Charles Nairac | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
Charles Nairac
Charles Nairac

Charles Nairac

Partner, Paris

T +33 1 55 04 15 41

T +33 1 55 04 15 15


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“Impressive and efficient” (The Legal 500 2014); “He’s one of the most skilful negotiators I’ve worked with, an excellent lawyer, very thoughtful and considers all aspects of the case in both substance and procedure.” (Chambers Global 2014)


A partner in the Firm's International Arbitration Practice, Charles Nairac advises on commercial and investor-state arbitration, with a focus on the construction and energy industries.

Charles offers his clients the benefit of his comprehensive experience. He has resolved difficult cross-border disputes from Africa and Latin America to the Middle East and Central Eastern Europe, supporting a wide range of clients from governments to the owner of a family business. A citizen of Mauritius, the United Kingdom and France, Charles is fluent in English and French, and is able to handle complex arbitrations in either language. He has been involved in international commercial and investment arbitrations under most of the major institutional rules, as well as in ad hoc arbitrations.

Charles also accepts nominations as arbitrator, and recently served as a party-appointed arbitrator in a complex construction dispute involving a project in Central Asia. He is a member of a number of organizations with worldwide recognition, among which are Africa International Legal Awareness (Advisory Board), Paris, the Home of International Arbitration, IBA (Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards Subcommittee), as well as the ICC Task Force on "Financial Institutions and International Arbitration".

Before joining White & Case LLP in 2001, Charles started his career doing M&A and finance work in a boutique firm, and then served as in-house legal adviser for a French bank in Singapore. While Charles' practice focuses exclusively on arbitration, this personal experience with transactional work and in the day-to-day business of a major company has given him an excellent understanding of the environment in which his clients operate.

Charles is recognized in leading legal directories such as Chambers, The Legal 500, the International Who's Who of Construction Lawyers and the Global Arbitration Review 100. He also teaches international arbitration at Université Paris II and Université de Nancy.

Bars and Courts

  • Paris Bar


  • CAPA, Paris Bar School
  • Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies - Droit International Privé et Droit du Commerce International (Postgraduate Degree in International Law), University of Paris II Panthéon-Assas
  • Maîtrise en Droit des Affaires, University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne
  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB), King's College London


  • English
  • French


Hydroelectric project in Chile, 2013 – ongoing

Charles is representing a European construction company in an ICC arbitration regarding the construction of a hydroelectric project in Chile.

Construction project in North Africa, 2013 – ongoing

Charles is representing the contractor consortium in a dispute arising out of the EPC supply of a power plant in North Africa.

Oil & gas field in Central Asia, 2012 – 2014

Charles represented a Central Asian petroleum company in three LCIA arbitrations against the supplier of a gas treatment plant, over the quality and value of the plant supplied and services performed.

Commisimpex v. Republic of Congo, 2008 – ongoing

Charles successfully represented Commisimpex in a Paris-seated ICC arbitration against the Congo relating to public works that had remained unpaid for 30 years. The Congo is currently seeking to have the arbitral award annulled by the Paris courts.

Major infrastructure project in South Eastern Europe, 2009 – ongoing

Charles is representing a consortium of major Western European contractors, in an ad hoc arbitration against a Southern European state, arising out of the construction of a motorway.

Vigotop Ltd. v. Hungary (ICSID Case No. ARB/11/22), 2011 – 2014

Charles represented the State of Hungary in the successful defence of claims in an ICSID arbitration, arising under the Hungary-Cyprus bilateral investment treaty relating to the alleged expropriation of the concession to a "mega casino" project.

Karmer Marble Tourism Construction Industry and Commerce Limited Liability Company v. Georgia (ICSID Case No. ARB/08/19), 2008 – 2012

Charles represented the government of Georgia in an ICSID arbitration arising out of alleged breaches of Georgia's treaty obligations to the claimant, in connection with the construction of a motorway and the concession of a hotel in the Autonomous Republic of Adjara.

Speaking Engagements

"DBs and Arbitration: Different but Complementary", 16–17 July 2014: Dispute Resolution Board Foundation (DRBF) Regional Conference,
Lima, Peru

"Arbitration in Africa – an LCIA-MIAC Perspective", 13–14 June 2014: LCIA African User's Council Symposium,
Kampala, Uganda

"Arbitrating Disputes in the Energy Field: When and How", 11 February 2014: AFDEN/White & Case,
Paris, France

"Settlement of International Investment Disputes", 19 December 2013: Francophone Africa Programme on Investment Treaty Law and Investor-State Arbitration, AILA,
Yaoundé, Cameroon

"The Court's Role in the Recognition and Enforcement of Awards – A Practical Application", 9–10 December 2012: Second Biennial Mauritius International Arbitration Conference, MIAC,
Port Louis, Mauritius


  • To What Extent Do Arbitral Tribunals Take into Account Public Policy in the Jurisdictions of Prospective Enforcement of an Award? An Analysis of ICC Awards, ICC Dispute Resolution Bulletin, Issue 1, 2016, (Co-author with Elina Aleynikova and Manu Thadikkaran)

Awards & Recognition

Charles is recognized by leading professional directories including Chambers Europe 2016, Chambers Global 2016, Who's Who Legal: Arbitration 2016, The Legal 500 EMEA 2016, The International Who's Who of Construction Lawyers 2016 and the Global Arbitration Review 100. He is described in Chambers Global 2016 as "an excellent arbitration practitioner", with clients praising his "high analytical ability, his attention to even the slightest detail, his logical reasoning and sound judgement".