Mr Robert Volterra > Volterra Fietta > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Volterra Fietta

Work Department

Public International Law.


Partner at Volterra Fietta.


Robert has been recognised for many years in the global legal directories as one of the world’s top public international law practitioners.  He is qualified as a barrister in Canada and as a solicitor-advocate in England and Wales.  He advises and represents governments, international organisations and private clients on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious public international law and international dispute resolution issues, including international humanitarian law, the laws of war, international criminal law, boundaries and territorial integrity, UNCLOS, international investment agreements and BITs, the Energy Charter Treaty, ICSID, NAFTA, trans-boundary resources and pipelines, joint-development zones and straddling resource regimes, diplomatic and consular law, attribution, privileges and immunities, State responsibility, treaty interpretation and drafting, international arbitration and litigation, international organisations, human rights, resource concessions, Statehood and sanctions. 

Robert regularly acts as co-agent, counsel and advocate before the International Court of Justice and international arbitration tribunals, including under the Permanent Court of Arbitration, ICSID, ICC, SCC, LCIA, UNCITRAL, WTO and UNCLOS rules.  He regularly sits as an arbitrator in ICSID, UNCITRAL, ICC, SCC and LCIA arbitrations. He is on the UK Attorney General’s A-list for public international law practitioners.

Robert’s practice focuses on the resolution of complex disputes and evolving issues in the field of public international law.  He is sought by clients globally to defend their interests in bet-the-country and bet-the-company disputes.  He is the go-to public international law practitioner for cases dealing with novel and cutting-edge topics.  His cases are widely referenced in public international law text-books and journal articles; they are cited and relied upon extensively as precedents and guides by domestic and international courts and tribunals.

Robert combines being a seasoned practitioner with being a thought-leader in the field of public international law. He is a Visiting Professor of International Law at University College (UCL), University of London, where he has taught the international law of foreign investment for almost 20 years. He is a Visiting Senior Lecturer at King’s College, University of London, where he has taught the international law of boundary disputes for several decades. He is invited to lecture on a variety of public international law topics in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. He publishes regularly on a wide variety of public international law matters. 

Prior positions at legal practices:Latham & Watkins, partner (2005 to 2011), London, UK and Paris, France; Herbert Smith, partner (2001 to 2005), London, UK; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, associate (1996 to 2001), London, UK and Paris, France; Public international law practice of Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, junior (1994 to 1996), Cambridge, UK.


English, French, Spanish, Italian.


Robert is qualified as a barrister in Canada (1991) and as a solicitor-advocate in England and Wales (2005).  Robert also is a Fellow of the York Centre for International and Strategic Studies.  Equally, he is a member of the International Law Advisory Board of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, the ICC Latin American Arbitration Committee, the Management Board of the Investment Treaty Forum, the editorial board of the University of Oxford Press Reports on International Investment Claims, the Advisory Board of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration, the Expert Panel for States of UNCTAD’s Programme on Dispute Settlement in International Trade, Investment and IP and the Energy Charter Secretariat’s Legal Advisory Task Force.


Organization of American States (1995), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Curso de Derecho Internacional; OAS Fellowship

University of Cambridge, Trinity Hall (1991 – 1992), Cambridge, UK – LL.M.i; Cambridge Commonwealth Scholarship

Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (1986 – 1989),Toronto, Canada – LL.B.; Dean’s List

University of Western Ontario (1983 – 1987), London, Canada – B.A. (international relations); Lt-Governor of Ontario Scholarship


Skiing, riding, sailing and painting.

Lawyer Rankings

London > Dispute resolution > Public international law

(Hall of Fame)

Robert VolterraVolterra 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.

London > Dispute resolution > International arbitration

(Leading individuals)

Robert VolterraVolterra Fietta

Volterra Fietta is a specialist PIL firm that represents both states and foreign investors before ad hoc tribunals, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration, ICSID and SCC; and it is frequently involved in commercial arbitrations. Robert Volterra is ‘a recognised leading expert in complex, high-value investment treaty arbitrations‘, and Graham Coop is an international arbitration and public international law specialist. Also highly regarded are counsels Álvaro Nistal and Gunjan Sharma, along with associate Angela Ha and consultant Peter Flint.

Latin America: International firms > International arbitration

London-based arbitration boutique Volterra Fietta has extensive experience advising on public international law and investment treaty matters involving Latin American and Caribbean states. Founding partner Robert Volterra, who ‘is extremely able’ and ‘synonymous with knowledge and quality of advice’, is the primary contact, with Graham Coop also noted for his in-depth knowledge in Latin American arbitration matters. Case highlights include representing Koch Industries in a $400m ICSID annulment proceeding initiated by Venezuela, with Coop and Volterra prominent; and representing glass container makers Fábrica de Vidrios Los Andes and Owens-Illinois de Venezuela in a $1bn ICSID arbitration against Venezuela, on which Volterra is leading. The experienced Peter Flint joined the firm as a senior consultant in 2020; however, counsel Alvaro Nistal moved to Arnold & Porter -as counsel- in June 2021.