Sullivan & Cromwell's Arbitration Group is one of the world's leading international dispute resolution practices.

S&C's Arbitration Group analyzes issues and drafts mediation and arbitration clauses in international joint venture and other financial and commercial agreements. It advises on business decisions and plans that pose arbitration and litigation risks, and it represents clients in arbitration, mediation and other alternative dispute resolution proceedings.

The Firm has handled international disputes for more than a century and has unparalleled expertise and experience in this area. In particular, S&C offers expertise in international commercial arbitration, which has become a part of most major international disputes. The Firm develops strategies to resolve complex international disputes that involve multiple claims, parties, jurisdictions and parallel or closely related arbitral and judicial proceedings.

S&C's arbitration lawyers are involved with numerous large-dollar-amount commercial arbitrations, along with a steady flow of sovereign work, typically for the investors.

The Firm has handled arbitrations administered by all of the major arbitral institutions, as well as ad hoc arbitrations, including proceedings under the following organizations' rules:
  • American Arbitration Association
  • International Chamber of Commerce
  • London Court of International Arbitration
  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
  • International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes
  • Stockholm and Zurich chambers of commerce
  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre


Some of Sullivan & Cromwell’s recent international commercial arbitrations include representations of:
  • Anheuser-Busch Companies, in an UNCITRAL arbitration with Grupo Modelo that threatened Anheuser-Busch’s $60+ billion acquisition by InBev, defeating, in their entirety, Modelo’s claims for damages of $2.5 billion.
  • TeliaSonera, in obtaining an award of $932 million in damages plus interest, in an ICC arbitration against Turkish conglomerate Cukurova, relating to TeliaSonera’s efforts to purchase Turkish cellular phone company Turkcell. S&C continues to act as lead counsel to TeliaSonera in two other ICC arbitrations against Cukurova relating to Turkcell.
  • Centerra Gold, in an UNCITRAL arbitration with the Kyrgyz Republic and national mining company relating to disputes over a multi-billion dollar mining concession.
  • A private equity investment vehicle of a Middle Eastern country, in an arbitration before the American Arbitration Association. The arbitration was brought by the entity’s former co-chief investment officers, who sought approximately $700 million in alleged damages. After an 11-day hearing, the arbitrator denied the claimants’ claims in their entirety.
  • A major South American oil field supply company, in bringing claims of more than $85 million in a pair of ICC arbitrations against its former sales agent in an Arabian Gulf country and the agent’s shareholders, obtaining a settlement of cash and shares in two joint-venture companies equal in value to a substantial percentage of the claims.
  • Banco Popular, the largest bank in Puerto Rico, in four AAA arbitrations with the U.S. FDIC involving claims of more than $300 million arising out of the purchase of nonperforming assets from the FDIC as receiver of a failed bank.
  • Standard Chartered Bank, in International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) arbitrations of claims by Latin American investors arising out of the $60 billion Madoff Ponzi scheme. In one case, S&C defeated an attempt to bring the claims in class arbitration. The claims potentially could have exceeded $500 million.
  • NXP Semiconductors, in connection with a multi-forum dispute, including an ICDR arbitration, brought by Exatel Visual Systems for $80 million arising out of claimed breaches of various commercial agreements regarding a set-top box venture. Four days into the ICDR arbitration hearing, Exatel dismissed its case and agreed to release NXP and its affiliates for zero consideration.
  • BP, in an AAA arbitration and related litigation in federal and New York state courts arising from a dispute with a third party over proceeds due the third party under a settlement agreement that related to an oil property in Kazakhstan.
Some of S&C’s recent investor-state, investment treaty and sovereign arbitration matters include representations of:
  • a U.S. owner of significant mining assets in Venezuela, in connection with actions by the Venezuelan government inconsistent with Venezuela’s grant of the mining concession, including with respect to potential arbitration claims against Venezuela and potential political-risk insurance claims.
  • Canadian owners of a mine in a former Soviet state, in connection with demands of the government to renegotiate the concession and other conduct, including preparation for possible arbitration under the UNCITRAL rules.
  • a project company, in a $4+ billion mining project in an African country, in connection with “creeping expropriatory” measures taken by the sovereign.
  • Paiton Energy, in arbitration with the government of Indonesia over the sale of electricity from the first large independent power project in Indonesia.
  • a cross-border investor, in a very unusual ad hoc, local-law arbitration with a Latin American sovereign arising out of a dispute relating to tariffs on an electric transmission facility. The arbitration was conducted by local outside counsel, in Spanish, under local law. S&C helped develop the strategy that got the parties into arbitration and guided the client in developing the procedures for an expeditious and ultimately successful arbitration.