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GAR 100 - 9th Edition

Todd Weiler

18 February 2016

A Canadian sole practitioner who frequently co-counsels with GAR 100 firms

Todd Weiler is an investment treaty arbitration specialist based in London, Ontario.

His background is in public policy and international trade. He worked as a trade policy analyst for the Canadian government before being lured away by Barry Appleton to assist him on some of the earliest NAFTA cases against Canada.

Weiler founded a website devoted to NAFTA claims in 1999, and began acting on behalf of other law firms in an independent capacity. He is regarded as an authority on investment treaty law and still gets instructions despite the proliferation of firms with dedicated practices in this area.

He primarily serves as co-counsel or consulting counsel in treaty disputes, teaming up with other practitioners on a case-by-case basis. He also sits as an arbitrator and publishes widely in the field. He has edited more than a dozen books and authored more than 60 academic articles and book chapters. The Interpretation of International Investment Law, was published in 2013 and earned him a doctorate from the University of Michigan.

In 2006, he founded the annual Juris Conference on investment law and arbitration in Washington, DC. He continues to co-chair the event with Crowell & Moring’s Ian Laird. With Laird, he also co-founded and runs the popular website investmentclaims.com, which they now manage for Oxford University Press.

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.

Who uses it?

Weiler has acted in cases involving Barbados, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Laos, Mexico. Mongolia and Peru, as well as on a claim brought by indigenous tobacco producers against the United States. He has teamed up with the likes of Debevoise & Plimpton, Vinson & Elkins, Dentons, Pinsent Masons and Fasken Martineau DuMoulin.

He’s lately been acting for two US-owned gaming companies in a protracted dispute with the government of Laos; and for Latin American victims of the notorious Allen Stanford Ponzi scheme in potential treaty claims of US$560 million against the United States. Canada’s Vanoil Energy is another client in a contract claim against Kenya.

Weiler also acts for non-disputing parties in investor-state cases. He represented the Native American 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 client was an international NGO that is helping Uruguay to defend an ICSID claim brought by Phillip Morris over the state’s tobacco packaging legislation.

Track record

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 on that point).

Weiler was also part of the team that won the first damages award against Canada in SD Myers v Canada, in which the tribunal awarded damages not only for harm caused to the investment in Canadian territory, but also for losses the investor suffered in the US.

One of his biggest successes came in Siag & Vecchi v Egypt, which produced an US$132 million ICSID award for the claimant in 2009. Weiler, who started acting for Siag following a referral from a previous client, auditioned law firms on the businessman’s behalf. After settling on a team from King & Spalding, he continued to advise in the background all the way through to the final award.

Recent events

A DR-CAFTA case that Weiler is bringing (together with Fasken Martineau) on behalf of beachfront property investors against Costa Rica had a public hearing in April 2015, which was livestreamed on the ICSID website.

He also teamed up with Pinsent Masons to lodge a new ICSID claim against Egypt on behalf of a family of cotton investors. Members of the same family saw a similar case against the state dismissed 13 years ago.

Insight

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