One of the rare sole practitioners to feature in the GAR 100, Weiler is an international investment law barrister working in a country (Canada) that has no tradition of barristers or chambers.
- Who’s Who Name:
- T J Weiler
After articling at Ogilvy Renault – with its leading international arbitration practice – Weiler clerked for a federal court judge and worked as a trade policy analyst for the Canadian government. Within six months he had been lured away by the man who brought the earliest NAFTA cases against Canada – Barry Appleton – and went on to assist him on those cases.
He founded a website devoted to NAFTA claims in 2000 and was soon acting on behalf of other law firms in an independent acpacity. A decade on, he has an established reputation as an expert on investment treaty law and continues to get instructed despite the proliferation of firms with dedicated practices in this area.
Weiler spends much of his time writing articles, editing books and speaking at conferences, and chairs the annual Juris conference on investment law and arbitration in Washington, DC, with Crowell & Moring’s Ian Laird. With Laird he also runs a popular website – investmentclaims.com.
He is one of the co-founders of the Society of International Economic Law and was one of the four practitioners chosen by Thomas Wälde’s widow to ensure his legacy projects, OGEMID and TDM, would be maintained and grow. He also chaired a recent conference in Wälde’s memory and is editor of an upcoming volume of essays in his memory.
As arbitrator he has been involved in one investment case: a claim against Russia at the SCC. He does not appear in municipal courts.
As the brains behind the Pope & Talbot v Canada case (with Ian Laird), Weiler takes credit for the first modern “national treatment” case under NAFTA or any bilateral investment treaty. Although the pair lost the case, the three-part test they developed on national treatment became the starting point for the tribunal and all subsequent tribunals.
In the same vein, Weiler was also the first lawyer to convince a NAFTA tribunal that detrimental reliance is a legitimate ground of complaint under article 1105 – the “fair and equitable treatment” standard.
He says another career high was his involvement in the Siag v Vecchi case at ICSID. Weiler started acting for Siag following a referral from a previous client and later auditioned law firms on the businessman’s behalf. He settled on a team of lawyers from King & Spalding but continued to advise in the background all the way through to the largest award ever granted to an individual at ICSID – US$80 million plus US$50 million in interest.
Weiler has acted as co-counsel or consultant on recent investment arbitration claims against Croatia, Egypt and the Czech Republic, as well as on a claim brought by indigenous tobacco producers against the US.
One recent client was the Quechan Nation, which was accorded a privileged position in a NAFTA dispute between Glamis Gold and the US over the Nation’s traditional lands. Another is an international NGO as it helps Uruguay to defend an ICSID claim brought by Phillip Morris over the state’s tobacco packaging legislation.
With Matthew Woods of Heenan Blaikie, he is organising a mass claim brought by 1,800 claimants against a NAFTA party under UNCITRAL rules. The claim is worth at least US$500 million.