Robert Wisner 

Co-Chair, International Arbitration
Toronto  t: 416.865.7127  |  e: robert.wisner@mcmillan.ca

Robert Wisner

Toronto
Brookfield Place, Suite 4400
181 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2T3

t: 416.865.7127
e: robert.wisner@mcmillan.ca

overview

Robert Wisner is a Litigation partner at McMillan LLP and its Co-Chair, International Arbitration. His practice focuses on international dispute resolution and corporate litigation.

Robert has argued numerous cases before international arbitral tribunals seated in venues throughout Canada, the United States, Asia and Europe. He has also appeared at all levels of court in Ontario and in other Canadian jurisdictions.

Many of Robert’s cases have involved matters of international law, including disputes relating to foreign investment protection, the jurisdiction of Canadian courts and the enforcement of arbitral awards and foreign judgments. He has also handled a wide range of disputes relating to corporate governance, shareholder remedies or complex commercial contracts, including M&A, joint venture, shareholder, partnership, supply and services agreements. 

Robert has been described "as ‘a leader in his field' through his premier international commercial and investor state arbitration work" (Who's Who Legal 2012). Chambers Canada ranks Robert in Band 1 of the leading individuals in arbitration and other legal directories have consistently recognized Robert’s work in the areas of international arbitration, cross-border business litigation and disputes relating to the Global Mining sector. Robert has also been appointed as arbitrator in domestic and international commercial disputes. 

Many of Robert's clients are involved in the mining, energy, aviation, infrastructure or telecommunications sectors. He has assisted clients seeking litigation financing as well as leading litigation funders conducting due diligence on potential claims. 

Representative Matters

Counsel in international and domestic commercial arbitrations involving parties in Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa:

  • LCIA (Toronto): Defending a claim for a 50% interest in a mining project in Africa arising from an Earn-in agreement  
  • ICC (Geneva): Acting for Brilliant Resources Inc. against the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in a dispute arising from an exploration services agreement. The company has publicly disclosed receipt of US$31.5 million in compensation
  • ICC (Paris): Representing a major international mining company in a $100 million dispute arising out of a joint venture with a West African state owned entity
  • ICC (Paris, Vancouver): Defending claims in excess of $12 million against a Canadian aviation company
  • ICC (Montréal): Acting for a major Canadian energy company defending claims in excess of US$115 million arising out of a long-term supply agreement
  • Ad Hoc (Toronto): Acting for a minority shareholder in a major Canadian company in a dispute involving claims of oppression and breaches of a shareholders' agreement
  • Acting in complex commercial disputes seated in Asia under the arbitration rules of the HKIAC (Hong Kong), SIAC (Singapore) and KLRAC (Kuala Lumpur)

Counsel in investment treaty arbitrations against states in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Recent matters include: 

  • UNCITRAL (The Hague): Successfully representing Copper Mesa Mining Corporation, which obtained an award of US$24 million against the government of Ecuador for expropriation of mining concessions
  • NAFTA: Advising Primero Mining Corp. regarding potential claims against the government of Mexico

Appearing before all levels of court in Ontario and other Canadian jurisdictions. Recent matters include:

  • Successfully representing international corporations in applications relating to the enforcement of arbitral awards and foreign judgments
  • Appearing before the Commercial List of the Ontario Superior Court and before the Ontario Court of Appeal in disputes relating to beneficial ownership of shares, corporate governance and securities litigation
  • Leading litigation in British Columbia and Ontario by minority shareholders alleging oppression and breaches of directors’ fiduciary duties

Presentations

Dispute Resolution in Canada
Squeezing Blood from a Stone: Identifying and Seizing State Assets to Enforce Arbitral Awards
TransCanada v. USA
Third Party Litigation Financing: Recent Canadian Developments
Arbitration Advocacy: The Legal Framework

Publications

What's in a name – the USMCA is the new NAFTA
Canada's Global CSR Cop? The Proposed Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise
NAFTA
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?
New Act Modernizes Ontario's International Arbitration Regime
No Easy Way Around Separate Corporate Personality: Ontario Court Releases its Decision in Yaiguaje v. Chevron
Arbitration Clauses and Shareholder Disputes: Clarity from the Ontario Court of Appeal
British Columbia Lawsuit by Guatemalan Plaintiffs Against Tahoe Resources Inc. Stayed on Forum Non Conveniens Grounds
No Canadian Connection? No Problem! Supreme Court Permits Actions to Enforce Foreign Judgments Without Proof of Canadian Assets or Other Links
Arbitration Clauses and Shareholder Disputes: Are "Fussy Distinctions" Undermining Efficient Dispute Resolution?
Canada-China Investment Treaty Enters into Force After 30 Month Wait

News

McMillan Lawyers Earn 41 Rankings across 23 Categories in Chambers Canada 2020
71 McMillan Lawyers Named in the 2020 Edition of Best Lawyers in Canada
60 McMillan Lawyers Recognized in the 2019 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
McMillan LLP recognized in the 2019 Benchmark Litigation Canada Guide
Chambers Global 2019 has ranked McMillan as a leading law firm in several practice areas
McMillan Lawyers Recognized in Lexpert's Special Edition on Litigation – 2018
McMillan lawyers are well represented in the 2019 edition of Chambers Canada
65 McMillan Lawyers Named in the 2019 Edition of Best Lawyers in Canada
McMillan lawyers well-represented in the 2018 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
Chambers Global 2018 has ranked McMillan as a leading law firm in several practice areas
Margaret McNee recognized as Mutual Funds Lawyer of the Year, along with 58 McMillan Lawyers in the 2018 Best Lawyers in Canada Report
Chambers Global 2017 has ranked McMillan as a leading law firm in several practice areas
McMillan lawyers recognized in Lexpert's Special Edition on Canada's Leading Litigation Lawyers for 2016
Seven McMillan lawyers appear in Lexpert's Special Edition on Canada's Leading Litigation Lawyers 2016
Robert Wisner discusses the advantages of enforcing arbitration clauses in shareholder agreements
McMillan lawyers are well represented in the 2017 edition of Chambers Canada
McMillan lawyers recognized in Who's Who Legal: Canada 2016
McMillan lawyers well-represented in the 2016 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
McMillan lawyers recognized in 2016 Chambers Global
Robert Wisner quoted in Financial Post article: "Gold Reserve deal with Venezuela a potential turning point for Canadian miners with arbitration wins"
McMillan lawyers recognized as leading Canadian lawyers in global mining by Lexpert
Robert Wisner featured on the cover of Lexpert's Special Edition December issue
McMillan lawyers recognized in Lexpert's Special Edition on Canada's Leading Litigation Lawyers
McMillan lawyers are well represented in inaugural edition of Chambers Canada
Robert Wisner quoted in Law360 article: "Canadian Chevron Ruling Lays Out Enforcement Welcome Mat"
60 McMillan lawyers recognized in the 10th Edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada
Robert Wisner discusses international arbitration and its impact with SNL Financial
McMillan lawyers are well represented in the 2015 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
Payback
McMillan lawyers recognized in 2015 Chambers Global
McMillan lawyers named amongst leading Canadian lawyers in global mining by Lexpert
Robert Wisner discusses Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement at the CanChamHK
McMillan lawyers named amongst Canada's Leading Litigation Lawyers by Lexpert
Who's Who Legal: Canada 2014 recognizes 17 McMillan lawyers
Robert Wisner comments on international arbitration in global mining news article
McMillan lawyers recognized in the 2015 Best Lawyers in Canada
McMillan lawyers are well represented in the 2014 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
Robert Wisner outlines why mining companies or other foreign investors seek arbitration on The Current
McMillan lawyers are well represented in the 2014 Chambers Global Directory
Who's Who Legal: Canada 2013 recognizes 21 McMillan lawyers
49 McMillan lawyers recognized in the 2014 Best Lawyers in Canada
Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2013 Recognizes 44 McMillan Leading Practitioners
McMillan lawyers are well represented in the 2013 Chambers Global Directory
47 McMillan lawyers recognized in the 2013 Best Lawyers in Canada
Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2012 Recognizes 39 McMillan Leading Practitioners
McMillan Lawyers are well represented in the 2012 Chambers Global Directory
Who's Who Legal: Canada 2011 recognizes 25 McMillan lawyers
50 McMillan Lawyers recognized in the 2012 Best Lawyers in Canada
McMillan Lawyers are well represented in the 2011 Chambers Global Directory

Education

  • University of Toronto, LLB - 1994
  • Queen's University, MA - 1990
  • University of Ottawa, B.Soc.Sci. - 1989

Year Of Call

  • Called to the Ontario bar - 1996

Practices

litigation
international arbitration
arbitration
international trade
competition and antitrust
administrative law
business litigation

Industries

mining
energy
transportation
telecommunications
infrastructure

Directorships and Professional Associations

  • Co-Chair, Canada Advisory Board, International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution 
  • Founding Member, Arbitration Roundtable of Toronto
  • Past Chair, Business Dispute Resolution Committee, International Law Section, Canadian Bar Association

Teaching Engagements

  • Lecturer, Osgoode Hall Law School, Certificate in Mining Law
  • Lecturer, Osgoode Hall Law School, LL.M. in Alternative Dispute Resolution

Awards & Rankings

Robert has been consistently recognized in a number of legal directories for his work in international arbitration and cross-border business litigation, including:

  • Chambers Canada
  • Chambers Global
  • Who's Who Legal
  • Best Lawyers in Canada
  • Benchmark Litigation
  • Lexpert
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
  • Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading Experts in Commercial Arbitration

Under Robert’s leadership, McMillan’s International Arbitration Group which has been consistently ranked amongst the world’s top 100 practices by Global Arbitration Review. Robert has also been recognized by Lexpert as a leading Global Mining Lawyer for his dispute resolution work in that sector.

Media Mentions

vcard

Robert Wisner is a Litigation partner at McMillan LLP and its Co-Chair, International Arbitration. His practice focuses on international dispute resolution and corporate litigation.

Robert has argued numerous cases before international arbitral tribunals seated in venues throughout Canada, the United States, Asia and Europe. He has also appeared at all levels of court in Ontario and in other Canadian jurisdictions.

Many of Robert’s cases have involved matters of international law, including disputes relating to foreign investment protection, the jurisdiction of Canadian courts and the enforcement of arbitral awards and foreign judgments. He has also handled a wide range of disputes relating to corporate governance, shareholder remedies or complex commercial contracts, including M&A, joint venture, shareholder, partnership, supply and services agreements. 

Robert has been described "as ‘a leader in his field' through his premier international commercial and investor state arbitration work" (Who's Who Legal 2012). Chambers Canada ranks Robert in Band 1 of the leading individuals in arbitration and other legal directories have consistently recognized Robert’s work in the areas of international arbitration, cross-border business litigation and disputes relating to the Global Mining sector. Robert has also been appointed as arbitrator in domestic and international commercial disputes. 

Many of Robert's clients are involved in the mining, energy, aviation, infrastructure or telecommunications sectors. He has assisted clients seeking litigation financing as well as leading litigation funders conducting due diligence on potential claims. 

Counsel in international and domestic commercial arbitrations involving parties in Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa:

  • LCIA (Toronto): Defending a claim for a 50% interest in a mining project in Africa arising from an Earn-in agreement  
  • ICC (Geneva): Acting for Brilliant Resources Inc. against the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in a dispute arising from an exploration services agreement. The company has publicly disclosed receipt of US$31.5 million in compensation
  • ICC (Paris): Representing a major international mining company in a $100 million dispute arising out of a joint venture with a West African state owned entity
  • ICC (Paris, Vancouver): Defending claims in excess of $12 million against a Canadian aviation company
  • ICC (Montréal): Acting for a major Canadian energy company defending claims in excess of US$115 million arising out of a long-term supply agreement
  • Ad Hoc (Toronto): Acting for a minority shareholder in a major Canadian company in a dispute involving claims of oppression and breaches of a shareholders' agreement
  • Acting in complex commercial disputes seated in Asia under the arbitration rules of the HKIAC (Hong Kong), SIAC (Singapore) and KLRAC (Kuala Lumpur)

Counsel in investment treaty arbitrations against states in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Recent matters include: 

  • UNCITRAL (The Hague): Successfully representing Copper Mesa Mining Corporation, which obtained an award of US$24 million against the government of Ecuador for expropriation of mining concessions
  • NAFTA: Advising Primero Mining Corp. regarding potential claims against the government of Mexico

Appearing before all levels of court in Ontario and other Canadian jurisdictions. Recent matters include:

  • Successfully representing international corporations in applications relating to the enforcement of arbitral awards and foreign judgments
  • Appearing before the Commercial List of the Ontario Superior Court and before the Ontario Court of Appeal in disputes relating to beneficial ownership of shares, corporate governance and securities litigation
  • Leading litigation in British Columbia and Ontario by minority shareholders alleging oppression and breaches of directors’ fiduciary duties
July 2018
Dispute Resolution in Canada
European Advisory Board Annual Meeting, Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, Rome, Italy
July 2017
Squeezing Blood from a Stone: Identifying and Seizing State Assets to Enforce Arbitral Awards
63rd Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico
September 2016
TransCanada v. USA
2016 Mid-Year Energy Forum, Energy Bar Association, Washington, DC
February 16, 2016
Third Party Litigation Financing: Recent Canadian Developments
CPR 2016: The Dispute Resolution Divide. Harmonizing Global Approaches, New Orleans
November 2014
Arbitration Advocacy: The Legal Framework
Advocates Society, Toronto
May 18, 2015
Payback