Investment Arbitration

“Expertise in high-profile investor-state disputes”

LALIVE is a pioneer in international investment arbitration and is the only firm in Switzerland to have a significant investment arbitration practice.

The firm’s involvement in a number of high profile multi-billion State-investor disputes has earned it recognition as one of the leading practices worldwide.

Please see further information on our rankings in arbitration.

We are proud to represent both States and investors and are thus accustomed to arguing both sides, which is of paramount importance to formulating the best strategy.

The team includes highly skilled lawyers with strong academic backgrounds in international investment law. A number of them are recognised as leading figures in the field and hold key positions in international organisations and institutions.

Please see further information on key positions held.

Our investment treaty arbitration specialists regularly act as counsel for investors and States globally and are frequently appointed as arbitrators in disputes arising out of bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, investment contracts, and other instruments, and involving a wide range of industries, including energy, telecommunications, construction and transportation.

As counsel

  • Representing Romania, an ongoing client of the firm, in several investment arbitrations conducted under the ICSID Convention including a recent USD 4 billion arbitration initiated by North American investors concerning a mining project and a USD 2 billion arbitration initiated by Scandinavian investors relating to tax enforcement measures in the food and beverage industry. International law applies to both disputes.
  • Representing a Fortune 500 company in an investment dispute before ICSID concerning regulatory issues in South American State. International law applied
  • Representing two Eastern African State-owned petroleum companies with claims totalling USD 90 million in disputes with Chinese petroleum companies over oil exploration contracts conducted under the UNICTRAL Rules. The seat of the arbitrations was London and Geneva. Sudanese law applied.
  • Representing Mauritius in a USD 1 billion investment dispute conducted under the UNCITRAL Rules concerning the confiscation of the assets of an industrial group including a commercial bank and an insurance company. International law applies and the seat of the arbitration is Brussels.
  • Representing the Republic of Latvia in two investment treaty arbitrations conducted under the ICSID Convention. The first is a USD 100 million arbitration initiated by an alleged Ukrainian national concerning the acquisition of a steel mill in an insolvency, while the second is a EUR 65 million arbitration initiated by Scandinavian companies concerning a transport infrastructure project. International law applies to both disputes.
  • Successfully representing the Republic of Turkey in annulment proceedings in the largest ICSID dispute at the time it was initiated (USD 10 billion) concerning alleged breaches of international law, including expropriation and in a complex EUR 280 million investment dispute brought by Dutch investors under the ICSID Convention following the termination of a construction project.
  • Representing the Republic of Ecuador against a North American company in an investment arbitration under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules arising under a Bilateral Investment Treaty, relating to the termination of mining concessions. A small fraction of the amounts claimed were awarded.

As arbitrator

  • President in an ICSID arbitration concerning the alleged expropriation of a large shopping center
  • President in an ICSID arbitration concerning construction projects in Central Asia
  • President in an ICSID arbitration concerning tax measures affecting the oil and gas sector
  • President in two ICSID arbitrations concerning petroleum development and gas purchase and sale in South Asia under a concession agreement
  • President of an ad hoc committee in ICSID annulment proceedings against an award concerning commercial farms in an African State
  • President in an arbitration under the North American Free Trade Agreement concerning a 300-megawatt offshore wind farm on Lake Ontario
  • President of an ICSID tribunal hearing two separate arbitrations between a Canadian energy company and a South Asian country concerning gas blowouts and gas deliveries
  • President in a contractual ICSID arbitration brought under a mining lease, concerning the respondent State’s alleged failure to prevent illegal miners from entering the concession
  • President in an UNICTRAL arbitration under various investment treaties concerning regulatory measures in the photovoltaic energy sector in a European State
  • President of an ad hoc committee in ICSID annulment proceedings against an award concerning commercial farms and forestry plantations in Zimbabwe
  • President in an UNCITRAL arbitration concerning a contract for road rehabilitation works in Eastern Europe


International Investment Law and Natural Resource Governance

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2016

In: Kati Kulovesi, Elisa Morgera (Eds.), Research Handbook on Environment and Investment Law, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, forthcoming 2016, chapter 2 (also published as an E15 Think Piece for the Extractive Industries Group of the E15 Initiative, WEF/IISD/ICTSD, 2015)

Foreign Investment and the Environment in International Law: The Current State of Play

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2016

In: Kate Miles (Ed.), Research Handbook on Environment and Investment Law, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, forthcoming 2016, chapter 2

The Sources of International Investment Law

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2016

In: Samantha Besson, Jean d’Aspremont (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Sources of International Law, Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2016, chapter 24

L’Etat face à la protection internationale de l’entreprise : Regards sur le droit international des investissements contemporain

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2015

In: Alain Supiot (Ed.), L'état de l'entreprise dans un monde sans frontières. Perspectives économiques et juridiques, Dalloz, Paris, 2015, chapter 6

International Environmental Law

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2015

Cambridge University Press, Bruylant, Brussels, 2015

Concluding observations: The laws and the judge of foreign investment

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2015

In: Attila Tanzi et al (Eds.), International Investment Law in Latin-America: Problems and Prospects, Brill, The Hague, forthcoming 2015, chapter 31

Criteria to Determine Investor Nationality (Juridical Persons)

Nhu-Hoang Tran Thang, Pierre Tercier, 2015

In: Meg Kinnear, Geraldine R. Fischer, Jara Mínguez Almeida et al. (Eds.), Building International Investment Law - The First 50 Years of ICSID, Kluwer Law International, The Netherlands, 2015, chapter 10

And Others: Mass Claims in ICSID Arbitration

Veijo Heiskanen, 2015

In: Meg Kinnear, Geraldine R. Fischer, Jara Mínguez Almeida et al. (Eds.), Building International Investment Law - The First 50 Years of ICSID, Kluwer Law International, The Netherlands, 2015, chapter 44

The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. A Commentary

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2015

Jorge Viñuales (Ed.), Oxford University Press, 2015

Back to Bricks and Mortar: The Case for a “Traditional” Concept for Investment that Never Was

Timothy Foden, 2015

In: Laird et al (Ed.), Investment Treaty Arbitration and International Law, Volume 8, Juris, 2015

Enforcement, France

Eleonore Caroit, 2015

In: Julien Fouret (éd.), Enforcement of Investment Treaty Arbitration Awards, Globe Law and Business, 2015

Customary Law in Investment Regulation

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2014

Italian Yearbook of International Law, Vol.33, 2014

The Foundations of International Investment Law

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2014

Jorge Viñuales, Zachary Douglas, Joost Pauwelyn (Eds.), Oxford University Press, 2014

Sovereignty in Foreign Investment Law

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2014

In: Jorge Viñuales, Zachary Douglas, Joost Pauwelyn (Eds.), The Foundations of International Investment Law, Oxford University Press, 2014, chapter 11

The Challenge of Proliferation: An Anatomy of the Debate

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2014

In: Cesare Romano, Karen Alter, Yuval Shany (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Adjudication, Oxford University Press, 2014, chapter 7

Post-Award Remedies

Veijo Heiskanen, Laura Halonen, 2014

In: Giorgetti (Ed.), Litigating International Investment Disputes: A Practitioner's Guide, Brill/Nijhoff, 2014, pp. 497-526

Vers un droit international de l’énergie : Essai de cartographie

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2013

In: Marcelo Kohen, Dolores Bentolila (Eds.), Mélanges en l’honneur de Jean-Michel Jacquet, LexisNexis, Paris, 2013, chapter 18

L’immunité d’exécution dans l’affaire de l’Ara Libertad devant le TIDM

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2013

Journal du droit international, No 3, Clunet, 2013, pp.13-44

Diplomatic and Judicial Means of Dispute Settlement

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2012

Jorge Viñuales, Marcelo Kohen and Laurence Boisson de Chazournes (Eds.), Brill / Martinus Nijhoff, 2012

La distribución del riesgo regulatorio ambiental en el derecho de las inversiones internacionales

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2012

Anuario Mexicano de Derecho Internacional, Vol. 12, 2012, pp. 169-209

Foreign Investment and the Environment in International Law

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2012

Cambridge University Press, 2012

The use of alternative (non-judicial) means to enforce investment awards

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2012

In: Jorge Viñuales, Marcelo Kohen, Laurence Boisson de Chazournes (Eds.), Diplomatic and Judicial Means of Dispute Settlement, Brill / Martinus Nijhoff, 2012, pp. 245-275

Tax Gross-Up Claims in Investment Treaty Arbitration

Nhu-Hoang Tran Thang, 2011

Young ICCA Blog, 2011

Foreign Investment in Latin-America: Between Love and Hatred

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2011

In: Claude Auroi, Aline Helg (Eds.), Latin America. Dreams and Legacy 1810-2010, Imperial College Press, London, 2011, pp. 319-358.

The “Resource Curse” – A Legal Perspective

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2011

Global Governance, Vol. 17, No 2, 2011, pp. 197-212

Burden of Proof Regarding Jurisdiction

Timothy Foden, Vasani Baiju, 2010

In: Katia Yannaca-Small (Ed.), Arbitration Under International Investment Agreements: A Guide to the Key Issues, Oxford University Press, 2010

Foreign Investment and the Environment in International Law: An Ambiguous Relationship

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2010

British Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 80, 2010, pp. 244-332

Iced Freshwater Resources: A Legal Exploration

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2010

Yearbook of International Environmental Law, Vol. 20, No 1, 2010, pp. 188-206

Access to Water in Foreign Investment Disputes

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2009

Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, Vol. 21, No 4, 2009, pp. 733-751

Compensation for Non-Expropriatory Breaches of International Investment Law: The Contribution of the Argentine Awards

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2009

Journal of International Arbitration, Vol. 26, No 5, 2009, pp. 729-743

The Contribution of the International Court of Justice to the Development of International Environmental Law

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2008

Fordham International Law Journal, Vol. 32, No 1, 2008, pp. 232-258

L'amicus curiae dans l'arbitrage d'investissement

Jorge E. Viñuales, 2007

ICSID Review, Vol. 22, No 2, 2007, pp. 380-432

Switzerland-headquartered boutique active on a raft of investment treaty disputes. Formidable track record advising both states and investors in a broad range of sectors. Significant knowledge of UNCITRAL and ICSID proceedings.

Chambers Global 2016, Public International Law

“Response times were always excellent, business acumen beyond doubt and industry knowledge is outstanding.” The fact that the partners involved were themselves experienced arbitrators “added enormously to the competence of the team they put together.” (...) A client praises the “excellent” performance of the firm, in particular the “timeliness, clarity and quality” of its written submissions. “They are very thorough in the approach, covering all aspects of the matter, not just legal. Lalive is able to provide the complete package“.

GAR, 2016

"Outstanding Swiss firm with the experience and diversity to compete on a pan-European level. Operates out of Geneva and Zürich, handling large-scale BIT and commercial arbitrations on behalf of states and multinational clients. Particularly active in the energy, construction and telecoms sectors and, increasingly, in finance and post-M&A corporate disputes. Widely recognised for the numerous prominent arbitrators within its ranks.
"A very diversified team with lawyers who have been educated in different jurisdictions. I think this firm stands out even compared to some British and American competitors."
"The firm has a line-up of star arbitrators unmatched by anybody."

Chambers Global, Arbitration (International) Europe-wide (Band 2), 2016

1st non-global firm, 10th worldwide

GAR, 2016

Predominantly recognised for its noteworthy investment arbitration practice. Also advises on treaty interpretation, sovereign immunity, and Law of the Sea. Regularly appear in front of international courts and tribunals including ICSID and the ICJ.
"Fantastic firm with a great great reputation."

Chambers Global, Public International Law (Band 4) - Global-wide, 2015

International law firm based in Geneva and Zürich with an arbitration practice to rival many of its bigger competitors. Internationally oriented lawyers are qualified in several jurisdictions and represent clients in high-value investor-state and commercial arbitrations.
"Everyone I have come across from the firm is fantastic."

Chambers Global, Arbitration (International) (Band 2), Europe-wide, 2015

Punches above its weight for cross-border arbitration, with bases in Geneva and Zürich and an associate office in Doha. Handles both investment and commercial disputes, with particular expertise in the energy, TMT and life sciences sectors.
"A strong and diverse practice across investment treaty and commercial arbitration."

Chambers Global, Arbitration (International) (Band 5), Global-wide, 2015

The deepest international arbitration bench in Switzerland. The firm is a really credible investment.

Chambers Europe, Switzerland, Dispute Resolution, 2014

The firm's name - and huge reputation in the field - has everything to do with Pierre Lalive, who was described (..) as 'the grand old man of Swiss arbitration'. (...)Nowadays, the firmcontinues to rule the roost in Switzerland, with arguably the largest team of full-time arbitration specialists of any Swiss firm.

Global Arbitration Review - GAR30, 2013, 1st non-global firm, ranked 16th worldwide

The group is one of the most experienced offerings in the European market and remains a go-to outfit for highly complex and politicised disputes. (...) Sources say: "Fantastic lawyers; the transparency and timing of work was outstanding.

Chambers Global, Arbitration, Switzerland, 2013, Band 1, 1st non-global firm, top 20 worldwide

Sources say: ‘The partners are always accessible and they respond promptly. The firm is committed and consistently gives sterling performance’.

Chambers Global, Arbitration (International), 2012, Band 1, 8 key individuals

Lalive's strong track record in arbitration, and large, dedicated team make it a hugely popular and successful force in international arbitration. Sources say: 'Lalive is one of the most distinguished names in international arbitration. It is excellent'.

Chambers Europe, Dispute Resolution, 2013, Band 1, Leading Swiss Firm, top 15 in Europe

The firm has a strong pedigree in international arbitration, and punches above its weight in the global market

Chambers Europe, General Business Law: Geneva, 2013

Lalive's 'outstanding' dispute resolution group comprises dedicated arbitration and litigation teams. The eight-partner arbitration team is 'the best of the best' and adopts a 'team-oriented' approach."

Legal 500 EMEA, Switzerland, Dispute Resolution, 2010, Tier 1

International Who’s Who of Commercial Arbitration 2014, 1st non-global firm, 6th worldwide, 15 lawyers

Lalive is recognised both at home and abroad for the quality of its lawyers, and has offices in Geneva and Zurich as well as in Qatar. Ten specialists are recognised in our research, more than any other firm in Switzerland.

Who's Who Legal, Switzerland, Arbitration 2013, leading Swiss firm, 15 lawyers

Within Dispute Resolution, Lalive is a first tier firm. The 'well-structured, communicative and organised' group at Lalive includes dedicated arbitration and litigation teams. Lalive is 'the best arbitration boutique in Switzerland' and the 13-partner team advises a range of public sector clients, states and international organisations.

Who's Who Legal, Switzerland, Arbitration, 2011