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GAR 100 - 11th Edition

Szecskay Attorneys at Law

04 April 2018

Active as counsel and experts in ICSID claims against Hungary

Pending cases as counsel 10
Value of pending counsel work US$215 million
Treaty cases 2
Current arbitrator appointments
18 (of which 8 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 2

Founded in Budapest in 1992, this firm often provides local counsel or expert opinions for foreign investors bringing treaty claims against the Hungarian government. It has paired up with the likes of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Winston & Strawn and Volterra Fietta on such cases.

The five-strong international arbitration practice is led by founding partner András Szecskay, who also sits as an arbitrator at local institutions. Its members are fluent in English, French, German and Hungarian, and include counsel qualified in France, Germany, England and Wales, and the US.

Besides acting on commercial arbitrations under ICC and UNCITRAL rules and before the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, it has also been involved in cases before the European Court of Human Rights.

Who uses it?

In investor-state arbitration, it has counselled Emmis Communications and Accession Mezzanine in a dispute over radio licences; and Sodexo, a French provider of corporate voucher services.

It has also provided expert evidence at ICSID on behalf of another voucher provider, Edenred; and Vigotop, a company owned by US businessman Ronald Lauder.

In commercial arbitrations, it has acted for Hungarian pharma­ceuticals group Gedeon Richter, French logistics company Groupe Samat, Austrian banks Erste and Raiffeisen and various affiliates of Germany’s E.ON. Other clients include Plaza Centers (in a dispute with French real estate investor Klépierre); and Luxembourg entertainment network RTL Group.

Track record

Szecskay Attorneys got its first ICSID instruction in 2003 when it acted for Cypriot investor ADC in a claim relating to the cancellation of a renovation project at an airport in Budapest. The client was awarded US$76 million.

It won a US$100 million ICC award for Gedeon Rechter in a dispute over a failed M&A transaction; and helped the same client win a major award in an UNCITRAL case against another party.

For Groupe Samat, it obtained a win in a high-profile shareholder dispute heard at the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce.

The expert evidence it provided for Edenred helped the company secure a €23 million ICSID award against Hungary in 2016.

Recent events

Szecskay Attorneys continues to co-counsel with Winston & Stawn on an ICSID claim against Hungary brought on behalf of French voucher company Sodexo. Like Edenred, the case concerns Hungary’s introduction of a new state-run voucher system. The firm appeared at ICSID hearings in Washington, DC, in May 2017. An award is pending.

A new ICSID instruction came from British company Magyar Farming for a claim against Hungary related to investments in agriculture.

In the commercial arbitration arena, it won a US$20 million UNCITRAL award for a client in a Vienna-seated case; and was instructed in a shareholder dispute over control of listed company, which has spawned various court and arbitral proceedings.

The firm was involved in drafting the new Hungarian arbitration law, which entered into force in January 2018.

Insight

Reviews

Regional analysis from arbitrators around the globe, focussing on key developments in specific industry areas and jurisdictions.

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The European Arbitration Review 2020

Highlights

Overview - Limits to the Principle of ‘Full Compensation’

Matthias Cazier-Darmois

FTI Consulting