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Nigel Blackaby


Nigel is a partner based in our Washington, DC office, the global head of our international arbitration group and the co-head of our Latin America group.





Nigel is global head of our international arbitration group and is recognized as an “undisputed leader in his field.” He has acted as counsel and arbitrator in over 100 ad hoc and institutional arbitrations in the English and Spanish languages (including over 30 investment arbitrations). He has particular expertise in Latin America and energy and mining disputes.

“The firm’s success has a lot to do with the expertise of Washington, DC-based Nigel Blackaby.”
The Legal 500 2016
“Nigel Blackaby draws extensive international praise for his investment treaty arbitration practice. He is particularly active on energy cases, especially involving Latin American parties.”
Chambers Global 2014, International Arbitration
“Sources recommend him for his ‘experience, knowledge of the energy industry, and imagination in preparing strategy and arguments.’”
Chambers Global 2014, International Arbitration

Recent deals/Highlights

  • Repsol in its ICSID arbitration against Argentina for expropriation of its controlling share in YPF and subsequent $5bn settlement.
  • BG Group in its arbitration victory against Argentina in the first investment arbitration to be reviewed by the US Supreme Court.
  • Phillips 66 in its victory against PDVSA in an ICC arbitration concerning the control of a heavy oil refinery in Texas.
  • Rurelec in the first investment arbitration against Bolivia to reach a successful final award.
  • Pan American Energy in its ICSID claim for the expropriation of the second largest upstream oil company in Bolivia and the subsequent (largest) settlement agreed by Bolivia.
  • CMS, Total, Suez, Aguas de Barcelona and National Grid (among others) in their victories against Argentina arising out of the crisis measures.

Other professional roles

  • Adjunct professor of international arbitration at American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC. 
  • Former president of the IBA Subcommittee on Investment Arbitration.
  • Founding member of the executive committee of the LCIA Latin America Users’ Committee.
  • Member of the List of Arbitrators of the AAA (ICDR), Santiago Chamber of Commerce, Lima Chamber of Commerce and FIESP (Brazil).


Nigel is author of numerous articles and co-author of the following books:

  • Redfern and Hunter on International Arbitration (5th edition), Oxford 2009;
  • Guide to ICSID Arbitration (2nd edition), Kluwer 2010; and
  • International Arbitration in Latin America, Kluwer 2003.

Qualifications and education

Nigel received law degrees from the University of Exeter (UK) and from the Université d’Aix-Marseille III (France). He is admitted as a Solicitor in England and Wales and as a Special Legal Consultant of the District of Columbia Bar.


English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

  • Washington, DC

  • 700 13th Street, NW
  • 10th Floor
  • Washington, DC
  • 20005-3960
  • T +1 202 777 4500
  • F +1 202 777 4555

    Direct line
    T +1 202 777 4519
    F +1 202 507 5919

  • nigel.blackaby@freshfields.com
  • vCard (Download Nigel's contact details)
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