Multidisciplinary approach

Areas of practice

BackInvestment Arbitration

LALIVE was a pioneer in international investment arbitration, representing one of the parties in the very first arbitration before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Today, the firm is a global leader in the field. LALIVE's investment treaty arbitration specialists regularly act as counsel for investors and States in disputes arising out of bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, investment contracts, and other instruments, and involving a wide range of industries, including energy, telecommunications, construction and transportation. The firm's lawyers are also frequently appointed as arbitrators in large and complex investment arbitrations. 

LALIVE's team has been involved in investment arbitration proceedings conducted under the ICSID Convention's Regulations and Rules and the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, as well as before other international arbitral institutions including the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), and international claims bodies such as the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) and the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal. 

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

Read more

The firm's investment arbitration specialists have developed substantial expertise in assessing complex claims, leading large teams of lawyers and experts in various jurisdictions, and cooperating closely with clients' in-house and local counsel. 

They regularly publish and lecture in the field of international investment law and public international law, and several of them hold key positions in ICSID (member of the Panel of Arbitrators) and UNCITRAL (Representative for Switzerland on the UNCITRAL Working Group III; past Chairman of the UNCITRAL Working Group II).

Selected Assignments

  • Successfully representing the Republic of Turkey in annulment proceedings in the largest ICSID dispute to date (USD 11 billion) concerning alleged breaches of international law, including expropriation
  • Representing Romania in a USD 100 million investment dispute conducted under the ICSID Arbitration Rules with investors based in the United States, arising from a Bilateral Investment Treaty relating to alleged harassment of certain individuals and companies
  • Acting as lead counsel for the Republic of Turkey in a complex EUR 280 million investment dispute brought by Dutch investors under the ICSID Arbitration Rules following the alleged termination of a public tender for a construction project
  • Representing the Republic of Ecuador against a North American company in an investment arbitration under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules arising under a Bilateral Investment Treaty, relating to termination of mining concessions
  • Representing a Fortune 500 company against a South American Government in an investment dispute before ICSID, concerning regulatory issues


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

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

Bulletin in BriefMatthias Scherer, 2017

ASA Bulletin 3/2017 (September issue)

Criteria to Determine Investor Nationality (Juridical Persons)Nhu-Hoang Tran Thang, Pierre Tercier, 2015

In: Meg Kinnear, Geraldine R. Fischer, Jara Mínguez Almeida et al. (Eds.), Building International Investment Law - The First 50 Years of ICSID, Kluwer Law International, The Netherlands, 2015, chapter 10

Enforcement, SwitzerlandNoradèle Radjai, 2015

In: Julien Fouret (Ed.), Enforcement of Investment Treaty Arbitration Awards, Globe Law and Business, 2015

La expansión del sistema arbitral CIADI: desde el solitario asunto Holiday Inns c/Marruecos en el tribunal constituido en 1972 hasta nuestro díasJaime Gallego, 2015

In: Jorge Luis Collantes González (Coodinator), Estudios de Arbitraje Internacional (entre la práctica arbitral y la investigación científica), Lima: Thomson Reuters, 2015, Vol. 31 de la Biblioteca de Arbitraje, pp.87-134

And Others: Mass Claims in ICSID ArbitrationVeijo Heiskanen, 2015

In: Meg Kinnear, Geraldine R. Fischer, Jara Mínguez Almeida et al. (Eds.), Building International Investment Law - The First 50 Years of ICSID, Kluwer Law International, The Netherlands, 2015, chapter 44

More publications


Switzerland-headquartered boutique active on a raft of investment treaty disputes. Formidable track record advising both states and investors in a broad range of sectors. Significant knowledge of UNCITRAL and ICSID proceedings.
Chambers Global 2016, Public International Law

“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

1st non-global firm, 10th worldwide
GAR, 2016

Predominantly recognised for its noteworthy investment arbitration practice. Also advises on treaty interpretation, sovereign immunity, and Law of the Sea. Regularly appear in front of international courts and tribunals including ICSID and the ICJ.  

"Fantastic firm with a great great reputation."

Chambers Global, Public International Law (Band 4) - Global-wide, 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.

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

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

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