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Robert Volterra

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Volterra Fietta


Partner and principal of Volterra Fietta. Specialist area of practice: public international law and international arbitration. Robert 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 investment agreements and BITs; the Energy Charter Treaty; ICSID; NAFTA; international arbitration and litigation; boundaries and territorial integrity; UNCLOS; state responsibility; international organisations; treaty interpretation and drafting; the laws of war; human rights; diplomatic and consular law; trans-boundary resources and pipelines; joint-development zones and straddling resource regimes; attribution; privileges and immunities; resource concessions; statehood; and sanctions. He has acted as counsel and advocate before the International Court of Justice and ad hoc 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 on international arbitral tribunals and testifies as an expert witness in international arbitrations, including ICSID, UNCITRAL, ICC and LCIA arbitrations. Important cases include: Qatar v Bahrain – counsel to Bahrain before the International Court of Justice; Owens-Illinois v Venezuela – counsel to Owens-Illinois in its ICSID BIT case; Eritrea/Yemen – counsel to Eritrea in Phase 2 of its island and maritime boundary arbitration at the Permanent Court of Arbitration; Alapli v Turkey – counsel to Alapli in its ICSID BIT case; Adria v Croatia – counsel to Croatia in its UNCITRAL BIT case; EVN v Macedonia – counsel to Macedonia in its ICSID BIT case; Barbados v Trinidad and Tobago – co-agent of Barbados in its UNCLOS Annex VII maritime boundary delimitation arbitration at the Permanent Court of Arbitration; Karmer v Georgia – counsel to Karmer in its ICSID BIT case; GEA v Ukraine – counsel to Ukraine in its ICSID BIT case; Vigotop v Hungary – counsel to Vigotop in its ICSID BIT case; Colombia v Ecuador – counsel of Colombia before the International Court of Justice; Barmek v Azerbaijan – counsel to Azerbaijan in its ICSID BIT case; AdT v Bolivia – counsel to AdT in its ICSID BIT.


Trained Tory, Tory, DesLauriers & Binnington, Canada; qualified 1991 (barrister and solicitor); partner Volterra Fietta 2011. The public international law practice of Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht (1994-96) Cambridge, UK; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, associate (1996-2001) London, UK and Paris, France; Herbert Smith, partner (2001-05) London, UK; Latham & Watkins, partner (2005-11) London, UK and Paris, France. Academic: Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, assistant professor (1992-94) Toronto, Canada – Faculty of Law (LRW and Public International Law); University of Cambridge (1994-96) Cambridge, UK – Faculty of Law (international law); fellow: Research Centre for International Law; York University Centre for International and Strategic Studies, fellow (1994 onward); Universite de Paris X (1996-99) Paris, France – Faculty of Law (The Law of International Organisations); University of London, SOAS and Kings College, visiting senior lecturer (1998 onward) London, UK – Geopolitics and Boundaries Research Centre (international boundary law); University of London, UCL, visiting professor (2000 onward) London, UK – Faculty of Law (international law of foreign investment/natural resources); visiting professor, Faculty of Law, UCL.


French, Spanish, Italian.


BIICL, ASIL, ILA, 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, on the advisory board of the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration, the Executive Council of I-CELLS, the Expert Panel for States of UNCTAD’s Programme on Dispute Settlement in International Trade, Investment and IP, the Energy Charter Secretariat’s Legal.


Appleby College; Huron College; University of Western Ontario (BA 1987); Osgoode Hall Law School (LLB 1989); Trinity Hall University of Cambridge (LLM 1992); barrister and solicitor Law Society of Upper Canada 1991; solicitor Law Society of England and Wales 2001; solicitor-advocate Law Society of England and Wales 2005.


Skiing, riding, sailing and painting.

Latin America: International firms

International arbitration

Within: International arbitration

Acting for both sovereign states and investors, London-based international public law specialists Volterra Fietta focuses on investment treaty arbitration and state-to-state disputes. Recent highlights include representing Favianca and Owens-Illinois in ICSID annulment proceedings against Venezuela. Founding partner Robert Volterra is highly regarded.

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London: Dispute resolution

International arbitration

Within: International arbitration

Volterra Fietta is best known for its specialist public international law practice; the firm also has a robust international commercial arbitration practice that involves the energy, mining and telecoms sectors as well as defence procurement and shareholder and joint venture disputes. The names to note are Robert Volterra, Graham Coop, Giorgio Mandelli and Suzanne Spears. Christophe Bondy joined Cooley (UK) LLP.

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Public international law

Within: Leading individuals

Robert Volterra - Volterra Fietta

Within: Public international law

Acting globally for states, international organisations and private entities in the highest courts of international law, Volterra Fietta specialises entirely in public international law (PIL); the scope of the practice includes international border issues, high-value disputes between foreign investors and host states, or between two or more states; and complex bet-the-company and bet-the-country issues. The team's representative experience includes defending a European state against a claim made under an investment treaty; representing two Asian subsidiaries of a US Fortune 500 company in disputes with an Asian government under a number of multilateral and bilateral trade and investment treaties; and acting for a state in Asia in relation to trans-boundary pollution issues. Robert Volterra advises governments, international organisations and private clients in a wide range of contentious PIL issues, regularly acting as co-agent, counsel and advocate before the International Court of Justice and ad hoc international arbitration tribunals. Other names to note are Graham Coop and Giorgio Mandelli. Christophe Bondy joined Cooley (UK) LLP.

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