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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    • 18/05/2022
    • News

    Investor-State Claims against Mexico: Recent Developments in the Energy and Mining Sectors

    As an update to our August 2021 client alert, this client alert provides an overview of the most recent regulatory developments in the energy and mining sectors in Mexico and their potential effect on foreign investments.

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    • 22/04/2022
    • News

    The 2022 ICSID Arbitration Rules – A Brief Overview

    On 21 March 2022, the Member States of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (“ICSID”) approved amendments to the ICSID Regulations and Rules, which will enter into force on 1 July 2022. These amendments include changes to the ICSID Arbitration Rules (the “Rules”), which govern the procedure to be followed in arbitrations under the 1966 Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the “ICSID Convention”). ICSID has amended its regulations and rules only four times (including the 2022 amendments) since its establishment in 1966, with the previous amendment having been introduced in 2006. The 2022 amendments follow a detailed review of the ICSID Regulations and Rules, which began in October 2016. Please click on the link below to read our client alert on this matter.

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    • 25/03/2022
    • News

    Protection of Business Assets in Russia and Ukraine under International Investment Law

    Russia’s military action in Ukraine together with its announcement of retaliatory measures in response to international sanctions are likely to have significant implications for foreign investors with investments in Russia and/or Ukraine. Following the critical response of the international community to Russia’s invasion and the widespread imposition of sanctions, Russia has already drawn up a list of unfriendly countries which could be targeted. As more multinationals suspend their operations in Russia, Russia has also announced various measures intended to stem the outflow of foreign capital including the possibility that the assets of any such foreign investors seeking to exit operations in Russia could be nationalised without compensation. Russia still remains bound by the international treaties which it has signed and ratified. This Client Alert considers the protections and remedies which might be available to foreign investors affected by Russian measures under International Investment Law. After considering the measures which could potentially give rise to investment treaty claims (Section A), this Client Alert provides an overview of the treaty protections available to foreign investors as well as a summary of how those protections can be accessed (Section B). It concludes with some immediate practical guidance for foreign investors who are affected by Russia’s measures (Section C).

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