Cheng, Tai-Heng

Tai-Heng Cheng



Tai-Heng Cheng, a specialist in international disputes, has wide experience representing corporations and sovereign states in international commercial arbitration, investor-state arbitration, state to state disputes, and U.S. court litigation.

He has served as lead counsel, tribunal chair, co-arbitrator, and testifying expert in disputes in almost every continent and under the rules of virtually every major arbitral institution. He is a member of the panels of neutrals of the AAA, ICDR, CPR, SIAC, HKIAC, KLRCA and SCIA. Additionally, Dr. Cheng has counseled sovereign states on public international law matters, including state succession, treaty interpretation, sovereign immunity, and expropriation. He has also represented clients in international parallel proceedings, as well as in U.S. federal and state court trials and appeals.

The chair of a tribunal before which Dr. Cheng appeared as lead counsel, winning full damages and 90% of fees and costs, described Dr. Cheng "as one of the most outstanding advocates" that he had met in over three decades as a U.S. judge and arbitrator.  A Stockholm Chamber of Commerce arbitration tribunal described Dr. Cheng's presentation at the hearing as "a remarkably eloquent and intelligent address . . . with which the arbitrators of course full-heartedly agree in all respects." In affirming an award rendered by Dr. Cheng, a U.S. court has complemented the award as “thorough and well-reasoned.” Dr. Cheng has been recognized in Chambers Global and Chambers USA for international arbitration, as well as in Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading Experts in Commercial Arbitration. He is a fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators.

Prior to joining the firm, Dr. Cheng was a tenured professor of international law in the United States. He is the author of two books and dozens of articles on international law and international arbitration, which the U.S. Federal Circuit and District Courts have cited and relied on as authoritative.

Dr. Cheng is bilingual in English and Mandarin.


  Representative Clients

  • Abu Dhabi Investment Authority
  • Becchetti Energy Group
  • BPTP Ltd. (India)
  • EDP Brazil
  • Government of Singapore Investment Corporation
  • Mubadala Investment Authority
  • Pontiac Land
  • Republic of Poland
  • Republic of South Sudan

  Notable Representations


  • Represented Progas and former Iraqi Oil Minister Ali Allawi in a $600 mn. UNCITRAL arbitration against Pakistan concerning an gas investment.
  • Represented Spentex against Uzbekistan in a $500 mn. ICSID bilateral investment treaty arbitration concerning the expropriation of cotton mills.
  • Represented a London and Portugal hedgefund against Société Généralein a JAMS arbitration, winning full damages and 90% of fees and costs.
  • Represented an Asian real estate company against Whitehall (Goldman Sachs) and Hines in a $1.4bn. arbitration  dispute in the United States, achieving a favorable settlement.
  • Represented Singaporean and Australian publicly-listed companies against Indonesia in $100mn. ICSID bilateral investment treaty arbitrations concerning a mining project.
  • Represented a sovereign wealth fund in an arbitration dispute against Saipem concerning a gas project of national importance to an Asian country.
  • Represented a Brazilian power company in a $100mn. arbitration dispute against Siemens concerning defective power plant turbines, achieving a favorable settlement.
  • Represented Churchill Mining in an $1bn. ICSID bilateral investment treaty arbitration against Indonesia concerning a mining concession, defeating jurisdictional objections by Indonesia.
  • Represented sovereign wealth fund against a U.S. major financial institution concerning a $7.5bn. investment in an ICDR arbitration.
  • Represented a Korean insurance company in a $60mn. LCIA arbitration against Goldman Sachs, achieving a favorable settlement before the hearing.
  • Represented an African state against a U.S corporation in a $150mn. ICC arbitration concerning an airport.


  • Represented an NYSE-listed international company in simultaneous regulatory investigations, a class action lawsuit in California, and a lawsuit against short sellers in New York.
  • Represented Indian real estate company and Indian nationals in a petition to confirm an arbitration award and seek attachment and injunctive relief and discovery, successfully opposing attachment and injunctive relief and discovery.
  • Represented New York real estate company in a 28 USC § 1782 petition for discovery in aid of foreign proceedings, successfully defeating the petition.
  • Represented a sovereign wealth fund in a petition and appeal to compel a $1bn. arbitration, winning at both stages.
  • Represented a sovereign wealth fund in Petition and appeal to vacate an arbitration award in a $7.5 bn. dispute.
  • Represented a power company in the worldwide enforcement of a $600mn. judgment concerning a hydroelectric project in Albania, involving legal actions in multiple countries.
  • Represented a Broadway producer in a petition to vacate an arbitration award that ordered a receiver for future revenues with no time limit.
  • Represented a sovereign wealth fund in a $5bn. dispute involving commercial mortgage backed securities, achieving a swift and favorable business solution.
  • Represented an insurer in a dispute involving thousands of kidnap insurance policies worldwide, including policies covering two kidnapped aid workers in Pakistan, achieving a favorable settlement.
  • Represented a CFO in an eight-week federal white collar trial and appeal concerning a $50 mn. fraud, obtaining a sentence of 1 day time-served and no restitution.
  • Represented a Taiwanese banker facing white collar crime charges in U.S. federal court relating to a $1.7bn. accounting fraud in Japan.
  • Represented multiple sovereign wealth funds against the U.S. Department of Justice  concerning the 2008 financial crisis, achieving no action by the DOJ and no publicity
  • Represented the Republic of Poland against a gun seller supported by the National Rifle Association in a lawsuit in the Eastern District of Virginia concerning a rare World War I rifle, resulting in the repatriation of the rifle to Poland.


  • Chair of a CPR arbitration tribunal in an $8bn. dispute between defense contractors concerning military aircraft intellectual property (wrote and issued the award within 9 months from appointment and 1 month from the submission of post hearing briefs).
  • Chair of an ICDR international arbitration in a franchise dispute between European and Latin American corporations (wrote and issued the award within 1 year from appointment).
  • Chair of a $50mn. HKIAC international arbitration in a investment dispute between 24 Chinese and Hong Kong entities, in proceedings in English and Mandarin.
  • Chair of a $50mn. ICDR arbitration between a Turkish company and a Canadian company, governed by Bahamas law.
  • Sole arbitrator in an ICC arbitration between a U.S. company and an Indian company in a dispute arising from an oil well failure in Canada.
  • Sole arbitrator in a dispute between a U.S. bankruptcy estate and a Taiwanese entity.
  • Co-arbitrator in a $50mn. ICC arbitration between a Chinese company and a Canadian company in an aviation dispute.
  • Co-arbitrator in an UNCITRAL international arbitration between U.S. and Hong Kong corporations.
  • Co-arbitrator in an ICC international arbitration in an intellectual property licensing dispute between Canadian and Japanese corporations.
  • Co-arbitrator in an ICC arbitration in an aviation dispute before Chinese and U.S. companies.


  • Testifying expert on public international law in a $500 mn. SCC arbitration concerning an airport project in Russia.
  • Testifying expert on international arbitration in a $4bn. bankruptcy proceeding in Canada and the United States.
  • Testifying expert and consultant on international law and U.S. law in Singapore court proceedings to successfully oppose extradition of individuals for conspiracy to defraud the United States.
  • Amicus curiae in a U.S. Federal Court of Appeals case involving a $400 mn. state succession dispute between a hedge fund and sovereign state.

  Practice Areas

  • Construction Litigation
  • Domestic U.S. Arbitration
  • Energy Sector Disputes
  • Government Contracts Litigation
  • International Arbitration
  • Litigation Representing Plaintiffs
  • Real Estate Litigation
  • Transnational Litigation
  • White Collar & Corporate Investigations


  • Yale Law School
    (J.S.D., 2004)
    • Howard M. Holtzman Fellow for International Law, 2000-2001

  • Oxford University
    (M.A., 2004)

  • Yale Law School
    (LL.M., 2000)

  • Oxford University
    (B.A., Law, First Class Honors, 1999)
    • Oxford University Scholar, 1997-1999


The State Bar of New York; United States District Courts: Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York, Western District of New York; United States Appeals Courts: Second Circuit


  • Mandarin

  Prior Associations

  • New York Law School:
    • Professor of Law (with tenure), Co-Director, Institute for Global Law, Justice & Policy, 2006-2012

  • Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney, LLP:
    • Senior Legal Advisor, 2007-2012

  • Hebrew University, Faculty of Law:
    • Visiting Professor, 2012

  • Vanderbilt Law School:
    • Visiting Professor, 2010

  • City University of Hong Kong School of Law:
    • Visiting Professor, 2008

  • Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP:
    • Associate, 2003-2006

Publications and Lectures

Author of over 60 books and articles, including:

  • International Arbitration in the United States(Kluwer Law International, forthcoming, 2014) (co-editor).
  • When International Law Works (Oxford University Press, 2012).                       
  • State Succession and Commercial Obligations (BRILL, 2006) (cited as authoritative by US courts)
  • State Incapacity and Sovereign Immunity in International Arbitration, Singapore Academy of Law Journal, Special Issue on Arbitration (2014).                       
  • Finality & Justice in ICSID Annulments, 31 Berkeley J. Int’l L. 263 (2013).
  • Why New States Accept Old Obligations, 2011 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1 (2011).
  • Renegotiating the Odious Debt Doctrine, 70 L. & Contemp. Probs. 7 (2007) (cited as authoritative by US courts).
  • Precedent and Control in Investment Treaty Arbitration, in Investment Treaty Law: Current Issues III (BIICL, 2009), revising 30 Ford. J Int’l L. 1014 (2007), 5:3 Transnat’l Dispute Mgmt. (May, 2008).
  • Power, Authority and International Investment Law, 20 Am. U. Int’l L. Rev. 465 (2005). 
  • Testing Urbaser’s Approach To The Availability of Local Remedies, 15 Journal of World Investment & Trade 285 (2014).                         
  • Recovery of Fees and Costs, in International Arbitration in the United States(Kluwer Law International, forthcoming, 2014).                        
  • A Workaround The Most Favored Nation Clause Dispute, 29 ICSID Review, (forthcoming, 2014).
  • Should Syria Honor Assad-Era Debt. 8 Yale J. Int'l Affairs 126 (2013). 
  • International Arbitration, in Judicial Benchbook on International Law (2013).              
  • Developing Narratives in Investment Treaty Arbitration, 9 Santa Clara J. Int’l L. 215 (2011).                         
  • International Mediation, Arbitration, and Innovation, 5 Contemporary Issues in International Arbitration and Mediation 434 (2010).
  • State Succession and Commercial Obligations: Reflections on Kosovo, in Looking to the Future: Essays in Honor of W. Michael Reisman 675 (2010).
  • Reflections on Culture Med-Arb, 4 Contemporary Issues in International Arbitration and Mediation 421 (2010).”

Professional Activities

  • Arbitration Panels
    • Panel of Neutrals, Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA), 2013 – present.
    • Panel of Neutrals, Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA), 2012 – present.
    • Panel of Neutrals, American Arbitration Association (AAA), 2012-present.
    • Panel of Neutrals, Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), 2012-present.
    • Panel of Neutrals, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICDR), 2009-present.
    • Panel of Neutrals, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), 2009-present.
    • Panel of Neutrals, The International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR), 2009-present.
  • Professional Associations and Civic Engagements.
    • ICC Task Force on the Revision of the Rules of ICC as Appointing Authority in UNCITRAL or other Ad Hoc Proceedings, 2015-current.
    • College of Commercial Arbitrators
      • Fellow: 2014-present.
    • Ali Forney Center for Homeless LGBT Youth
      • Board of Directors: 2014-present.
    • American Society of International Law
      • Executive Council: 2010-2013; Chair Awards Committee: 2011; Co-chair Annual Meeting: 2011; Chair Awards Committee: 2011.
    • American Law Institute
      • Elected Member: 2009-present, Members Consultative Committee on Restatement on International Commercial Arbitration, 2009-present; Members Consultative Committee on Principles of World Trade Organization Law, 2009-present).
    • American Bar Association
      • Steering Committee, Arbitration, 2012-present.
      • International Law Section, 2009-present.
    • American Bar Foundation
      • Fellow: 2011-present.
    • Institute for Global Law, Justice, & Policy
      • Co-chair, Advisory Council
    • Institute for Transnational Arbitration
      • Executive Committee, 2011; Co-chair, Dallas Meeting, 2011, Academic Council: 2008-present.
    • Foreign Policy Association
      • Honorary Fellow:, 2007-present.
    • New York State Bar Association
      • Special Counsel, Special Committee on Legal Competency, 2005-2010.
    • New York City Bar Association
      • International Law Committee, 2003-2006; UN Committee, 2003-2006; Standing Committee on International Dispute Resolution, 2006-2009, 2013-present.
    • International Arbitration Club of New York
      • Founding Member, 2010-present.
    • New York International Arbitration Center
      • Program Committee, 2013-present.