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Elise Edson


Elise specialises in complex investment and commercial arbitrations, public international law, and business & human rights.

Her experience spans multiple industries and sectors, with a focus on energy and mining & metals. She also advises on the international protection of investments, including political risk mitigation, and issues arising out of sanctions.

Elise additionally has an active pro bono practice, focusing on human rights, environmental, social & governance (ESG), and climate change, and writes and speaks regularly on these topics. She also leads the Human Rights at Sea Arbitration initiative, which seeks to develop a system for the arbitration of complaints concerning human rights abuses at sea.

Elise has particular expertise in disputes with a Russian nexus. She currently represents the Government of Ukraine in investment disputes involving Russian interests, and notably acted for the majority shareholders of the Yukos Oil Company in proceedings under the Energy Charter Treaty, which resulted in a $50 billion arbitral award against Russia —the largest arbitral award on record.

Prior to joining the firm in 2010, Elise practised as an associate at a boutique litigation firm in Australia, representing parties in complex national and cross-border commercial and bankruptcy disputes, and corporate investigations. Elise also clerked for the Hon. A. Besanko, Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, interned with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kathmandu, Nepal, was a research assistant to a member of the International Law Commission in Geneva, Switzerland, and taught the subjects of Public International Law, Constitutional Law and Administrative Law at two Australian law schools.


Representative matters

A large energy multinational in respect of potential arbitration claims, including under different bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, in connection with oil and gas assets in Central Asia.

Ukraine, 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.

Ukraine, Respondent in an ICSID arbitration initiated by Emergofin B.V. and Velbay Holdings Ltd. under the Netherlands-Ukraine bilateral investment treaty (ICSID Case No. ARB/16/35). The dispute relates to measures allegedly targeting an aluminium and alumina production company, including in respect of electricity pricing and Ukraine’s transition to a liberalised electricity market, and sanctions issued against the Claimants and their ultimate Russian owner.

A Turkish industrial company regarding the application to the company’s worldwide operations of EU sanctions imposed in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Pro bono

Elise is assisting a European NGO in the preparation of a Third Party Intervention before the European Court of Human Rights, relating to the alleged violation by a Central European State of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Elise is assisting a North American NGO and East African NGO in the preparation of a Complaint before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, relating to the alleged violation by an East African State of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Elise is assisting an East African NGO by providing advice and commentary on draft legislation, and by facilitating capacity building initiatives, focused on the development of an African State’s carbon trading market and associated legal framework.

Elise assisted an international environmental organisation by preparing a legal advice on directors’ duties and climate change risks under French and European law.

Published Work

  • (2023) “Updated OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises: implications for corporate disclosure and due diligence”, International Bar Association Business Human Rights Committee eBulletin, New York, NY: IBA
  • (2023) “English High Court Rejects Climate Case Against Energy Company Board”, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, Cambridge, MA: Harvard Law School
  • (2023) “Key Takeaways From EU Proposal For Greenwashing Rules”, Law360, New York, NY: Portfolio Media, Inc.
  • (2023) “Personal Liability of Directors for Climate Strategy: Landmark Case Against Energy Company Board”, Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog, New York, NY: Columbia Law School

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, “When government and social goals meet the reality of construction contracting”, IBA Annual Conference, Paris, October 2023
  • Speaker, “The global polycrisis and political risk insurance”, Paris Arbitration Week, Paris, March 2023
  • Speaker, “Arbitration as a means of effective remedy for human rights abuses at sea”, Webinar, July 2023
  • Speaker, “Enforcement of arbitral awards in the time of sanctions”, ICCYAF: Arbitrating East-West Disputes in the Time of Sanctions, Helsinki, April 2016

Leadership Positions And Professional Affiliations

  • Member, International Bar Association (IBA)
  • Member, ICC Australia


  • Legal 500 Arbitration Powerlist France, 2023
  • Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration – Future Leaders, 2023
  • The Best Lawyers in France, Public International Law, 2023



Solicitor, Supreme Court of South Australia, 2005

Attorney-at-Law, New York, 2012


High Court of Australia, 2009


Masters Course, Business and Human Rights, University of Bergen, 2023

LL.M. (Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar), Columbia Law School, 2010

LL.B. (First Class Honours), Diploma in Language (French), University of Adelaide, 2006

Diploma de Estudios Hispánicos, Universidad de Salamanca, 2002

Bachelor of International Studies (International Relations and Asian Studies), Diploma in Language (Spanish), Flinders University, 2001

Osaka International University for Women, 1995


English, French, Spanish, Japanese (Japanese Language Proficiency Test, Level 2)
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.