Nicholas Lawn leads Van Bael & Bellis’ London-based International Dispute Resolution team. He specialises in international arbitration and litigation with a particular focus on investment arbitration and public international law.  

Over the course of nearly 20 years, he has advised a range of clients - companies, individuals and governments - in relation to international disputes across numerous sectors including telecoms, energy, banking and finance, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals and mining and under a variety of different arbitral rules including under the ICSID, UNCITRAL, ICC and LCIA Arbitration Rules.

Nicholas has won some of the largest investment arbitration awards of recent years. Most recently, he successfully acted for Vodafone in its landmark arbitral victory against the Republic of India. In its award, the UNCITRAL Tribunal held that India’s attempts to impose a US$ 5.5 billion tax liability on Vodafone through retroactive legislation was in breach of international law.

In addition to substantial India-related disputes experience, his expertise and experience extends to matters involving Africa, Russia / CIS and Latin America (where he spent time working in one of Argentina’s leading law firms with one of Latin America’s leading arbitrators).

For a number of years, Nicholas has been identified as one of London’s leading arbitration practitioners. Most recently, he was included in the International Arbitration Powerlist (2019) and named as a Rising Star for International Arbitration and Public International Law by Legal 500 UK (2021).

Nicholas is a Solicitor-Advocate with rights of audience in the Higher Courts of England and Wales.




  • Legal 500’s International Arbitration Powerlist
  • Legal 500 for International Arbitration (UK) – Rising Star
  • Legal 500 for Public International Law (UK) – Rising Star 


  • LL.M., Columbia Law School
  • B.A., University of Oxford


Lexology GTDT, Investment Treaty Arbitration 2021 (EU Chapter)

Lexology GTDT, Intra-EU Investment Arbitration: Where Are We Now? (Article)

Arbitration World (6th Edition), The Energy Charter Treaty (Chapter)

Bar Admissions

Solicitor Advocate, England & Wales

Solicitor, Republic of Ireland

Publications and insights

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    • 05/03/2021
    • News

    Cross-Border Litigation in the Post-Brexit World: A View from London and Brussels

    Following the UK’s exit from the EU on 31 January 2020 and the end of the transition period under the Withdrawal Agreement, unless proceedings were issued on or before 31 December 2020, the Brussels Recast Regulation no longer applies to questions of jurisdiction and the enforcement of court judgments between the UK and EU Member States. Nothing in the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement (EU-UK TCA) changes this position. Since the UK has not yet acceded to the 2007 Lugano Convention, issues relating to jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments as between the UK and EU Member States will be governed by the 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements or, where not applicable, by domestic law (including any relevant bilateral conventions which have been incorporated into domestic law). This Client Alert provides an overview of the new rules applicable to post Brexit cross-border litigation with a particular focus on the impact of such changes in England and in Belgium. It also raises some practical considerations for clients to consider in thinking about cross-border litigation involving the UK and EU Member States. For the benefit of certainty, arbitration may be an attractive option for clients concerned about potential cross-border litigation as between UK and EU parties.

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    • 19/02/2021
    • News

    EU and Canada Adopt Rules for Implementation of Investment Court System

    On 29 January 2021, the European Union and Canada adopted four decisions aimed at further implementing the Investment Court System in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada, of one part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part. The Decisions will enter into force upon ratification of CETA by the EU Member States. This Client Alert provides a general overview of the decisions adopted for the implementation of the Investment Court System.

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