George Burn

George Burn Partner, International Dispute Resolution & Arbitration

George Burn is a partner in the Vinson & Elkins International Dispute Resolution Group. He is based in the firm’s London office and is a seasoned advocate, appearing in international arbitration proceedings, representing companies and individuals. He is admitted in England as a Solicitor-Advocate.

George’s practice covers both Investor-State arbitration and commercial arbitration, and has involved the full range of arbitral seats and arbitral rules (ICSID, UNCITRAL, ICC, LCIA, SIAC, SCC, PCA, CRCICA, CIArb etc). The cases on which George works involve issues of public international law, private international law, English law and the law of numerous other jurisdictions. George’s cases often involve complex or novel issues of jurisdiction, and he has worked on various cases in which the relationship between Investor-State law and criminal law (national and international) has been at issue. He also has experience of challenging INTERPOL Red Notices.

George has considerable experience with disputes in the oil and gas, mining and infrastructure fields, as well as experience in areas such as shipping, real estate development, shareholder disputes, finance, broadcast media, sports, insurance, and pharmaceuticals. He has particular strength in arbitrations coming out of projects in emerging markets, with clients from, or working in, regions such as the Middle East, the CIS, Eastern Europe, Africa, South Asia, East Asia, and the Caribbean. 

As well as acting as Counsel, George regularly sits as an arbitrator, and has been appointed as Sole Arbitrator, Chair of the Tribunal and Co-Arbitrator. He sits in commercial and Investor-State cases and his cases to date have been under the rules of the ICC, the LCIA, UNCITRAL, the CRCICA, the LCIA India and the OIC Investment Agreement, and under the default rules in England’s Arbitration Act of 1996.

George is active in arbitral institutions, and he writes and speaks on issues relating to international commercial disputes on a regular basis. He is also a founding member of the Organizing Committee for the International Arbitration Charity Ball. 

Experience Highlights

  • Represented two individual investors in related arbitrations brought against the Republic of Indonesia, in relation to the aftermath of the collapse of a bank in 2008. The cases were complex, with the clients and their assets being pursued by Indonesia in various jurisdictions around the world, but ultimately Indonesia was found in one of the arbitrations (Al-Warraq v Indonesia) to have breached its international law obligations in the way it is required to treat foreigners against whom criminal proceedings are brought. This finding dramatically improved the position of both the clients. The Al-Warraq arbitration also featured a ground-breaking jurisdictional ruling, with the first finding that an investor has a right to bring arbitration proceedings under the Investment Agreement of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference
  • Acting for a group of U.S. Investors in a claim brought under the DR-CAFTA Treaty against the Republic of Costa Rica. The dispute relates to the cancellation of permits for the development of a substantial tourism project midway through construction, as well as associated criminal and INTERPOL proceedings brought against the investors
  • Represented clients in relation to Red Notices issued by INTERPOL. The clients had suffered commercial and personal harm due to INTERPOL’s wrongful inclusion of their names in persons wanted list. The case was resolved on highly favourable terms for our clients
  • Representing a UK company in a BIT claim brought against an East European State that only recently achieved independence. The dispute relates to the cancellation of upstream oil exploration rights and includes complex issues of jurisdiction and the international law of State succession
  • Acting for a Lithuanian company, UAB E energija, in a claim presented at ICSID against the Republic of Latvia. The dispute arises from the cancellation of a concession for the private operation of a centralised heating facility in Latvia
  • Representing an international development bank in an UNCITRAL arbitration with a borrower in Central Asia that defaulted on a loan and counterclaims substantial damages on the basis that the bank was supposedly obliged to provide additional debt finance but did not do so
  • Acting for a UK oil development company in a claim against a state-owned oil company and the state itself in an African jurisdiction; ICC arbitration. The case involved complex issues of State-succession in relation to private law matters
  • Acted for Nigerian upstream company in defending claim brought by European off-taker; ICC arbitration

Investment Treaty Arbitration

  • Advising a major natural resources company in relation to a potential ICSID arbitration to be brought against an African state
  • Acted for an Investor, The Rompetrol Group NV, against Romania (ICSID Case No ARB/06/3) in a claim under the Dutch-Romanian BIT and the Energy Charter Treaty; the claim relates to allegations of mistreatment of a foreign investor working in the downstream oil industry
  • Advised a Russian Investor and other shareholders against a Central Asian state in respect of an expropriation claim to be brought under a bilateral investment treaty under UNCITRAL Rules
  • Acting for an investor, GEA Group Aktiengesellschaft, against Ukraine (ICSID Case No ARB/08/16) in a claim under the German-Ukrainian BIT; the dispute relates to the misappropriation of petrochemical products and the non-enforcement of an ICC arbitration award
  • Acted for Investor, European Media Ventures SA, against the Czech Republic in a claim for compensation in respect of expropriation of a television station brought under the Czechoslovak-Belgian/Luxembourg investment treaty; also, successfully defeated the Czech Republic’s attempts in the English Commercial Court to overturn the tribunal’s determination that it had jurisdiction to determine the claims (The Czech Republic v. European Media Ventures SA (2008) 1 Lloyd’s Rep 186)
  • Acted for the Republic of Poland in a claim brought by Eureko BV under the Netherlands-Poland bilateral investment treaty. The dispute arose out of the cancellation of the second phase of privatisation of a large insurance company
  • Acted for an Investor, a UK mining company, in respect of ICSID claims against an African government arising from revocation of gold-mining licences (and related ICC and LCIA arbitration claims against the state-owned company); parallel domestic litigation and English court litigation

Commercial Arbitration - Energy & Mining

  • Acted for Gibraltarian oil trading company in a dispute with an Iranian state-owned company, brought under the ICC Rules; involved related litigation in multiple jurisdictions
  • Acted for Kazakhstan owners of an oil business in defending claims brought in ICC arbitration by a Canadian company in respect of a failed joint venture
  • Acted for an oil company in defending claims brought in LCIA arbitration by a Canadian-Maltese contractor
  • Acted for a Kazakhstan company in ICC arbitration with a Kuwaiti oil company regarding ownership of oil assets
  • Acting for an oil company in a claim against an East African state in relation to the termination of oil exploration rights
  • Acted for a Japanese trading house in respect of the supply of gas to a UAE company via a U.S. company that went into Chapter 11 protection before payment for supply was made; involved proceedings before U.S. Bankruptcy Court, LCIA arbitration in London, and enforcement proceedings in Dubai
  • Acted for the Pakistani government and its state-owned oil company in an LCIA arbitration relating to an alleged breach of fuel supply agreement and multiparty claims arising from sponsorship, construction, and operation of a 1300 MW power project
  • Acted for a Pakistani power authority in defending a claim in ICC arbitration for alleged breach of a power procurement agreement
  • Acting for a UK oil exploration company in an investment treaty claim against a European State. The claim relates to the annulment of exploration rights

Commercial Arbitration - Construction & Engineering

  • Acting for a Ukrainian oilfield services company in dispute with a Turkish shipyard over the construction of a new vessel; LCIA arbitration
  • A Dutch construction contractor in a dispute over a road project in West Africa
  • Acted for an Azerbaijani conglomerate in relation to a hotel construction project, when ICC arbitration proceedings were initiated by the local subsidiary of an Austrian contracting company
  • Acted for an Indian supplier of cables for a major infrastructure project in Brazil in dispute with a Spanish main contractor; case involved injunctive relief proceedings in England (Section 44 of the Arbitration Act 1996) and India, the substantive dispute to be resolved in ICC arbitration
  • Acted in ICC arbitral proceedings for the municipal authority of a city in Central Asia in defending substantial claims presented by a US company. The dispute was settled on extremely favourable terms for the city
  • Acted for two Macedonian companies in UNCITRAL arbitration relating to a complex warranty dispute with a Swiss company concerning the sale of a steel plant
  • Acting for a Bulgarian employer in defending claims brought in ICC arbitration by a Kuwaiti contractor in respect of the construction of an airport runway and associated buildings
  • Acted for a Korean contractor in defending a claim brought in LCIA arbitration by a Kuwaiti subcontractor in respect of the installation of control systems at a Kuwaiti oil gathering facility
  • Acted for a Kenyan employer in defending a claim brought in ICC arbitration by a Japanese-led JV contractor in respect of the construction of hydropower plant
  • Acted for an Egyptian employer in defending a claim brought in ICC arbitration by German contractors arising out of the construction of the steel structure of a manufacturing plant

Commercial Arbitration - Real Estate Development

  • Acted for a major investment bank in dispute relating to a failed real estate investment project in Poland; ICC arbitration
  • Advising a hotel operator in dispute with a hotel chain; ICC arbitration
  • Acted for a Cyprus company in LCIA arbitration brought against a Russian citizen in respect of a failed real estate project in Russia
  • Acted for a Luxembourg real estate investment company in dispute under ICC Rules with a Cypriot partner on a shareholder dispute arising from a failed real estate development project in Romania

Sitting as Arbitrator

  • Chair of tribunal in LCIA arbitration in a shareholder dispute relating to allegations of the wrongful sale of company’s assets
  • Chair of Tribunal in ad hoc arbitration under default rules in the English Arbitration Act 1996; the dispute was between a UK subsidiary of a major pharmaceuticals multinational and its distributor in a West African jurisdiction
  • Sole Arbitrator in LCIA India dispute, relating to warranty dispute following the sale of a petrochemical plant. Consolidated case, with claims brought by both sides
  • Sole Arbitrator in UNCITRAL arbitration brought by an Indian supplier against a Hong Kong company in respect of the supply of raw materials
  • Arbitrator in CRCICA arbitration concerning the construction of oil handling facilities in North Africa
  • Arbitrator in LCIA arbitration concerning the construction of offshore wind power facilities
  • Arbitrator in LCIA arbitration concerning a dispute over the purchase of a Russian car manufacturing company
  • Arbitrator in arbitration filed under the OIC Investment Agreement by investors from a MENA country who allegedly invested in a tourism project in another MENA country
  • Sole arbitrator in ICC arbitration between a U.S. risk management company and a British consumer debt collection company
  • Arbitrator in dispute under LCIA Rules between French and Swiss entities involved in the marketing of pharmaceuticals

Insights

Contact Details

London

T +44.20.7065.6055
gburn@velaw.com
20 Fenchurch Street
24th Floor
London EC3M 3BY
United Kingdom
Local time: 9:19 PM
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George's Practices

  • The College of Law, Dip Law and Dip Legal Practice, Law, 1994
  • University of Leeds, England, B.A., (Hons) Politics and Parliamentary Studies, 1992
  • Admitted to practice: Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales
  • George is active in arbitral institutions, and currently serves on taskforces for the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Council for Commercial Arbitration. He writes and speaks on issues relating to international commercial disputes on a regular basis, and he is a member of the Organizing Committee for the International Arbitration Charity Ball.
  • Chambers Global, Dispute Resolution: UK, 2014–2016
  • Chambers UK, International Arbitration ("...has a great depth and breadth of legal and commercial knowledge, together with tactical acumen, which is invaluable in managing a path through the arbitration process."), 2016
  • Chambers UK, International Arbitration, 2014–2015 and 2017
  • Legal 500 Latin America, International Arbitration, 2016
  • Legal 500 UK, Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration, 2013–2016
  • Legal 500 EMEA, Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration, 2014
  • Chambers UK, Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration, 2011–2015
  • Who's Who Legal (Law Business Research Ltd.), Arbitration, 2016
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • Member: International Bar Association (Arbitration and International Construction Project Committees)
  • Member: LCIA
  • Member: ICC UK
  • Member: Investment Treaty Forum
  • Member: American Bar Association, International Law Section
  • Member: Inter Pacific Bar Association
  • Member: International Arbitration Institute
  • Member: British Russian Law Association
  • Member: Law Society 

    Solicitors and Registered Foreign Lawyers. A list of partner names is available for inspection at 20 Fenchurch Street, 24th Floor, London, EC3M 3BY. Vinson & Elkins RLLP is a limited liability partnership formed under the laws of New York authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (No. 0079019).