Thomas W. Wälde

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Thomas W. Wälde (9 January 1949 – 11 October 2008), former United Nations (UN) Inter-regional Adviser on Petroleum and Mineral Legislation, was Professor & Jean-Monnet Chair at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP), Dundee.

United Nations Intergovernmental organization

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization tasked with maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations, achieving international co-operation, and being a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. It was established after World War II, with the aim of preventing future wars, and succeeded the ineffective League of Nations. Its headquarters, which are subject to extraterritoriality, are in Manhattan, New York City, and it has other main offices in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna and The Hague. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development, and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193.

The Jean Monnet Programme, also known as the Jean Monnet Project, is a European Union initiative to encourage teaching, research and reflection in the field of European integration studies in higher education institutions. It is named for Jean Monnet (1888–1979), regarded by many as a chief architect of European Unity.

The Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP) is a graduate school at the University of Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom, focused on the fields of international business transactions, energy law and policy, mining and the use of natural resources.



Thomas Wälde died on 11 October 2008 in the south of France.

Southern France geographic region

Southern France, also known as the South of France or colloquially in French as le Midi, is a defined geographical area consisting of the regions of France that border the Atlantic Ocean south of the Marais Poitevin, Spain, the Mediterranean Sea and Italy. It includes: Nouvelle-Aquitaine in the west, Occitanie in the centre, the southern parts of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in the northeast, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in the southeast, as well as the island of Corsica in the southeast. Monaco and Andorra are sometimes included in definitions of Southern France although they are principalities.

Thomas Wälde grew up in Heidelberg (Germany) and went to school at the Kurfuerst-Friedrich-Gymnasium. He was from a South-West German family; his great uncle, Reinhold Maier, was the first Ministerpraesident of Baden-Wuerttemberg; another uncle, Heinz Maier-Leibnitz, a well known German professor of nuclear physics, director of German and French nuclear physics research laboratories and President of the German National Science Foundation (DFG).

Heidelberg Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Heidelberg ( HY-dəl-burg, German: [ˈhaɪdl̩bɛʁk] is a university town in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, situated on the river Neckar in south-west Germany. In the 2016 census, its population was 159,914, of which roughly a quarter consisted of students.

Thomas Wälde lived and worked from his home/offices outside St Andrews, Scotland, Heidelberg and Bormes-Les-Mimosas. His second wife, Professor Charlotte Wälde, has served as co-director of the AHRC Centre on Intellectual Property Law at Edinburgh University. His son, from his first marriage, is reading law in Vienna and his daughter attends St Leonard's School in St Andrews.

St Andrews city in Fife, Scotland

St Andrews is a town on the east coast of Fife in Scotland, 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Dundee and 30 miles (50 km) northeast of Edinburgh. St Andrews has a recorded population of 16,800 in 2011, making it Fife's fourth largest settlement and 45th most populous settlement in Scotland.

Scotland Country in Northwest Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It covers the northern third of the island of Great Britain, with a border with England to the southeast, and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast, the Irish Sea to the south, and more than 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.


He studied law, in the traditional German way, at the Universities of Heidelberg, Lausanne-Geneva, Berlin and Frankfurt, with his law degree (Referendar) and doctorate (Juristische Folgenorientierung - a study on decision theory as an interpretative tool for international economic law) - in Frankfurt.

He did his professional legal training in Frankfurt (including as an intern at the UN Centre on Transnational Corporations in New York) and obtained his "Assessor" grade there. He also worked as Associate Officer and resident consultant with the UN/CTC in New York and UNIDO in Vienna and was fellow at the Institute for International Economic Law in Frankfurt (founded by Heinrich Kronstein who was also professor at Georgetown Law School in the US and founder of the Washington-based International Law Institute).

Frankfurt Place in Hesse, Germany

Frankfurt is a metropolis and the largest city of the German federal state of Hesse, and its 746,878 (2017) inhabitants make it the fifth-largest city of Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Cologne. On the River Main, it forms a continuous conurbation with the neighbouring city of Offenbach am Main, and its urban area has a population of 2.3 million. The city is at the centre of the larger Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region, which has a population of 5.5 million and is Germany's second-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr Region. Since the enlargement of the European Union in 2013, the geographic centre of the EU is about 40 km (25 mi) to the east of Frankfurt's central business district. Like France and Franconia, the city is named after the Franks. Frankfurt is the largest city in the Rhine Franconian dialect area.

International Law Institute institute in Washington, DC

The International Law Institute, also known as the ILI, was founded as part of Georgetown University in 1955. The ILI provides training and technical assistance for the legal, economic and financial problems of developing countries and emerging economies. Since 1983, the ILI has been an independent, non-profit educational institution serving government officials, legal and business professionals and scholars from its headquarters in Washington, D.C. To date, the ILI and its global affiliates have trained over 31,000 officials, managers, and practitioners- from 186 countries- since it held its first seminar in 1971.

Wälde was at Harvard Law School (1972–74) as LL.M. and subsequent visiting scholar. His Harvard LL.M. dissertation - on comparative company law - was published in 1974. Detlev Vagts was his academic mentor and teacher at Harvard Law School; he also worked as research assistant for the late Professor and ICJ Judge Richard Baxter. In 1978, he obtained the now prestigious price by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for a publication on transnational investment agreements (published in Rabelz Zeitschrift) which was, a decade later, named after Heinz Maier-Leibnitz, at one time the President of DFG.

Harvard Law School law school in Cambridge

Harvard Law School is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1817, it is the oldest continuously operating law school in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. It is ranked first in the world by the QS World University Rankings and the ARWU Shanghai Ranking.

ICJ president Roslyn Higgins had served as an academic mentor for Thomas Wälde since he moved from the United Nations in New York to the University of Dundee, Scotland in 1991.


Wälde started in 1980 as UN interregional adviser on mineral law - with the remit to provide rapid ad-hoc advisory services to developing country governments throughout the world. He later became responsible for energy/petroleum and international investment policy as well. At the UN, he advised over 60 governments on legislative reform and contract negotiations with international investors mainly. He was also, from 1981–1983, UN investigator on occupation practices in Palestinian territories and responsible for the Secretary General's reports on "Permanent Sovereignty over Natural resources" and the Permanent Sovereignty in Occupied Palestinian territories reports. Wälde set up numerous investment advisory projects - combining legal, financial and technical expertise - to support investment project negotiations; organised training seminars and international UN conferences in the field of mining and oil and gas. He initiated the UN project for environmental guidelines in mining and was chair of the drafting group that produced the first version of the "Berlin Guidelines" in 1990.

At Dundee, Wälde, as Professor and Executive Director, developed the Centre for Petroleum and Mineral Law into the world's largest graduate school in its field - with four students in 1991 growing to well over 140 LL.M., MBA, MSC, MBA and PHD students in 2002/2003 (when he gave up the directorship). Student numbers went up, from 1991 to 2002, by a factor of about 40 and fees were raised by a factor of 4. The centre obtained as a recognition for its spectacular growth the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise in 2004.

Following his directorship of CEPMLP/Dundee, Wälde developed academic and professional expertise in international dispute resolution, both mediation and arbitration for large, complex, cross-border transnational disputes, primarily (but not exclusively) in the field of oil, gas, energy, infrastructure and mining (but also gaming and private equity) based on contract and investment treaties. He set up OGEMID, the mainly international electronic discussion and intelligence forum which is by now a "must" for anybody seriously engaged in international investment disputes, but also in complex commercial disputes in the energy and resources field. He acted as co-arbitrator in the NAFTA Chapter XI arbitration Thunderbird v Mexico; as co-arbitrator in the BIT-based arbitration of K+ v Czech Republic; and, in 2008, as co-arbitrator in a CAFTA dispute. He has also been appointed to international disputes in the field of mining and energy (electricity). He frequently acts as expert witness and (expert) co-counsel in international arbitrations relating to oil, gas, energy, mining and infrastructure, including Glamis v US, Duke v Peru, Nykomb v Latvia plus commercial, BIT, ECT and NAFTA-based arbitrations under UNCITRAL, ICSID, NAFTA and CAFTA procedural rules. He has also mediated commercial disputes between international oil companies and the SwePol dispute concerning an electricity interconnector between Poland and Sweden.

He was a frequent expert, but also counsel, mediator and arbitrator in international energy and investment disputes (International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Energy Charter Treaty, Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) and commercial contract disputes). Special member of AIPN, member of several int'l arbitral institutions, Rechtsanwalt (Frankfurt) & barrister (Lincoln's Inn - Essex Court Chambers, London). Adviser to the international institutions in the oil and gas field (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, International Energy Agency (IEA), UN, APEC, European Union, World Bank). Identified as leading international energy lawyer in a Euromoney survey, leading international lawyer in a Cambridge-sponsored Who's Who in International law and one of three international arbitrators resident in Scotland. Formerly (up to 1990) Interregional Adviser on Mineral and Petroleum law and International Investment Policy, United Nations, New York; staff and consultant for UN Centre on Transnational Corporations and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (1976–1980); Reporter for International Law Association Foreign Investment Law Committee (damages and tax-related investment disputes). Frequent speaker and author on international investment law, natural resources, mineral, energy and oil and gas law, including renegotiation, taxation, indirect expropriation, de-commissioning (abandonment) of offshore operations; state enterprise privatisation, investment treaties, environmental regulation; arbitration; Energy Charter Treaty.

Thomas Wälde was a prolific writer and speaker, and spoke at conferences around the world. He served as visiting professor at Panthéon-Assas University and American University. He is fellow of the investment programme at the British Institute of International & Comparative Law, at Columbia University's Law School and other EU-law focused institutions. He obtained a Jean-Monnet Chair in an EU-wide competition from the EU Commission in 1995 - on EU Energy and Economic Law. He was a "Special Member" of the Association of Int'l Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN), panel of energy/resources arbitrators of the Permanent court of Int'l Arbitration; Member of the Institut pour l'Arbitrage International; member of the IBA, LCIA, DIS; ICDR, ILA; ASIL, ITA (Academic Council). He was named in several professional guides as a leading international energy lawyers and one of three international arbitrators in Scotland. He was formerly the Chair, Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy Trust; Director of the 2004 Hague Academy for Int'l Law Research Seminar on Int'l Investment Law. He was on the IUCN Energy Working Group and the World Energy Council's Task force on Energy Investment & Trade.

He could write and speak in English, German, French and Spanish, with some knowledge of Italian, Russian and Arabic. He worked in all corners of the world. He developed and led negotiation assistance inter alia in several investment projects related to coal (Colombia), gold (Mali), Guyana (uranium), Dominican Republic (nickel, oil), Cayman Islands (oil) – all led to completed transaction.


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