E-Newsletter – Autumn 2023

Recent months have continued to see major new developments in public international law.  Volterra Fietta continues to be actively engaged in many of these developments on behalf of our clients around the world.

China adopts new law on State immunity

People’s Republic of China has adopted the Law on Foreign State Immunity, which will take effect on 1 January 2024.  The law will regulate the immunity of foreign States before Chinese courts, both from suit and execution, and it represents a major shift in China’s approach to sovereign immunity, with far-reaching implications for foreign States operating in China, as well as China’s foreign relations.

Belgium seizes Russian Central Bank’s assets to create Ukraine fund

Belgium has taken a major step by seizing profits generated from Russian Central Bank’s frozen reserves of $300 billion, the first of its kind in Europe.  The Belgium government has announced that it will create a €1.7 billion fund from the taxes collected from these profits, with a significant portion designated to assist the efforts to support Ukraine.

UK denies Russian investors advantages under Part III of the Energy Charter Treaty

The UK denies access to substantive investment protection under Part III of the Energy Charter Treaty, including fair and equitable treatment and compensation for expropriation, for Russian nationals. The UK invokes article 17 of the Charter, which allows Contracting States to revoke access to advantages for nationals of a State with which it maintains no diplomatic relationship or has taken measures against.

OECD adopts new Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct

The OECD released the updated “Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct”. The updated Guidelines emphasise risk-based due diligence and require enterprises to consider and mitigate the adverse effects of their business activities. Notably, the Guidelines include new provisions on mitigating climate change and biodiversity loss, the adverse effects of the gathering and use of consumer data, and vulnerable and marginalised groups susceptible to human rights abuses.


Recent and upcoming firm events

In Spring 2024, Robert Volterra will be speaking at the 12th annual Deep Sea Mining Summit in London.

In October 2023, Robert Volterra spoke at the LCIA-AIEN conference on Dispute Resolution in the International Energy Business.

In August 2023, Ahmed Abdel-Hakam published an article on the impact of civil unrest on foreign investments in the leading Canadian Mining Journal “Northern Miner”.

In October 2023, Ahmed Abdel-Hakam published an article on the status of documents classified as “State Secrets” before English Courts, in the Journal of International Banking and Finance.

In October 2023, Ahmed Abdel-Hakam spoke at the first edition of Algiers Arbitration Day in Algiers, Algeria.  Ahmed spoke on the latest developments in arbitration in the Middle East and North Africa.

In October 2023, Ahmed Abdel-Hakam spoke at the annual conference of the African Society of International Law at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In November 2023, Ahmed Abdel-Hakam gave a presentation to the members of the Australian Business Chambers for Southern Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa, on key issues and legal risks relating to mining contracts.

In November 2023, Ahmed Abdel-Hakam gave a lecture at the annual conference of the International Society of Military Sciences, in Copenhagen, Denmark, on the status and exploitation of natural resources in times of war.

On Friday 10 November 2023, Angela Ha spoke at the invitation of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law at its 40th Investment Treaty Forum Public Conference, addressing issues of “Territory in International Investment Law”.  Angela’s talk focused issues of investment protection in areas beyond national jurisdiction, including the high seas, deep seabed and outer space.

On Thursday 7 December 2023, Florentine Vos and Margarita Adadurova will speak at the Queen Mary University of London Multipanel Event on International Arbitration and building a career in law.


In the coming months, Volterra Fietta plans to offer seminars on the following topics:

  • Starting a Proceeding before the International Court of Justice
  • Defending States in investor-State arbitrations
  • New frontiers in international law:  recent developments in cyberconflict


If you would like to be added to Volterra Fietta’s invitation list for future events, please email your name and affiliation to info@volterrafietta.com.