Neil Newing and Pietro Grassi are excellent. Extremely user friendly, fantastic drafting skills, and always have an eye to the bigger strategic picture.”

The Legal 500 UK 2024

Biography

Pietro is a Senior Associate at Signature with experience in public international law, investor-State arbitration, and international commercial arbitration.

He has advised and represented corporations, individuals, and States on matters of public international law before national and international courts and tribunals, as well as arbitral tribunals constituted under major arbitration rules (eg ICC, ICSID, LCIA, SCC, and UNCITRAL). He is also often engaged in pro bono litigation involving human rights issues.

Highlights of his career include securing US$455 million for an US-based bottle maker in an ICSID claim against a Latin American State and successfully obtaining provisional measures for a politically persecuted South American individual in proceedings before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Before joining Signature, Pietro was an Associate at Morrison & Foerster LLP. Prior to entering private practice, he worked at the European Union Delegation to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

Pietro is admitted to practice in Brazil and Portugal, and is a Registered Foreign Lawyer with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) in England and Wales. He is fluent in Italian and Portuguese, and speaks Spanish.

Pietro is recognised as a Recommended Lawyer for international arbitration in The Legal 500 UK 2024 Guide, where he is described as “excellent” and as having “fantastic drafting skills” and “an eye to the bigger strategic picture“. Pietro has also been ranked in The Legal 500 UK 2022 guide as a Recognised Practitioner for Dispute Resolution: Commercial Litigation (Premium) and an Associate to Note for Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration. He has been described as “very approachable” and someone who “stands out for his extreme knowledge of details of a case, his level of coordinating all process matters and very friendly attitude.”

Experience

Public International Law and International Human Rights

  • Representing a politically persecuted South American individual in proceedings before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
  • Advising an American state on its sovereign immunity rights in litigation before the courts of an European state in the context of a NATO military base; advising that same state on the possibility of bringing a claim before the International Court of Justice.
  • Advising the same American state on its sovereign immunity rights in litigation before the courts of another European state in the context of an employment claim.
  • Advising an African state on electoral best practices in light of its public international law obligations.
  • Advising a Middle Eastern state on its international humanitarian law rights and obligations in the region.
  • Advising a South American state on its obligations deriving from a judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
  • Representing an individual who seek leave to remain in the United Kingdom as a stateless person.
  • Petitioning an African court against an abortion ban in light of the State’s obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other human rights treaties.
  • Advising a non-profit organisation on strategic litigation before the courts of African state and before the East Africa Court of Justice on law reforms affecting the ability of the civil society in that state to self-organise as a non-profit entity.
  • Working with the Alliance for Marriage in the Americas to ensure marriage equality through the Inter-American Human Rights System.

Investment Treaty Arbitration

  • Representing an American investor in an ICSID arbitration arising out of the arbitrary and unlawful pattern of behaviour of Slovakia and its agencies, which prevented the investor from conducting oil and gas exploration drilling operations.
  • Representing Swiss investors in UNCITRAL arbitration arising out of the outright expropriation by Liberia of a valuable iron ore concession owned by the investors.
  • Representing American investors in two related ICSID arbitrations arising out of the expropriation of a glass bottling plant in Venezuela.
  • Representing a Luxembourgish investor in SCC arbitration against Poland arising out of the forced sale of the claimant’s shareholding in a Polish bank.
  • Representing the investor in PCA/UNCITRAL arbitration arising out of the expropriation of the claimant’s liquid petroleum gas infrastructure in Pakistan (jurisdiction only).
  • Representing two independent foreign investors in treaty arbitrations against Mongolia.
  • Advising foreign investors in countries such as Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Luxembourg, Mozambique, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE in relation to legal remedies under investment protection instruments.

International Commercial Arbitration

  • Representing one of the respondents in an ICC commercial arbitration arising out of a partnership agreement for an online gaming joint project and associated project vehicle to provide online sports betting and gaming services to consumers in Mexico, as well as in related anti-suit injunctions in the English courts.
  • Representing the claimants in an LCIA commercial arbitration arising out of an indemnity agreement governed by English law to be executed in Thailand.
  • Representing the claimant in an ICC commercial arbitration concerning engineering and prototype agreements manufactured in Europe and commercialized in China.
  • Representing the respondent in an LCIA commercial arbitration in connection with a sales agreement for liquefied petroleum gas.
  • Representing the defendants in a Section 68, English Arbitration Act challenge to set aside a LCIA award.

Global Investigations

  • Member of the US Department of Justice Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Monitorship Team for a major Latin American engineering and construction group accused of bribing foreign public officials in more than ten countries.
  • Managing a FCPA investigation for an international management consulting firm prompted by the “Luanda Leaks”.
  • Managing a FCPA investigation for an international management consulting firm in connection with the investigations initiated by and the assassination of the Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Publications

UK withdrawal from the Energy Charter Treaty has important implications for investors – The Energy Industry Times – 23 March 2024

English Arbitration Act: Law Commission’s progressive amendmentsSolicitors Journal – 6 October 2023

Guest Comment, Macro developments in the mining sector going forward – Global Mining Review – April 2022, Volume 5, Issue 3

“UK Introduces New Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 20 May 2021

”Arbitrator bias: lessons from sports arbitration”, Practical Law Arbitration Blog, 18 April 2021

“EU Set to Introduce Mandatory Environmental and Human Rights Due Diligence Law”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 23 March 2021

“From genesis to apocalypse: As Belgium heralds the end of the uncertainty on intra-EU BITs, has the UK missed an opportunity in a post-Brexit world?”, Practical Law Arbitration Blog, 26 February 2021

“Modern slavery in financial services: no room for complacency”, Practical Law Magazine, 25 February 2021

“The World Is Your Oyster? Supreme Court Confirms UK Jurisdictional Gateway for Parent Company Liability”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 18 February 2021

“Watch Out and Speak Up: The UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner calls for Immediate Action in the Finance Industry”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 1 February 2021

“The New ICC Arbitration Rules”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 12 January 2021

“Thank you, next, please: English court strikes out business and human rights claim in light of parallel proceedings in Brazil”, Practical Law Dispute Resolution Blog, 3 December 2020

“A Shift Towards a More Co-ordinated Approach? – The LCIA Updates Its Arbitration Rules”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 19 August 2020

“UK Companies Responsible for Business and Human Rights Violations Overseas”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 8 June 2020

“Agreement for the termination of intra-EU BITs signed: the bell tolls?”, Practical Law Arbitration Blog, 14 May 2020

“Micula v Romania: rematch clause activated?”, Practical Law Arbitration Blog, 6 March 2020

“Macau Ups Its Game: A Discussion on the New Arbitration Law 2019”, Kluwer Arbitration Blog, 21 January 2020

“MoFo APAC Arbitration Update: October 2019”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, October 2019

“Micula v Romania: an OK (and not a KO) in the latest round of proceedings”, Practical Law Arbitration Blog, 27 September 2019

“UK Introduces New Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions Regime”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 20 May 2021

”Arbitrator bias: lessons from sports arbitration”, Practical Law Arbitration Blog, 18 April 2021

“EU Set to Introduce Mandatory Environmental and Human Rights Due Diligence Law”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 23 March 2021

“From genesis to apocalypse: As Belgium heralds the end of the uncertainty on intra-EU BITs, has the UK missed an opportunity in a post-Brexit world?”, Practical Law Arbitration Blog, 26 February 2021

“Modern slavery in financial services: no room for complacency”, Practical Law Magazine, 25 February 2021

“The World Is Your Oyster? Supreme Court Confirms UK Jurisdictional Gateway for Parent Company Liability”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 18 February 2021

“Watch Out and Speak Up: The UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner calls for Immediate Action in the Finance Industry”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 1 February 2021

“The New ICC Arbitration Rules”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 12 January 2021

“Thank you, next, please: English court strikes out business and human rights claim in light of parallel proceedings in Brazil”, Practical Law Dispute Resolution Blog, 3 December 2020

“A Shift Towards a More Co-ordinated Approach? – The LCIA Updates Its Arbitration Rules”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 19 August 2020

“UK Companies Responsible for Business and Human Rights Violations Overseas”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 8 June 2020

“Agreement for the termination of intra-EU BITs signed: the bell tolls?”, Practical Law Arbitration Blog, 14 May 2020

“Micula v Romania: rematch clause activated?”, Practical Law Arbitration Blog, 6 March 2020

“Macau Ups Its Game: A Discussion on the New Arbitration Law 2019”, Kluwer Arbitration Blog, 21 January 2020

“MoFo APAC Arbitration Update: October 2019”, Morrison & Foerster LLP, October 2019

“Micula v Romania: an OK (and not a KO) in the latest round of proceedings”, Practical Law Arbitration Blog, 27 September 2019

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