Mallesons Stephen Jaques’ international arbitration team used to be mainly in Hong Kong, where it focused on construction disputes in Hong Kong. More recently, the firm has been adding bona fide specialists in Australia itself and in a development with a huge potential impact, the firm is being retained on treaty claims against the Australian government.
The arbitration group traces its roots to the construction practice established by David Bateson and Paul Starr in Hong Kong in the early 1980s. They were complemented by Peter Stockdale in Sydney, who had a strong practice from reinsurance cases.
The firm opened in Hong Kong in 1989 and Beijing in 1993, and expanded its operation considerably in 2004 by relocating a tranche of partners and absorbing several teams from Denton Wilde Sapte. The senior Asian specialists also sit as arbitrators.
Nowadays the Hong Kong team stands at 16 lawyers. That includes eminent arbitrator Neil Kaplan QC who joined in late 2009 as an international adviser. Kaplan is a former Hong Kong commercial court judge and was the HKIAC’s inaugural chair.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$1.7 billion
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 26 (of which 12 are as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
2010 was the year that Australia fought back in the battle to become the regional centre for arbitration. The country’s first dedicated arbitration facility, the Australian International Disputes Centre, opened its doors in August, a month after Parliament passed an amendment to the country’s international arbitration act of 1974 to promote greater procedural consistency. Mallesons, for its part, took steps to fortify its local offices: in Melbourne, Beth Cubitt was promoted to partner, while in Sydney two senior associates joined laterally from leading practices in London: Jason Clapham from Clifford Chance and Daisy Mallett from WilmerHale.
Max Bonnell appeared in the first hearing conducted at the AIDC as counsel for a client, he told researchers, and he also commenced Mallesons’ first treaty arbitration.
Following the coup of adding Neil Kaplan QC, Mallesons hired Denis Brock, a former head of international arbitration in Asia at Clifford Chance. Edmund Wan was also promoted to partner in Hong Kong.
David Bateson helped successfully enforce an ICC award in Thailand. He reports that it “took five years (twice as long as the arbitration) and involved four different judges and a rehearing of the case, and all three arbitrators gave evidence.” The resulting court judgment was just two pages long, he said.
Who’s Who nominees:
The number of international arbitrations involving one or more Australian parties is on the rise. So too are the number of international arbitrations being conducted in Hong Kong, China and Singapore. These trends are consistent with increasing levels of cross-border trade and investment across the region.
Clients call upon Mallesons’ multilingual International Arbitration team to provide commercial and strategic advice with respect to their cross-border disputes. We advise on the full range of dispute resolution alternatives, draft effective arbitration clauses and work with our clients to develop dispute resolution strategies tailored to their needs.
Our goal is to deliver the most efficient and cost-effective dispute resolution solution for each client.
Recent examples of our work include advising / acting for:
- a major Australian company in two international arbitral proceedings, heard together, brought against a Swiss buyer
- a Japanese contractor in a HK-based international arbitration against their JV partner in a dispute concerning the second Bangkok International Airport
- a major Australian engineering consultancy in a dispute with a foreign Government acting for its Ministry of Defence
- a trade contractor in an arbitration in relation to disputes with The Venetian Macau
- a major U.S. bank in respect of an arbitration concerning a terminated PRC property development
- an international turnkey contractor in an ICC arbitration involving approximately US$150 million of disputes arising out of a hydro power project in the Philippines.