Public International Law

“Formidable track record advising both states and investors”


LALIVE has long-standing experience in advising on public international law matters, including on international claims, state responsibility, state succession, international land and maritime boundaries, the law of international organisations, international trade regulations, sanctions, human rights and state contracts.

The firm’s public international law specialists have represented clients on numerous occasions before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC), the Iran-US Claims Tribunal, the administrative tribunals of the United Nations, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). They have acted as counsel, advisers and adjudicators in a variety of international claims proceedings relating to World War II and to conflicts in the Middle-East, the Balkans and Africa.

As part of the firm’s investment arbitration practice, LALIVE provides advice to governments in the negotiation of investment treaties and the implementation of investment policies more generally, as well as to investors on how to structure their investments to ensure effective protection.

LALIVE also represents clients in international criminal law proceedings. The firm has advised and acted on behalf of governments and non-governmental entities in relation to matters such as war crimes, terrorism, genocide and crimes against humanity. One of the firm’s partners is admitted to plead before the International Criminal Court.

  • Representing the Qatar National Committee for Human Rights (QNHRC) in the claims pursued by private parties against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, following the sanctions imposed on against the State of Qatar and its nationals
  • Advising a governmental organisation in the Middle East on a wide range of public international law issues, including boundary issues, land swaps, investment protection, mass claims processes and other issues
  • Advising an African State in diplomatic negotiations with a neighbouring State on various issues of international law including the law of the sea, international trade law and the law of regional economic integration in relation to cross-border pipelines and transboundary natural resources
  • Advising a South American State on the strategy to adopt in connection with a maritime delimitation dispute before the ICJ, in light of both procedural rules and general international law
  • Advising and representing Iraq in the mass claim process following the Gulf War under the aegis of the United Nations Compensation Commission, on a wide range of compensation claims, including for environmental damage

La souveraineté pénale nationale à l’heure de la concurrence des Etats et des Procureurs. Vues d’un praticien

Marc Henzelin, 2018

In: Société Française pour le Droit International, Actes du Colloque de Lille, La souveraineté pénale de l’Etat au XXIe siècle, Pedone, Paris, 2018, pp. 115-145

Applicable Law: Jus ad Bellum, Jus in Bello and the Legacy of the UN Compensation Commission

Veijo Heiskanen, Nicolas Leroux, 2015

In: Timothy J. Feighery, Christopher S. Gibson, Trevor M. Rajah (Eds.), War Reparations and the UN Compensation Commission: Designing Compensation After Conflict, Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 51-80

Brazil-China: The reign of toothless giants?

Baptiste Rigaudeau, 2014

Young Arbitration Review – YAR – Issue 17

Housing and property restitution in Kosovo

Veijo Heiskanen, Alan Dodson, 2003

In: Leckie (Ed.), Returning Home: Housing and Property Restitution Rights of Refugees and Displaced Persons, Ardsley N.Y., Transnational Publishers, 2003, pp. 225-242

The United Nations Compensation Commission

Veijo Heiskanen, 2003

Collected Courses of the Hague Academy of International Law, 2003, Vol. 296, pp. 259-393

Le principe de l'universalité en droit pénal international

Marc Henzelin, 2000

Geneva Law Faculty, Helbing & Lichtenhahn, Basle, Geneva, Munich, Bruylant, Brussels, 2000, 527 pages, ISBN Helbing & Lichtenhahn: 3-7190-1952-7, ISBN Bruylant: 2-8027-1455-4

UN Compensation Commission panel sets precedents on government claims

Veijo Heiskanen, Robert C. O'Brien, 1998

American Journal of International Law, 1998, Vol. 92, pp. 339 ss

Jurisdiction v. Competence: Revisiting a frequently neglected distinction

Veijo Heiskanen, 1994

Finnish Yearbook of International Law, 1994, Vol. 5, pp. 1 ss

International organizations and private persons: The case for a direct application of international law

Michael E. Schneider, 1993

In: Dominice/Patry/Reymond (Eds.), Etudes de Droit international en l'honneur de Pierre Lalive, Basle, Helbing & Lichtenhahn, 1993, pp. 345-358

Compact but highly distinguished Geneva-headquartered firm with a renowned presence in the PIL sphere. Often acts in investor-state arbitrations under the auspices of ICSID and UNCITRAL and is particularly active handling disputes in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Offers substantial strength in sovereign immunity and human rights matters, as well as adept guidance on the laws governing international organisations. In the latter half of 2018, the firm expanded its global footprint with the opening of a new office in London.
Enthused sources say: "They are very prudent and reliable lawyers, always at one's disposal, with an unbelievable ability to work through complex matters in the shortest time."
Another interviewee commented: "They provide a top-notch performance. I value their pragmatic and strategic advice. They have serious academic chops, but they are nevertheless extremely practical."

Chambers Global, Public International Law, Global-wide, 2019

Compact but highly distinguished Geneva-based firm with a renowned presence in the PIL sphere. Often acts in investor-state arbitrations under the auspices of ICSID and UNCITRAL and is particularly active handling disputes in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Offers substantial strength in sovereign immunity and human rights matters. "They are brilliant lawyers doing excellent work both on written pleadings and hearings. They are very responsive as well." Sources recognise the team as "highly skilled" and "very active" in the PIL field.

Chambers Global, Public International Law, 2018

Switzerland-based firm particularly noted for its formidable track record in arbitrations for both sovereign states and investor clients. Has significant knowledge of UNCITRAL and ICSID proceedings and is highly regarded for representations in Europe. The boutique team is acclaimed for its specialised involvement in this sector, with sources highlighting its "very strong presence in PIL dispute resolution." Commentators say: "They are highly experienced in investment disputes and international arbitration. We like the firm as it is responsive and has brilliant and efficient lawyers with a proven track record in investment disputes."

Chambers Global, Public International Law: 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

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

(Lalive) has continued to prioritise public international law. Finnish-born Veijo Heiskanen is one of the names to know in this area. He has extensive experience in mass claims that can follow international conflict, having worked as counsel, adviser and arbitrator for the Iran-US Claims Tribunal, the UN Compensation Commission, the Claims Resolution Tribunal for Dormant Accounts Switzerland, the UN Property Claims Commission in Kosovo and the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission.

Global Arbitration Review, 2013, GAR 30: 16th worldwide