International arbitration

A&O Shearman’s international arbitration team has decades of experience advising and representing clients in complex cross-border commercial arbitrations and investor-state disputes under the rules of all the leading institutions.

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Our team has represented investors and states in more than 60 investment treaty claims and has acted in several ground-breaking cases.

We are known for our skill in arbitration-related court proceedings - including multijurisdictional enforcement strategies - ensuring we can take cases from inception to their ultimate conclusion. We also regularly advise on complex issues of public international law.

With more than 180 arbitration lawyers globally, including in the world’s leading arbitral hubs in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the US, we have one of the strongest benches in the world.

This ensures that our clients are matched with true experts for their specific dispute – whatever the industry, language, applicable law or legal issues involved. 

A team with senior roles with leading arbitral institutions

Members of our team hold senior positions with leading arbitral institutions, including the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Indeed, the ICC has turned to us when it has required representation in disputes which have significant implications for arbitration practice.  

Energy arbitration 

Our team draws on A&O Shearman’s deep industry knowledge to deliver tailored solutions whatever the underlying nature of the dispute.  

Working in close alignment with our world-leading project development and finance team we are renowned for our expertise in resolving energy and natural resources disputes, particularly in relation to oil and gas, renewables and nuclear power. We have the world’s leading practice for gas price reviews and a reputation for excellence in navigating claims driven by the energy transition.  

Project disputes 

We advise and represent owners, sponsors, investors, financiers, consortia and contractors on some of the most technically, commercially and politically complex construction and engineering disputes arising from mega-projects around the world. 

Deep expertise in financial services arbitration 

Drawing on the strength of our top-tier finance and capital markets practices, we are one of the few firms with genuine experience in financial services arbitration. We handle disputes involving the most complex financial products and have advised the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) on its arbitration guide. 

Cutting-edge experience in technology, media and telecoms and life sciences 

In the emerging fields of technology, media, telecoms, and life sciences arbitration we are building a reputation for resolving contractual, licensing and intellectual property claims. Many of our team have technical and scientific backgrounds, ensuring we can handle the most complex cases.  

Corporate disputes 

We also act on arbitrations arising from M&A deals, shareholder agreements, and joint ventures, advising throughout the lifecycle of a transaction to help our clients draft arbitration agreements and structure their deals to mitigate risk. 

Representative matters

  • BG and Reliance Industries in a long-running UNCITRAL arbitration (valued at more than USD5 billion) against the Government of India, regarding two oil and gas production sharing contracts. Our clients have received two favorable judgments from the Indian Supreme Court. Two partial awards have been issued in their favour, as well as two partial awards (on remission) for nearly USD700 million as a result of successful challenges in the English courts. We have also defeated several challenges made by India.
  • A government-owned investment company in an ICC arbitration relating to the disputed termination of a long-term sponsorship agreement and the redevelopment of a major European sporting venue. We were successful in defending our client against all of the claims that were brought against it, which were valued at more than €400 million. 
  • More than 30 international investors in 12 separate Energy Charter Treaty claims against the Kingdom of Spain, concerning investments in renewable energy projects and retrospective changes made by Spain to the regulatory framework. We have so far achieved significant damages awards for our clients in seven of these arbitrations, with others still pending.  
  • Turkish company Enka Insaat ve Sanayi AS in an ICC arbitration in London and in English Supreme Court proceedings against insurance group Chubb in respect of a Russian power project. The Supreme Court judgement in this case is the leading English authority on the governing law of an arbitration agreement. 
  • Nissan in its successful investment treaty claim against India, arising from the non-payment of various incentives due to Nissan after it built a major new plant in Chennai. After our team secured an award from the Tribunal, dismissing India’s jurisdictional objections to the claim, a settlement was reached with Nissan receiving payments in the region of USD350m. 
  • Ukraine, as respondent in an SCC arbitration in Stockholm brought by VEB.RF, the Russian State development agency. The dispute relates to sanctions and other measures allegedly targeting Russian banks in Ukraine after 2014. The claims are brought under the Ukraine-Russia bilateral investment treaty. 
  • The Islamic Republic of Pakistan in successfully defending two related UNCITRAL investment treaty arbitrations, valued at nearly USD600m, concerning gas import operations. Claims were dismissed entirely, and the investors ordered to pay 90% of Pakistan’s costs. We also defeated challenge proceedings brought by the investors.  
  • The Dow Chemical Company in an ICC arbitration in London against Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) arising out of the failure of the latter to close a large joint venture transaction.  


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