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Robert Wisner 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. Having 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 Chambers Global, Lexpert and Who’s Who Legal. Market sources have described him as “tenacious, smart and readily available” and an “outstanding counsel.

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
  • Acting in complex commercial disputes seated in Hong Kong and Singapore

Counsel in investment treaty arbitrations including:

  • 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

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

Mid-Year Energy Forum, Energy Bar Association, Washington, DC

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 by Chambers Global (2021) as a leading lawyer in the area of Dispute Resolution: Arbitration
  • Recognized in the 2020 Benchmark Litigation: Canada Guide as a Litigation Star
  • Chambers Canada
  • Chambers Global
  • Who’s Who Legal
  • Best Lawyers in Canada
  • Benchmark Litigation
  • Lexpert
  • Lexpert/ROB Litigation – Special Edition
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
  • Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World’s Leading Experts in Commercial Arbitration
  • Global Arbitration Review

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 by Robert Wisner (16 Posts)

British Columbia Modernizes Its Arbitration Act

Sep 29, 2020

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.

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

Jun 29, 2020

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

Managing Disputes During COVID-19

Apr 21, 2020

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

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

Mar 19, 2020

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

Coronavirus – A Preparedness and Response Guide for Canadian Businesses

Mar 9, 2020

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

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

Mar 2, 2020

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.

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

Apr 9, 2019

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

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

Oct 4, 2018

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.

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

Jan 24, 2018

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

NAFTA Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

Oct 24, 2017

NAFTA Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

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

Feb 3, 2017

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

Oct 24, 2016

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

Nov 24, 2015

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

Sep 9, 2015

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?

Aug 27, 2015

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

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

Sep 26, 2014

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.