Cleary Gottlieb has advised States, international organizations and State-owned entities—including the Republic of Austria, the Hellenic Republic, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the French Republic, the Republic of Iraq, Japan, the Republic of Slovenia, and the Bank for International Settlements—as well as several of the world’s leading multinational corporations and financial institutions in public international law matters.

Our practice spans the full spectrum of public international law issues, including the law of treaties, international responsibility, State succession, State and diplomatic immunities, the law of international organizations, international investment law, international human rights law, the law of the sea and international trade law.

The firm keeps a close relationship with academia, and many of our lawyers specialized in public international law received PhDs, have published extensively, hold academic positions and teach on a regular basis.

The firm has extensive experience in investor-State disputes, inter-State disputes and disputes involving international organizations. We represent clients before international courts, including the European Court of Human Rights, domestic courts, and international arbitral tribunals, including tribunals 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), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and, ad hoc, pursuant to the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules.

Notable Experiences

Investor-State Disputes

  • The Hellenic Republic in an ICSID arbitration commenced by Poštová banka a.s., a Slovak bank that purchased interests in Greek Government bonds, and its Cypriot shareholder, Istrokapital SE, under the Hellenic Republic-Slovak Republic and the Hellenic Republic-Cyprus bilateral investment treaties, challenging measures taken by the Hellenic Republic to address its financial crisis. In an award issued on April 9, 2015, the tribunal dismissed all claims for lack of jurisdiction, holding that sovereign bonds and interests therein are not investments protected under the applicable investment treaties and that Istrokapital could not base jurisdiction on Poštová banka’s assets.

  • The Hellenic Republic in an ICSID arbitration brought by Cyprus Popular Bank Public Co. Ltd for alleged violations of the Cyprus-Hellenic Republic bilateral investment treaty concerning measures taken by the Hellenic Republic to address its financial crisis.

  • The Arab Republic of Egypt in an ICSID arbitration commenced by H&H Enterprises Investments, Inc. under the US-Egypt bilateral investment treaty relating to an investment in a tourist resort. All claims were dismissed in a May 2014 for lack of jurisdiction or on the merits.

  • The Arab Republic of Egypt in an ICSID arbitration commenced by Unión Fenosa Gas under the Spain-Egypt bilateral investment treaty concerning the alleged suspension of gas supplies to an LNG plant.

  • OJSC Tatneft in an UNCITRAL arbitration under the Russia-Ukraine bilateral investment treaty arising out of a raider takeover of the largest refinery in Ukraine. The arbitral tribunal rejected all of Ukraine’s jurisdictional and admissibility objections and awarded damages.

  • The Republic of Austria in an ICSID arbitration commenced under the Austria-Malta bilateral investment treaty concerning an investment in an Austrian bank.

  • DP World in an ICSID arbitration against the Republic of Peru under a concession agreement for the development and operation of the South Pier of the Port of Callao and the UK-Peru bilateral investment treaty concerning DP World’s exclusion from the tender for the North Pier concession and the tender’s structure and design.

  • The French Republic in an ICSID arbitration commenced by Mr. Erbil Serter, a Turkish national, for alleged violations of the French Republic-Turkey bilateral investment treaty in relation to purported intellectual property rights.

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Inter-State Disputes

  • The Republic of Iraq in an ICC arbitration commenced against the Republic of Turkey and its State-owned pipeline company BOTAŞ for breaches of intergovernmental agreements on the use and operation of transnational oil pipelines and a 1946 Mutual Friendship Treaty in connection with the use of the pipeline and related facilities to transport, store and load crude oil extracted from the Kurdistan region.

  • Japan in proceedings commenced by Australia and New Zealand before the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea and then before an arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea relating to international fishing rights. All claims were dismissed on jurisdictional grounds.

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International Organizations

  • The Bank for International Settlements in proceedings before an arbitral established pursuant to the Agreement signed at The Hague on January 20, 1930 commenced by the Bank’s former private shareholders seeking additional compensation for the mandatory redemption of their shares.

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State Immunity

  • The Argentine Republic in numerous litigations brought in the United States and Europe by bondholders affected by Argentina’s default with respect to approximately $100 billion in external indebtedness, including attempts to attach diplomatic and consular property and other assets owned by the Argentine Republic.

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Human Rights

  • The Republic of Slovenia in proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights relating to the liability of the successor States to Yugoslavia for Yugoslavia’s guarantee of foreign-currency deposits.

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