Practice

Public International Law

Market-leading firm in State-to-State and investor-State disputes

Our team has extensive legal experience in the representation of Sovereign States in matters involving public international law. Besides our world renowned practice before the International Court of Justice, our public international law practice includes litigation before the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea, representation in inter-State arbitration under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and in other international settings, Investor-State Arbitration before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Dispute (ICSID), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the other principal arbitral fora around the world, and litigation before the national courts of the United States, France and Belgium.

In addition to representation in adversarial proceedings, our attorneys regularly assist States in the mediation and conciliation of disputes, and in negotiation of agreements with other States and foreign investors.
 
Chambers and Partners has ranked our team in Band 1 in the Public International Law category for 11 years in a row, only one of three firms to deserve that recognition. Chambers has described our team as “one of the world’s most respected and experienced groups of lawyers practicing international law” and praised us for being “the counsel of choice for sovereign states on issues such as international treaties, international investment law and dispute resolution, delimitation of maritime and land boundaries, sovereign and diplomatic privileges and immunities, international environmental law, the use of force and the law of armed conflict, international trade and sanctions, and human rights."
 
The diversity of our team is of our greatest strengths. Per a market source, “the team consists of attorneys with different educational and cultural backgrounds which fruitfully contributes to their understanding of highly complex disputes involving sovereign states."

Areas of Focus

Our attorneys specialize in many facets of public international law, such as:
  • State-to-State disputes
  • Investment arbitration
  • Mediation and conciliation
  • Negotiation of agreements with States and foreign investors

Experience

  • Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (The Gambia v. Myanmar). We represent the Republic of The Gambia in a lawsuit under the Genocide Convention seeking to hold Myanmar accountable under international law for genocide against the Rohingya. We secured a unanimous provisional measures order against Myanmar, and a rejection of all of Myanmar’s preliminary objections to the Court’s jurisdiction. 
  • Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Azerbaijan v. Armenia and Armenia v. Azerbaijan). We represent Armenia in proceedings arising from allegations of breach of the CERD. We secured critical victories for Armenia on the Parties’ requests for provisional measures.
  • Land and Maritime Delimitation and Sovereignty over Islands (Gabon/Equatorial Guinea). We represent the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in a dispute with Gabon regarding the maritime boundary, the land boundary and sovereignty over islands.
  • Guyana v. Venezuela (Case Concerning the Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899). We represent Guyana in a case brought to confirm the international boundary between the two States as determined by an arbitral award whose validity Venezuela has challenged.
  • The State of Qatar and the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (2017) – Application (A); and, the State of Qatar and the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (2017) – Application (B). We successfully represented the State of Qatar in proceedings before the ICJ brought by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE against decisions on the jurisdiction of the ICAO Council to hear a complaint by Qatar arising under the Convention on International Civil Aviation and the International Air Services Transit Agreement. 
  • Mauritius/Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965.  We successfully represented Mauritius in Advisory Opinion proceedings before the ICJ. In a landmark decision, the Court ruled that that the decolonization of Mauritius has not been lawfully completed and that the UK’s continuing administration of the Chagos Archipelago is an internationally wrongful act.
  • Nicaragua v. Colombia (Case Concerning Territorial and Maritime Dispute). We successfully represented Nicaragua in this case to delimit maritime boundaries in the western Caribbean Sea. Nicaragua achieved a major victory over Colombia, obtaining access to the full extent of its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, which Colombia sought to cut off at 70 nautical miles, and more than 75% of the waters claimed by both States in the Caribbean Sea.
  • Argentina v. Uruguay (Case Concerning Pulp Mills on the Uruguay River). We successfully represented Uruguay in this proceeding, defending its right to sustainable development through the construction of a paper pulp mill by showing that the mill satisfied the highest environmental standards. The Court rejected Argentina’s request to shut down the plant based on unproven allegations of harm to the river shared by the two States.
  • Raiffeisen Bank International AG and Raiffeisen Bank Austria d.d. v. Republic of Croatia. We represent Croatia in an UNCITRAL arbitration under the Austria-Croatia BIT, which included parallel proceedings before German courts.  In a historic decision, the court of Frankfurt accepted Croatia’s claim that the Claimants’ request for arbitration is inadmissible under EU law because, under the European Court of Justice’s Judgment in Achmea, the arbitration provisions in intra-EU investment treaties are void. This was the first time a court in the European Union has ruled that the principles of EU law enunciated by the CJEU in Achmea apply beyond the Achmea litigation itself.
  • Ritika Mehta, Vinita Agarwal, and Prenay Agarwal v. the Oriental Republic of Uruguay. We successfully represented Uruguay in an UNCITRAL arbitration before the PCA under the Uruguay-UK BIT, involving a large-scale iron ore mining project, which Claimants alleged to be worth $3.47 billion. The tribunal unanimously denied jurisdiction and ordered Claimants to pay Uruguay’s legal fees.
  • Thomas Gosling and others v. Republic of Mauritius. We successfully helped Mauritius defeat a challenge to its protection of the first UNESCO World heritage site commemorating resistance against slavery. The claim brought by UK investors who sought to turn it into a luxury resort complex was fully dismissed by an ICSID tribunal.
  • Philip Morris Brands Sàrl, Philip Morris Products S.A. and Abal Hermanos S.A. v. Oriental Republic of Uruguay. We successfully represented Uruguay in a case involving claims of breaches to fair and equitable treatment, alleged indirect expropriation and denial of justice arising out of the implementation of tobacco regulations.

Company of China, Limited and Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Limited v. Kingdom of Belgium. We represented the Kingdom of Belgium in this ICSID arbitration filed by Chinese financial services company Ping An as a shareholder of the Fortis group pursuant to the dispute settlement clause of the 2005 Belgium-China bilateral investment treaty.

People

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Get to know the attorneys in our Public International Law practice.

Diego Cadena

International Counsel

Washington, DC

202.261.7369

Diem Huong Ho

International Associate

Washington, DC

202.223.7307

Juan Pablo Hugues

International Associate

Washington, DC

202-394-6572

Pablo Nilo Donoso

International Associate

Washington, DC

202.261.7420

Sudhanshu Roy

International Associate

Washington, DC

202.261.7345

Alberto Wray

International Counsel

Washington, DC

202.261.7340