Sovereign Representation

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Curtis is the foremost law firm for sovereigns and state-owned entities, having advised over 40 sovereign states and government clients on the exploration and exploitation of natural resources; negotiation of partnerships with international investors; development of energy and transportation infrastructure; balancing of fiscal and tax regimes to attract investors and maximize tax revenues; and securing revenue streams through investment funds and other investment strategies.

Long-standing Tradition of Sovereign Representation

For decades, sovereign states and government clients have relied on Curtis’ advice to achieve their strategic objectives and defend their interests. We have an enviable record of success in overseeing complex legislative reforms, capacity-building efforts, general corporate matters, including the full range of international contracts, joint ventures and transactions governing the exploitation and commercialization of natural resources. We are notable for our success in inter-state dispute resolution involving public international law and defending sovereign states in investment treaty arbitration.

Defending Sovereign States in Investment Treaty Arbitration

Curtis advises only sovereigns and state-owned entities as respondents in investor-state arbitrations as a matter of policy. We believe this avoids any possible conflict of interest that may arise by representing both investors and states simultaneously as clients. Conflicts and disputes inevitably arise from time to time, and our national oil company (NOC) clients benefit also from our formidable oil and gas industry experience.

Curtis has been recognized as the top law firm globally for high-stakes international arbitrations. We have handled some of the largest and most important cases in the world, with an aggregate amount of claims of nearly US$100 billion. We are equally experienced in helping sovereign clients avoid litigation and often arbitration through effective negotiation and alternative dispute resolution.

Advising Governments on International Trade Agreements and Trade Disputes

Curtis has unmatched depth of experience in international trade on both advisory and litigation matters. We help governments negotiate and implement their trade agreements, as well as defend governments’ interests in disputes:

  • WTO disputes: Curtis has represented countries in more than 30 disputes at the WTO. This includes providing every level of support – from background legal advice and strategy consultations to the preparation of written submissions before WTO dispute panels and the WTO Appellate Body, as well as compliance proceedings to implement WTO decisions;
  • US trade investigations: Curtis has an exceptional level of insight into U.S. antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) laws, as well as other trade remedies such as safeguards and national security restrictions. This expertise covers both the relevant U.S. law as well as the international agreements that govern its application. We have defended foreign governments in more CVD cases than most other U.S. law firms. Foreign governments with whom Curtis has assisted on trade matters include Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Oman, Russia, Spain and Thailand.

Advising National Oil Companies and Government Ministries

Curtis advises NOCs on the full range of oil and gas activities, including the structuring, negotiating and drafting of all hydrocarbon-related legislation used in both upstream and downstream phases, infrastructure procurement and development, and oil and gas-related disputes. We advise NOCs on developing legislative framework, implementation of tax policy, international treaty negotiations and commercial contract negotiations with other oil companies and consortiums.

Full Range of Commercial Transactions and Contracts

Curtis has advised on the privatization and corporatization of government enterprises and dealings with regulators, as well as the full range of commercial issues governments and NOCs face in their daily operations and dealings with members of their supply chain.

Curtis also advises on exploration and development agreements such as farm-in/farm-out arrangements and joint operating agreements, project finance, infrastructure development, and public-private partnerships (PPPs).

International Tax Advice for Governments

Curtis understands that state-owned enterprises have a unique set of fiscal objectives and imperatives. Our tax lawyers help governments attract foreign investment and develop and implement policies and structures relating to these investments. The firm has represented governments in several investment treaty claims involving tax.

Curtis helps states to minimize the tax liability under the tax regimes of foreign countries and have represented state enterprises (including NOCs and sovereign wealth funds) in structuring their cross-border activities, including financings, joint ventures, reorganizations, and asset dispositions and acquisitions.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Sovereign wealth funds, government-sponsored pension funds and other quasi-governmental institutions rely on Curtis’ investment management advice. We assist on all aspects of structuring, forming and operating a country’s sovereign wealth fund. We find the best solution and develop the right framework for the sovereign wealth fund’s organization, objective, governance and control.

Curtis’ international investment management lawyers advise sovereign wealth funds on all aspects of their domestic and global investment activities. We analyze and assess the legal risks relating to investments, negotiate terms and conditions with third parties and prepare the documentation for substantial transactions.

Public International Law

Curtis provides sovereign states with the background, analysis and advice on their legal position and options under public international law. We are on hand to advise our government clients on day-to-day legal operations, informing their approach to decision-making, policies and actions.

Curtis’ impressive team of highly experienced professionals includes former Law of the Sea Tribunal judges, economists and international arbitration practitioners. We represent sovereign states before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the Law of the Sea Tribunal and other international courts and tribunals.

Mining & Natural Resources

Curtis advises governments and state-owned entities involved in the mining, metal and energy industries. We advise on all stages of natural resource exploitation, from organizing tenders, drafting and negotiation of production sharing agreements to infrastructure procurement and development. Curtis also advises governments on the design and implementation of laws, regulations and regulatory entities governing the mining and natural resource sectors.

Curtis is the foremost law firm for sovereigns and state-owned entities, having advised over 40 sovereign states and government clients on the exploration and exploitation of natural resources; negotiation of partnerships with international investors; development of energy and transportation infrastructure; balancing of fiscal and tax regimes to attract investors and maximize tax revenues; and securing revenue streams through investment funds and other investment strategies.

“Especially well regarded for its expertise in the representation of sovereign states and state entities”

Chambers Global 2020

"Curtis...is at the forefront of investment treaty arbitration - an area in which it is recognized as the go-to counsel for sovereign clients and state-owned enterprises."

Legal 500 USA 2020

"The team has the ability to see the big picture of a case at once, and then to keep an eye and reassess that picture along the way."

Legal 500 EMEA 2020

"A very good combination of strategic thinkers and good technical expertise"

Chambers Global 2019

"The trade team of this firm give very practical advice, not a textbook one, but based on deep understanding of the industry and its issues."

Chambers Asia Pacific 2019

"The team's ability to grasp the primary issues and principles of a dispute, however obscure and complex, is exemplary."

Legal 500 EMEA 2018