Christopher Ryan

Christopher Ryan

Partner

Christopher Ryan is a partner in the International Arbitration practice.

Christopher Ryan is a partner in the International Arbitration practice. 

He has extensive experience in international arbitration and litigation, and has represented private and State clients in disputes before ICC, AAA, ICSID, UNCITRAL, LCIA, ad hoc arbitral tribunals, and U.S. federal courts. His practice focuses on commercial and investment disputes in the construction, infrastructure, mining, and energy sectors. He has advised U.S. and other companies on issues of public and private international law, investment and trade policy, and strategies for mitigating the risks associated with foreign investment.

Christopher Ryan also serves as a Lecturer at the University of Virginia School of Law and the George Washington School of Law, where he teaches a course on international investment arbitration and international commercial arbitration, respectively.

Experience

Representative matters

Construction disputes

Representation of two international construction contractors, Respondents in an ICC arbitration in London initiated by a Middle Eastern State-owned company. The dispute concerns the development of a world-class medical facility in the Middle East. The law of the Claimant's State applies. Over USD 3.7 billion is at stake. 

Representation of Stoneway Capital Corporation (US) and its Latin American subsidiary, Respondents and Counter-Claimants in an ICC arbitration in New York initiated by a European construction contractor. The dispute arose from an EPC contract for the construction of two power plants in Latin America. New York law applied. 

Representation of a North American mining company in a dispute with its principal contractor regarding the construction of a mine processing plant in North America. The dispute related to delays and defects in the works. U.S. law governed.

Representation of a North American mining company, Respondent and Counter-claimant, in a dispute before a U.S. state court brought by its principal contractor regarding the construction of a mine in North America. The dispute related to delays and cost overruns on the project. U.S. law governed.

Representation of a State-owned Latin American oil and gas company, Respondent in an ICC arbitration in The Hague against a European contractor. The dispute arose from the alleged breach of an EPC contract and associated delays and cost overruns in the construction and expansion of a state-owned oil refinery. Dutch law applied.

Representation of an international contractor in an ICC arbitration in Toronto against an African mining company. The dispute arose from alleged breaches of an agreement to construct a pipeline from a mining site to a processing plant, and involved issues of design changes, unforeseen physical conditions, and other events that delayed the completion of the project. The law of Ontario applied.

Representation of an international joint venture, Respondent and Counterclaimant and in an ICDR arbitration in New York initiated by a North Asian company. The dispute arose from an agreement for the construction of a chemical plant in North America. Issues included delay and defective works. New York law applied.

Representation of an African Government in a commercial dispute with an Indian contractor. The dispute, which was subject to ICC Arbitration Rules, arose from the alleged breach of a FIDIC Yellow Book contract for the construction of various port facilities. French law applied. The matter was settled through pre-arbitral dispute processes.

Oil & Gas and Energy

Representation of a North American technology company in a AAA arbitration against a North American crude oil transportation company. The dispute arises from a contract for the development and installation of computer software to control certain natural gas pipelines in the United States.

Representation of an Australasia-based international oil company, Respondent in a AAA arbitration in Houston brought by a North American international oil company. The dispute related to the ownership of certain development rights. Texas law applied.

Representation of an Australasia-based international oil company in a dispute with a European energy company regarding the transfer of interests in a North American oil and gas project. The contract provided for AAA arbitration. Various U.S. laws applied.

Representation of a North American international oil company in a contractual dispute with a North American LNG company regarding the provision of certain storage and tolling services. The contract provided for AAA arbitration. New York law applied.

Advice to a major oil company in relation to its global dispute strategies and climate change issues.

Advice to a U.S. power plant owner in disputes with its suppliers and principal customers arising out of force majeure and other operational events.

Investment arbitration

Advice to a Latin American mining company regarding the structuring of its assets in a Latin American State to maximize bilateral investment treaty protection.

Representation of the Republic of Panama, Respondent in an ICSID arbitration brought by Omega Engineering LLC and Mr. Oscar Rivera (ICSID Case No. ARB/16/42). The dispute relates to infrastructure construction projects. The claims are brought under both the Panama-U.S. bilateral investment treaty and trade promotion agreement.

Representation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration initiated by Koch Minerals Sàrl and Koch Nitrogen International Sàrl (ICSID Case No. ARB/11/19). The dispute arose from the construction and operation of an ammonia and urea production facility. The claims were brought under the Venezuela-Switzerland bilateral investment treaty.

Representation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in two ICSID arbitrations, respectively initiated by O.I. European Group B.V. (ICSID Case No. ARB/11/25) and Fábrica de Vidrios Los Andes, C.A. and Owens-Illinois de Venezuela, C.A. (ICSID Case No. ARB/12/21). The dispute was in relation to the operation of two industrial plants for the production, processing and distribution of glass containers. The claims were brought under the Venezuela-Netherlands bilateral investment treaty.

Representation of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration initiated by Vestey Group Ltd. (ICSID Case No. ARB/06/4). The dispute was in relation to a farming enterprise. The claims were brought under the Venezuela-U.K. bilateral investment treaty.

Representation of Kazatomprom, a Kazakh State entity,  Respondent in an arbitration initiated by World Wide Minerals against our client and the State of Kazakhstan. This case arose out of allegations of breaches by the Respondent of the applicable investment statute and contracts in relation to mining rights allegedly granted to the Claimant. The Respondent objected to jurisdiction and contested the claims on their merits. The amount at stake was in excess of $4 billion. The Claimant has suspended its claims.

Business combination disputes

Representation of 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. English law applied.

Representation of subsidiaries of a European renewable energy company, Claimants in an ICC arbitration in Montevideo, Uruguay brought against a Latin American energy company. The dispute arose from alleged breaches of contract in relation to the sale of a wind farm project in Latin America. Argentine law applied. 

Representation of a European chemical company, Claimant in an ICC arbitration initiated by the European subsidiaries of a North American chemical company. The cases arose out of claims that the Claimant misappropriated certain industrial trade secrets in the course of a joint venture relationship for the development of a chemical facility in Asia. French law applied.

Representation of a European chemical company, Respondent in an arbitration brought by the European subsidiaries of a North American chemical company. The case arose out of allegations that Respondent used misappropriated trade secrets in the course of a joint venture relationship to secure certain U.S. patents.

Commercial disputes

Representation of a North American agro-sciences company, Claimant and Counterclaim respondent in AAA arbitration in Illinois against a plant breeding company regarding the alleged breach of a collaborative research and development agreement. Approximately $400 million was at stake. Illinois law applied.

Representation of the Asian subsidiary of a major European chemicals company, Claimant in an ICC arbitration against the Asian subsidiary of a major North American chemical company. The dispute arose from a long-term supply agreement. New York law applied.

Representation of the U.S. subsidiary of a European solar power company, Respondent in an ICC arbitration in New York brought by a consulting company. The dispute involved the alleged breach of various contracts relating to the construction of a solar power plant in the United States. New York law applied.

Enforcement

Advising a European State Bank regarding foreign sovereign immunity issues and risks to its assets arising from post-judgment enforcement actions.

Representation of Enka Insaat ve Sanayi AS in proceedings brought before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to request the confirmation of a $47 million award rendered in an ICC arbitration against Gabon in a dispute over payments on contracts to build the presidential palace and a museum in the country.

Representation of Tata Sons Ltd., as award debtor, in proceedings brought before U.S. courts by Japanese telecoms company NTT DoCoMo to seek enforcement of a $1.17 billion award rendered in an LCIA arbitration.

Representation of the majority shareholders in the former Yukos Oil Company in proceedings before U.S. courts to confirm three Final Awards in which the Arbitral Tribunal ordered the Russian Federation to pay over $50 billion in damages to our clients. This is the largest arbitral award ever rendered by an arbitral tribunal.

Representation of a European company in multiple proceedings before U.S. Courts against a North American chemical company to enforce arbitral agreements included in several agreements entered into over the course of a joint venture relationship.

Litigation

Representation of European appliance manufacturer Arcelik, Claimant in litigation before U.S. federal court against U.S. chemical company DuPont. The dispute relates to defects in materials manufactured by DuPont and used by Arcelik in its appliances. Multiple laws apply. 

Representation of Terry Weiss and Weiss Consulting, Defendants, in a litigation involving the construction of a copper mine in Nevada. The dispute involved the alleged misappropriation of trade secrets and tortious interference with contractual relationships. Nevada law applied. 

Representation of Alcolac Inc., Defendant in a putative class action lawsuit brought by Kurdish nationals in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victims Protection Act. Plaintiffs alleged that Alcolac aided-and-abetted Iraq's violation of U.S. and international law through use of chemical weapons against Kurdish civilians in 1988.

Representation of Bank of America in the first successful lenders claim brought to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. The claim involved the expropriation of insured assets in India.

Representation of various clients in trade-related matters before the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. International Trade Commission, U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Public International Law

Advice to an intergovernmental agency on questions of sovereign immunity under the laws of the United States and other jurisdictions. 

Advice to a Latin American State on diplomatic and legal issues regarding an ongoing boundary dispute with a neighboring country State.

Advice to a Latin American State's delegation to the United Nations and United Nations' Security Council on several public international law issues, including: questions of ambassadorial immunities; jurisdictional issues relating to the conduct of the International Criminal Court; Security Council procedures; the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice; the use of force in international law; the legality of sanctions regimes under international law; the enforcement of international awards and judgments against sovereign assets; and the formation of the Permanent Arbitration Court.

Advice to State-owned oil companies regarding the scope and applicability of U.S. and international sanctions.

Advice to an international NGO on various questions of public international law.  Examples include: comparative analysis of how States handle the question of universal jurisdiction; international law standards for documenting crimes against terrorism; participatory constitutional reform measures; the international legal regime governing the creation and administrative of peacekeeping forces; a State's obligations under international law to counter terrorist activities located within its territorial boundaries; international prohibitions on the use of chemical weapons, with a focus on chlorine gas.

Pro bono

Led a team of attorneys on a grant project for Lawyers Without Borders to provide anti-poaching investigation training to officers in the Kenyan Wildlife Services.

Advised the Public and International Law Policy Group on a variety of public international law-related questions.

Advised The Nature Conservancy in relation to conservation bond transactions.

Published Work

  • "Fundamental Issues in Valuing Natural Resource Investments in International Investment Arbitration," in Proceedings of the 64th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (2018)
  • "Temporal Issues, Exceptions, Taxes, Fork-in-the-Road Provisions and Waivers," in Business Guide to Trade and Investment: International Investment (International Chamber of Commerce, 2018) 
  • "Encouraging Greater Use of Mediation in International Commercial Arbitration," New York Law Journal, March 16, 2018 (co-author)
  • "An Ounce of Prevention: Structuring Foreign Investments to Maximize International Investment Law Protection and Minimize Risk," New York Law Journal, November 27, 2017

Speaking Engagements

  • "The Year in Review – Hot Topics in International Arbitration," ABA Litigation Section's 2022 Annual Conference, May 2022
  •  "Damages in International Investment Law," University of Pennsylvania Law School, April 2022
  • "Managing Discovery in Complex Construction Arbitration," European-American Chamber of Commerce Conference, New York, January 2020
  • "Advanced Seminar on Arbitrator Ethics," International Law Institute, Washington, D.C., November 2019

Leadership Positions And Professional Affiliations

  • Advisory Board Member, International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR)
  • Member, CPR Transparency Task Force
  • Advisory Board Member, Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA)
  • Corresponding Editor, International Legal Materials – American Society of International Law
Recognition
"He is an excellent counsel. He is always available and did an excellent job in the hearing."; "He is a good, practical, results-oriented litigator."; and "earns praise for being in tune with arbitrators through the course of the tribunal proceedings"
"handles both commercial and investment treaty proceedings, in particular those involving construction claims" and that he is "noted for his extensive Latin American practice"

Qualifications

Admissions

New York State, 2001
District of Columbia, 2002

Courts

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 2001

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 2009

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 2010

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 2002

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 2004

United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 2007

United States District Court for the District of Maryland, 2009

United States Court of International Trade, 2001

United States Court of Federal Claims, 2005

Academic

BA (Hons.), Political Science, Temple University, 1992

MA, International Relations, Villanova University, 1993

J.D., Law, George Washington University, 2000

Languages

English
Disclaimer
A&O Shearman was formed on May 1, 2024 by the combination of Shearman & Sterling LLP and Allen & Overy LLP and their respective affiliates (the legacy firms). Any matters referred to above may include matters undertaken by one or more of the legacy firms rather than A&O Shearman.