Robert Wisner is a partner in the Litigation department of McMillan LLP and its Co-Chair, International Arbitration. His practice focuses on international commercial arbitration, investment treaty arbitration and cross-border business litigation.
Robert has argued numerous cases before international arbitral tribunals and has appeared at all levels of the Ontario and Federal courts as well as before various administrative tribunals. These cases have involved matters of public international law, multi-jurisdictional litigation, joint venture and shareholder disputes, complex commercial contracts and competition law or regulatory issues.
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). McMillan has also been ranked amongst the world's top 100 practices by Global Arbitration Review for nine consecutive years. Robert has also been appointed as arbitrator in international commercial disputes.
Many of Robert's clients are involved in the mining, energy, aviation, infrastructure or telecommunications sectors and carry on business in emerging markets. He speaks English, French and Spanish.
Counsel in international and domestic commercial arbitrations involving parties in Canada, Western Europe, Asia and Africa. Recent matters include:
- ICC (Geneva): Acting for Brilliant Resources 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 agreement with a West African state owned entity.
- ICC (Paris, Vancouver): Successfully defending claims totalling in excess of $12 million against a Canadian aviation company brought by Middle Eastern and German companies arising out of an international sales contract.
- ICC (Montreal): Acting for a major Canadian energy company defending claims by a Spanish energy company 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 privately-held 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), KLRAC (Kuala Lumpur), and MNAC (Ulan Bator).
Counsel in investment treaty arbitrations against states in North and South America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia arising out of the mining, energy, forestry, steel, financial services, transportation, and airport services sectors. 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.
- ICSID (A(F) (Washington, DC): Acting for Canadian investors in Costa Rica in one of the first cases under a Canadian bilateral investment treaty.
- NAFTA: Advising Primero Mining Corp. regarding potential claims against the government of Mexico.
Appearing before the Ontario Superior Court, the Federal Court of Canada and various administrative tribunals in disputes relating to international arbitrations, foreign litigation, corporate-commercial and regulatory matters. Recent matters include:
- Successfully enforcing a Chinese arbitral award in Ontario.
- Successfully resisting enforcement of a foreign arbitral award against a Canadian telecommunications company.
- Successfully enforcing an Italian judgment in Ontario.
- Counsel to a Canadian telecommunications company in proceedings by the Canadian Competition Bureau.
- Counsel for an infrastructure project company in a judicial review of an Ontario administrative tribunal decision.
- Appearing before the Ontario Mining and Lands Commission.
Creative Approaches to Aligning Interests in Dispute Resolution, What We Can Learn from Neighbors to the North and the South
Arbitration Advocacy: The Legal Framework
Confidentiality in International Arbitration
Year in Review
Efficient Management of Arbitral Proceedings
Cross –Examination in International Arbitration
International Commercial Arbitration
Mitigating Foreign Investment Risk
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
Understanding the impact of Canada's ratification of the ICSID convention
Restraining the long arm of Ontario courts: Supreme Court of Canada clarifies private international law
Canada and China conclude major investment treaty negotiations
Risky business: doing business in near-failed and failed states
Confrontation - Techniques for Impeachment
NAFTA Chapter in Arbitration World
Canada Chapter in Arbitration World
Recent Developments in International Arbitration
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
61 McMillan lawyers recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada 2017
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
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
- 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
competition and antitrust
Directorships and Professional Associations
- Past Chair, Programs Committee, Toronto Commercial Arbitration Society
- Founding Member, Arbitration Roundtable of Toronto
- Past Chair, Business Dispute Resolution Committee, International Law Section, Canadian Bar Association
- 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: the World's Leading Lawyers for Business;
- Who's Who Legal;
- Best Lawyers in Canada;
- Benchmark Litigation;
- Lexpert; and
- Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading Experts in Commercial Arbitration
Robert has also been recognized by Lexpert as a leading Global Mining Lawyer for his dispute resolution work in that sector.
- "Trudeau approves Trans Mountain pipeline, kills Northern Gateway" by Nelson Bennett, Business in Vancouver, November 30, 2016
- Law Times: Robert Wisner discusses the advantages of enforcing arbitration clauses in shareholder agreements
- "Enforce arbitration agreements: ruling" by Alex Robinson, Law Times, November 21, 2016
- "Gold Reserve reaches arbitration settlement with Venezuela, stock soars" by Peter Koven, Financial Post, August 8, 2016
- "Copper Mesa Mining Awarded US$24 Million for Expropriation of Ecuador Mining Projects", Copper Investing News, June 1, 2016
- "Copper Mesa Mining Corporation Awarded US$24.365 Million for Expropriation of Two Mining Projects by Ecuador" The Canadian Business Journal, June 1, 2016
- "Canadian miners face uphill battle to collect on arbitration wins" by Peter Koven, Financial Post, April 11, 2016
- "Gold Reserve deal with Venezuela a potential turning point for Canadian miners with arbitration wins" by Peter Koven, Financial Post, March 1, 2016
- "The Alternative to Litigating" by Bev Cline, Lexpert, November 27, 2015
- Quoted in Law360 regarding the Supreme Court's decision in Chevron on the enforcement of foreign judgments, September 11, 2015
- "International arbitration: an uphill battle for companies launching suits" by Jax Jacobsen, SNL Financial, August 6, 2015
- Quoted in The Northern Miner and The National Post regarding international arbitrations against states
- Interviewed on CBC Radio regarding foreign investment disputes involving Canadian mining companies
- Quoted in Lexpert, the Canadian Bar Association's National Magazine, and the Canada-China Business Forum regarding foreign investment disputes
- Quoted in the National Post and the Toronto Star for his appearance on behalf of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada before the House of Commons Standing Committee considering the proposed Bill C-300 (seeking to regulate the activities of Canadian mining, oil & gas companies in developing countries)