News & Insights  |  Press Releases

Related Professionals

Practice Areas


Patricia O'Connell
Senior Communications Manager

WRF Assists Dutch Farmers Register Legal Action Against the Government of Zimbabwe

April 26, 2005

Washington, DC—Fifteen Dutch commercial farmers whose property was taken through expropriation or unlawful acts by the Government of Zimbabwe have been notified that their request for arbitration against Zimbabwe was registered on April 15, 2005, by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a World Bank dispute resolution forum.

The claims (valued in excess of US $15,000,000) have been brought pursuant to the bilateral investment treaty (the BIT) between the Netherlands and Zimbabwe.  Under the BIT, the government promises to pay compensation to Dutch nationals in the event that their property is expropriated, and submit to arbitration at ICSID in the event of a dispute arising out of an investment in Zimbabwe.  ICSID awards are enforceable in the 140 states that have ratified the Washington Convention on the enforcement of arbitral awards as if they were judgments of the courts of those states.

The Dutch claimants are represented by Wiley Rein & Fielding, Washington, DC (partner Charles Owen Verrill, Jr.) Bishop & Sewell, London (partner Matthew Coleman) and Coghlan Welsh & Guest, Harare (partner Boyd Carr).

Wiley Rein & Fielding is a national law firm with offices in Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia.  The firm’s more than 250 attorneys practice in over two-dozen specialties of law, counseling leaders in numerous industries nationwide, advising businesses from over 50 countries and practicing in federal and state courts across the United States.

Bishop & Sewell is a London law firm specializing in banking, property and dispute resolution.  The firm has a number of associated offices in Africa from which a significant portion of its work arises.

Coghlan Welsh & Guest is a full service law firm based in Harare, Zimbabwe.