Overview

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.

Languages 

English

Recommendations

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

Education 

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

Publications

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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    • 12/01/2021
    • News

    Investment Protection Implications of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA)

    On 24 December 2020, the European Union (“EU”) and the United Kingdom (“UK”) agreed a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the “TCA”), with provisional application from 1 January 2021. Title II of Part Two, Heading One (Trade) of the TCA includes provisions relating to “services and investment”. Yet, the provisions are minimal. In respect of investment protection, the TCA is more notable for what is out than what is in. This Client Alert provides our short analysis of the TCA’s investment protection provisions. It considers and discusses the TCA’s implications for EU-UK investors and what steps should now be taken by investors to maintain international protection for EU-UK investments. Please click on the link below to read our Client Alert on this topic.

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    • 06/01/2021
    • News

    New partner for London office of leading Brussels law firm Van Bael & Bellis

    Following the successful launch of its new London office earlier in the year, Van Bael & Bellis is expanding its UK team with the appointment of Skadden Counsel, Nicholas Lawn, as a partner and Head of International Dispute Resolution in London. Nicholas specialises in international arbitration and litigation. His practice focuses in particular on investment arbitration and he has extensive experience advising both multinational corporations and sovereign States in relation to international disputes across a broad range of highly-regulated sectors including telecoms, energy, pharmaceuticals and mining. He has regional expertise in relation to disputes connected to Central and Eastern Europe and South Asia.

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