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BackInternational Commercial Arbitration

LALIVE has been renowned for its expertise in international commercial arbitration for more than 50 years, and is recognized as a global leader in the field by the main legal directories and industry publications.

The firm's international commercial arbitration specialists regularly act as counsel or arbitrators in proceedings under all of the major arbitration rules, in all the major arbitration venues throughout the world and in a wide range of industries, including energy, telecommunications, construction and infrastructure, transportation, commodities, life sciences and biotechnology.

The firm has substantial expertise in assessing complex claims, managing voluminous cases, leading large teams of lawyers and experts in various jurisdictions, and cooperating closely with clients' in-house and local counsel. In addition, the legal expertise of LALIVE's lawyers, who together speak more than a dozen languages, covers several key jurisdictions other than Switzerland.

The firm also routinely advises and represents clients on the annulment, recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards in Switzerland and abroad, including in relation to preliminary steps such asset tracing and attachment orders. 

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LALIVE's arbitration lawyers have been involved in hundreds of arbitration proceedings in Switzerland and around the world conducted under the main international arbitration rules, including the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), UNCITRAL, Swiss Chambers' Arbitration Association (Swiss Rules of International Arbitration), London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA), Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC), CEPANI, International Air Transport Association (IATA), and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS/TAS).

Lawyers of the firm contribute extensively to the development of the law and practice in the field of international commercial arbitration through publications, participation as speakers in leading international arbitration conferences and their key positions in a number of arbitration institutions and associations including:

  • ICC International Court of Arbitration (the world's largest arbitration institution): member of the Court; member of the task force in charge of the revision of the former and the current ICC Rules of Arbitration; several members of the ICC national committees (Switzerland, France and New Zealand)
  • UNCITRAL: Past chairman of the Working Group II for the revision of the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules; representative for Switzerland on the UNCITRAL Working Group III
  • LCIA (London): Councillor on the European Users' Council; past Vice-President of the LCIA Court; past co-chair of YIAG (Young International Arbitration Group)
  • DIAC (Dubai): member of the Executive Committee
  • International Bar Association (IBA): past vice-chair of the Arbitration Committee of the IBA (the world's largest association of arbitration lawyers);member of the Arbitration Suburban-Committee on Conflicts of Interests
  • Swiss Chambers' Arbitration Institution: President and member (and past member) of the Arbitration Court (administers the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration)
  • Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA): immediate past President; members of the ASA Board; co-chair of the Geneva ASA group; co-chair (and past co-chair) of ASA below 40; Editor in Chief and member of the Editorial Board of the ASA Bulletin (a leading publication in the field of international arbitration).

Selected Assignments

  • Representing a state-owned Southern European company in two parallel gas pricing arbitrations conducted under the ICC Rules of Arbitration and arising under three long-term contracts with a European and Middle-Eastern State-owned company - value in dispute: several USD billion
  • Representing an international telecommunication equipment provider in a USD 40 million arbitration under the ICC Rules of Arbitration against another provider concerning the supply and installation of submerged telecommunications equipment
  • Representing an instrumentality of a Middle Eastern state in two disputes (for USD 250 million and USD 120 million) under the ICC ADR and Arbitration Rules concerning a major transport infrastructure project, one with a European and Middle Eastern joint venture, and the other with an Asian contractor
  • Representing a Central European producer of wireless modules in a USD 6 million arbitration conducted under the ICC Rules of Arbitration against a European market leader in the telecommunications sector concerning a Patent Cross Licence Agreement
  • Acting as President of a tribunal constituted under the ICC Rules of Arbitration in a USD 750 million multiparty dispute concerning a turnkey construction contract in the energy sector (Stockholm seat)
  • Acting as sole arbitrator in a USD 10 million LCIA arbitration (London seat) concerning the supply of voice and data transmission services between Western Europe and West Africa
  • Acting as co-arbitrator in a USD 70 million Swiss Rules arbitration (Zurich seat) in a dispute involving the financing of a commodity trading arrangement
  • Acting as counsel for the Respondent in an USD 120 million investment dispute (The Hague seat) under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules arising under a Bilateral Investment Treaty between a North American company and a Latin American State relating to termination of several mining concessions
  • Acting as chairman in a USD 260 million bilateral investment treaty (BIT) arbitration concerning a real estate project in Central Asia. The arbitration is conducted under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, and the seat is Geneva
  • Acting as arbitrator in a USD 38 million telecommunications dispute (Stockholm seat) carried out under the SCC rules
  • Acting as President of a Tribunal constituted under the DIAC rules of arbitration (Dubai seat) in a consolidation of two large and highly complex arbitrations dealing with the construction of two phases of a key real estate development for a total of AED 526 million


Regulatory changes and force majeure – impact on lump-sum and build-operate contractsMatthias Scherer, 2017

International Law Office, Newsletter (Construction), 13 November 2017

Arbitrability of Corporate Disputes in UkraineLeonid Shmatenko, Dr. Svitlana Bevz, 2017

The Ukrainian Journal of Business Law, November 2017, pp. 32-34

Bulletin in BriefMatthias Scherer, 2017

ASA Bulletin 3/2017 (September issue)

Individualarbeitsrechtliche Streitigkeiten im SchiedsverfahrenAngela Casey, 2017

Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA) Bulletin, Vol. 35, No. 2, 2017, pp. 266-280

Annulled International Arbitral Awards and Remand: Can/Should the Same Arbitral Tribunal Take the Case Anew? A Short Analysis from a Swiss PerspectiveTeresa Giovannini, 2017

In: P. Shaughnessy and S. Tung (Eds.), The Powers and Duties of an Arbitrator - Liber Amicorum Pierre A. Karrer, Wolters Kluwer, 2017, pp. 103-111

L’Amputation du Contrat par l’ArbitreTeresa Giovannini, 2017

Revue de l’Arbitrage, Comité Français de l’Arbitrage, Volume No 1, 2017, pp. 39-50

More publications


"Top-drawer multi-disciplinary team that benefits from offices in Geneva, Zürich and Doha. Standout expertise in banking, energy, asset recovery and white-collar crime disputes. Advises on litigation but is best known for a focus on arbitration, where it acts for sovereign entities and companies. Additional expertise in high-profile investor-state disputes. Possesses particular knowledge of representing clients from the MENA region." One client praises the team's "dedication, expertise and responsiveness". One client states that LALIVE "were more creative and came up with better ideas than the other firm we worked with."
Chambers Europe, Dispute Resolution, 2017

Lalive is ‘a clear market leader’ when it comes to international commercial and investment arbitration.
Legal 500, Switzerland, Dispute resolution: Arbitration, 2017

Outstanding Swiss firm operating out of Geneva and Zürich with the experience and diversity to compete on a pan-European level, acting on disputes throughout the continent. Noted for its prowess in large-scale BIT, investor-state and commercial arbitrations on behalf of sovereign entities, governments and state-owned companies, as well as multinational clients. Particularly active in the energy, construction and telecoms sectors, with an increasing presence in finance and post-M&A disputes. Widely recognised and praised for the numerous prominent arbitrators within its ranks. Commentators describe Lalive as "a high-quality firm in European international arbitration," "a class outfit with a reach that goes beyond Switzerland." One client states: "I was blown away," adding: "It seemed like an exceptional level of commitment." The client goes on to say of the lawyers: "They are creative, smart and everybody makes a contribution." 
Chambers Global, Arbitration (International) Europe-wide (Band 2), 2017

Switzerland-based arbitration boutique that operates internationally on high profile cases. Experienced handling disputes in a variety of industry sectors, such as life sciences, hospitality, energy and construction. Regularly acts for states in investor-state disputes. Clients note the team's "exceptional level of commitment."
Chambers Global, Arbitration (International) Global-wide (Band 4), 2017

“Response times were always excellent, business acumen beyond doubt and industry knowledge is outstanding.” The fact that the partners involved were themselves experienced arbitrators “added enormously to the competence of the team they put together.” (...) A client praises the “excellent” performance of the firm, in particular the “timeliness, clarity and quality” of its written submissions. “They are very thorough in the approach, covering all aspects of the matter, not just legal. Lalive is able to provide the complete package“.
GAR, 2016

"Outstanding Swiss firm with the experience and diversity to compete on a pan-European level. Operates out of Geneva and Zürich, handling large-scale BIT and commercial arbitrations on behalf of states and multinational clients. Particularly active in the energy, construction and telecoms sectors and, increasingly, in finance and post-M&A corporate disputes. Widely recognised for the numerous prominent arbitrators within its ranks.
"A very diversified team with lawyers who have been educated in different jurisdictions. I think this firm stands out even compared to some British and American competitors."
"The firm has a line-up of star arbitrators unmatched by anybody."
Chambers Global, Arbitration (International) Europe-wide (Band 2), 2016

Dispute resolution specialist Lalive has many ‘outstanding’ international arbitration lawyers and is also strong in litigation.
Legal 500, Switzerland, French-speaking Switzerland: leading firms (Tier 2), 2016

Lalive is ‘in a league of its own’ regarding international arbitration and the ‘strength in depth of its first-class team is outstanding’.
Legal 500, Switzerland, Dispute resolution: arbitration (Tier 1), 2016

The firm is seen as “a world leader” in international commercial arbitration and, in this regard, it is “virtually unmatched” in the skill and depth of its practitioners. The firm boasts some of the country’s very best counsel and arbitrators, who are experienced in a range of international commercial arbitrations.
Who's Who Legal, Switzerland, 2016

Lalive is “home to some of the best in the business”, (…) “it is difficult to think of many firms with more strength in depth”.

Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration, 2016

1st non-global firm, 10th worldwide

GAR, 2016

"The firm really is in a league of its own."
"The lawyers are great; they are responsive and efficient."

Chambers Europe,  Dispute Resolution, 2015

"Everyone I have come across from the firm is fantastic."

"It's our main competitor; we hold the firm in very high regard."

Chambers Europe,  Arbitration (International), 2015

Lalive is ‘outstanding in the field of international arbitration’.

Legal 500, Switzerland, Dispute Resolution, 2015

International law firm based in Geneva and Zürich with an arbitration practice to rival many of its bigger competitors. Internationally oriented lawyers are qualified in several jurisdictions and represent clients in high-value investor-state and commercial arbitrations.

Chambers Global, Arbitration (International) (Band 2), Europe-wide, 2015

Punches above its weight for cross-border arbitration, with bases in Geneva and Zürich and an associate office in Doha. Handles both investment and commercial disputes, with particular expertise in the energy, TMT and life sciences sectors.

"A strong and diverse practice across investment treaty and commercial arbitration."

Chambers Global, Arbitration (International) (Band 5), Global-wide, 2015

What the team is known for Swiss team revered arbitration expertise stretching across all continents and industry sectors, including arbitrator appointments. Presence in the Middle-Eastern bolstered by an associated office in Qatar.

Chambers Global, Arbitration (International), 2014

'The deepest international arbitration bench in Switzerland. The firm is a really credible investment.'
Chambers Europe, Switzerland, Dispute Resolution, 2014

The firm's name - and huge reputation in the field - has everything to do with Pierre Lalive, who was described (..) as 'the grand old man of Swiss arbitration'. (...)Nowadays, the firmcontinues to rule the roost in Switzerland, with arguably the largest team of full-time arbitration specialists of any Swiss firm.

Global Arbitration Review - GAR30, 2013, 1st non-global firm, ranked 16th worldwide

The group is one of the most experienced offerings in the European market and remains a go-to outfit for highly complex and politicised disputes. (...) Sources say: "Fantastic lawyers; the transparency and timing of work was outstanding.

Chambers Global, Arbitration, Switzerland, 2013, Band 1, 1st non-global firm, top 20 worldwide

Sources say: ‘The partners are always accessible and they respond promptly. The firm is committed and consistently gives sterling performance’.

Chambers Global, Arbitration (International), 2012, Band 1, 8 key individuals

Lalive's strong track record in arbitration, and large, dedicated team make it a hugely popular and successful force in international arbitration. Sources say: 'Lalive is one of the most distinguished names in international arbitration. It is excellent'.

Chambers Europe, Dispute Resolution, 2013, Band 1, Leading Swiss Firm, top 15 in Europe

The firm has a strong pedigree in international arbitration, and punches above its weight in the global market

Chambers Europe, General Business Law: Geneva, 2013

Lalive's 'outstanding' dispute resolution group comprises dedicated arbitration and litigation teams. The eight-partner arbitration team is 'the best of the best' and adopts a 'team-oriented' approach."

Legal 500 EMEA, Switzerland, Dispute Resolution, 2010, Tier 1

International Who’s Who of Commercial Arbitration 2014, 1st non-global firm, 6th worldwide, 15 lawyers

Lalive is recognised both at home and abroad for the quality of its lawyers, and has offices in Geneva and Zurich as well as in Qatar. Ten specialists are recognised in our research, more than any other firm in Switzerland.

Who's Who Legal, Switzerland, Arbitration 2013, leading Swiss firm, 15 lawyers

Within Dispute Resolution, Lalive is a first tier firm. The 'well-structured, communicative and organised' group at Lalive includes dedicated arbitration and litigation teams. Lalive is 'the best arbitration boutique in Switzerland' and the 13-partner team advises a range of public sector clients, states and international organisations.

Who's Who Legal, Switzerland, Arbitration, 2011