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GAR 100 - 12th Edition

Simmons & Simmons

05 April 2019

Won an intra-EU BIT award against Hungary

People in Who's Who Legal 1
People in Future Leaders 2
Pending cases as counsel 34
Value of pending counsel work US$3 billion
Treaty cases 4
Third-party funded cases 0
Current arbitrator appointments 10 (6 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 5

Founded in London by twin brothers Percy and Edward Simmons in the late 1800s, Simmons & Simmons went international when it opened a Brussels office in 1962 and now has 17 offices across Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Today, the firm’s international arbitration practice is led by Stuart Dutson, who took the role in 2016 after joining from Eversheds. He took over from Simon Morgan, a long-serving disputes partner who joined the firm in 1981 and retired in 2018.

Dutson, who also practiced with Herbert Smith (before it merged with Freehills) and teaches international arbitration at the London School of Economics, brought particular experience in Africa-related disputes, having worked in Malawi and Ethiopia.

In 2017, the firm hired Philippe Cavalieros from Winston & Strawn to lead the arbitration practice in Paris. He’s experienced arbitration from a number of angles, having previously worked for the ICC International Court of Arbitration and as general counsel at Renault-Nissan.

Network

The anchor of the practice remains in London where Dutson and eight other partners are based. Elsewhere in Europe it also has arbitration partners in Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam and Madrid.

Further afield it has offices in Beijing, Doha, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Who uses it?

The firm has a number of high-profile clients in the financial sector, including American Express, Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank, Lehman Brothers, Bank of New York Mellon, Julius Baer and UniCredit Corporate Banking.

Other commercial clients include Bayer Pharma, airline Cathay Pacific, Samsung, UBS and Veon.

Although Simmons & Simmons doesn’t often work for states, it is defending Indonesia against a US$570 million treaty claim. The firm also acts for Turkey’s state-owned petroleum company Botaş.

Track record

The firm helped Bahraini construction company Terna win a US$23 million ICC award against a UAE family over their failure to procure permits for the construction of a cement terminal. It also fended off a challenge to the award in the High Court in London.

Simmons & Simmons also acted on the enforcement of a US$200 million award against a Luxembourg subsidiary of the largest mobile operator in Russia and CIS, Mobile TeleSystems. That dispute involved more than 15 applications to the English Commercial Court, two applications for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal and two spin-off arbitrations before the parties finally settled.

Recent events

A team led by Cavalieros helped French food voucher services company Sodexo Pass International to win €73 million in an intra-EU investment treaty case against Hungary, after an ICSID tribunal ruled that a series of tax and legislative reforms to the country’s fringe benefits system amounted to an indirect expropriation. It is the largest award of the three rendered against Hungary relating to the reforms. The case also saw the intervention of the European Commission, which unsuccessfully argued the treaty was invalid. 

Simmons & Simmons continues to defend Indonesia against a US$570 million UNCITRAL treaty claim by an Indian metal producer. That dispute arose from a 10-year coal-mining concession which the claimant alleges overlaps with other concessions granted to third parties.

Along with Derains & Gharavi, the firm has been representing Kazakh oil company Caratube in Dutch court proceedings as it tries to enforce a US$40 million ICSID award against its home state. In 2018, the Amsterdam District Court granted an application by the National Bank of Kazakhstan to lift an ex parte attachment order on US$500 million in assets.

It has also been acting for Amsterdam-based telecoms company Veon as it seeks to enforce a €150 million LCIA award against the holding company of Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris and his family in UK courts.

There was a good result for three Cypriot entities owned by Russian property tycoon Boris Mints, after the High Court in London ruled that a US$600 million fraud claim brought by a recently nationalised Russian bank should be heard in LCIA arbitration, rather than in the Moscow courts. However, the court declined to enjoin related court proceedings in Cyprus, finding it did not have the power to do so.  

Amanda Lees, the firm's head of arbitration in Singapore, was promoted to partner. Eric Chan, a former associate at the firm, re-joined as a consultant in Hong Kong.

Insight

Reviews

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

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The Middle Eastern and African Arbitration Review 2019

Highlights

CRCICA Overview

Ismail Selim and Dalia Hussein

The Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA)

DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Overview

Alec Emmerson

DIFC Arbitration Institute (DAI)

Robert Stephen, Matthew Harley and Katy Hacking

DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre