The Canadian continues to bring his expertise to bear on NAFTA and other investment cases.
One of a small group of sole practitioners in the GAR 100, Weiler is an international investment law specialist based in London, Ontario.
After articling at Ogilvy Renault (now Norton Rose OR), 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 began acting on behalf of other law firms in an independent capacity. A decade on, he has become regarded as an authority on investment treaty law and still gets instructions 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. He chairs the annual Juris Conference on investment law and arbitration in Washington, DC, with Crowell & Moring’s Ian Laird. With Laird, he also runs the 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 sits as an arbitrator too now – he was recently on the panel hearing an investment case against Russia at the SCC. He has also 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.
In Pope & Talbot v Canada, Weiler (with Ian Laird) developed a three-part test on “national treatment” that has since become the starting point for analysis of that issue by investment arbitration tribunals (although their client eventually lost).
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.
One of his biggest successes came in Siag & Vecchi v Egypt, which produced an US$80 million ICSID award. Weiler, who had started acting for Siag following a referral from a previous client, auditioned law firms on the businessman’s behalf. After settling on a team of lawyers from King & Spalding, he continued to advise in the background all the way through to the final award.
A 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 was an international NGO that is helping Uruguay to fight an ICSID claim brought by Phillip Morris over the state’s tobacco packaging legislation.
In 2011, meanwhile, he was working extensively on two investment treaty cases – Vito Gallo v Canada (a NAFTA case under UNCITRAL rules) and Bosh v Ukraine at ICSID.
He also wrote a book on the history of investment law, for which he was granted a doctorate from the University of Michigan.