Christopher Ryan is a partner in the International Arbitration practice.
He has extensive experience in international arbitration and litigation, and has represented private and State 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 other companies on issues of public and private international law, investment and trade policy, and strategies for mitigating the risks associated with foreign investment.
Christopher Ryan 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.
- Representation of Stoneway Capital Corporation (US) and its Latin American subsidiary, Respondents and Counter-Claimants in an ICC arbitration in New York initiated by a European construction contractor. The dispute arises from an EPC contract for the construction of two power plants in Latin America. New York law applies.
- Representation of a North American mining company in a dispute with its principal contractor regarding the construction of a mine processing plant in North America. The dispute relates to delays and defects in the works. U.S. law governs.
- Representation of a North American mining company, Respondent and Counter-claimant, in a dispute before a U.S. state court brought by its principal contractor regarding the construction of a mine in North America. The dispute relates to delays and cost overruns on the project. U.S. law governs.
- Representation of a State-owned Latin American oil and gas company, Respondent in an ICC arbitration in The Hague 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.
- Representation of an international contractor in an ICC arbitration in Toronto 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.
- Representation of 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.
- Representation of 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.
Oil & Gas and Energy
- Representation of an Australasia-based international oil company, Respondent in a AAA arbitration in Houston brought by a North American international oil company. The dispute related to the ownership of certain development rights. Texas law applied.
- Representation of an Australasia-based international oil company in a dispute with a European energy company regarding the transfer of interests in a North American oil and gas project. The contract provided for AAA arbitration. Various U.S. laws applied.
- Representation of a North American international oil company in a contractual dispute with a North American LNG company regarding the provision of certain storage and tolling services. The contract provided for AAA arbitration. New York law applied.
- Advice to a major oil company in relation to its global dispute strategies and climate change issues.
- Advice to a U.S. power plant owner in disputes with its suppliers and principal customers arising out of force majeure and other operational events.
- Representation of 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.
- Representation of 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.
- Representation of 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.
- Representation of 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-U.K. bilateral investment treaty.
- Representation of 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
- Representation of 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.
- Representation of subsidiaries of a European renewable energy company, Claimants in an ICC arbitration in Montevideo, Uruguay 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.
- Representation of a European 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.
- Representation of a European 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.
- Representation of 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.
- Representation of 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.
- Representation of the U.S. subsidiary of a European solar power company, Respondent in an ICC arbitration in New York 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.
- Representation of 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.
- Representation of 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.
- Representation of the majority shareholders in the former Yukos Oil Company in proceedings before U.S. courts to confirm 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.
- Representation of a European 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.
- Representation of Terry Weiss and Weiss Consulting, Defendants, in a litigation involving the construction of a copper mine in Nevada. The dispute involves the alleged misappropriation of trade secrets and tortious interference with contractual relationships. Nevada law applies.
- Representation of European appliance manufacturer Arcelik, Claimant in litigation before U.S. federal court against U.S. chemical company DuPont. The dispute relates to defects in materials manufactured by DuPont and used by Arcelik in its appliances. Multiple laws apply.
- Representation of 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.
- Representation of 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.
- Representation of 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
- Advice to an intergovernmental agency on questions of sovereign immunity under the laws of the United States and other jurisdictions.
- Advice to a Latin American State on diplomatic and legal issues regarding an ongoing boundary dispute with a neighboring country State.
- Advice to 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.
- Advice to State-owned oil companies regarding the scope and applicability of U.S. and international sanctions.
- Advice to an international NGO on various questions of public international law. Examples include: comparative analysis of how States 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.
B.A. (Honors Program)
- United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- United States District Court for the District of Maryland
- United States Court of Federal Claims
- Advisory Board Member, International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR)
- Member, CPR Transparency Task Force
- 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)
- “Fundamental Issues in Valuing Natural Resource Investments in International Investment Arbitration,” in Proceedings of the 64th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (forthcoming)
- “Temporal Issues, Exceptions, Taxes, Fork-in-the-Road Provisions and Waivers,” in Business Guide to Trade and Investment: International Investment (International Chamber of Commerce, 2018)
- “Encouraging Greater Use of Mediation in International Commercial Arbitration,” New York Law Journal, March 16, 2018 (co-author)
- “An Ounce of Prevention: Structuring Foreign Investments to Maximize International Investment Law Protection and Minimize Risk,” New York Law Journal, November 27, 2017
- “Navigating the Standards Used to Assess Arbitrator Bias in International Arbitration,” New York Law Journal, August 2017
- “Breaking the Investment Treaties,” Mining Journal, May 24, 2017
- “Enforcing Foreign Arbitral Awards Against Foreign Corporations Registered to Do Business in NY,” New York Law Journal, March 20, 2017
- “Ensuring Tiered Dispute Resolution Clauses Serve Their Intended Function,” New York Law Journal, November 28, 2016
- “A Common Right to Arbitrate: Anti-Suit Injunctions in New York and England,” New York Law Journal, July 18, 2016 (co-author)
- “Forum Non Conveniens Defeats Enforcement of International Arbitration Award: Figueiredo Ferraz E Engenharia de Projeto Ltda v. The Republic of Peru et al., 665 F.3d 384 (2d Cir, 2011),” 15(2) International Arbitration Law Review 56 (2012)
- “U.S. Developments on the Enforcement of Awards Set Aside by the Courts of the Seat of Arbitration,” in International Arbitration Court Decisions (S. Bond & F. Bachand eds., 3d. ed. 2011)
- “New York Civil Practice Law and Rule 3102(s): A Potential Tool for Parties Seeking Discovery in Aid of Arbitration,” Transnational Dispute Management (2011, Vol. 1)
- “Discerning the Compliance Calculus: Why States Comply with International Investment Law,” 38 Georgetown Journal of International & Comparative Law 63 (2009)
- “Managing the International Arbitral Process,” in Proceedings Of Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Association’s 2009 short course on international mining law (2009)
- “Meeting Expectations: Assessing the Long-Term Legitimacy and Stability of International Investment Law,” 29 University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law 725 (2008)
- “Hall Street Associates v. Mattel: The Supreme Court Eliminates “Manifest Disregard” as a Ground for Vacating an Arbitral Award,” National Law Journal (May 12, 2008)
- “Enforcement in the United States of an International Arbitration Award Set Aside in the Country of Origin,” 2007(2) Stockholm International Arbitration Review 150 (2007)
- “Means to be Made Whole: Damages in the Context of International Investment Arbitration,” in Evaluation Of Damages In International Arbitration 165 (Dossiers: ICC Institute of World Business Law, 2006)
- “The Interplay Between Treaty and Contract Claims in the Bayindar Decision,” 17(11) World Mediation & Arbitration Reports 361 (2006) (co-author)
- “A New Framework for International Investment: Changes in the U.S. Model Bilateral Investment Treaty,” 16(2) World Mediation & Arbitration Reports (2005) (co-author)
- “Managing Discovery in Complex Construction Arbitration,” European-American Chamber of Commerce Conference, New York, January 2020
- “Advanced Seminar on Arbitrator Ethics,” International Law Institute, Washington, D.C., November 2019
- “Arbitration Training on Issues of expropriation,” FET, and FPS in international investment law, International Law Institute, Washington, D.C., October 2019
- “Fundamentals of international arbitration,” International Law Institute Development Program, Washington, D.C., July 2019
- “Recent developments in DC case law on International Arbitration and Suitability of a DC International Arbitration Center,” Breakfast meeting amongst International Arbitration practitioners in the District of Columbia, Washington, D.C., May 2019
- “Arbitrating disputes with states: the investor perspective,” ICC/USCIB Arbitration Committee Luncheon, Washington, D.C., January 2019
- “Advanced Seminar on Arbitrator Ethics,” International Law Institute, Washington, D.C., November 2018
- “Preparing for the Doomsday Scenario: Calculating and Establishing Damages for Natural Resource Investments in International Arbitration,” Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Annual Institute, Victoria, B.C., July 2018
- “Annual Roundup of International Law Decisions Issued by US Courts,” George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C., April 2018
- “The Intersection Between Illegality, Corruption, and International Investment Law,” presentation given in conjunction with the 2018 PDAC Conference, Toronto, March 2018
- “When Mining Projects Go Bad: Dispute Planning and Preparation,” SME Annual Conference - Workshop, New York, NY, May 2017
- “Mining Investment: Identifying and Managing Key Technical, Legal, Construction and Price Risks,” SME Annual Conference, New York, NY, April 2016
- “Preparing for Disputes in International Mining Projects,” SME Annual Conference – Workshop, New York,
- “Debunking Criticisms of Investor-State Dispute Settlement,” PLI Program, Washington, D.C., July 2015
- “The Presentation of Evidence in International Arbitration – Rules and Practice,” presentation at the International Law Institute Program on International Commercial Arbitration, Washington, D.C., May 2012
- Member of the faculty for a three-day program entitled “Advanced Techniques for Handling an International Arbitration Case,” sponsored by the Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo and the Center on International Commercial Arbitration. São Paulo, Brazil, April 2012
- “Has Authoritative Interpretation Perverted the Treatment Standard in NAFTA?,” presentation at the Sixth Annual Juris Conference entitled “NAFTA, CAFTA and Beyond? Investment Protection in the Americas”, Washington, D.C., March 2012
- “Avoiding Parallel Proceedings Under International Investment Law,” presentation at the International Law Institute’s Annual Course on Investment Agreements and Investor-State Arbitration, Washington, D.C., November 2011
- “International Commercial Arbitration and International Investment Law,” presentations at the Institute for U.S. Law, 2011 Summer Course series on Alternative Dispute Resolution. Washington, D.C., August 2011
- “The Intersection Between International Investment and International Trade Law: An Overview of Dispute Resolution Processes,” presentation at the International Law Institute. Washington, D.C., January 2011
- “The Evolution of the American Judicial Perspective on International Arbitration,” presentation at the University of Virginia School of Law, J.B. Moore International Law Society’s Distinguished Speaker Series, Charlottesville, VA, October 2010
- “Handling Competition Issues in International Arbitration,” presentation at the American University Washington College of Law’s Seventh Annual Conference on International Commercial Arbitration. Washington, D.C., October 2010
- “When do Arbitrators Become Functus Officio and Lose their Authority to Decide?,” presentation at a conference entitled “International Arbitration and the Finality of Awards – A Tour d’ Horizon,” hosted by the Thomson/Reuters and the Georgetown University School of Law. Washington, D.C., September 2010
- “International Commercial Arbitration,” presentation at the Institute for U.S. Law, 2010 Summer Course series on Alternative Dispute Resolution. Washington, D.C., August 2010
- “Dispute Resolution under NAFTA Chapters 11 and 19,” presentation at the International Law Institute’s course entitled “Dispute Mechanism of the WTO.” Washington, D.C., December 2009
- “The Growing Interplay between International Arbitration and U.S. Litigation: The State of the Federal Policy Favoring Arbitration,” presentation at the University of Virginia School of Law, J.B. Moore International Law Society’s Distinguished Speaker Series. Charlottesville, VA, November 2009
- “The Necessity Defense in International Investment Law: Predictors for State Decision-Making in the Current Global Economic Crisis,” presentation on a panel entitled “State of Necessity and Force Majeure in an Age of Global Economic Crisis” at the American Bar Association International Law Section’s Annual Meeting. Miami, FL, October 2009
- “The Future of International Investment Law – Responding to Current Challenges,” presentation at an International Law Institute program entitled “Foreign Investment Agreements and International Investment Disputes.” (October 2009)
- “Managing the International Arbitral Process,” presentation at the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Association’s Short Course on International Mining Law. (May 2009)
- “Substantive Protections Available to Foreign Investors under International Investment Law,” presentation at a seminar entitled “International Trade and Arbitration: Emerging Issues in an Interconnected World,” hosted by the Duke University School of Law and the Duke Center for Comparative Law. (February 2009)
- “The Current State of International Investment Law,” presentation at conference entitled “International Commercial Arbitration: 50 Years After the New York Convention,” University of Georgia School of Law/Dean Rusk Center for International and Comparative Law (January 2009)
- “Assessing the Cost of Compliance: A Critical Assessment of Why States Adhere to International Investment Law,” presentation at a conference entitled “Politics in International Law” sponsored by the American Society of International Law (November 2008)
- “Meeting Expectations: Assessing the Long-Term Legitimacy of International Investment Law,” presentation at a symposium entitled “International Investment and Transnational Litigation: Challenges of Expanding Investor-State Disputes,” presented by the University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Economic Law (February 2007)
- “Potential Systemic Challenges to the International Investment Law Regime,” presentation at The George Washington University Law School (February 2006)
- “International Dispute Resolution,” Southern Political Science Association’s Annual Meeting (January 2006) (discussant)
- “The Role of State Consent in the Development and Enforcement of International Investment Law,” presentation at the Southern Political Association’s Annual Meeting (January 2006)
- “The Convergence of International Trade and Investment Issues,” presentation at Howard University Law School (November 2005)
Awards & Accolades
- Shearman & Sterling LLP has sector strengths in energy, pharmaceuticals, and financial services. Over in Washington DC, key members of the team include Christopher Ryan, who has a track record of representing government clients in ICC, UNCITRAL and ad-hoc tribunals, and Thomas Wilner, who specializes in international trade disputes. – The Legal 500 USA 2019 – International Arbitration (Nationwide)
- At Shearman & Sterling LLP, New York-based team head Henry Weisburg and Christopher Ryan in Washington DC are representing the Republic of Panama in treaty claims brought by Omega Engineering and its CEO relating to the alleged expropriation of multiple infrastructure construction projects under the US-Panama BIT. –The Legal 500 USA 2018 – International Arbitration (Nationwide)
- 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).
- Christopher Ryan 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.