Christian M. Theissen

Partner, Frankfurt


“Technology specialist; particularly outstanding in oral hearings; strategically strong”; clients state that his “ability to guide us through a complex and highly contentious matter in an understandable manner was of the utmost importance and is greatly appreciated”
Legal 500, Germany, Arbitration, 2022


Christian M. Theissen is a partner in White & Case's International Arbitration Practice Group. Christian assists clients both with international arbitration and litigation proceedings as well as negotiating contracts in major tech projects. He specializes in disputes relating to tech projects, supply contracts and supply chains (including ESG aspects), delay / liability issues (including product liability), post-M&A matters, and sports law. Christian's practice is tech-focused and Legal 500 praises his "remarkable expertise in technology-focused industries".

Christian regularly acts as counsel and arbitrator in arbitrations conducted under various arbitration rules (e.g. ICC, DIS, VIAC, UNCITRAL) and represents clients in German state court proceedings.

Christian co-founded White & Case's global "driverless cars" group and co-heads its successor "Mobility Solutions & AutoTech" group. Since 2012, Christian has been focusing on the legal aspects of "autonomous driving". He regularly speaks at conferences and client seminars about arbitration and supply-chain topics, as well as liability related to new tech developments like smart cities, 5G, autonomous driving, cybersecurity, etc.

Bars and Courts
Second State Exam
Higher Regional Court of Cologne
First State Exam
University of Bonn


Global Industrial Chemical Manufacturer
Representation in a post-M&A/construction dispute. The arbitration under the DIS Rules concerned several technical defects of the chemical plant acquired by our client.

Global Transportation Company
Representation in a VIAC arbitration about technical aspects and delay issues.

EPC Contractor
Representation of an Indian EPC contractor in two independent arbitrations (ICC and ad hoc, seated in Cairo and Amman) against an Arab state arising from a civil war. The proceedings concern the construction of overhead power lines. Applicable law is that of the Arab state.

Major Automotive OEM and Several Other Tech Clients
Representation of the clients in contract negotiations related to autonomous driving and electric vehicle projects; advising on product liability and other liability risks related autonomous driving.

Two Oil & Gas Consortia
Representation of two oil & gas consortia in two separate ICC arbitrations about Force Majeure against an Arab state (amount in dispute +US$200 million). Applicable law was that of the Arab state.

International Rolling Stock Manufacturer
Representation in three disputes with customers and suppliers about delays and alleged defects.

Listed System Construction Company
Representation of the client in SIAC arbitration proceedings against Chinese parties about a US$96 million damage.

Several Clients in the Automotive Industry
Representation of several clients in the automotive industry in negotiations and regular state court proceedings in relation to product liability matters as well as contractual damages claims; representation in interim proceedings in order to prevent a suspension of delivery; advising on strategic cooperations inter alia related to development agreements and manufacturing and supply agreements. Clients include OEMs as well as suppliers.

Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany
Representation of a ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany in several state court proceedings in relation to damages claims resulting from a plane crash.

Senior Citizens Center Operator
Representation of the client in DIS arbitration proceedings relating to a post-M&A dispute.

Representation of the employer of a construction project in a VIAC arbitration against the manufacturer of critical components for the project.

Speaking Engagements

"Cryptocurrency Litigation: What is going on and what do we have to expect?" (panel discussion), March 17, 2023: Transatlantic Legal Conference 2023 (DAJV) 

"Tech trends around cybersecurity, crypto and metaverse – and their consequences for arbitrations" (panel discussion), March 1, 2023: Tel Aviv Arbitration Week 2023, satelite event co-hosted by the ICC and White & Case

"GDPR and Cybersecurity" (panel discussion), February 10, 2023: Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb): Joint CIArb London Branch and CIArb European Branch (France Chapter) on the Impact and Future of Technology in International Arbitration

"Tech Disputes - more than blockchain & AI" (panel moderator), November 9, 2022: ICC ARBITRATION FORUM - Arbitration 4.0: Pharma & Tech Disputes, Frankfurt, Germany

"Autonomous driving and liability: from product liability to regulatory limits for software updates over-the-air", December 14, 2021: Leibniz University Hannover & Interdisziplinäres Institut für Automatisierte Systeme e.V. (RifaS)

"Supply chain due diligence and liability? An international view on civil liability risks, including changes resulting from the new German Supply Chain Act", November 24, 2021: ESG in the international business landscape webinar series (session 3)

"Who owns the liability in large mobility projects?", November 12, 2020: 5G Techritory Forum 2020 – 3rd annual Baltic Sea Region 5G ecosystem forum

"Autonomous driving – current and future liability questions that will keep regulators, judges and arbitrators busy", April 5, 2019: Transatlantic Legal Conference 2019, Frankfurt, Germany

"Tech Projects in Asia: Implementation and disputes, lessons learned from in-house and counsel perspective", June 13, 2018: Young ITA talks, Frankfurt

"The German Act on fully automated driving - liability consequences for OEMs and suppliers doing business in Germany. And a potential role model for legislature in the US?", May 17, 2018: Autonomous Driving Summit USA, Novi, MI, USA (with Bijal Vakil)

"Best efforts obligations as determined by state courts and arbitration tribunals", March 23, 2018: Annual MAA International Commercial Law & Arbitration Conference, Vienna

"Regulatory framework for Autonomous Driving", September 29, 2017: Key note speech at Crédit Agricole's annual CIB Auto Credit Day, Paris (with Markus Burianski)

"Taking of Evidence in International Disputes", workshop in the context of the Master Program "International Dispute Resolution" at HU Berlin, 2018, 2019, 2020

"Autonomous Driving – progress in a legal gray area" ("Autonomes Fahren – Fortschritt in eine rechtliche Grauzone"), June 24, 2014: 12th Annual Conference on Law in Automotive Supply Industry, Stuttgart (with Markus Burianski)


"The New Corporate Due Diligence Act: Potential Liability under Civil Law and Administrative Law" ("Das neue Lieferkettengesetz: Mögliche zivilrechtliche und bußgeldrechtliche Haftung"), July 2021 (with Sonja Hoffmann,Thomas Helck and Christoph Zuschlag)

"Smart cities: New power dynamics & intelligent transport systems", Open Access Government, June 2021 (with Natalia Filandrianou)

"Autonomous vehicles: the converging factor for private and public actors in smart cities", Automotive World, June 2021 (with Natalia Filandrianou)

"Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: A Cross-Jurisdictional Comparison of Regulatory Developments", The Journal of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & Law, Volume 3, No. 4, July–August 2020 (with Steven Baker and Bijal Vakil)

"COVID-19: Disruption to Art Transactions", October 2020 (with Michael Polkinghorne, Alina Sartogo and Federico Parise Kuhnle)

"Practice insight into autonomous driving – liability provisions and peculiarities of recourse within the supply chain?", Beck Verlag's handbook "Autonomes Fahren" (Oppermann/Stender-Vorwachs), 2nd Edition, 2020

"Suspending contractual performance in response to the coronavirus outbreak", February 2020 (with Mark Clarke, Markus Burianski, Maximilian Clasmeier and James Hart)

"War Clauses: Friend (not Foe) of Force Majeure", August 2019 (with Markus Burianski)

"The German Act on Automated Driving – Approach and Liability Consequences for domestic/foreign Car Manufacturers and Suppliers", CTI Mag, May 1, 2018 (with Bijal Vakil)"Anmerkung zum Urteil des Bundesgerichtshofs vom 8. November 2016 zur Reichweite der Luftfahrzeughalterhaftung gemäß § 33 LuftVG" (Az. VI ZR 694/15), Zeitschrift für Luft- und Weltraumrecht (ZLW) [German Journal of Air and Space Law], April 1, 2017 (with Gero Pogrzeba)

"The Protection of indirect investments by German investors" ("Schutz indirekter Investitionen deutscher Investoren"), KSzW, Issue 2, p. 152 et seq., 2011 (with Patricia Nacimiento and Verena Gross)

"The German Court for Arbitration in Sports in Doping Disputes" ("Das Deutsche Sportschiedsgericht in Dopingstreitigkeiten"), SpuRt 5/2008 (with Anja Berninger)

Awards and Recognition

Best Lawyer Germany in International Arbitration, Handelsblatt 2023

"extremely client-focused and solution-oriented; outstanding expertise; available at any time and excellently connected" (Legal 500 Germany, Arbitration 2020)

"has remarkable expertise in technology-focused industries" (Legal 500 Germany, Arbitration 2019)

"well-versed contact for contractual and liability issues" (Legal 500 Germany, Commercial Litigation 2019)