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Acuner, Melis
Direct Tel: +44 207 653 2003
Tel: +44 20 7653 2000 Fax: +44 20 7653 2100

Melis Acuner is a Partner in Quinn Emanuel’s London office, where she specialises in international arbitration and litigation with a focus on complex cross-border disputes. Melis has successfully represented clients in numerous cases conducted under the auspices of all the major arbitral institutions and before ad-hoc tribunals - including corporations and national governments across a broad spectrum of industry sectors, such as energy, telecommunications, media, construction, banking and finance, insurance and pharmaceuticals. 

Recent arbitrations have included shareholder disputes, complex oil and gas contracts, media broadcasting rights, petroleum industry joint ventures, telecoms investment disputes, gas sales agreements, and gas pricing and repricing formulae. Her representative cases often involve a mix of national laws and investment treaty systems, making them legally and factually complex, especially in challenging jurisdictions.

Melis has received recognition and accolades from multiple organisations for her exceptional work in arbitration, including being named a Future Leader in arbitration by Who’s Who Legal since 2016, quoting peers and clients who state she “"is a great lawyer and very well regarded for international arbitration", "She is hardworking, diligent and creative" and "She always puts the client first and is known to develop solid and constructive relationships with her clients". Chambers Global has ranked Melis for international arbitration since 2022, recognising Melis as a prominent and notable practitioner, noting that “Melis is excellent - she's able to handle the most demanding clients". Furthermore, her practice was also recognised by The Legal 500 for its expertise in international arbitration and she has been featured in their “International Arbitration Powerlist UK” since 2019.

As well as being one of Turkey's representatives to the ICC Commission, Melis is a regular conference speaker on topics relevant to international arbitration and in relation to legal developments in the energy sector, in particular.

Melis practices bilingually in English and French, speaks fluent Turkish, and is proficient in Spanish. She is dually qualified to practise in England and Wales, and France, and is a graduate of the Universities of Pantheon-Assas Paris II and the London School of Economics.

  • A Middle Eastern oil and gas company in multibillion dollar LCIA arbitrations;
  • United Capital Partners Group on parallel arbitration and multijurisdictional litigation proceedings relating to interests in VKontakte, Russia’s largest social online networking service. The matter was settled in September 2014 following the US$1.47 billion sale of a stake in VK.Com Limited to Mail.Ru Group Limited;
  • A Eastern European company in connection with a dispute in excess of €1 billion arising out of its shareholding in a telecoms company in the Middle East; - an international investment bank in connection with the subprime crisis involving highvalue multijurisdictional proceedings in the U.S. and U.K.;
  • A European investment bank in relation to claims for portfolio losses arising out of an investment management agreement with a Cyprus entity;
  • An Eastern European company in connection with a multibillion dispute under the Energy Charter Treaty;
  • An international hedge fund in connection with a dispute arising out of an investment management agreement subject to LCIA arbitration with a seat in London;
  • A Spanish and Dutch company faced with the nationalization of its Venezuelan subsidiary subject to arbitration under the ICSID rules; and
  • A telecommunications company in connection with a dispute subject to ICC arbitration with the seat in Geneva.
  • Paris Bar School
    • (2003)
  • Pantheon-Assas, Paris II
    • (D.E.A. (postgraduate diploma) in Public International Law, 2002)
  • Robert Schuman University and London School of Economics
    • (Masters in Commercial and European Law, 2001)
  • England & Wales
  • Paris
  • French
  • Turkish
  • Spanish
  • Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP:
    • Partner, 2018- 2023
  • Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates
    • European Counsel, 2014-2018
    • Associate, 2008 - 2014
  • White & Case LLP:
    • Associate, 2004 - 2008
  • Named in Lawdragon 500 Leading Global Litigators guide for International Litigation & Investigations , 2023
  • “Pandemic-Era Practical Considerations When Invoking and Interpreting Material Adverse Effect and Chance Clauses”, The Journal of PLI Press, Vol. 5 2021
  • “Corporate Disputes: The Basics of ICSID Arbitral Proceedings – What In-House Counsel Should Know,” Financier Worldwide, July/ September 2013
  • “Istanbul as a Centre for International Dispute Resolution,” Corporate Disputes Magazine, April 2013 “Trends in Commercial and Financial Disputes,” Financier Worldwide, January 2013