Well regarded for its energy and natural resources work
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|Pending cases as counsel||65|
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|Current arbitrator appointments||6 (of which 4 are as sole or chair)|
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Ashurst joined the GAR 100 in 2015. Based in London since the 19th century, its current incarnation springs from a 2012 merger with Blake Dawson, one of the “big six” Australian law firms. The merger brought together two well-respected litigation departments and provided Ashurst’s international arbitration practice with a mass of work arising from the Australian energy and resources boom. The wider firm is recognised for its expertise in the energy, power and construction sectors, which carries over into the disputes side.
The international arbitration practice is led by Matthew Saunders in London, former global head at DLA Piper, who joined in 2016. He took over from former co-chairs Ben Giaretta, who left the firm to join Mishcon de Reya in late 2017, and Ronnie King, who has moved from London to manage the Singapore office.
Dyfan Owen leads the firm’s UAE dispute resolution team from Dubai, and there are also two Australia heads: Georgia Quick in Sydney and Jeremy Chenoweth in Brisbane.
The key offices are London, Singapore, Sydney and Perth, but the firm has lawyers with arbitration experience across Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
In recent years, Ashurst has developed its Asian offering. Starting out with Singapore, it now has arbitration lawyers in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Jakarta and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. In total, the firm has 25 offices in 15 countries.
Who uses it?
Energy and resources clients feature prominently, among them Russian aluminium producer Rusal, Emperor Mines, First Quantum Minerals, Toshiba, Marubeni, Unión Fenosa Gas, Ineos, Tullow Oil and Total. It has also acted for BHP Billiton, E.ON and Premier Oil. The firm is especially busy in the gas sector on project and gas pricing disputes.
In the construction sector, it has acted for France’s Eiffage and Spain’s ACS in a €345 million claim relating to a new high-speed rail link between France and Spain; and for Hyundai Engineering & Construction, Daewoo and Siemens.
The firm has also acted for financial services groups Credit Suisse and ANZ, hotels group Accor, and telecoms groups Intel, Atlantic Telecom, Thuraya and Arabsat.
Government clients of note include Indonesia’s state-owned gas company Pertamina; and Kuwait’s state-owned Petrochemical Industries Company (in a multibillion-dollar dispute with Dow Chemical). It has also defended Ghana against an IT company’s UNCITRAL claim in The Hague. At his former firm, Saunders acted for Russia’s Gazprom in various SCC cases against Ukraine’s Naftogaz, worth tens of billions of dollars.
In 2014, Ashurst helped aluminium producer Rusal settle a pair of LCIA claims that were thought to comprise one of the largest Russia-related disputes ever heard in London. The claims were brought by one of Rusal’s minority shareholders, Ukrainian businessman Viktor Vekselberg’s Sual Partners, challenging the validity of supply contracts worth US$48 billion that Rusal had entered into with another shareholder, commodities trader Glencore.
The firm achieved another settlement the same year for Australia’s Intrepid Mines, which had brought a US$3 billion case against Indonesia’s Indo Multi Niaga, thought to be one of the largest SIAC cases in history. That was worth US$80 million.
Ashurst helped a Swiss multinational settle a €130 million SCC dispute relating to the implementation of a Swedish smart meter project, two days before the final award was due.
A global oil company continues to use the firm in a multibillion-dollar dispute in relation to pre-emption rights, which is being heard by an ICC tribunal in London.
Saunders is representing a subsidiary of Spain’s Unión Fenosa Gas in a Paris-seated ICC dispute relating to a liquefied natural gas project in Egypt.
The firm acts for an African mining company in a US$100 million LCIA arbitration relating to electricity tariffs in South Africa.
New York-based private equity company Corsair Capital has turned to Ashurst as it defends a claim, filed at the Madrid Court of Arbitration, over an attempted billion-dollar takeover of a Spanish motorway concession holder.
In 2017, Perth-based partner Lucas Wilk, a specialist in commercial disputes, left the firm after 15 years for Jones Day. Partner Angus Ross relocated from the Hong Kong office to Melbourne where he will maintain his focus on banks, financial intermediaries and corporate clients.
Indonesian national Prawidha Murti joined Oentoeng Suria & Partners, Ashurst’s affiliated firm in Jakarta, as a partner.