Christian M. Theissen

Partner, Frankfurt


Legal 500 praises his “remarkable expertise in technology-focused industries”.


Based in Frankfurt, Christian is a partner in the Dispute Resolution group. He assists clients both with international arbitration and litigation proceedings. He specializes in disputes relating to supply contracts, liability issues, sports law, and post-M&A matters.

Christian's practice is focused on technology-based industries, including the automotive sector, where he also assists clients in contract negotiations in major projects. He is a member and co-founder of White & Case's global "driverless cars" group.

Christian regularly speaks at conferences and client seminars about arbitration topics and supply-chain related issues, e.g. recourse in the supply chain or product/contractual liability in relation to "autonomous driving".

He is an active member of White & Case's award-winning International Arbitration Practice, which was ranked No. 1 in the world by Global Arbitration Review 2019 for the fifth time in a row and has been described by Chambers Europe 2019 as the "Leading international arbitration outfit". Christian regularly acts as counsel and arbitrator in arbitrations conducted under the ICC, DIS, UNCITRAL, SIAC, and VIAC rules.

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


Resisting the enforcement of the +US$50 billion Yukos award
Acting for the Russian Federation, resisting the enforcement of the +US$50 billion Yukos arbitration award, the largest award in the history of arbitration.

Major Automotive OEM and several other tech clients, ongoing
Representation in contract negotiations related to autonomous driving projects; advising on product liability and other liability risks related autonomous driving.

Two Oil & Gas Consortia, 2013 - 2018
Successful representation of two oil & gas consortia in two separate ICC arbitrations about Force Majeure against an Arab state (amount in dispute +US$200 million).

Several clients in the automotive industry, ongoing
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. Clients include OEMs as well as suppliers.

Global industrial chemical manufacturer, ongoing
Representation in a post-M&A/construction dispute. The arbitration under the DIS Rules concerns several technical defects of the chemical plant acquired by our client.

Major Automotive OEM, ongoing
Advising a major OEM on its strategic cooperation with a European and a Japanese OEM inter alia related to development agreements and manufacturing and supply agreements.

Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany, ongoing
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, 2016 - 2017
Representation in DIS arbitration proceedings relating to a post-M&A dispute.

Speaking Engagements

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)

Autonomous Driving: legal framework, liability and recourse in the supply chain (Autonomous Driving: Rechtlicher Rahmen, Haftung & Regress in der Lieferkette), April 4, 2017: 15th Annual Conference on Law in Automotive Supply Industry, Stuttgart (with Markus Burianski)

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

The new German bill on automated vehicles – and the resulting liability changes, March 14, 2018: 18. Int. Stuttgarter Symposium

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

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 Legal 500 & The In-House Lawyer Comparative Legal Guide Germany: Arbitration, pages 1-22, (co-author with Dr. Markus Burianski)

The German Act on Automated Driving – Approach and Liability Consequences for domestic/foreign Car Manufacturers and Suppliers, CTI Mag, May 1, 2018 (co-author with Bijal Vakil)

An important milestone as Germany permits automated vehicles, Market impact and outlook, Business Law Magazine, September 7, 2017, (co-author with Dr. Markus Burianski)

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 (co-author with Gero Pogrzeba)

Der Aufnahmeanspruch gegenüber einem Sportverband – Voraussetzungen, Grenzen und aktuelle Entwicklungen (Entitlement to Membership vis-à-vis a Sports Association – Prerequisites, Limitations and Current Developments), SpuRt, 5/2011 (co-author with Markus Hauptmann)

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

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