Overview

Arbitration has become the most widely utilized means of resolving international disputes. Mayer Brown’s global team of international arbitration lawyers has a wealth of experience representing clients in arbitration matters. Our lawyers have acted in many of the world’s largest and most complex international arbitrations, including numerous commercial and investment treaty disputes worth many billions of dollars to our clients.

Our more than 80 arbitration lawyers are based in the key global arbitral centers including New York, London, Paris, Singapore, Beijing and Hong Kong. We have the geographical reach, cultural diversity and language skills to handle complex cases, where the majority of our lawyers are multi-lingual and are able to efficiently prepare bilingual documents. These include lawyers fluent in Arabic, Armenian, Cantonese, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Hakka, Hebrew, Korean, Malay, Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish. We represent many of the largest corporations, partnerships, financial institutions, insurers and governmental entities before the world’s main international arbitration bodies, including the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) and the Dubai International Arbitration Centre, as well as in ad hoc proceedings under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules and other arbitral rules.

We also advise our clients entering into cross-border transactions and investments on how best to draft international arbitration agreements both to reduce the risk of satellite litigation and to have maximum leverage in the event of a dispute.

We draw on our global resources to resolve disputes efficiently, whether through arbitration, mediation, structured negotiation or other means. In resolving both commercial and investor-state disputes, we apply our extensive experience in marshalling complex evidence, analyzing applicable law and procedures, developing and evaluating alternative strategies, and engaging in compelling written and oral advocacy.

We are ranked in Global Arbitration Review 100, a guide to global specialist arbitration law firms, Legal 500 USA and Legal 500 Asia Pacific, and have a number of lawyers recognized in prestigious legal publications, including Chambers & Partners, Legal 500 and Who’s Who in International Arbitration.

Our lawyers represent clients across a wide variety of industries, including construction, energy, finance, insurance, life sciences, M&A/joint venture disputes, mining, real estate, environment, IP, telecommunications, maritime and aerospace. 

Deep Industry Experience

Construction and Engineering
We have decades of experience advising clients on construction and engineering arbitration. Our general construction and engineering practice represents industry participants in large-scale construction and engineering arbitrations arising from major engineering, infrastructure, energy and building projects around the world. Clients approach us specifically because of our deep industry experience and understanding of the construction and engineering process and the specific needs of parties participating in arbitration in this sector. We were retained to represent the Panama Canal Authority on one of the world’s largest construction disputes.

Oil & Gas
We have represented clients in international disputes arising from production sharing agreements, service agreements, licenses, concessions and other host state agreements; a wide array of joint operating agreement and joint venture disputes, including the AIPN and AAPL models and a variety of bespoke JOAs; oil and gas royalty disputes, pricing, take-or-pay and other disputes under short- and long-term commodity purchase and sale agreements for oil, pipeline gas and LNG; disputes concerning drilling rigs and other vessels; conventional and renewable power industry disputes; energy-related construction disputes; and other commercial disputes in the energy sector, including cross-border M&A disputes, as well as investment treaty disputes arising from the energy sector.

Financial Services
Using our extensive experience in the financial sector, we have effectively represented many clients in arbitrations concerning financial transactions, including complicated derivatives disputes. Our lawyers have represented special purpose vehicles and financial institutions in, for example, the first arbitration involving catastrophe bonds and in connection with the divestiture of investment banking businesses located in New York, London and Hong Kong.

M&A and Joint Venture Disputes
Arbitration clauses are now a regular feature of international M&A and joint venture contracts. Our lawyers have wide experience in all types of post-M&A arbitrations, including disputes over indemnification provisions, representations and warranties, and post-closing purchase price adjustments. We also have a significant reputation for handling international joint ventures that dissolve into disputes, including joint ventures in Qatar, China, India, Lebanon and Russia. We take a surgical approach to resolving joint venture arbitrations, seeking to put maximum pressure on the recalcitrant joint venture partner to settle.

Contentious Insurance
With lawyers in the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Brazil, Mayer Brown is recognized as having one of the leading insurance dispute resolution practices in the world. Our lawyers handle disputes in many different classes of insurance, including financial lines, D&O, political risk and trade credit, professional indemnity, product liability, marine, aviation and reinsurance. In recent years, we have handled a series of large arbitrations on behalf of political risk insurers, as well as several reinsurance arbitrations.

Investor-State Disputes
Our lawyers have wide-ranging experience representing both investors (American, Danish, Dutch, Canadian, French, Indonesian, Kuwaiti and Turkish, among others) and states (Egypt, Gambia, Argentina, Ecuador and Turkmenistan, among others) in investor-state arbitration, which requires extensive knowledge of specific rules of public international law, including treaty interpretation, attribution of acts to sovereigns and international rules on the liability of states for wrongful acts. Mayer Brown lawyers have been involved as lead counsel in approximately 30 ICSID or investor-state disputes, making our team one of the world’s key players with hands-on experience in this type of dispute.

Life Sciences
Mayer Brown has long represented pharmaceutical, biotechnology and other life sciences companies in arbitrations involving complex disputes. These cases include disputes arising from co-marketing, co-distribution, co-development and joint venture agreements. In these matters, we have dealt with a wide range of life sciences technologies, as well as issues involving the quality of clinical trial evidence, methods of drug development and strategies of pharmaceutical marketing.

Intellectual Property
Mayer Brown often represents IT, pharmaceutical and other companies in license disputes involving patents, trade secrets or other forms of intellectual property. These arbitrations typically raise complex issues of IP law, such as the validity of patents, the scope of the license conferred by the agreement and the calculation of royalties. By virtue of its substantial intellectual property practice, the firm is particularly well suited to successfully represent clients in these arbitrations.

Domain Name Disputes
In Asia, our team boasts domain name panelists with the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre (ADNDRC), Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA) and World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), arbitral bodies in which we have rendered in excess of 200 decisions, many as the presiding panelist in cases involving multiple languages. We have advised on new procedures, such as the Uniform Rapid Suspension Procedure (URS), and have drafted more than 400 domain name complaints (including more than 20 URS complaints). We also have extensive experience in relation to new gTLDs and post-delegation objections. Our team features an arbitrator appointed to HKIAC’s Panel of Arbitrators for Intellectual Property Disputes, which was launched in response to an increasing number of IP, technology and domain name disputes being submitted to HKIAC for arbitration in recent years across Asia.

Geographic Reach 

Africa
We have extensive experience with arbitration in Sub-Saharan Africa. Having English, French and Portuguese-speaking lawyers at our firm, we can communicate well with local businesses in Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone African jurisdictions. We have published numerous articles on Sub-Saharan Africa, including a comprehensive guide (in both English and Chinese) covering the key facts, considerations and risks concerning arbitration in the region, and our lawyers regularly speak on international arbitration at conferences in Africa.

Asia
Consistent with Mayer Brown’s sizable presence in Asia, we have one of the largest and longest established international arbitration practices in Asia, with an impressive team of counsel and arbitrators. Arbitration lawyers in our global offices are actively involved in cases involving Korean, Japanese and Chinese conglomerates. We were instrumental in drafting the new Hong Kong Arbitration Ordinance and subsequently had a major role in revising the HKIAC Rules to conform to the new ordinance. We have also assisted the Beijing Arbitration Commission with input on the English version of its Arbitration Rules 2015.

China. We have extensive experience representing clients in Western-Asian disputes, particularly Chinese joint venture disputes. We also have extensive experience representing Chinese State Owned Enterprises in international disputes. We have a formal association with a leading PRC law firm, Jingtian & Gongcheng, one of the first private and independent law firm partnerships in China, which enables us to offer clients access to lawyers who can advise on the enforcement of arbitration awards before courts in mainland China. For example, we recently prevailed in an SIAC arbitration that awarded our client over US$40 million in damages; Jingtian & Gongcheng is leading the charge to enforce that award.

Europe. We are regularly instructed to advise on cases that are of high value, concern reputational issues and/or involve considerable legal or technical complexity. Our International Arbitration lawyers in Europe are leading on the high-profile Panama Canal ICC arbitration (governed by UK law), one of the largest ongoing construction and engineering arbitrations in the world. We have also been involved in more than two dozen ICSID cases in the past decade.

Latin America. Our experience in arbitrating and litigating disputes in Latin America has grown out of our long-standing transactional practice. We have extensive experience acting in substantial arbitrations across the continent, including in Panama, Mexico, Colombia and Brazil. We have published a comprehensive guide (in both English and Chinese) covering the key facts, considerations and risks concerning arbitration in both Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking jurisdictions of Latin America.

Middle East
We have advised both governments and contractors in the Middle East on a large range of infrastructure, energy and building disputes. Our Middle East disputes team has worked on a substantial number of disputes in Algeria, Dubai, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and other Middle Eastern countries. We represent the Arab Republic of Egypt in an ongoing ICSID arbitration. We are also involved in various other arbitrations for Lebanese, UAE and Saudi companies. And we provide a unique, invaluable resource: Arabic-speaking arbitration lawyers in Dubai, London and Paris.

United States. Our US-based arbitration practitioners have broad experience in commercial, construction and investment disputes across a wide range of industries, including retail, energy, pharmaceuticals, construction and engineering, telecommunications, and mining and resource extraction. They work closely with their arbitration colleagues around the world, as well as Mayer Brown lawyers who focus on such areas as electronically stored information, government and global trade, to offer counsel tailored to the needs of individual cases. We regularly advise on risk management strategies and the structuring of effective dispute resolution clauses.

Highlights

Experience

Construction & Engineering

  • Panama Canal Authority Disputes. Advising the Panama Canal Authority on multiple disputes between the Authority and the European-led construction consortium, ranging from pre-arbitral, contract-based adjudication board proceedings to significant arbitration matters before the ICC. Our client won the first in a series of arbitrations, in which a tribunal dismissed all of the contractor’s claims, totaling $200 million.
  • Waste-to-Energy project. Advised Costain, a construction and engineering company, on the restructuring of Europe's largest waste-to-energy project. The firm, which has been advising on the project since 2012, has also been advising the client on its claims against technology providers responsible for defects on the project and secured a significant arbitration victory overturning the avoidance of an insurance policy of one of those providers.
  • Hong Kong Construction. Represented our clients in a five-week-long arbitration hearing at HKIAC involving complex claims related to extensions of time, loss and expense and allegations that time had been set at large. The arbitration was decided significantly in favor of our clients, and the contractor’s subsequent appeal was dismissed. Enforcement proceedings led to substantial recovery of a HK$150 million claim.
  • Construction Arbitration Involving a Railway Extension in Hong Kong. Acted for the MTR Corporation in defending claims referred to arbitration by a contractor on one of the major works packages for the railway line and stations. The underlying causes related to liability for delays and cost overruns in project completion.
  • Qatar Sewage Treatment Arbitration. Successfully advised a major contractor on two international arbitrations in connection with the construction of a sewage treatment plant in Qatar.
  • Offshore Pipeline Arbitration in India. Advised a global leader in offshore pipeline installation and subsea construction in relation to two major international arbitrations of disputes arising out of the construction of a major offshore energy project in India.
  • ICC Proceedings in Algeria. Acted as lead counsel for a claimant in an ICC matter involving claims of breach of contract and nonpayment of outstanding sums due concerning construction projects in Algeria.

Energy and Natural Resources

  • United States Environmental Arbitration. Represented a US provider of environmental services in a $90 million ICC arbitration against a Spanish seller related to a criminal investigation into Clean Water Act violations. Following a hearing and partial award in our client‘s favor, the Spanish seller settled the case by paying 90% of our client’s claim.
  • PSC Arbitration. Representing an Asian state-owned oil and gas company in a major UNCITRAL ad hoc arbitration arising from an unconventional production sharing contract.
  • Gulf of Mexico Oil Reservoir Size Arbitration. Represented the seller of an oil field in the Gulf in an AAA arbitration against the purchaser related to disputes over the dimensions of the reservoir. The arbitrators issued an award in the favor of our client.
  • Mining Equipment Arbitrations. Represented a UK mining equipment manufacturer in two arbitrations regarding longwall mining equipment, one commercial and one investor-state under a bilateral treaty with Egypt.
  • Dominican Republic Power Dispute. Advising on an ICC dispute against a public entity in the Dominican Republic relating to the management of the main power generating company in the country.
  • Myanmar-China Oil & Gas Pipeline Project. Representing a prominent Chinese state-owned construction and engineering company in various disputes connected with the Myanmar-China Oil & Gas Pipeline Project, a major infrastructure project that forms part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, in an ICC arbitration in Singapore and CIETAC arbitration in Beijing. The opposing party is an Indian main contractor.
  • CIETAC Arbitration. Advised a wind energy windmill gearbox manufacturer in a CIETAC arbitration against a buyer on disputes arising out of the sale and purchase of windmill gearboxes.
  • Ad Hoc/UNCITRAL Arbitration Claim in Hong Kong. Advised a Taiwan-listed manufacturer of solar energy circuit products in connection with an ad hoc/UNCITRAL arbitration claim in Hong Kong arising out of a sale and purchase agreement dispute. Our cross-border arbitration experience helped ensure that the case was awarded in our client’s favor. We also act in the enforcement of the award in Jiangxi, PRC.

Financial Services and Insurance

  • Romanian Bank Arbitration. Represented vendors of shares in a Romanian bank in an ICC arbitration relating to the sale of the majority shareholding to a Polish company. The dispute arose following the refusal by the Polish company to pay the full purchase price.
  • Share Put Option and Investment Management Disputes. Represented Swiss and Middle Eastern clients in DIAC and Geneva Chamber of Commerce Arbitrations arising from banking and investment relationships with an Egyptian company. The parties agreed a combined settlement after an award in our clients’ favor in the DIAC arbitration and the hearing on the merits in the Geneva arbitration.
  • Appeal from Insurance Arbitration Award. Persuaded the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to affirm an arbitration award in favor of our client, a large managed health care company, over the adverse party’s objection that the resignation of one arbitrator on a panel of three arbitrators required the arbitration to begin anew.
  • A Bank in Vietnam. We represented a bank in Vietnam in connection with arbitration proceedings commenced against it (and its customer) in Indonesia, and were successful in securing an award removing the bank as a party to those proceedings. The case raises jurisdictional and conflict of law issues and expert evidence was required by the tribunal in relation to questions of customary practice regarding letters of credit.

Investor-State Disputes

  • Jordan-Kuwait Investment Treaty Arbitration. Represented Kuwaiti investors in an ICSID arbitration initiated against the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on the basis of the Kuwait/Jordan Bilateral Investment Treaty.
  • Romania/US Bilateral Investment Treaty. Represented an American investor and his US companies against Romania on the basis of the US/Romania BIT.
  • Republic of Egypt. Represented the Republic of Egypt in an ongoing ICSID arbitration on waste management services under the France/Egypt investment treaty.
  • NAFTA/ICSID Arbitration. Represented a Canadian company in an ongoing NAFTA/ICSID (Additional Facility) arbitration related to the development of real estate project in Mexico.
  • Republic of Gambia. Represented the Republic of The Gambia in an ICSID arbitration arising from a license agreement for the exploration of extraction of minerals and subsequent annulment proceedings before an ad hoc committee formed under the ICSID Convention.
  • Republic of Gambia. Represented the Republic of The Gambia in two ICSID arbitrations arising from the expiry of a license to explore an offshore oil field.

Life Sciences

  • Pharmaceutical Patent Licensing Arbitration. Successfully represented a global pharmaceutical company in a patent licensing dispute with a medical diagnostic manufacturer. We prevailed in the four-day arbitration which involved issues of U.S., English, Japanese and German patent law.
  • Pharmaceutical AAA Arbitration. Represented Merck in a significant AAA arbitration and related litigation involving the alleged breach of the license to a patent covering a drug used in cardiac surgery. After over a month of trial, the panel issued a decision denying all of the opposing party’s claims for damages, striking a huge win for our client.
  • Pharmaceutical ICC Arbitration. Advised a leading pharmaceutical company in two ICC arbitrations and related litigation involving the breach of the license to a patent covering a blockbuster drug that was one of the client’s biggest-selling products during the term of the license. The breach resulted from the European Patent Office’s erroneous forfeiture of the patent, which allowed generic competitors to enter the market. This case involves substantial damages.
  • Medical Products Distributor and Manufacturer Arbitration. Represented a Spanish medical products distributor in an arbitration against a US medical products manufacturer before the LCIA. Our client claimed that the manufacturer breached the exclusivity provisions of the parties' distribution agreement. After a hearing in London, a panel of three European arbitrators found that the respondent had breached the agreement and awarded our client substantial damages, as well as attorneys' fees and costs.
  • Technology Transfer and License Agreement Dispute. Represented Russian licensee/transferee in an ICC arbitration arising from a semiconductor Technology Transfer and License Agreement. We were able to achieve a settlement for our client before significant proceedings.

M&A/Joint Venture Disputes

  • Turkish Joint Venture Dispute. Successfully represented a Turkish government contractor in a week-long arbitration against its joint venture partner involving a breach of its joint venture agreement. We prevailed in the arbitration, resulting in a multi-million award for our client.
  • Eton Properties Group. Successfully advised Eton Properties Group, a leading developer in Hong Kong, on defending an action to enforce a CIETAC arbitration award in a cross-border joint venture dispute involving the development of land in Xiamen, China.
  • Chinese Joint Venture Dispute. Represented a US-based company in two related SIAC arbitrations arising out of a pair of joint venture disputes with a PRC partner. We prevailed in the arbitrations and successfully enforced the $42 million arbitration SIAC award before the Supreme People’s Court of China.
  • Distributorship Dispute. Successfully represented one of Canada’s largest conglomerates in a US$100 million New York-law-governed, Singapore-seated arbitration commenced by a Korean conglomerate that arose out of a failed 10-year distributorship between the parties for the merchandising of our client's apparel brand in Korea.
  • ICDR Arbitration. Advised two oil companies as respondents in an ICDR arbitration involving disputes over indemnification for representations and warranties in agreement for the purchase of a South American oil company from a US seller. The case involved monetarily significant claims, a litigious claimant and two national oil company respondents/counterclaimants with significant responsibilities for managing important national assets. We received back-to-back rulings from the US District Court for the Southern District of New York and the arbitral tribunal: (1) the court rejected the sellers’ demand for a judicial order under a related escrow agreement that would have required the escrow agent to pay the amount due from existing escrow funds on grounds the issue was within the arbitration clause of the stock purchase agreement; and (2) the order of the arbitrators confirmed that the seller had no right to deplete the escrow account without the purchasers’ consent and that the seller must pay the indemnification from its own funds, preserving the escrow to secure other outstanding claims.

Chemicals

  • Chemical Company Arbitration. Represented the engineering entity of a large multinational chemical company in an ICC arbitration related to claims of delay, cost overruns, and errors and omissions from our client’s provision of detail design, construction management and procurement services to the EPC contractor of a cogeneration facility. Our client won an overwhelming victory in the arbitration, with its counterclaim for payment of services resulting in a net amount due to our client.
  • Dow AgroSciences in an AAA Arbitration Victory. Successfully defeated claims, including fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, with an alleged damages amount of $660 million stemming from a failed business. The panel specifically noted that there was no evidence that Dow AgroSciences committed any wrongful or tortious conduct.

Manufacturing

  • Paper Machine Manufacturer Arbitrations. Represented a US-based paper machine manufacturer in two arbitrations involving the sale, delivery and erection of paper machines at four pulp and paper mills in Indonesia. After four weeks of hearing in Singapore, the first arbitration settled with the plaintiff paying our client an amount valued at over $185 million. The subsequent arbitration also settled shortly before the commencement of hearings, with the plaintiff paying a substantial amount to our client.
  • Steel Manufacturer Arbitration. Defended a large Brazilian manufacturer of milled steel in an ICDR arbitration against one of its coal suppliers, which alleged that our client breached a coal supply agreement. It sought damages of more than US$100 million. After we invoked a contractual clause that allowed the arbitration panel to make equitable adjustments to the contract because of the global economic crisis, which had caused the world market for milled steel to collapse, the coal company sought settlement. The parties were able to renegotiate and extend the price, delivery and payment terms to adjust to the changed market conditions.
  • Agricultural Storage Facilities Arbitration. Represented one of PRC's largest manufacturers and suppliers of agricultural equipment in an ICC arbitration seated in Paris under French law brought by a major grain producer and exporter in Romania. The case arises out of a contract for the construction and installation of agricultural storage facilities entered into by our client, the largest supplier of such facilities in China and globally. We secured dismissal of all claims against our client and a favorable costs award.

IT and Telecommunications

  • Airlines Reservation System Arbitration. Represented a major European airline in an ICC arbitration against its reservations system provider. The dispute concerned the level of functionality the provider owed under an information technology services agreement. The hearing on the merits was conducted, and the tribunal issued an award providing our client with specific performance of the contract. Damages issues were later settled favorably for our client.
  • Latin American Satellite Arbitration. Won a complete victory on behalf of the largest telecommunications satellite provider in Latin America in an ICC arbitration over a claim of breach of contract to provide use of satellite telecommunications capacity.
  • Asia Satellite Arbitration. Represented an Asian satellite operator in the successful defense of a claim brought in Hong Kong arbitration by a Thai satellite operator in relation to a cooperation agreement (“condo-sat”) with the Thai operator involving a claim for US$80 million that concerned important video broadcast rights in Asia.
  • Appeal from Labor Arbitration Award. Persuaded the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to vacate an arbitration award in favor of a trade union against our client, a US telecommunications company. We achieved this rare result by devising a creative Rule 60(b) argument.