Cleary Gottlieb is currently representing or has represented no fewer than 13 sovereigns or sovereign instrumentalities from around the world -- including Argentina, Russia, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Mexico, Belgium, Gibraltar, the Republic of the Congo, Slovenia, Japan, Indonesia and Iraq -- as well as several of the world’s leading multinational corporations and financial institutions in international litigation and arbitration matters involving public international law. Our team has frequently been involved in state-to-state disputes and disputes involving international organizations. For example, we represented Japan in the Southern Bluefin Tuna Case brought by Australia and New Zealand under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and have represented the Bank for International Settlements in various litigation and arbitration matters. We have also represented respondent states in proceedings brought before the European Court of Human Rights.
The firm also has significant experience in investor-state arbitration, both as investors’ and states’ counsel. We represent claimants all over the world and in a wide variety of sectors, including telecommunications, energy, oil and gas, gaming and shipping, to name a few. The team’s partners represent clients before arbitral panels constituted under the aegis of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), and the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), among others.
Our recent practice highlights include:
Investment Treaty Arbitration
Counsel to OAO Tatneft in an UNCITRAL arbitration against Ukraine under the Ukraine - Russia bilateral investment treaty regarding the illegal seizure of an oil refinery.
Counsel to E.T.I. Euro Telecom International N.V. in an ICSID arbitration against Bolivia for breach of the Netherlands-Bolivia bilateral investment treaty. This ICSID arbitration was discontinued when the parties agreed to substitute an UNCITRAL arbitration proceeding.
Counsel to E.T.I. Euro Telecom International N.V. in the UNCITRAL arbitration against Bolivia for breach of the Netherlands-Bolivia bilateral investment treaty.
Counsel to the Russian Federation in three parallel arbitrations under UNCITRAL Rules in The Hague commenced by one Isle of Man and two Cyprus companies, in their capacities as former shareholders of Yukos Oil Company, alleging unfair treatment and expropriation in violation of the investment provisions of the Energy Charter Treaty and damages totaling more than $100 billion.
Counsel to the Russian Federation in an arbitration under the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce Rules initiated by RosInvestCo, a former Yukos minority shareholder, against the Russian Federation alleging expropriation under the UK – Soviet bilateral investment treaty.
Counsel to the Republic of Argentina, together with the Procuración del Tesoro de la República Argentina, in claims brought at ICSID under the Argentina-Italy bilateral investment treaty by holders of interests under multiple Argentine bonds. The claims allege unfair and discriminatory treatment and expropriation and seek billions of dollars in damages. This is the first attempt to pursue a mass claim – more than 190,000 claimants in a single proceeding – in an ICSID arbitration and also involves a novel attempt to use investment treaty arbitration to challenge a sovereign bond default and debt restructuring. Our firm was also retained to join the Procuración in defending against two subsequently filed group claims concerning bond defaults.
State Succession/Human Rights
Counsel to the Republic of Slovenia in proceedings initiated by Bosnian individuals against the successor States to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia before the European Court of Human Rights relating to the successor States’ succession to and liability for the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s guarantee of foreign-currency deposits. The Firm has previously obtained a dismissal of similar proceedings before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights.
Counsel to the Republic of Argentina in numerous litigations brought in the United States, Austria, France, Germany, Belgium and Italy by bondholders affected by Argentina’s default with respect to approximately $100 billion in external indebtedness, including unsuccessful attempts by such bondholders to attach assets belonging to the Republic of Argentina in the United States and Europe and attempts by them to interfere with Argentina’s restructuring of that indebtedness.
UN Security Council Sanctions
Counsel to the Republic of Iraq in the successful dismissal of an arbitration initiated by a German state-owned company under the Austrian Chamber of Commerce Rules concerning claims under financial arrangements in violation of the financial sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council on the Saddam Hussein regime.
What Others Say About Our Practice
A Leading Firm for International Arbitration
Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys (2013)
“This firm’s PIL group is regularly retained by sovereigns, international organisations, state-owned entities and multinational companies worldwide. It is well equipped to handle both investment treaty arbitrations and state-to-state cases, and is best known for its involvement in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.”
Chambers Global (2013)
“This international firm has a respected public law team in Belgium which is especially recognised for its state aid expertise. The team also advises public and private bodies on the structuring and organisation of PPP projects under both Belgian and EU law. ‘Outstanding quality, technical and legal skills, and a perfect knowledge of both national and international regulations.’”
Chambers Europe (2013)
“This team offers the full spectrum of PIL advice, including dispute resolution, international human rights law, sovereign matters and state succession. It advises multinational corporations, financial institutions and sovereigns with regard to PIL matters and is recognized for its extensive experience in Eastern Europe.”
Chambers Global (2012)
“The group attracts significant domestic and international clients, who value its strength at both a local and global level. ‘Impressive, precise and concise.’”
Chambers Europe (2012)
"This firm has PIL expertise spread across its network of offices, including Paris, New York and London. It is most notable for its investment treaty arbitration work … 'Has a strong all-round practice for sovereigns which provides many opportunities to get involved in PIL matters.'"
Chambers Global (2011)
"Provides first-class service."
"In the past twelve months, the team has noticed a particular growth in bilateral investment treaty arbitrations, which have become a major part of its practice. The team is renowned for its strong multi-jurisdictional and multidisciplinary approach, sharing matters between offices and individuals."
Chambers Global (2010)
"The firm is a strong favorite with numerous European government bodies."
Chambers Europe (2010)
"[Cleary Gottlieb's] global reach and reputation for service 'has been uniformly terrific.'"
The Legal 500 (2010)