Recent and Notable Cases
Chairman of the HKIAC arbitration in Grand Pacific Holdings Limited v Pacific China Holdings Limited (British Virgin Islands), where an award of US34 million was made to Claimants. The award was upheld by the Hong Kong Court of Appeal in June 2012 (Pacific China Holdings Ltd (in liq) v Grand Pacific Holdings Ltd CACV 136/2011).
Presiding Judge of the Court of the Dubai International Finance Centre in International Electro-Mechanical Services Co LLC v Al Fattan Engineering, which held that the DIFC Court retained its inherent jurisdiction to issue anti-suit injunctions. The case is discussed by C Spalton in Global Arbitration Review, 23 October 2012: “DIFC Court sends pro-arbitration message” and also in Ostrove, Saloman and Shifman (eds) “Choice of Venue in International Arbitration” (Oxford, 2014) at page 130, paras 5.56-5.57.
Member of the ICSID Tribunal in Occidental Petroleum Corporation v Republic of Ecuador. In October 2012 the Tribunal issued an award in favour of Occidental for US1.9 billion, which was at the time the largest sum ever awarded in an ICSID arbitration. In February 2013 at the Global Arbitration Review Awards in Bogotá, the award for the most important published decision in 2012 in jurisprudential terms went to this decision.
Member of the ICSID Tribunal in Deutsche Bank v Sri Lanka. In November 2012, the Tribunal issued an award in favour of Deutsche Bank for US65 million, finding Sri Lanka had breached the investor protection provisions of the Germany–Sri Lanka Bilateral Investment Treaty.
Sir David has been appointed as a member of the arbitral tribunal which will decide the claim brought by Chinese financial services company, Ping An against the Kingdom of Belgium. Ping An was the largest shareholder in Fortis, a massive Belgium-Dutch Financial Institution which was the subject of a Government rescue in 2008. The Tribunal will be chaired by Lord Collins, recently retired Judge of the UK Supreme Court. The third arbitrator is Mr Michael Moser of Hong Kong. The claim is being brought under the ICSID (World Bank) arbitration rules.
Sir David was Counsel for the Arbitrators’ & Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand as Intervener in the NZ Supreme Court in Carr & Brookside Farm Trust Ltd v Gallaway Cook Allan  NZSC 75. The appeal concerned the principles under Article 34 of Schedule 1 of the Arbitration Act 1996 (NZ) relating to the setting aside by the Court of arbitral awards.
Sir David Williams QC was a member of an ICSID (World Bank) arbitral tribunal which issued in September 2014 a unanimous Award in favour of Canadian listed company Gold Reserve Inc. The Tribunal found that Venezuela had violated the Canada–Venezuela bilateral investment treaty in its treatment of Gold Reserve in relation to its Brisas gold and copper mining project. The Tribunal held the state liable under the treaty’s Fair and Equitable treatment clause and ordered it to pay US713 million for the fair market value of the project, plus US23.3 million in interest and US5 million in legal and technical costs incurred by the claimant. A further 27 cases against Venezuela are pending at ICSID (the International Centre for Investment Disputes, World Bank Washington DC). The majority relate to nationalisations overseen by the late President Hugo Chávez.
Sir David was Chairman of a Court of Arbitration for Sport Arbitration Panel (CAS) which in October 2014 decided an important test case relating to the “out of competition” regime which applies to elite athletes in New Zealand and elsewhere. In its decision the CAS reversed the earlier decision of the New Zealand Sports Tribunal and upheld the primacy of the principle of no prior notification to athletes in relation to out of competition testing.