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GAR 100 - 11th Edition

Peter & Partners

04 April 2018

The boutique is home to a well-known Swiss arbitrator and known for its politically sensitive work on behalf of the National Iranian Oil Company

People in Who’s Who Legal 2
People in Future Leaders 2
Pending cases as counsel 10
Value of pending counsel work US$8.4 billion
Treaty cases 0
Current arbitrator appointments 25 (of which 13 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 2

This Geneva boutique was launched in 2016 by a breakaway team of five from Python & Peter. The most prominent of the five is Wolfgang Peter, who co-founded Python & Peter in 1982 and played a key role in developing its reputation as one of the leading firms in Switzerland’s arbitration market (prior to the team’s departure, it had consistently featured in the GAR 100 since the second edition).

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; and recently promoted partners Daniel Greineder (a London-trained barrister) and Konstantin Christie (a US-trained attorney). Brunner is an arbitration specialist and titular professor at the University of Berne, where he has taught for more than a decade, while Xoudis is an associate professor at the University of Geneva and has been an arbitration practitioner for many years.

The 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.

Who uses it?

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 Doğus. It has also represented Russian agricultural trader Advag in a case against Dow AgroSciences.

Track record

The work for NIOC 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, Peter and Xoudis (while still at Python & Peter) 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. While at his old firm, Peter, Brunner and Grieneder helped Turkish client Doğuş defend an UNCITRAL award against a Ukrainian state railway company, obtaining a landmark ruling from the Swiss Supreme Court in 2014 on the res judicata effect of foreign court decisions on Swiss-seated arbitral tribunals.

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

Recent events

Christie helped a client in the automotive sector secure the full dismissal of an ICC claim, winning costs. The proceeding was in English and French and under French law. Together with Peter and Brunner, he is also representing a client in a $500 million ICC arbitration on behalf of a mining conglomerate in a CIS region.

Brunner has acted as counsel for a UAE-based claimant in proceedings in Swiss state courts against multiple members of a group of companies as part of efforts to enforce a DIAC award and as counsel in an ICC case relating to a major joint venture infrastructure project.

Meanwhile Wolfgang Peter continues to be in high demand as an arbitrator. He is presiding over an ICC dispute between investors in Thailand’s largest wind energy company. In 2016, he was part of another ICC tribunal that awarded around €600 million to a Russian state entity in a politically sensitive dispute with Bulgaria over a nuclear power plant; he is also sitting at ICSID in an arbitration against Iraq.

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