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GAR 100 - 10th Edition

Peter & Partners

06 March 2017

The Swiss boutique achieved another win for Iran

People in Who’s Who Legal 2
Pending cases as counsel 9
Value of pending counsel work US$7 billion
Treaty cases 0
Current arbitrator appointments 28 (of which 14 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 2

This Geneva boutique was launched in 2015 by a breakaway team of five from GAR 100 firm Python & Peter. The most prominent of the five is Wolfgang Peter, who had been with Python for 34 years and played a key role in developing its reputation as one of the leading firms in Switzerland’s arbitration market.

A former chief executive of a Swiss watchmaker, Peter has a background in M&A law and was counsel in a seminal ICC case in the late 1990s concerning the break-up of Arthur Andersen. These days he’s a leading arbitrator (he chaired the LCIA panel that issued a €1.9 billion award in Elektrim v Vivendi) and has carved a niche for himself as a specialist in gas pricing disputes.

The other co-founders are Christoph Brunner and Julia Xoudis, who joined as partners; London-trained barrister Daniel Greineder, who was recently promoted to the partnership; and senior associate Konstantin Christie. Brunner is a professor at the University of Berne, where he has taught for more than a decade, while Xoudis teaches at the University of Geneva.

The new boutique is focused on international arbitration, with particular emphasis on energy, joint venture and post-M&A disputes, as well as arbitration-related work in the Swiss courts.

Like most Swiss firms, Peter & Partners doesn’t advertise its clients but it’s known to be advising the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Engie and Turkish construction group Dogus.

The work for NIOC (brought over from Python) is believed to include a highly sensitive multibillion-dollar dispute with the Israeli government over an abandoned oil pipeline joint venture that has spawned at least three arbitrations and various French and Swiss court actions over more than two decades.

As part of that dispute, the team (while still at Python) helped NIOC secure a US$1.1 billion award in 2015 against an Israeli state-owned entity in compensation for oil shipments pre-dating the Iranian revolution of 1979. Peter & Partners has since helped NIOC fend off a challenge to the award in the Swiss courts.

The firm has also been acting for a major European energy conglomerate in several gas-price reviews worth more than €1 billion.

Meanwhile Wolfgang Peter continues to be in high demand as an arbitrator. In 2016, he was part of an ICC tribunal that awarded around €600 million to Russian state entity Atomstroyexport in a politically sensitive dispute with Bulgaria’s national electricity company over a nuclear power plant.