IAIN SANDFORD helps commercial stakeholders and states develop and deploy winning strategies for resolving complex, international challenges. Iain has a particular depth of experience in resolving international economic disputes, and is familiar with a wide range of negotiation and dispute settlement techniques and forums.
Iain’s understanding of the international problem-solving toolbox is bolstered by experience as a panelist in WTO dispute settlements and in commercial mediation (both as counsel and mediator). He is listed on the WTO’s Indicative List of dispute settlement panelists, and the EU’s List of Candidates Suitable for Appointment as Chairpersons for Arbitrations under EU trade agreements.
In his 25-year career, Iain has lived and worked in New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and Switzerland. He has a strong, practical knowledge of public international law and, as a public servant in New Zealand, was counsel to teams negotiating bilateral investment treaties, as well as negotiating and implementing a broader range of intergovernmental agreements and arrangements. He has undertaken law reform and related consulting projects for intergovernmental organizations, including the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Secretariat, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Immediately before joining Sidley, Iain led the international trade practice of a large Australian law firm. Iain successfully represented clients in safeguard, anti-dumping, and countervailing duty proceedings in Australia. Iain also counselled clients (notably universities and cultural institutions) on their international engagements. In particular, he advised institutions on economic sanctions and export control, as well as private international law, including with respect to artwork looted during the Nazi period in Europe.
Iain features prominently in the international trade and WTO rankings of the leading bar publications. Among other distinctions, Iain was awarded “Lawyer of the Year” by The Best Lawyers in Switzerland 2022 in the Trade Law category. He is recognized in the 2022 edition of Chambers Europe and Chambers Global for International Trade/WTO, where a source notes: “He is one of the most brilliant people I know.” Iain is also ranked as a “Thought Leader for Trade and Customs (Switzerland)” by Who’s Who Legal 2022.