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


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

Enforcement, France

Eleonore Caroit, 2015

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

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

Tax Gross-Up Claims in Investment Treaty Arbitration

Nhu-Hoang Tran Thang, 2011

Young ICCA Blog, 2011

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

Acclaimed group of international arbitration experts headquartered in Geneva. Operates a well-regarded investor-state and commercial arbitration practice, with particular expertise in the energy, construction, telecoms and mining sectors. Highly rated for its handling of significant disputes in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and South America. One interviewee was particularly impressed by "the phenomenal amount of work they do" and reported: "They leave no stone unturned and miss nothing, it is quite phenomenal. They're also extremely conscientious about keeping you in the loop. They forge a personal connection with you, which is very reassuring." Sources appreciate the team's efficiency, noting: "Their performance has been extraordinary. They were able to analyse a complex case within a short timeframe, and they had the skills to communicate in the different languages required for our case."

Chambers Global, Global-wide, Arbitration, 2018

Outstanding Swiss firm operating out of Geneva and Zürich with the experience and diversity to compete on a pan-European level. Noted for its prowess in large-scale BIT, investor-state and commercial arbitrations on behalf of states, state-owned companies, private companies and some high net worth individuals. (...) Well reputed for the numerous prominent arbitrators within its ranks. Clients appreciate that the lawyers "look at alternative strategies and objectively challenge them," noting: "They take the time to understand the case and they listen in order to develop an effective strategy.""They are well connected to other jurisdictions and are ready to provide expertise in terms of local firms that they can vouch for".

Chambers Global, Europe-wide, Arbitration, 2018

"Top-drawer multi-disciplinary team that benefits from offices in Geneva, Zürich and Doha. Standout expertise in banking, energy, asset recovery and white-collar crime disputes. Advises on litigation but is best known for a focus on arbitration, where it acts for sovereign entities and companies. Additional expertise in high-profile investor-state disputes. Possesses particular knowledge of representing clients from the MENA region." One client praises the team's "dedication, expertise and responsiveness". One client states that LALIVE "were more creative and came up with better ideas than the other firm we worked with."

Chambers Europe, Dispute Resolution, 2017

Lalive is ‘a clear market leader’ when it comes to international commercial and investment arbitration.

Legal 500, Switzerland, Dispute resolution: Arbitration, 2017

Outstanding Swiss firm operating out of Geneva and Zürich with the experience and diversity to compete on a pan-European level, acting on disputes throughout the continent. Noted for its prowess in large-scale BIT, investor-state and commercial arbitrations on behalf of sovereign entities, governments and state-owned companies, as well as multinational clients. Particularly active in the energy, construction and telecoms sectors, with an increasing presence in finance and post-M&A disputes. Widely recognised and praised for the numerous prominent arbitrators within its ranks. Commentators describe Lalive as "a high-quality firm in European international arbitration," "a class outfit with a reach that goes beyond Switzerland." One client states: "I was blown away," adding: "It seemed like an exceptional level of commitment." The client goes on to say of the lawyers: "They are creative, smart and everybody makes a contribution."

Chambers Global, Arbitration (International) Europe-wide (Band 2), 2017

Switzerland-based arbitration boutique that operates internationally on high profile cases. Experienced handling disputes in a variety of industry sectors, such as life sciences, hospitality, energy and construction. Regularly acts for states in investor-state disputes. Clients note the team's "exceptional level of commitment."

Chambers Global, Arbitration (International) Global-wide (Band 4), 2017

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