The Canadian firm said farewell to a senior figure
|People in Who’s Who Legal||2|
|Pending cases as counsel||8|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$1.31 billion+|
|Current arbitrator appointments||7 (of which 4 are as sole or chair)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||2|
Fasken Martineau grew its name in international arbitration largely thanks to Vancouver-based Henri Alvarez QC, who can lay claim to being one of the world’s leading arbitrators. He entered the field from an unusual direction – the world of labour arbitration – and made a name for himself in some seminal enforcement matters in the Canadian courts before becoming a regular pick for panels hearing major commercial and investment treaty cases. In December 2016, he retired after 36 years with the firm to practise as an independent arbitrator.
These days, the arbitration group is chaired by partner Sarah Armstrong in Toronto. Other partners to know are Vancouver-based Geoffrey Cowper QC and Tina Cicchetti, who has been appointed by the Canadian government to a NAFTA advisory committee on private international law.
The key offices for arbitration are Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. It also has a foothold in London and Johannesburg. The firm closed its Paris office in 2016.
Who uses it?
Arbitration clients span the energy, natural resources, trade, financial services, construction and transport sectors. They include Canada’s First Quantum Minerals, Paris-based engineering company Technip and Hong Kong’s CK Life Sciences International.
Fasken Martineau has had some eye-catching results. In 2012, it helped mining company First Quantum negotiate a US$1.25 billion settlement of its ICSID and ICC claims against the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kazakhstan’s Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation agreed to pay the money in exchange for First Quantum’s interests in three projects in the DRC.
In 2006, members of the firm helped a Cypriot investor win some US$46 million in damages from Hungary in an ICSID case over the expropriation of Budapest International Airport. Fasken Martineau also helped Canadian telecoms provider Telus to go through arbitration with a commercial customer and enforcement of the award in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 2010.
The firm helped South African platinum producer Impala Refining win a US$200 million LCIA award in December 2015 in a dispute over unpaid loans. A court in Pennsylvania recognised the award in April 2016.
The firm continues to represent a group of US investors in a US$50 million claim against Costa Rica under the Central America Free Trade Agreement. In October 2016, a tribunal held it lacked jurisdiction to hear more than half the investors’ claims, which relate to beachfront properties that were expropriated to establish a national park. The claimants have since applied to a court in Washington, DC, to have that decision set aside. Canadian investment treaty specialist Todd Weiler and Miami boutique GST are co-counselling with Fasken in the arbitration.
Tina Cicchetti was appointed vice chair of the Canadian Arbitration Committee and will become the first woman to chair the committee in 2018.
Partner René Cadieux left the firm to join Blake Cassels & Graydon as counsel in Montreal. The closure of the Paris office also coincided with the departures of partners Anne Granger and Serge Gravel.
One client in Quebec says that Montreal-based partner Martin Sheehan has an efficient management style that helped it save money, describing him as an “experienced and effective lawyer” who was sensitive to the cultural differences between the Quebec company and the other parties involved in the arbitration.