James Castello


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James Castello

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James Castello, a partner in King & Spalding’s Paris office, is a member of the firm’s International Arbitration Group.  In nearly 30 years as a practicing lawyer, Mr. Castello has advised and represented clients in a wide range of legal disputes, particularly international arbitrations (both institutional and ad hoc; commercial as well as investor-State).  Clients have been based not only in Europe, but also in the United States, Mexico and Asia.  Recent matters in which he has been involved have ranged from large infrastructure or commercial projects to disputes over control of an oil refinery, the privatization of a state-owned power plant, long-term gas supply and price re-adjustment clauses.  He is recognized in the International Who’s Who of Commercial Arbitration, Legal 500, Who’s Who Legal France, Chambers Global, Chambers Europe and International Who’s Who of Construction Lawyers.  In 2007, he was named to a five-year term on the Court of the London Court of International Arbitration (where he served on the drafting committee for the revised 2014 LCIA Arbitration Rules), and he now serves as a member of the LCIA’s Board of Directors and as President of the LCIA’s European Users Council. 

Since 2001, Mr. Castello has also served on the U.S. delegation to the Arbitration Working Group at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).  During those years, he has participated actively in revision of the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (2006), adoption of the new Model Law on International Commercial Conciliation (2002), comprehensive revision of the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules (2010), drafting of the new Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitrations (2013) and of a related Convention on Transparency (2014) for such arbitrations, updating of the Notes on Organizing Arbitral Proceedings (2016), and the pending development of a new instrument for international enforcement of mediated settlement agreements.  Among numerous publications, Mr. Castello has written the chapters on the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules in the Practitioner’s Handbook on International Commercial Arbitration (Oxford 2009), the World Arbitration Reporter (Juris 2010, revised ed. 2014), and Concise International Arbitration (2nd ed. Kluwer 2015).  Mr. Castello speaks frequently on arbitration topics at conferences and seminars, and he also serves on the International Advisory Board of the Vienna International Arbitral Centre as well as on the editorial boards of Global Arbitration Review and of World Arbitration and Mediation Review.

Before joining King & Spalding, Mr. Castello served for five years as counsel in the international arbitration group at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, based in Vienna.  Prior to that, he practiced  at Shearman & Sterling in Washington, DC, advising particularly on international disputes.  Between his time at Shearman & Sterling and Freshfields, he left private practice to serve for nearly six years in senior legal positions in the Clinton Administration.  These posts included Deputy Counsel to the President, at the White House, and Associate Deputy Attorney General in the Justice Department, where his portfolio encompassed such international issues as immigration and human rights.  At the beginning of his legal career, he served as law clerk to Justices William J. Brennan, Jr. and Thurgood Marshall, on the U.S. Supreme Court, and to Judge Abner J. Mikva on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  He also worked as a legal assistant to Judge Howard M. Holtzmann, on the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal at The Hague, The Netherlands.  He is admitted to practice in New York and the District of Columbia and is an avocat à la cour in Paris.

Recent Speeches and Presentations on International Arbitration

  • “Transparency And The Public Interest In Investment Arbitration,” Panel Presentation at the International Law Weekend of the American Branch of the International Law Association, October 23, 2009, New York City.

  • Participant, "Roundtable on the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules Revision," Seminar organized by the New York City Bar Association and the American Bar Association, February 3, 2010, New York City.

  • Session Moderator and Speaker, "State Entities in Commercial Arbitration," Vienna Arbitration Days, February 12, 2010, Vienna, Austria.

  • "Trends in International Arbitration Procedure," Presentation at session of the 2010 Annual Conference of the American Bar Association Litigation Section, New York City, April 22, 2010.

  • Lunch Keynote Speaker, "Transparency in International Arbitration," Conference on Transparency in International Arbitration co-sponsored by the American Society for International Law and the American Branch of the International Law Association, April 26, 2010, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C..

  • "Revision of the UNCITRAL Rules,” Presentation at Seminar Sponsored by the Swedish Arbitration Association, April 28, 2010, Stockholm, Sweden.

  • Program Co-Chair and Session moderator, "Confronting Ethical Issues in International Arbitration," Americas Workshop co-sponsored by the Institute for Transnational Arbitration and the Colombian Chamber of Commerce, October 15, 2010, Bogota, Colombia.

  • Co-Faculty Leader, "Arbitrator Symposium on Advanced Case Management Issues," Symposium sponsored by the American Arbitration Association's International Center for Dispute Resolution, November 16, 2010, Paris, France.

  • “Revised UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules,” Presentation at 18th Annual Croatian Arbitration and Conciliation Days, December 2, 2010, Zagreb, Croatia.

  • “A Legal Standard for Transparency in Investment Arbitration,” 2011 Annual Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC) - UNCITRAL Conference on Arbitration, April 14, 2011, Vienna, Austria.

  • Keynote Speech, “The 2010 UNCITRAL Rules,” Conference Organized by ICC Young Arbitrators’ Forum and Young Austrian Arbitration Practitioners, April 16, 2011, Vienna, Austria.

  • “The Effectiveness of the Award,” Presentation at Colloquium on the New French Arbitration Statute of 2011, Sponsored by Paris Place de l’Arbitrage and the French Arbitration Committee, April 20, 2011, Paris, France.

  • “Issues Surrounding Joinder in Complex Arbitration,” 6th Annual Conference on International Arbitration and Mediation, Fordham Law School, June 14-15, 2011, New York City.

  • Travaux préparatoires, enactments and case law on definition and form of an arbitration agreement,” Presentation at Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC) - UNCITRAL Annual Conference, March 29, 2012, Vienna, Austria.

  • Session Moderator, “Agreeing to and Initiating Arbitration,” and Co-Moderator of the Track “B” Program, 2012 Congress of the International Council of Commercial Arbitration (ICCA), June 11, 2012, Singapore.

  • “Important Changes in the  2010 UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules,” Client Seminar on Revisions in Arbitration Rules: Addressing Users’ Concerns, June 25, 2012, Frankfurt, Germany.

  • One-week Lecture Course, “A Decade of Revisions at UNCITRAL,” International Arbitration Academy, July 16-20, 2012, Paris, France.

  • “Environmental Disputes under International Law,” Presentation at AIPN-LCIA Conference on Dispute Resolution in the International Oil & Gas Business, October 12, 2001, Delhi, India.

  • “Environmental Disputes under Human Rights Treaties,” Seminar for Oil & Gas Industry October 23, 2012, Bogota, Colombia.

  • Session Moderator, “UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration: Perspectives for Broader Adoption and Uniform Interpretation in the Asia-Pacific,” Conference Organized by UNCITRAL and the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board Conference on Asia-Pacific Perspectives on International Commercial Arbitration, November 22, 2012, Seoul, Republic of South Korea.

  • “UNCITRAL Rules on transparency in treaty-based investor State arbitration,” Presentation at the 20th Anniversary Croatian Arbitration Days, December 6, 2012, Zagreb, Croatia.

  • “Where Public Meets Private: International law and the dynamic interpretation of treaties in the context of the draft UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency,”  Presentation at workshop organized by The Center for International Commercial and Investment Arbitration (CICIA) and the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment (VCC), February 5, 2013, New York City.

  • Session moderator and speaker, “Arbitration & States,” at Conference on The Future of Arbitration organized by the University of Oslo Faculty of Law, May 27-28, 2013, Oslo Norway.

  • “Enforceability of awards under the New York Convention in the context of investor-State disputes,” Presentation at Seminar Organized by the Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC) and UNCITRAL, July 11, 2013, Vienna, Austria.

  • “The Significance of UNCITRAL’s Work for the Asian-Pacific Region,” Presentation at 2nd Annual Arbitration Conference sponsored by the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board, the Republic of Korea Ministry of Justice, and UNCITRAL, November 11, 2013, Seoul, Korea.

  • “The Advantages of Uniform Rules of Arbitration,” Presentation at 4th Annual Arbitration Conference, sponsored by the Milan Chamber of Arbitration, November 29, 2013, Milan, Italy.

  • “Harmonizing Arbitral Practices and EU Policies: Differences in Approach,” Dinner Speech at the LCIA European Users Symposium, February 15, 2014,  Paris, France.

  • “Applicable Law in International Arbitration,” Keynote Address, Vienna Arbitration Days, February 28, 2014, Vienna, Austria.
  • “4th Annual GAR Live London,” Co-Moderator of Symposium session at the Conference sponsored by Global Arbitration Review, May 7, 2014, London, United Kingdom.

  • “What the Client Wants in International Arbitration,”  Moderator of panel with two in-house arbitration counsel at the 8th Biennial CILS International Arbitration Symposium, May 24, 2014, Salzburg, Austria.

  • “Interim Measures in Investor-State Arbitration of Energy Disputes,” Presentation at Conference on Energy Disputes sponsored by the Danish Institute of Arbitration, September 1-2, 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark.

  • "The Future of Ethics in International Arbitration," Presentation at conference sponsored by the Institute for Regulation and Ethics, Queen Mary University, September 11, 2014, London, United Kingdom.

  • "How Has Technology Changed Arbitration?" Speaker at roundtable event sponsored by the Vienna International Arbitral Center and UNCITRAL, September 17, 2014, Vienna, Austria.

  • "The Drafters' Thinking Behind the New LCIA Rules," Speaker at Luncheon Meeting of the Houston International Arbitration Club, October 1, 2014, Houston, Texas

  • Panel Speaker, "UNCITRAL Transparency Rules and Investor-State Arbitration," Annual Conference of the New York State Bar International Section, October 16, 2014, Vienna, Austria.

  • Panel Speaker, "The Practice of Joinder Under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules," Annual Conference of the New York State Bar International Section, October 16, 2014, Vienna, Austria.

  • "The Drafters' Thinking Behind the New LCIA Rules," Speaker at seminar sponsored by Lalive and the London Court of International Arbitration, October 29, 2014, Geneva, Switzerland.

  • Speaker, "The Drafters' Thinking Behind the New LCIA Rules," Seminar sponsored by Hogan Lovells and the London Court of International Arbitration, November 6, 2014, Paris France.

  • Speaker, "UNCITRAL Transparency Rules and the Trans-Atlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP)," Public Seminar Sponsored by Sciences Po Law School Human Rights Clinic and White & Case, November 12, 2014, Paris, France.

  • Speaker, "The United States' Proposal for a UN Treaty on Enforcement of Mediated Settlement Agreements," Asia-Pacific International Mediation Summit, jointly sponsored by the Association of Indian Mediators, the CPR Institute, the American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section and others, February 12-15, 2015, New Delhi, India.

  • Speaker, "The Impact and Likely Benefits of the New UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency," Conference sponsored by the Government of Mauritius at the signing ceremony for the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration, March 17, 2015, Port Louis, Mauritius.

  • Roundtable Participant, "La formation ou non d’un précédent arbitral autour de l’aff­aire Salini" (“Whether the Salini Case Has Become a Precedent in International Arbitration”),  Annual Colloquium of the French Society for International Law (SFDI), May 28-30, 2015, Strasbourg, France.

  • Presentation on “Les Travaux de la CNUDCI sur la transparence des litiges entre investisseurs et Etats” (“UNCITRAL’s Work on Transparency in Investor-State Arbitration”), Seminar sponsored by the International Arbitration Commission of the Paris Bar, June 8, 2015, Paris, France.

  • Presentation on “Elements for the success of a new Istanbul Arbitration Centre – What the Experience of Other Institutions Tells Us,” Global Arbitration Review Live Conference, June 25, 2015, Istanbul, Turkey.

  • “Towards More Effective Fact-Finding in International Arbitration and Litigation: Expert Testimonial Evidence,” Speech at the Annual Conference of the International Bar Association, October 7, 2015, Vienna, Austria.

  • “TTIP – ISDS: International Arbitration and the Settlement of Investment Disputes at the Crossroads,” Presentation at the Annual Colloquium of Paris Place d’Arbitrage, October 14, 2015, Paris, France.

  • Panel Speaker, “Human Rights and Environmental Disputes,” Conference on Dispute Resolution in the International Oil and Gas Business, sponsored by the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) and the LCIA, October 22, 2015, London, England.

  • “Practical Barriers to Enforcement of Arbitral Awards,” Panel Speaker at the Asia-Pacific Judicial Summit, sponsored by the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) and UNCITRAL, October 28, 2015, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China.

  • Panel Moderator and Speaker, “The LCIA Arbitration Rules, Ethical Issues and Counsel Conduct,” LCIA Arbitration Symposium, November 5, 2015, Moscow, Russian Federation.

  • Moderator of Panel on “Balancing The Political And Arbitral Developments In Regard To Iran, Iraq, Russia, Libya, and Syria, and Investor-State Dispute Resolution Issues With Failed Or Failing States,” 3rd Annual ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration, January 14-15, 2016, Houston, Texas.

  • Panel Speaker, “Issues Pertaining to International Enforcement of Settlement Agreements,” 2nd Annual Joint Arbitration Conference of the Ljubljana Arbitration Centre and UNCITRAL, March 15, 2016, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

  • Panel Speaker, “UNCITRAL Treaty Drafting Initiative: Cross-Border Enforcement of Mediated Settlement Agreements,” at the ABA Dispute Resolution Section Annual Conference, April 8, 2016, New York City.

  • Panel Speaker, “Possibilities for Joinder in International Arbitration,” CILS International Arbitration Symposium, June 2-5, 2016, Salzburg, Austria.

  • Keynote Address, “Interim Measures in International Arbitration: The Slow Evolution of Quick Arbitral Relief,” 28th Annual Workshop of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration, June 16, 2016, Dallas, Texas.

  • Panel Speaker, “Efficiency and Effectiveness in International Arbitration,” Seminar Sponsored by the London Court of International Arbitration and LALIVE law firm, June 27, 2016, Geneva, Switzerland.

  •  Panel Speaker, “Delay Claims in Construction Arbitration: Recent Developments,” Conference on Construction Arbitration Sponsored by the Italian Arbitration Association, July 5, 2016, Rome, Italy.

Recent Publications on International Arbitration

  • "UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules Commentary" (Chapter 16), in Practitioner's Handbook To International Commercial Arbitration (Oxford 2009).

  • “‘Manifest Disregard of the Law,’ ‘Minimum Contacts,’ and Forum Non Conveniens: Recent Developments in Judicially-Created Doctrines that May Defeat Enforcement of Arbitral Awards in the U.S." (co-authored with B. Love), 2010(3) Paris Arbitration Journal / Les Cahiers de l'Arbitrage 653-696.

  • “Unveiling the 2010 UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules,” 65 Dispute Resolution Journal 21 (2010).

  • Plus Ça Change, Plus C'est la Même Chose: Eight Revisions Not Adopted in the 2010 UNCITRAL Rules,” 28(4) ASA Bulletin 855.

  • “UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules (2010)," chapter in vol. 4 of World Arbitration Reporter (Juris 2010)

  • “Maximizing Possibilities for Joinder in International Arbitration,” in A. Rovine, ed. Contemporary Issues In International Arbitration And Mediation (The  Fordham Papers 2011) 104 (2012) (co-authored with R. Digon).

  • “Generalizing About the Virtues of Specificity” in 6 World Arbitration & Mediation Review 7 (2012).

  • “Interim Measures Under UNCITRAL’s Model Law,” 7 World Arbitration & Mediation Review 119 (2013).

  • “UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules (2010) and UNCITRAL Rules on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (2013)," chapter in vol. 4 of World Arbitration Reporter (Juris rev. ed. 2014)

  • “UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules,” chapter in L. Mistelis (ed.), Concise International Arbitration (2nd ed Kluwer 2015).

  • “Innovation in Arbitration: Seizing the Opportunity for Transparency,” Newsletter of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration, April 2016.
French (proficient)
German (basic)

Law Clerk, William J. Brennan, Jr., Supreme Court of the United States
Law Clerk, Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court of the United States
Law Clerk, Abner J. Mikva, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
Law Clerk, Howard Holtzmann, Iran-United States Claims Tribunal

J.D., Order of the Coif, University of California-Berkeley
M.A., University of California-Berkeley
B.A., Yale University

District of Columbia
New York