John Willems

Partner, Paris



John Willems has over 30 years of experience in representing clients in international arbitration proceedings. John has acted for parties in arbitration proceedings before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), and ad hoc tribunals including under UNCITRAL Rules. John's sector experience includes banking, construction, oil and gas and telecommunications.
Bars and Courts
US Court of Appeals for the Second and Federal Circuits
US District Courts for the Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of New York
New York State Bar
University of Virginia School of Law
Executive Editor of Virginia Journal of International Law
Brown University


Recent representations include:

PT Ventures in its successful ICC arbitration against the other shareholders of Unitel S.A., the Angolan telecommunications company. The Award of February 2019 directed the respondents to pay PT Ventures over USD 750 million in compensation and interest;

Engie S.A. in its claim under the Energy Charter Treaty against Hungary before ICSID. The claim related to State measures concerning gas tariffs, and resulted in a favorable settlement for the investor;

Flemingo DutyFree in a successful UNCITRAL Rules arbitration against Poland in a claim arising under the Poland-India BIT;

The State of Ukraine in the successful defense of the claims brought by Global Trading Resources and Globex International, both U.S. investors. The case represented the first occasion where a State was able to obtain a summary dismissal on the merits of an ICSID claim under ICSID Rule 41(5);

The contractor claimants in two ICC arbitration proceedings against Libya and Libyan state-owned entities. Both tribunals found the State of Libya to be liable for the full amount of the obligations of the separate legal entities;

The Roads Department of Georgia in ongoing ICC arbitrations against contractors under the FIDIC Pink Book form of construction contract;

B3 Croatian Courier, a Dutch investor, in its ICSID claim B3 Croatian Courier Cooperatif U.A v. Croatia, relating to an investment in the postal sector;

The State of Ukraine in Bosh International Inc. and B&P Foreign Investments Enterprise v. Ukraine, in the successful defense of an ICSID arbitration brought by a US investor in relation to the termination of an agreement for the development and operation of a hotel and science complex; 

Hungary in the successful defense of the claims in Vigotop Ltd. v. Hungary, an ICSID arbitration arising under the Hungary-Cyprus bilateral investment treaty relating to the alleged expropriation of the concession to a "mega casino" project;

Nordzucker AG in an UNCITRAL Rules arbitration brought against Poland under the Germany-Poland BIT. This case concerned the privatization dispute of the sugar sector;

The State of Ukraine in Lemire v. Ukraine, an ICSID arbitration brought by a US individual concerning the development of Ukraine's radio broadcasting sector;

A State-owned gas company in a series of SCC arbitrations concerning gas transit and storage agreements;

A State-owned oil company in defending an arbitration claim by a US contractor concerning the construction of one of the world's largest natural gas plants;

A State-owned gas company in an SCC arbitration concerning a purported gas supply agreement; 

 The seller gas company in a "baseball arbitration" proceeding to adjust the price under a long-term supply contract;

A Brazilian company in an ongoing ICC arbitration concerning claims under a Share Purchase Agreement;

A Mauritian investor in an ongoing SIAC arbitration concerning the exercise and valuation of a Put Option

The National Environmental Investment Agency of Ukraine in the successful defense of an arbitration against a Cyprus company under the PCA Environmental Rules;

A Romanian bank in an English law arbitration governed by the UNCITRAL Rules against two Cyprus-based companies;

A Korean electronics company in an ICC arbitration against a Turkish company arising out of the establishment of a manufacturing operation; and

A Swedish mobile telephone manufacturer in two AAA/ICDR arbitrations against a U.S. satellite company arising out of the manufacture and design of mobile telephones. 

Awards and Recognition

Leading Individual, The Legal 500 2020, Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration – France