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Trillions of dollars are under management by sovereign wealth funds. The Malaysian 1MDB corruption allegations have hit the headlines and major London litigation involving sovereign funds has included Libyan Investment Authority v Goldman Sachs in 2016, with LIA v SocGen upcoming in 2017.Cases such as KWL v UBS have exposed the corrosive effect of bribery of public officials. Banks around the world are under scrutiny in relation to investment relationships and also money-laundering allegations.

In this seminar Members of 20 Essex Street will explore this uniquely potent combination of fraud, investment, banking and politics, including the relevance of corruption and bribery to potential investment treaty claims. 

Andrew Fulton will address the legal principles regarding bribes and secret commissions and provide an overview of rights and remedies.

Philip Edey QC will address the issues and lessons learnt in LIA v Goldman Sachs.

Kate Parlett will address the potential for sovereign wealth funds to file claims under bilateral investment treaties, and discuss the potential bars to such claims where there is evidence of corruption.

Sudhanshu Swaroop QC of 20 Essex Street will focus on corruption/bribery as a sword in investment treaty arbitration, and the circumstances in which the corrupt conduct of State officials and other persons might form the basis for a claim under investment treaty.

Duncan Matthews QC will be chairing the evening.


Date: 7th June 2017

Registration: 6.00-6.30pm

Seminar: 6.30-7.30pm

Cocktail reception: 7.30-8.30pm

Venue: Maxwell Chambers, 32 Maxwell Road, Singapore


If you would like to attend please contact Tamara McCombe tmccombe [at] 20essexst [dot] com                                                             

At a conference jointly hosted by Queen Mary University of London and CBAR titled "The State as a Party to Arbitration Proceedings" Monica Feria-Tinta joins a panel to discuss sovereign immunity.

For more information please see the event flyer below.

Last week, Members of 20 Essex Street co-convened a seminar with Dentons and the BIICL Investment Treaty Forum, addressing strategy in investment arbitration, with a focus on procedural manoeuvres available to respondent states – including applications for summary dismissal, security for costs, disclosure of third-party funding arrangements, and potential for settlement offers.

The seminar was attended by over 120 practitioners and academics. It was chaired by Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC, who has extensive experience as arbitrator (both presiding and party- appointed) in a range of investor-State arbitrations under the framework of the PCA, ICSID, NAFTA, ECT and DRCAFTA.

Dr Kate Parlett, a specialist in international arbitration and public international law, spoke on applications for summary dismissal under Rule 41(5) of the ICSID Arbitration Rules. Reviewing the practice under Rule 41(5), she argued that it is providing an effective filter for unmeritorious cases, and that it is not being invoked by respondent states routinely or abusively.

Belinda McRae, who has acted as counsel in arbitrations across a range of sectors, spoke on applications for security for costs. She argued that security for costs could be a powerful strategic tool in an appropriate case, potentially for claimants as well as respondent states. She identified several trends in the case law, including that the tribunal’s approach to cost-shifting will have an critical impact on an applicant’s prospects of success.

Penelope Nevill, who specialises in international and domestic litigation and advisory work in the field of public international law, including investment arbitration, spoke on the strategic use of settlement offers to achieve better outcomes for states and investors, and the need for states to have systems in place before disputes arise to make better use of “cooling off” periods and settlement offers. She suggested that parties to investment treaty disputes should consider making “without prejudice except as to costs” settlement offers and specific provisions for their use at the early procedural stages of a case.

Further information on the event can be found here: In addition, the presentations are available to download on the BIICL website:


Paris Agreement does not include an enforcement mechanism. However, trends show that different actors have been innovative in using different legal regimes to address environmental and climate change issues. Green investors have resorted to international arbitration to resolve disputes related to, among others, incentives and government failures to enforce environmental laws. Meanwhile, more climate change litigations have been brought in domestic courts.

These trends raise questions, how can existing legal norms be used to address questions about climate change? What role does International law and arbitration have in the climate change issue? These were some of the questions Monica Feria-Tinta addressed at a conference, jointly organized by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Chamber of Commerce, the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and the International Bar Association on Monday 21 November, in Stockholm.      

A full report on the conference will be available here

Monica Feria-Tinta will be delivering a lecture entitled  “Like Oil and Water? Human Rights in Investment Arbitration in the Wake of Philip Morris vs. Uruguay”, to the Public International Law Discussion Group at the University of Oxford, as part of the Group Series during Michaelmas Term 2016.

The event will take place at The Old Library, All Souls College, on December 1. 

The Oxford Public International Law discussion group's meetings are part of the programme of the British Branch of the International Law Association and are supported by the Law Faculty and Oxford University Press.  Topics presented in these series involve contemporary and challenging issues in international law. Speakers include distinguished international law practitioners, academics, and legal advisers from around the world.

For more information:

On 19 October 2016, Monica Feria–Tinta will be speaking on Energy Investment Arbitration at the Hong Kong Arbitration Week, on a panel entitled "Energy disputes - lessons learnt in Europe and opportunities facing the Chinese energy market", alongside Emmanuel Jacomy (Shearman & Sterling), Matthew Secomb (White & Case), Kristoffer Löf (Mannheimer Swartling Advokatbyrå), Kristin Campbell-Wilson (Stockholm Chamber of Commerce) and Huawei Sun (Zhong Lun Law Firm).  

The session will introduce the European energy disputes landscape and address the opportunities and challenges currently facing the Chinese energy market. Can Europe help China benefit from its experience? What are the lessons to learn and what are the pitfalls to avoid? Will be just some of the questions the panel will address. The session has attracted nearly 100 attendees, including senior government counsels from the Department of Justice in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Arbitration Week attracts an ever-growing number of users and practitioners from every corner of the globe to the heart of Hong Kong to exchange insights on the changing landscape of international arbitration.  For more information visit:

Kate will be speaking about the jurisdictional implications of renvoi references in the Law of the Sea Convention, a topical issue that was of central importance to the decision of the Annex VII tribunals in the Mauritius v UK (Chagos) and the Philippines v China (South China Sea) arbitrations. Programme

21 - 22 September 2016

On Thursday 25 August, Kate Parlett, a specialist in public international law, spoke on 'Investment Protection and Dispute Resolution under Newly Negotiated Free Trade Agreements: Piecemeal Reaction or Serious Reassessment?' at the PluriCourts Conference in Oslo.

Barrister and arbitrator members of 20 Essex Street are contributing to a round table on “China’s Conception of the Rule of Law and its Impact on Market Governance”, organised by Nottingham University’s China Policy Institute and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law.  The event, held on 20 January 2016, explores the implications of reforms in China – including its new Law on Foreign Investment – on market activity and foreign direct investment.  Arbitrator member and former Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Bernard Rix, and barrister Gordon Nardell QC who recently joined the set, have been invited to act as commentators on key topics.