

Other key lawyers:

Vanessa Havard-Williams; Rachel Barrett; Ben Carroll; Teresa Laboucarié-Polak; Rebecca James; Alex Fawke; James Marlow

Key clients

Islamic Republic of Pakistan


Enagas Internacional

Legal Response Initiative

Work highlights

  • Represented (as co-counsel) the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, in seeking the annulment of (reportedly) the second-largest award in ICSID’s history.
  • Representing HSBC in a potential investment treaty claim against the Republic of El Salvador under the UK-El Salvador bilateral investment treaty, which relates to an El Salvadorian subsidiary of HSBC that sought to enforce a loan agreement against a defaulting borrower in El Salvador.
  • Representing Enagas in a $350m ICSID arbitration against Peru, in relation to measures adopted by Peru that limit Enagas’ right to transfer dividends abroad.

Reed Smith LLP

Particularly active in the energy and natural resources sectors, Reed Smith LLP's 'London public international law practice has enormous experience in high-profile investor-state dispute cases'. The principal figures are investment treaty international arbitration specialist Belinda Paisley; Chloe Carswell, an expert in international arbitration, particularly in relation to investor-state issues; Patrick Beale, 'a first-rate lawyer with excellent technical skills'; and Suzie Savage, who is instrumental in developing the firm’s Kazakh practice. 'Standout' senior associate Lucy Winnington-Ingram is an arbitration practitioner, who focuses predominantly on investment treaty arbitration and public international law work.

Practice head(s):

Suzie Savage; Chloe Carswell

Other key lawyers:

Patrick Beale; Suzie Savage; Lucy Winnington-Ingram


‘The Reed Smith London public international law practice has enormous experience in high-profile investor-state dispute cases, especially in the energy and natural resources sector.’

‘Its expertise, commerciality, and flexibility make it a market-leading team in this field, and it more than holds its own against other top practices (both in London and internationally).’

‘Patrick Beale is a first-rate lawyer with excellent technical skills, finely-tuned strategic instincts, and a formidable work ethic.’

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons' PIL team comprises experts in international treaties, sovereign immunity, state succession, and international sanctions; and the team is increasingly active in Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) and sanctions matters. International arbitration group head Stuart Dutson is currently representing Spain in multiple cases, where it relies on PIL defences to the enforcement of BIT and ECT awards; Satyen Dhana leads advice on export control and trade sanctions; and counsel Basil Woodd-Walker advises on sovereign immunity and investor-state protections. Of counsel Cherie Spinks heads the financial sanctions practice, while senior associate Jonathan Schuman also assists with PIL issues.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Dutson

Other key lawyers:

Satyen Dhana; Basil Woodd-Walker; Cherie Spinks; Jonathan Schuman; Tom Bowen


‘Simmons & Simmons needs no introduction when it comes to international arbitration and public international law.’

‘Amongst the few firms clients would go to for the most complex and substantial matters.’

‘Matters are handled as clients would expect from Stuart Dutson and his team – brilliantly.’

Key clients

Kingdom of Spain

Government of the Republic of Indonesia

Chelsea Football Club


Work highlights

  • Acting for the Kingdom of Spain in challenging numerous ICSID awards (rendered under the ECT) in the English courts.
  • Representing a global telecoms investor in its BIT claims against a Western European state, which involve complex treaty interpretation and public international law issues.
  • Advising Chelsea Football Club on its compliance with international sanctions (while under an asset freeze).

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

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP (Skadden)’s acts in investment treaty arbitrations involving PIL and treaty interpretation issues. It also houses sanctions experts. David Kavanagh KC represents governments and investors in investment treaty disputes; and Ryan Junck leads the European litigation/controversy practices. Other key practitioners include multi-jurisdictional business crime expert Elizabeth Robertson, investment treaty disputes silk Daniel Gal KC, and European counsel Devika Khopkar, who is experienced in India-related disputes. Kate Davies KC recently joined from A&O Shearman to lead the practice, and Karyl Nairn KC departed to become a deputy High Court judge.

Practice head(s):

Kate Davies KC

Other key lawyers:

David Kavanagh KC; Elizabeth Robertson; Daniel Gal KC; Bruce Macaulay; David Edwards; Devika Khopkar;

Key clients

Agility Public Warehousing Company KSCP

Vodafone International Holdings

Vodafone Group

NextEra Energy Spain Holdings

Work highlights

  • Continued to advise Agility Public Warehousing Company KSCP on potential proceedings for the annulment of a 2021-rendered arbitral award, further to an ICSID case with the Republic of Iraq.
  • Continues to represent Vodafone Group in an investment treaty claim against India under the United Kingdom-India BIT.
  • Providing sanctions advice to a designated company, working closely with the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control, and Global Affairs Canada (in relation to the sale of its subsidiaries).

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood‘s London office routinely represents governments and state-owned companies in their most important PIL matters. The team also comprises financial sanctions expertise, and stands out for its experience in Africa-related issues. PIL leader and head of the Africa and India groups, Kamal Shah, has 'a strong skill set'; Sue Millar leads the sanctions group; Rovine Chandrasekera acts in investor-state arbitrations; Ben Sigler is ‘an excellent lawyer‘; and Richard Garcia's broad practice includes jurisdictional challenges and freezing orders. Of counsel Stephen Ashley is an expert in EU and UK sanctions.

Practice head(s):

Kamal Shah

Other key lawyers:

Sue Millar; Rovine Chandrasekera; Ben Sigler; Richard Garcia; Stephen Ashley; Afolarin Awosika


‘Richard Garcia, Sue Millar and Stephen Ashley are excellent in this field.’

‘Richard Garcia is excellent- well informed and incisive, and very good at handling different specialities within matters (for example public international law in a banking context).’

‘Sue Millar and Stephen Ashley have encyclopaedic knowledge of sanctions.’

‘The team has an outstanding reputation.’

‘Rovine Chandrasekera stands out for his excellent knowledge of international award/judgment enforcement issues, which is based on genuine practical experience of successful enforcement actions across the globe.’

‘Kamal Shah and Richard Garcia – very experienced litigators in this field with great attention to detail. Ben Sigler is also an excellent lawyer.’

‘The level of communication and attention to detail is always outstanding.’

Kamal Shah is a high-quality professional with a strong skill set, and the team is appropriately staffed and always delivers on time, despite short notice and pressing deadlines.’

Key clients

Republic of Iraq

Arab Republic of Egypt

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation

Petroleos de Venezuela

Libyan Investment Authority

High Commissioner for Pakistan in the United Kingdom (on behalf of the Government of Pakistan)

Work highlights

  • Representing the Republic of Iraq (as co-counsel) in an ICSID arbitration brought by Orange (formerly France Telecom) under the France-Iraq bilateral investment treaty.
  • Assisting an Asian oil and gas company with a dispute against another Asian oil and gas company (with European links), which involves cutting-edge sanctions issues.
  • Representing the Republic of Iraq (as co-counsel) in an ICSID arbitration, brought by Agility Public Warehousing Company KSCP under the Iraq-Kuwait bilateral investment treaty.

Steptoe UK LLP

An integral part of its global disputes group, Steptoe UK LLP‘s London practice combines investment treaty and international commercial arbitration expertise with specialisms in PIL work, award enforcement, and cross-border litigation. Chairing the investment treaty arbitration team, Matthew Coleman is a renowned adviser on claims against African States; while Christophe Bondy's track record includes several high-stakes investment cases. The next partner-line features Thomas Innes, who is currently acting in investor-state arbitrations; and Juliya Arbisman, who works between London and New York, while maintaining a broad international law practice. Alexandre Genest is a key associate.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Coleman

Other key lawyers:

Christophe Bondy; Thomas Innes; Juliya Arbisman; Alexandre Genest


‘Extremely bright and intelligent team – left no stone unturned to obtain justice against an unresponsive government in West Africa.’

‘Thomas Innes has immense expertise in this area.’

‘There is no match in terms of knowledge, lateral thinking and dedication to the client.’

Key clients

The European Union

Nacato NV

West African Aquaculture

Koch Supply & Trading

Koch Industries

Security Services (Neustar Security Services)


Republic of Armenia

Work highlights

  • Serving as external counsel to the European Union in the Nord Stream 2 investment treaty claim, arising out of the application of European competition rules to the ownership and operation of a mega-value pipeline.
  • Acting for investors in a legacy NAFTA Chapter Eleven claim, arising out of political interference in a liquid natural gas facility’s environmental approval process.
  • Acting for Dutch investors in investment treaty proceedings against Venezuela, following the latter’s expropriation of significant business holdings.


The London group at 'outstanding firm' WilmerHale has longstanding experience in heavyweight PIL disputes. Its coverage encompasses territorial boundary issues, PIL matters that arise in national courts, sovereign immunity, and foreign judgment enforcements. The team also handles legal proceedings before international and national tribunals, particularly in relation to freedom of speech and belief. With decades of experience as lead counsel in PIL-related cases, Gary Born is 'an encyclopaedia of international arbitration'; and Steven Finizio is particularly focused on cases involving freedom of expression issues. Raised to partner in January 2023, Jonathan Lim is a complex international disputes specialist.

Practice head(s):

Gary Born; Steven Finizio

Other key lawyers:

Jonathan Lim


‘Wilmer Hale is an outstanding firm with exceptional expertise in international arbitration.’

‘Led by major figures in the field, such as Gary Born, for decades it has been a leading firm in the field of international arbitration.’

‘Gary Born has long been recognised as a (if not the) leading practitioner in the field of international arbitration (through his influential writings and vast experience).’

‘The team has decades of experience – they know everything!’

‘Gary Born is an encyclopaedia of international arbitration.’

‘The team is fantastic in creating and developing innovative legal arguments to apply in relatively new areas of litigation.’

‘Steven Finizio is extremely helpful and provides expert guidance on difficult matters.

Key clients

Asian Development Bank

Media Defence


CMS' PIL practice covers jurisdiction, immunity, enforcement and expropriation issues, along with the Law of the Sea and state responsibility. It also advises on sanctions, and houses a robust investor-state arbitration practice. Karen Denny is 'a star individual', while Pieter Bekker heads the investment arbitration task force from New York.

Practice head(s):

Karen Denny;  Peter Bekker

Other key lawyers:

Sarah Vasani; Zainab Hodgson; Lindsay Reimschussel; Tom Sandeman


‘Diligent partners with close oversight of all matters. Excellent blue-sky thinking.’

‘Karen Denny is not afraid to get into the detail of a case.’

‘Karen Denny is a star individual.’

Key clients

Patel Engineering

Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines


Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP's London team is regularly sought out by sovereign nations to act in investor-state arbitrations. PIL group head Charles Buderi assists with sovereignty disputes, along with treaty and diplomatic issues; and Luciana Ricart advises on arbitral award enforcement, treaty interpretation, state immunity, and territorial sovereignty.

Practice head(s):

Charles Buderi

Other key lawyers:

Luciana Ricart; Justin Jacinto; Lise Johnson; Belén María Ibañez; Salah Malas


‘The Curtis PIL practice is unique – apart from being members of the Bar and practising law, its lawyers are also specialists in PIL.’

‘Luciana Ricart and Charles Buderi are both specialists in PIL. They have authored important works and are serious professionals.’

Key clients

State of Kuwait

Argentine Republic

Republic of Kazakhstan

Republic of Cyprus

State of Libya

Republic of India

Work highlights

  • Achieved a full victory for Kuwait in a $174m investment treaty claim, brought by a Russian national under the Kuwait-Russian Federation BIT.
  • Assisted Kuwait defeat an investment claim (over a large-value road project), which was brought by a joint venture that comprised two Italian companies and a Spanish company.
  • Acting for a state in proceedings before the International Court of Justice.

King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons regularly defends states against investor claims in the energy, natural resources, banking, telecoms, mining, and real estate sectors. With significant experience in successfully acting for sovereign states, Wilson Antoon is London international arbitration head. Former partner Andrei Yakovlev is at Boies Schiller Flexner (UK) LLP since March 2023.

Practice head(s):

Wilson Antoon

Other key lawyers:

Viktoriya Krasyuk


‘They are enthusiastic, great to work with and will dig in when they need to. They are commercial and equally fluent in commercial arbitration and investment treaty arbitration.’

‘Wilson Antoon is very sharp – an excellent operator.’

Key clients

People’s Republic of China

Work highlights

  • Represented the People’s Republic of China in an ICSID arbitration, commenced by a Japanese investor, Macro Trading Co (under the China-Japan BIT), in relation to the alleged expropriation of a real estate development.
  • Acted for a miner in an expropriation claim against a Central Asian state, in relation to the latter’s unlawful cancellation of the miner’s exploration license and mining rights.
  • Assisted a construction company with bringing an ICSID claim against a Middle Eastern state, in relation to a delayed infrastructure project.

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP

The PIL expertise of 'world-class firm' Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP incorporates advice on UK sanctions and export controls; and its track record includes complex and groundbreaking sanctions challenges. The team is co-led by 'well-known specialist' Anna Bradshaw, and business crime expert  Michael O’Kane. Senior associate Alistair Jones 'has in-depth knowledge'.

Practice head(s):

Michael O’Kane; Anna Bradshaw

Other key lawyers:

Alistair Jones


‘Peters & Peters has longstanding and unrivalled experience in challenges to sanctions listings, and deep knowledge of sanctions compliance in several jurisdictions.’

‘Michael O’ Kane is a master in this field.

‘Michael O’Kane has vast experience and is a master tactician. He achieves extraordinary results.

‘Anna Bradshaw is a well-known specialist in the area, who stands out for the depth of her knowledge and ability to cut through complex legislative provisions, to identify the key issues and come up with pragmatic solutions.’ 

‘Anna Bradshaw – willingness to make difficult decisions when necessary, in the interests of clients.’

‘Senior associate Alistair Jones deals with the day-to-day running of various workstreams calmly and efficiently, and formulates much of the overall strategy without missing opportunities to advance matters proactively when the time is right.’

‘Alistair Jones has in-depth knowledge of how best to frame a sanctions designation challenge, avoid pitfalls, and make the case in the most compelling way possible.’

Provides practical and economical solutions – a world-class firm.

Key clients

Opus Private

Work highlights

  • Acted for a high-profile entrepreneurial family (the subject of highly-politicised corruption allegations) in making written representations to INTERPOL on the political character of the corruption allegations and consequential factual and legal flaws in the prosecution’s case.
  • Provides Opus Private with sanctions advice on an ongoing basis.
  • Acting for Eugene Shvidler in challenging his designation under the UK’s Russia sanctions regime.

Vail Dispute Resolution

Disputes boutique Vail Dispute Resolution was established in 2019 by former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP and White & Case LLP arbitration lawyer, Tomas Vail, whose track record includes successfully acting in energy and infrastructure disputes between investors and states (and state-owned entities), particularly those involving Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Latin America.

Practice head(s):

Tomas Vail


A small team but it has a huge amount of knowledge and contacts within its areas of speciality.

The individuals are highly professional and willing to understand the details from the client’s perspective to develop the best solution.

Key clients

Petaquilla Minerals

Modus Energy

Modus Group

Work highlights

  • Representing Petaquilla Minerals (PM) in its high-profile claim against Panama, the dispute arising from the expropriation of PM’s rights over a gold and copper mine.
  • Representing Modus Energy in its investment treaty dispute with the Ukraine, regarding investments in the photovoltaic industry.
  • Acts for Lithuania’s Modus Group in its high-profile claim against Belarus over a project to build a luxury hotel next to the country’s main airport.

Van Bael & Bellis (London) LLP

Launched in 2020 by Brussels-based firm Van Bael & Bellis, Van Bael & Bellis (London) LLP acts for corporations, sovereign states and international organisations in high-stakes disputes before international courts and tribunals, and is experienced in investment arbitration and PIL matters.

Other key lawyers:

Isabelle Van Damme


‘Isabelle Van Damme is a star – deeply knowledgeable, an excellent communicator, rigorously client focused and a pleasure to work with. She has wide and deep experience in WTO law, public international law and EU law.’

‘This practice’s huge strength for us is in the crossover of its expertise between public international law, international trade law and EU law. They really understand the EU – its laws, institutions, procedures, and the way it thinks – and this adds great value to their strategic and detailed advice.’

‘Many people in the team have qualifications in public international law as well as their more specific fields of expertise, and everyone we have worked with has been friendly, responsive and adaptable. They have been happy to discuss realistic timing of their work, and keep us informed of any changes.’

Key clients

Council of Bureaux

Government of Indonesia

UK Government

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Government of Indonesia in an EU climate change policy-related WTO dispute.
  • Advising the Council of Bureaux (an organisation that is cooperating with EU institutions to improve the free movement of vehicles and the settlement of internal motor accident claims) on compliance with EU sanctions law.
  • Acting for the Government of Indonesia, as a third party, in a WTO dispute settlement proceeding brought by Malaysia, which concerns measures imposed by the EU (and its member states), in relation to its renewable energy directives on limiting the use of palm oil and oil palm crop-based biofuels.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP‘s London team consistently litigates claims involving PIL issues. The firm’s global PIL practice is headed by Andrea Menaker, who focuses exclusively on investment treaty arbitration. The team is also well-regarded for its ability to represent sovereign states in high-stakes investor-state claims. David Goldberg departed the firm in March 2024.

Practice head(s):

Andrea Menaker

Other key lawyers:

Agnieszka Zarówna


‘They have the mindset to perform at the highest level every day. This makes the practice unique.’

‘Agnieszka Zarówna has a high reputation in the arbitration community. She is strategic, cooperative, pragmatic and pleasant to work with. This allows her to build very positive and strong relationships with clients and fellow practitioners alike and to always seem in control of matters, no matter how challenging.’

‘An exceptionally experienced team.’

‘Andrea Menaker offers expertise and experience.’

Key clients

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan

The Republic of India

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

The Republic of Peru

Kappes, Cassiday & Associates

Orazul International España Holdings

TECO Guatemala Holdings

JSC Tashkent Mechanical Plant

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

JSCB Asaka

JSCB Uzbek Industrial and Construction Bank

Kornikom EOOD

Work highlights

  • Representing the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in a rare ICSID post-award remedy, seeking to revise the largest damages award ever issued by an ICSID tribunal.
  • Representing the claimants (Daniel W Kappes and Kappes, Cassiday & Associates) in an ICSID arbitration against Guatemala under the DR-CAFTA, which relates to the suspension of operations at one of the claimants’ mines.
  • Defending India against an UNCITRAL investment arbitration brought by three shareholders of local company Devas Multimedia Privat.