Home to well-known Swiss arbitrator Wolfgang Peter, the firm reports taking on a new US$16 billion instruction
|People in Who's Who Legal||2|
|People in Future Leaders||2|
|Pending cases as counsel||10|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$24.9 billion|
|Third-party funded cases||1|
|Current arbitrator appointments||25 (12 as chair or sole)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||3|
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.
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.
Little has been published on Peter & Partners’ casework in the last year but firm reports having taken on two new high value instructions, one dispute worth €500 million and another worth approximately US$16 billion from a repeat client.
Christie, Peter and Brunner recently acted in a US$500 million ICC arbitration on behalf of a mining conglomerate in a CIS region.
Meanwhile Peter continues to be in high demand as an arbitrator. He is presiding over at least two active ICC arbitrations and is also co-arbitrator in a high value dispute at the centre between a construction consortium and a Qatari state-controlled entity over a multibillion metro project. 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.
At ICSID he is sitting in claims against Iraq and Belarus, appointed by the claimant and state respectively. In 2018, a high value and sensitive arbitration seated in Stockholm between Turkish state entity Botaş and Russia’s Gazprom in which he was also a co-arbitrator settled.