July 01, 2021

Alum wins a groundbreaking decision

Emily Christiansen (’12), with other attorneys, recently won the decision in an international mass arbitration case against the Republic of Cyprus.

Emily Christiansen (’12), a partner with Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP, one of the attorneys representing the claimants in the mass arbitration case of Theodoros Adamakopoulos and others v. Republic of Cyprus, recently won a groundbreaking decision from a tribunal empaneled under the rules of ICSID.

This decision allowed the claimants to move forward with their investment treaty claims against the Republic of Cyprus. The 951 individuals and seven companies in this case suffered substantial financial losses as a result of the closure of Cyprus Popular Bank.

The recent decision is groundbreaking because it allows a mass arbitration of this size to move forward. Christiansen noted, “The number of claimants is well in excess of most other mass ICSID arbitrations.” The ICSID Tribunal affirmed its jurisdiction over the claims which were brought under Cyprus’ bilateral investment treaties with the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union and Greece.

The arbitration arises out of decisions made following the 2012-2013 Cypriot financial crisis, when the Republic of Cyprus received an international bailout. In return for the bailout, Cyprus agreed to close the country’s second-largest bank, the Cyprus Popular Bank (also known as Marfin Popular Bank or Laiki Bank), and claimants’ bonds or deposits were “bailed-in” or confiscated. The claimants allege that as a result of this “bail-in,” many of their bonds or deposits “rendered worthless” or decreased substantially.

The claimants in this case are nationals of Greece or Belgium-Luxembourg and were all creditors (either depositors or bond holders) of either the Cyprus Popular Bank or the Bank of Cyprus. The claimants contend that Cyprus agreed to this particular solution to the financial crisis “because it disproportionately impacted foreign (non-Cypriot) investors.” The claims are premised on the allegation that Cyprus violated its obligation not to discriminate against foreign investments and its obligation to provide fair and equitable treatment to foreign investments. For more details about the treaties discussed in this case, click here.

Christiansen (’12) earned her International Law Certificate at Lewis & Clark Law School and received her introduction to investment treaty arbitration in Professor George Foster’s International Dispute Resolution course. She has been working on this case since 2018.

She notes that she and her counsel team “are currently in the merits phase of the dispute and the parties are due to submit memorials later this year, and then a hearing is on the schedule for the second half of 2022.”

The full case, Theodoros Adamakopoulos and others v. Republic of Cyprus (ICSID Case No. ARB/15/49), can be found here.