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Suzanne Spears



Spears Suzanne
Suzanne Spears



Suzanne is a partner in the International Arbitration group and Co-Head of the Global Business and Human Rights Practice.

Her international disputes practice focuses on investment treaty arbitration, international commercial arbitration, State-to-State disputes and transnational tort litigation. She has represented clients in international disputes under all the major arbitration rules (including ICC, UNCITRAL, ICSID and PCA) and before the International Court of Justice. She also has advised clients with respect to transnational litigation before United States courts and the courts of England and Wales. She has particular experience with disputes involving Latin America and Africa, the energy and natural resource industries, human rights and the environment.

Suzanne is recognised globally for her expertise in BHR law and serves as a trusted advisor to clients facing BHR-related regulatory and litigation risks. In her BHR practice, Suzanne advises clients on dispute prevention and resolution, risk management, compliance and governance. Suzanne also advises and represents private clients, governments and international organisations on a wide range of other contentious and non-contentious matters arising under public international law.

Suzanne has held positions with international human rights and foreign relations organisations, including the United Nations, the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights and the Council on Foreign Relations.

She is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at University of Notre Dame (U.S.A) in London, where she teaches International Arbitration and Business and Human Rights.

Related articles

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Publications: 03 May 2022

Costs, damages and duration in investor-State arbitration in the CEE Region

Our new study on costs, damages and duration in investor-State arbitration in the CEE Region examines 105 investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) cases conducted under ICSID, UNCITRAL and other…

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Publications: 21 April 2022

Recent developments in European Business and Human Rights (BHR) Litigation

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Publications: 25 February 2022

The EU Commission's proposal for a directive on corporate sustainability due diligence

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Publications: 29 October 2021

Greenwashing - key risks and issues in financial services

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Experience highlights



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Attorney, State of New York

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit


Juris Doctor, Columbia University School of Law

Master in International Affairs, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs

Fulbright Scholar (Spain)

Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, Tufts University

Other noteworthy experience 


  • Merck Sharpe & Dohme (I.A.) Corporation in an UNCITRAL arbitration at the PCA against Ecuador under the US-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty.
  • Occidental Petroleum in an ICSID arbitration against Ecuador under the US-Ecuador bilateral investment treaty.
  • Fábrica de Vidrios Los Andes and Owens-Illinois de Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration against Venezuela under the Netherlands-Venezuela bilateral investment treaty.
  • Egypt in an ICSID arbitration brought by Al Jazeera Media Network under the Qatar-Egypt bilateral investment treaty.
  • Clients in numerous international commercial arbitrations, including in relation to the energy, financial, telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries, and the revision of gas prices and the diversion of LNG.

Pro bono 

  • Representing a former government minister in a proceeding before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights against a Latin American State.
  • Drafting a human rights organisation’s recommendations on procedural reform to a regional human rights system.
  • Advising the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative on Business and Human Rights on international investment law.
  • Leading the Political Asylum programme at a previous law firm.

Published work

  • "Protection of Investments in War-Torn States: A Practitioner Perspective on War Clauses in Bilateral Investment Treaties", with Maria Fogdestam-Agius, in European Yearbook of International Economic Law (EYIEL) (2019)
  • “Environmental and social issues bring litigation risks home to multinationals” in Corporate Disputes, with Stephanie Hawes, (July – September 2019)
  • Empresas y Derechos Humanos en el Litigio” in Retos y desafíos de las empresas y derechos humanos (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana & Grupo Editorial Ibáñez, 2019)
  • “UK multinationals will face greater scrutiny after the Vedanta decision” in Ethical Corporation (10 May 2019)
  • “The Law of Corporate Social Responsibility” in Corporate Social Responsibility – The Corporate Governance of the 21st Century (R. Lindsay & R. Martella eds.) (forthcoming
  • “A Practitioner Perspective on War Clauses in Bilateral Investment Treaties”, with Maria Fogdestam-Agius, published as part of the European Yearbook of International Economic Law (EYIEL) Special Issue on International Investment Law and the Law of Armed Conflict (2019)
  • “Foreign liabilities can come home to roost”, Petroleum Review (2016)
  • “Energy Companies Beware!”, Energy, Oil & Gas (2016)
  • “International Arbitration and India: ‘A Truly Excellent Judgment!’”, with Gary Born, 1 Indian Journal of Arbitration L.1 (2012)
  • “United States to Resume Bilateral Investment Treaty Negotiations on the Basis of a Revised Model Treaty”, North American Free Trade & Investment Report (2012)
  • “Making Way for the Public Interest in International Investment Agreements” in Evolution in Investment Treaty Law and Arbitration, pages 271-297 (C. Brown & K. Miles eds.) (2011)
  • “The Quest for Policy Space in a New Generation of International Investment Agreements”, 13 Journal of International Economic Law 1037 (2010)
  • “Out of the Conflict Zone: The Case for Community Consent Processes in the Extractive Sector”, with Lisa Laplante, 11 Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal 178 (2008)


Awards & accolades

International Investments Agreements Dispute Resolution Lawyer of the Year in England,

Corporate INTL Magazine Global Awards, 2017

Female Lawyer of the Year (International Dispute Resolution)

ACQ5 Law Awards, 2017