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GAR 100 - 4th Edition

De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek

18 February 2011

Though only added to the GAR 100 last year, De Brauw has long been a “litigation and arbitration powerhouse” in the Dutch market, to quote one reference source.

The firm itself estimates that contentious billings supply half of its turnover, and its roster of high-end clients includes Shell, Rabobank and Unilever. At least four partners work regularly on arbitration – including Marnix Leitjen, who is the Dutch member of the ICC court, and Bommel van der Bend, the current vice president of the Netherlands Arbitration Institute. In 2009 the group released a comprehensive guide to the NAI arbitration rules and the Dutch arbitration law, published by Kluwer.

Recent events

The firm notched two wins for Dutch gas exporter GasTerra against Italy’s Eni in separate arbitrations in Geneva (under ICC and UNCITRAL rules). Each was apparently worth more than US$1 billion. De Brauw also advised GasTerra in a €1.5 billion dispute with Germany’s E.ON Ruhrgas, which ended in a settlement.

The team has also been pressing the claim of Dutch insurance provider Eureko Achmea in UNCITRAL proceedings against Slovakia. Eureko claims that legislative measures affected its €100 million investment in the Slovak health insurance market. A tribunal in The Hague ruled in October that the claim could proceed, rejecting Slovakia’s arguments that its accession to the EU had terminated its BIT with the Netherlands.

The firm is also representing Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways) in two disputes with Deutsche Bahn, together worth €269 million. Those cases are being heard in Frankfurt under the rules of the German Institution of Arbitration.

The government of Ecuador also recently asked the firm to challenge a US$700 million arbitral award from a tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The US oil company Chevron won the award in March 2010. It will be the first time a Dutch court has been asked to set aside an award in a BIT case.

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