Christopher Ryan is a partner in the International Arbitration practice.
He has extensive experience in international arbitration and litigation, and has represented private and governmental clients in disputes before ICC, AAA, ICSID, UNCITRAL LCIA, ad hoc arbitral tribunals, and U.S. federal courts. His practice focuses on commercial and investment disputes in the construction, infrastructure, mining, and energy sectors. He has advised U.S. and foreign companies on issues of public and private international law, investment and trade policy, and strategies for mitigating the risks associated with foreign investment.
He also serves as a Lecturer at the University of Virginia School of Law and the George Washington School of Law, where he teaches a course on international investment arbitration and international commercial arbitration, respectively.
- A State-owned Latin American oil and gas company, Respondent in an ICC arbitration against a European contractor. The dispute arose from the alleged breach of an EPC contract and associated delays and cost overruns in the construction and expansion of a state-owned oil refinery. Dutch law applied. The seat of arbitration was The Hague.
- An international contractor in an ICC arbitration against an African mining company. The dispute arose from alleged breaches of an agreement to construct a pipeline from a mining site to a processing plant, and involved issues of design changes, unforeseen physical conditions, and other events that delayed the completion of the project. The law of Ontario applied. The seat of arbitration was Toronto.
- An international joint venture, Respondent and Counterclaimant and in an ICDR arbitration in New York initiated by a North Asian company. The dispute arose from an agreement for the construction of a chemical plant in North America. Issues included delay and defective works. New York law applied.
- An African Government in a commercial dispute with an Indian contractor. The dispute, which was subject to ICC Arbitration Rules, arose from the alleged breach of a FIDIC Yellow Book contract for the construction of various port facilities. French law applied. The matter was settled through pre-arbitral dispute processes.
- The Republic of Panama, Respondent in an ICSID arbitration brought by Omega Engineering LLC and Mr. Oscar Rivera (ICSID Case No. ARB/16/42). The dispute relates to infrastructure construction projects. The claims are brought under both the Panama-U.S. bilateral investment treaty and trade promotion agreement.
- The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration initiated by Koch Minerals Sàrl and Koch Nitrogen International Sàrl (ICSID Case No. ARB/11/19). The dispute arose from the construction and operation of an ammonia and urea production facility. The claims were brought under the Venezuela-Switzerland bilateral investment treaty.
- The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in two ICSID arbitrations, respectively initiated by O.I. European Group B.V. (ICSID Case No. ARB/11/25) and Fábrica de Vidrios Los Andes, C.A. and Owens-Illinois de Venezuela, C.A. (ICSID Case No. ARB/12/21). The dispute was in relation to the operation of two industrial plants for the production, processing and distribution of glass containers. The claims were brought under the Venezuela-Netherlands bilateral investment treaty.
- The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration initiated by Vestey Group Ltd. (ICSID Case No. ARB/06/4). The dispute was in relation to a farming enterprise. The claims were brought under the Venezuela-UK bilateral investment treaty.
- Kazatomprom, a Kazakh State entity, Respondent in an arbitration initiated by World Wide Minerals against our client and the State of Kazakhstan. This case arose out of allegations of breaches by the Respondent of the applicable investment statute and contracts in relation to mining rights allegedly granted to the Claimant. The Respondent objected to jurisdiction and contested the claims on their merits. The amount at stake was in excess of $4 billion. The Claimant has suspended its claims.
Business combination disputes
- The Dow Chemical Company in an ICC arbitration in London against Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) arising out of the failure of the latter to close a large joint venture transaction. English law applied. The seat of arbitration was London.
- Subsidiaries of a European renewable energy company, Claimants in an ICC arbitration brought against a Latin American energy company. The dispute arose from alleged breaches of contract in relation to the sale of a wind farm project in Latin America. Argentine law applied. The seat of the arbitration was Montevideo, Uruguay.
- A French chemical company, Claimant in an ICC arbitration initiated by the European subsidiaries of a North American chemical company. The cases arose out of claims that the Claimant misappropriated certain industrial trade secrets in the course of a joint venture relationship for the development of a chemical facility in Asia. French law applied.
- A French chemical company, Respondent in an ad hoc arbitration brought by the European subsidiaries of a North American chemical company. The case arose out of allegations that Respondent used misappropriated trade secrets in the course of a joint venture relationship to secure certain U.S. patents.
- A North American agro-sciences company, Claimant and counterclaim respondent in AAA arbitration in Illinois against a plant breeding company regarding the alleged breach of a collaborative research and development agreement. Approximately $400 million was at stake. Illinois law applied.
- The Asian subsidiary of a major European chemicals company, Claimant in an ICC arbitration against the Asian subsidiary of a major North American chemical company. The dispute arose from a long-term supply agreement. New York law applied.
- The U.S. subsidiary of a European solar power company, Respondent in an ICC arbitration brought by a consulting company. The dispute involved the alleged breach of various contracts relating to the construction of a solar power plant in the United States. New York Law applied. The seat of arbitration was New York.
- Enka Insaat ve Sanayi AS in proceedings brought before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to request the confirmation of a $47 million award rendered in an ICC arbitration against Gabon in a dispute over payments on contracts to build the presidential palace and a museum in the country.
- Tata Sons Ltd., as award debtor, in proceedings brought before U.S. courts by Japanese telecoms company NTT DoCoMo to seek enforcement of a $1.17 billion award rendered in an LCIA arbitration.
- The U.S. proceedings to confirm on behalf of the majority shareholders in the former Yukos Oil Company three Final Awards in which the Arbitral Tribunal ordered the Russian Federation to pay over $50 billion in damages to our clients. This is the largest arbitral award ever rendered by an arbitral tribunal.
- A French chemical company in multiple proceedings before U.S. Courts against a North American chemical company to enforce arbitral agreements included in several agreements entered into over the course of a joint venture relationship.
- A Turkish appliance manufacturer in a dispute against a global chemical company over the supply of allegedly defective products. Various laws apply to the multiple claims at issue. The dispute is seated in the United States.
- Alcolac Inc., Defendant in a putative class action lawsuit brought by Kurdish nationals in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute and the Torture Victims Protection Act. Plaintiffs alleged that Alcolac aided-and-abetted Iraq’s violation of U.S. and international law through use of chemical weapons against Kurdish civilians in 1988.
- Bank of America in the first successful “lenders” claim brought to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. The claim involved the expropriation of insured assets in India.
- Various clients in trade-related matters before the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. International Trade Commission, U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Public International Law
- Advise a Latin American state on diplomatic and legal issues regarding an ongoing boundary dispute with a neighboring country State.
- Advise a Latin American state’s delegation to the United Nations and United Nations’ Security Council on several public international law issues, including: questions of ambassadorial immunities; jurisdictional issues relating to the conduct of the International Criminal Court; Security Council procedures; the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice; the use of force in international law; the legality of sanctions regimes under international law; the enforcement of international awards and judgments against sovereign assets; and the formation of the Permanent Arbitration Court.
- Advise state-owned oil companies regarding the scope and applicability of U.S. and international sanctions.
- Advise an international NGO on various questions of public international law. Examples include: comparative analysis of how state’s handle the question of universal jurisdiction; international law standards for documenting crimes against terrorism; participatory constitutional reform measures; the international legal regime governing the creation and administrative of peacekeeping forces; a state’s obligations under international law to counter terrorist activities located within its territorial boundaries; international prohibitions on the use of chemical weapons, with a focus on chlorine gas.
Yale Law School
B.A. (Honors Program)
- United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
- United States District Court for the District of Columbia
- United States District Court for the District of Maryland
- United States Court of International Trade
- United States Court of Federal Claims
- Advisory Board Member, International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR)
- Advisory Board Member, Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA)
- Corresponding Editor, International Legal Materials – American Society of International Law
- Member, American Society of International Law
- Member, International Arbitration Institute (IAI)
- Member, London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)
Awards & Accolades
- Clients tell Chambers USA that Chris Ryan “earns praise for being in tune with arbitrators through the course of the tribunal proceedings” (2017), that he “handles both commercial and investment treaty proceedings, in particular those involving construction claims” and that he is “noted for his extensive Latin American practice” (2016).
- Chris serves as a Lecturer at the University of Virginia School of Law and the George Washington School of Law, where he teaches a course on international investment law and international arbitration, respectively.