Robert Wisner Photo
Robert Wisner Photo

Robert is widely recognized as a leading practitioner in international arbitration and corporate commercial litigation. He assists clients in a wide range of industries, including mining, energy and aviation. Robert has argued numerous cases before arbitral tribunals seated throughout Canada, the United States, Asia and Europe. He has also appeared at all levels of court in Ontario and other Canadian jurisdictions.

Many of Robert’s cases involve matters of international law, including cross-border disputes relating to foreign investment protection, the jurisdiction of Canadian courts, and the enforcement of arbitral awards and foreign judgments.

Robert also handles a wide range of disputes relating to corporate governance, shareholder remedies and complex commercial contracts, including M&A, joint venture, shareholder, partnership, supply and services agreements. In addition, he assists clients seeking litigation financing and advises leading litigation funders conducting due diligence on potential claims.

An acknowledged leader in the field, Robert’s work in international arbitration, cross-border business litigation and mining disputes has been recognized in multiple directories, both here and abroad. Market sources have described him as “tenacious, smart and readily available” and as “an outstanding counsel”. In Chambers Global (2023), a client referred to him as “very dynamic and very good at dealing with litigation and turning it into a positive for the client”. 

Robert has also served as an arbitrator in domestic and international commercial disputes. He is a member of the Arbitration Court of the London Court of International Arbitration, whose members are selected to maintain a balance of leading practitioners in commercial arbitration from the major trading areas of the world. He is a national leader of the firm’s International Arbitration & Cross-Border Litigation Group.



Representative Matters

Counsel in international and domestic commercial arbitrations including disputes under the rules and at the arbitral seats below:

  • 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 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 enterprise
  • 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
  • Ad Hoc (Halifax): Acting for an international mining company in a $25 million dispute arising out of a coal supply agreement
  • Acting in several complex commercial disputes seated in Hong Kong and Singapore arising from international sales and supply agreements

Counsel in investment treaty arbitrations including:

  • ICSID (Washington, DC): Representing WM Mining Company, LLC in a pending US$40 million claim against the government of Mongolia
  • 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 the beneficial ownership of shares and corporate governance
  • Leading litigation in British Columbia and Ontario by minority shareholders alleging oppression and breaches of directors’ fiduciary duties

Speaking Engagements

Valuation Evidence for Natural Resource Projects, GAR Live, New York, NY

September 2022

Recent Developments in Corporate Governance in Canada, Annual Meeting, International Bar Association, Seoul, Korea

September 2019

Dispute Resolution in Canada European Advisory Board Annual Meeting, Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, Rome, Italy

July 2018

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

July 2017

TransCanada v. USA, 2016 Mid-Year Energy Forum, Energy Bar Association, Washington, DC

September 2016

Third Party Litigation Financing: Recent Canadian Developments CPR 2016: The Dispute Resolution Divide. Harmonizing Global Approaches, New Orleans

February 16, 2016

Arbitration Advocacy: The Legal Framework Advocates Society, Toronto

November 2014

Teaching Engagements

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

News


Media Mentions


Rankings & Recognition

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

  • Recognized in the 2024 Benchmark Litigation: Canada Guide
  • Recognized in the 2024 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a Repeatedly Recommended Lawyer in the area of Commercial Arbitration
  • Recognized by Chambers Global (2024) as a leading lawyer in the area of Dispute Resolution: Arbitration
  • Recognized by Chambers Canada (2024) as a leading lawyer in the area of Dispute Resolution: Arbitration
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada (2024) as a leading lawyer in the area of Alternative Dispute Resolution and International Arbitration
  • Recognized in the 2023 Lexpert Special Edition on Canada’s Leading Litigation Lawyers as a Leading Litigation Lawyer
  • Listed in Who’s Who Legal: Canada 2023 as a leader in Arbitration
  • Recognized in the 2023 Benchmark Litigation: Canada Guide as a Litigation Star
  • Recognized in the 2023 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a Consistently Recommended Lawyer in the area of Commercial Arbitration
  • Recognized by Chambers Global (2023) as a leading lawyer in the area of Dispute Resolution: Arbitration
  • Listed in Who’s Who Legal: Global 2022 as a leader in Arbitration
  • Listed in Who’s Who Legal: Canada 2022 as a leader in Arbitration
  • Recognized in the 2022 Lexpert Special Edition on Canada’s Leading Litigation Lawyers as a Leading Litigation Lawyer
  • Recognized by Chambers Canada (2023) as a leading lawyer in the area of Dispute Resolution: Arbitration
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada (2023) as a leading lawyer in the areas of Alternative Dispute Resolution and International Arbitration
  • Recognized in the 2022 Benchmark Litigation: Canada Guide as a Litigation Star
  • Recognized in the 2022 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a Consistently Recommended Lawyer in the area of Commercial Arbitration
  • Recognized by Chambers Global (2022) as a leading lawyer in the area of Dispute Resolution: Arbitration
  • Recognized by Chambers Canada (2022) as a leading lawyer in the area of Dispute Resolution: Arbitration
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada (2022) as a leading lawyer in the areas of Alternative Dispute Resolution and International Arbitration

Directorships & Affiliations

  • Member, Arbitration Court, London Court of International Arbitration
  • Past co-chair, Canada Advisory Board, International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution
  • Founding member, Arbitration Roundtable of Toronto

Education & Admissions

1996
Called to the Ontario bar
1994
LLB University of Toronto
1990
MA Queen's University
1989
B.Soc.Sci. University of Ottawa

Publications

Insights (20 Posts)View More

Featured Insight

Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) Launches Investigations in Mining and Apparel Sectors

CORE Investigates Nike Canada Corp and Dynasty Gold Corp, but Declines to Investigate GobiMin Inc.

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Aug 16, 2023
Featured Insight

A Comparative Analysis of Commercial Dispute Resolution in Ireland and Canada

The panel will focus on a range of current commercial dispute resolution and access to justice issues affecting Canadian businesses that operate, or are considering operating in Ireland and/or the UK.

Details
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
Featured Insight

As NAFTA Legacy Claims Window Closes, Canadian Businesses with Investments in Mexico Maintain Important Protections under CPTPP

Time is running out for investors to launch NAFTA legacy claims, however Canadian claimants maintain important protections against Mexico under the CPTPP.

Read More
Mar 1, 2023
Featured Insight

The Potential Impact of the Ukraine Conflict on Contracts Between Canadian and Russian Companies

Legal tools Canadian companies should seek advice on if they are no longer able perform contractual agreements because of the war in Ukraine

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Mar 8, 2022
Featured Insight

British Columbia Modernizes Its Arbitration Act

The New Arbitration Act came into force on September 1, 2020 and this article explains its significant changes to the former Act, closing gaps and deficiencies.

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Sep 29, 2020
Featured Insight

Supreme Court of Canada’s Uber Ruling Provides a Roadmap to Navigate between Arbitration and Class Actions

Discussion of the effect of the Supreme Court of Canada's decision re Uber drivers class action which invalidated a widely used arbitration clause

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Jun 29, 2020
Featured Insight

Managing Disputes During COVID-19

While disputes are an unavoidable risk of doing business, companies need to know how to protect their interests during this time of uncertainty.

Apr 21, 2020
Featured Insight

Managing Supply Chain Disruptions: The Importance of Force Majeure and Dispute Resolution Clauses

As the impact of COVID-19 becomes more severe, companies must pay close attention to "boilerplate" provisions in their contracts dealing with force majeure.

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Mar 19, 2020
Featured Insight

Coronavirus – A Preparedness and Response Guide for Canadian Businesses

What steps should corporations take to mitigate the risks posed by COVID-19 to the health and safety of their workforce and contractual obligations.

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Mar 9, 2020
Featured Insight

Supreme Court of Canada Opens the Door to Novel International Human Rights Claims: The Uncertain Implications for Canadian Resource Companies

In its 5-4 decision in Nevsun Resources Ltd., the Supreme Court of Canada has given Canadian courts the green light to develop new forms of civil liability.

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Mar 2, 2020
Featured Insight

No “Piggybacking” to Avoid B2B Arbitration: Supreme Court of Canada Affirms Enforceability of Arbitration Clauses despite Related Class Action

In its recent 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that courts must enforce valid arbitration agreements between businesses.

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Apr 9, 2019
Featured Insight

What’s in a name – the USMCA is the new NAFTA

On the surface, NAFTA was set aside, replaced by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Look more deeply, and there's evidence that much of the substance of NAFTA remains.

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Oct 4, 2018
Featured Insight

Canada’s Global CSR Cop? The Proposed Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise

January 2018-Government of Canada announced creation of independent Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise-claims is first of its kind in the world.

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Jan 24, 2018
Featured Insight

NAFTA Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

NAFTA Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

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Oct 24, 2017
Featured Insight

No Easy Way Around Separate Corporate Personality: Ontario Court Releases its Decision in Yaiguaje v. Chevron

No Easy Way Around Separate Corporate Personality: Ontario Court Releases its Decision in Yaiguaje v. Chevron

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Feb 3, 2017
Featured Insight

Arbitration Clauses and Shareholder Disputes: Clarity from the Ontario Court of Appeal

Arbitration Clauses and Shareholder Disputes: Clarity from the Ontario Court of Appeal

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Oct 24, 2016
Featured Insight

British Columbia Lawsuit by Guatemalan Plaintiffs Against Tahoe Resources Inc. Stayed on Forum Non Conveniens Grounds

British Columbia Lawsuit by Guatemalan Plaintiffs Against Tahoe Resources Inc. Stayed on Forum Non Conveniens Grounds

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Nov 24, 2015
Featured Insight

No Canadian Connection? No Problem! Supreme Court Permits Actions to Enforce Foreign Judgments Without Proof of Canadian Assets or Other Links

No Canadian Connection? No Problem! Supreme Court Permits Actions to Enforce Foreign Judgments Without Proof of Canadian Assets or Other Links

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Sep 9, 2015
Featured Insight

Arbitration Clauses and Shareholder Disputes: Are “Fussy Distinctions” Undermining Efficient Dispute Resolution?

Arbitration Clauses and Shareholder Disputes: Are "Fussy Distinctions" Undermining Efficient Dispute Resolution?

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Aug 27, 2015
Featured Insight

Canada-China investment treaty enters into force after 30 month wait

The Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (known as a “FIPA”) will enter into force on October 1, 2014, some 30 months after the initial announcement of this treaty by Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his February 2012 state visit to China.

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Sep 26, 2014