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." Dr. Cheng has been recognized in Chambers Global for international arbitration and 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
  • Churchill Mining Plc
  • EDP Brazil
  • Government of Singapore Investment Corporation
  • Mubadala Investment Authority
  • Pontiac Land
  • Republic of Poland
  • Republic of South Sudan
  • Temasek Holdings

  Notable Representations

  • Lead counsel to a sovereign wealth fund in a $5bn. dispute involving commercial mortgage backed securities, achieving a swift and favorable business solution.
  • Lead counsel to a power company in the worldwide enforcement of a $600mn. judgment concerning a hydroelectric project in Albania, involving legal actions in multiple countries.
  • Lead counsel for Singaporean and Australian publicly-listed companies against an Asian country in $100mn. ICSID bilateral investment treaty arbitrations concerning a mining project.
  • Lead counsel for an Asian real estate company against Whitehall and Hines in a $1.4bn. arbitration  dispute in the United States, achieving a favorable settlement.
  • Lead counsel for a sovereign wealth fund in a gas arbitration dispute of national importance to an Asian country.
  • Lead counsel for 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 before litigation.
  • Lead counsel in a JAMS international arbitration on behalf of a foreign asset management company against a financial institution, winning full damages and 90% of fees and costs.
  • Lead counsel for 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.
  • Lead counsel for a Brazilian power company in a $100mn. arbitration dispute  against Siemens concerning defective power plant turbines.
  • Lead counsel to the Republic of Poland 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.
  • Counsel for Churchill Mining and Planet Mining in an ongoing  $1bn. ICSID bilateral investment treaty arbitrations against Indonesia concerning a mining concession, defeating jurisdictional objections by Indonesia.
  • Counsel for a Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund against a U.S. major financial institution in a $7.5bn. dispute concerning the fund's "bailout" of the financial institution in an ICDR arbitration, and in related court proceedings.
  • Counsel for Spentex against Uzbekistan in an ICSID bilateral investment treaty arbitration concerning the expropriation of cotton mills.
  • Counsel for a Korean insurance company in a $60mn. LCIA arbitration against a U.S. major financial institution in a dispute concerning subprime investment, achieving a favorable settlement before the hearing.
  • Counsel in a $400mn. bilateral investment treaty UNCITRAL arbitration between a mining company and an Eastern European state.
  • Counsel in a $150mn. ICC arbitration concerning a project agreement between a U.S. corporation and an African state.
  • Consultant to a Balkan state on matters of state succession.
  • Consultant to an Africa state on succession, oil concessions and expropriation.
  • Counsel in an eight-week federal white collar trial and a subsequent appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
  • Counsel for a Taiwanese banker facing white collar crime charges in U.S. federal court relating to a $1.7bn. accounting fraud in Japan. 


  • 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-arbitrators 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 in international law in an investor-state ICSID arbitration.
  • Testifying expert and consultant in international law in a $500 mn. SCC investor-state arbitration.
  • Testifying expert in arbitration in a $4 bn. bankruptcy proceeding in Canada.
  • 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. dispute between a hedge fund and sovereign state.
  • Consultant to a Balkan state on matters of state succession.
  • Consultant to an Africa state on succession, oil concessions and expropriation.

  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

  • Books
    • INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION IN THE UNITED STATES (Kluwer Law International, forthcoming, 2014) (co-editor).
    • Reviewed in 107 Am. J. Int'l L. 265 (2013); 125 Harv. L. Rev. 1184 (2012); 61 I.C.L.Q. 785 (2012).
    • Cited as authoritative in Mortimer Offshore Servs. Ltd. v. Fed. Rep. Germany, 05 Civ. 10699 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 9, 2008), slip op. at 2, aff’d, 615 F.3d 97 (2010), cert. denied, 131 S.Ct. 1502 (2011).
  • Law Review Articles
    • State Incapacity and Sovereign Immunity in International Arbitration, SINGAPORE ACADEMY OF LAW JOURNAL, SPECIAL ISSUE ON ARBITRATION, (forthcoming, 2014) (with I. Entchev).
    • Finality & Justice in ICSID Annulments, 31 BERKELEY J. INT’L L. 263 (2013).
    • Making International Law Without Agreeing What It Is, 10 WASH. U. GLOBAL STUDIES L. REV. 1 (2011).
    • Why New States Accept Old Obligations, 2011 U. ILL. L. REV. 1 (2011).
    • Shaping an Obama Doctrine of Preemptive Force, 82 TEMPLE L. REV. 737 (2010) (with E. Valaitis, Statistics Professor, American University).
    • Reasons, Reasoning and Reasonableness, 32 SUFFOLK TRANSNATIONAL L. REV. 409 (2009) (with R. Trisotto, NYLS J.D., 2009).
    • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at Sixty: Is it Still Right for the United States?, 41 CORNELL J. INT’L L. 251 (2008).
    • Renegotiating the Odious Debt Doctrine, 70 L. & CONTEMP. PROBS. 7 (2007).
    • Cited as authoritative in Mortimer Offshore Servs., Ltd. v. Fed. Rep. Germany, 08-1783-cv, 615 F.3d 110, n. 12 (2d Cir. 2010), cert. denied, 131 S.Ct. 1502 (2011); Iraq v. Beaty & Simon, 07-1090, Resp. Br. at 54 (U.S. Supreme Court, Mar. 18, 2009).
    • Precedent and Control in Investment Treaty Arbitration, 30 FORD. J. INT’L L. 1014 (2007), republished 5:3 TRANSNAT’L DISPUTE MGMT. (May, 2008).
    • Power, Norms and International Intellectual Property Law, 28 MICH. J. INT’L L. 109 (2006).
    • Power, Authority and International Investment Law, 20 AM. U. INT’L L. REV. 465 (2005).
    • The Central Case Approach to Human Rights, 13 PAC. RIM L. & POL’Y 257 (2004).
  • Book Chapters, Essays & Other Publications
    • Testing Urbaser’s Approach To The Availability of Local Remedies, 15 Journal of World Investment & Trade 285 (2014) (with R. Trisotto).
    • Getting the Deal Through (United States Chapter) – Investment Treaty Arbitration 2014, Law Business Research Ltd., (November, 2013) (with D. Orta and J. Peck).  Reproduced with permission from Law Business Research Ltd. This article was first published in Getting the Deal Through: Investment Treaty Arbitration 2015, (published in November 2014; contributing editor: Stephen Jagusch and Epaminontas Triantafilou, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP). For further information please visit
    • Recovery of Fees and Costs, in INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION IN THE UNITED STATES (Kluwer Law International, forthcoming, 2014) (with R. Rana).
    • A Workaround The Most Favored Nation Clause Dispute, 29 ICSID REVIEW, (forthcoming, 2014) (with R. Trisotto).
    • Should Syria Honor Assad-Era Debt. 8 Yale J. Int'l Affairs 126 (2013) (with L. Bento).
    • Understanding the Unique Features of International Arbitration, Winter 2013 QUINN EMANUEL ARBITRATION TRENDS, 1 (with L. Bento).
    • Practical Measures to Control Annulments in Investor-State Arbitration Awards, 248 N.Y.L.J. S8 (November, 26, 2012) (with L. Bento).
    • Book Review: ‘Armed Attack’ and Article 51 of the UN Charter: Evolutions in Customary Law and Practice, Extraterritorial Use of Force Against Non-state Actors., 106 AM. J. INT’L L. 710 (2012).
    • Book Review: Informal International Lawmaking: Legality and Normativity, Opinio Juris blog (October, 2012).
    • 106 AM. SOC’Y INT’L L. PROC. (T. Cheng et al eds., 2012).
    • Various Essays, Roundtable Discussion of When International Law Works, Opinio Juris blog (March, 2012).
    • Various Essays, ASIL Cables (March 2012).
    • International Arbitration, in JUDICIAL BENCHBOOK ON INTERNATIONAL LAW (D. Amann ed., ASIL, forthcoming 2012).
    • Positivism, New Haven Jurisprudence and the Fragmentation of International Law, in NEW DIRECTIONS IN INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC LAW 411 (T. Weiler ed., 2011).
    • Developing Narratives in Investment Treaty Arbitration, 9 SANTA CLARA J. INT’L L. 215 (2011).
    • Reconsidering ICSID Awards, Kluwer Arbitration Blog (May 11, 2011).
    • Law on Loan: Legal Reconstruction after Armed Conflict, in CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY IN ZONES OF CONFLICT (N. Turner ed., 2010/2011).
    • International Mediation, Arbitration, and Innovation, 5 CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION 434 (A. Rovine ed. 2010).
    • State Succession and Commercial Obligations: Reflections on Kosovo, in LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: ESSAYS IN HONOR OF W. MICHAEL REISMAN 675 (M. Arsanjani et al. eds. 2010).
    • Remarks, "Consent and the Jurisdiction of Investment Arbitrations", in INVESTMENT TREATY ARBITRATION AND INTERNATIONAL LAW 85 (I. Laird & T. Weiler eds., 2010).
    • Reflections on Culture Med-Arb, 4 CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION 421 (A. Rovine ed. 2010).
    • Is Investment Treaty Arbitration Undertheorized?, Kluwerarbitrationblog (Apr. 16, 2010).
    • A Renaissance Career in International Law, in ASIL, in CAREERS IN INTERNATIONAL LAW 7 (2009-2010 ed.).
    • The Idea of Law, 103 PROC. AM. SOC’Y INT’L L. 113 (2009).
    • New Tools for an Old Quest, 3 WORLD 3 MED. & ARB. REV. 121 (2009).
    • Some Limits in Applying Chinese Med-Arb Internationally, 2 NYBSA N.Y. DISPUTE RESOLUTION LAW. 95 (2009) (with A. Kohtio, NYLS J.D. 2009).
    • A Policy and Empirical Appraisal of U.S. Preemptive Self-Defense, 102 AM. SOC’Y INT’L L. PROC. 430 (2009).
    • What’s Reasonable Depends on Who’s Asking, 8 BALTIC Y.B. INT’L L. 382 (2008).
    • Commentary on “Who is Sovereign in Sovereign Debt?,” Opinio Juris blog (June 10, 2008).
    • The Succession of Kosovo and Minimum Public Order, Opinio Juris blog (Feb. 21, 2008).
    • Precedent and Control in Investment Treaty Arbitration, in INVESTMENT TREATY LAW: CURRENT ISSUES III (A. Bjorklund et al. eds., BIICL, 2009), revising 30 FORD. J INT’L L. 1014 (2007).
    • Reframing Iran: A View from the Field (2007) (with P. Huntington and G. Billard).
    • LAW MANUAL FOR FRONTLINE POLICING (Singapore Police Force, 2002).
    • HIV Surveillance: Individual Rights Versus the Common Good, 1 YALE J. HUM. RTS. 17 (2001).

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.
  • Learned Societies and Professional Associations
    • College of Commercial Arbitrators
      • Fellow: 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 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.