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Sub practice
Sub practice

Public International Law and Investment Treaty Disputes

Allen & Overy’s specialist Public International Law team acts for corporations, financial institutions, international organisations, governments and States in all aspects of contentious and non-contentious public international law matters, including investment disputes. 

Our market leading practice combines expertise in issues such as title to natural resources, state responsibility and succession, boundary disputes, investment treaty arbitration, trade law and sanctions.

A&O’s advisory work spans the full range of public international law issues, including:

  • drafting and negotiation of international treaties and conventions
  • investment protection measures
  • international sanctions regimes
  • privileges of international organisations and state immunity
  • recognition of states and state succession
  • human rights
  • trade law

On the contentious side, we have a pre-eminent investment treaty arbitration practice acting for investors and sovereign States. We have advised on more than 70 investment treaty disputes and a number of ICSID annulment proceedings, and are one of only a handful of law firms to have experience of WTO disputes.

We advise on State-to-State disputes arising under public international law and team members have acted as counsel before international courts and special tribunals, and have also advised States on out-of-court strategies for dispute resolution.

Our experience includes advising:

  • A State on its negotiation with the European Union in relation to a comprehensive free trade agreement.
  • A Middle Eastern State on the potential reform of its investment treaties. 
  • The investment arm of a Middle Eastern State in relation to a draft bilateral investment treaty being negotiated with a South American State, and on how best to structure new investment acquisitions in that State.
  • Over 30 different international investors, in 12 separate ECT claims (all claims bar one brought at ICSID) against the Kingdom of Spain. The claims relate to investments made in the Spanish renewable energy sector, and retrospective changes by Spain to the regulatory framework. These cases include the first-ever collective, or aggregated, claim brought under the ECT. We have so far achieved significant damages awards for our clients in six of these arbitrations, with others still pending.
  • The Islamic Republic of Pakistan in two related claims, brought under the UNCITRAL Rules, arising from alleged interference in gas import operations at a port terminal. The Tribunal dismissed the nearly USD600m claims in their entirety and ordered the claimants to pay nearly 90% of Pakistan’s costs. We successfully defeated challenges to the Award, made by the claimants, in the English courts.

Awards and achievements

  1. Tier One, Public International Law, Legal 500 UK 2022
  2. Band 1, Dispute Resolution, Global: Multi-Jurisdictional, Chambers Global 2022
  3. International Arbitration Firm of the Year, Benchmark Litigation Asia-Pacific Awards 2020
  4. Leading firm (top tier) ranking in the “Leaders League” table for International Arbitration (Spain) 2022

Recognition

News and insights

Waves crashing against rocks on the shore

Publications: 29 November 2022

Human Rights Committee rules in favour of Torres Strait Islanders in case on impacts of climate change

The U.N. Human Rights Committee ruled in a watershed case that Australia has failed adequately to protect indigenous Torres Strait Islanders from the adverse effects of climate change.

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Big Ben

Publications: 07 October 2022

The UK’s Foreign Influence Registration Scheme: further enhancing the UK’s national security toolbox

On 8 September 2022, the UK Government introduced the Foreign Influence Registration Scheme (FIRS) by way of amendment to the National Security Bill (the Bill).  

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Triangular shaped windows

Publications: 11 July 2022

A panel of the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals asks the Court en banc to overturn Industrial Risk and INPROSTA

Most arbitration practitioners take for granted the bifurcated post-award framework for international arbitrations. As a general matter, an arbitral award (i) can be set aside at the arbitral seat…

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Publications: 11 July 2022

The United States Supreme Court holds that 28 U.S.C. § 1782 does not encompass arbitral tribunals

On June 13, 2022, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in ZF Automotive US, Inc., et al., v. Luxshare, Ltd.

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