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GAR 100 - 4th Edition

Hanotiau & van den Berg

18 February 2011

Brussels-based Hanotiau & van den Berg is an international arbitration and litigation boutique founded in 2001 by two of the world’s foremost arbitrators, who wanted to see if it was possible to be successful without a network of lawyers around the world feeding you work, and to house both arbitrators and counsel under one small roof.

People in Who’s Who:
Pending cases as counsel:
Treaty cases:
Current arbitrator appointments:
11* (of which 8 is as sole or chair)
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
Who’s Who Name:
Christian Hausmaninger

*excludes cases of Albert van Jan den Berg and Bernard Hanotiau.

In attempting that, the practice remains a pioneer. Today it consists of four partners and twelve associates who undertake a variety of international disputes work, and by all accounts it is flourishing. Local legal publications have dubbed it “international arbitration and litigation firm of the year” several years running. Bernard Hanotiau and Albert Jan van den Berg’s credentials hardly need restating. Suffice it to say, in every cycle of research for Who’s Who Legal, they finish in the top-five most respected individuals, usually rubbing shoulders with VV Veeder QC and Jan Paulsson.

A recent vice president of the LCIA, Hanotiau last year delivered the prestigious Freshfields lecture in London, in which he gave a reanalysis of the French courts’ famous decision in the Dow Chemicals case in the 1980s and attacked the “group of companies” doctrine as a “shortcut to avoid legal reasoning” that should “disappear from our vocabulary”. Hanotiau was also chosen to deliver a new Asian arbitration lecture sponsored by Herbert Smith and Singapore Management University. A source said he was the perfect choice because “of his great affinity with the region – he owns a property in Bali and regularly visits and sits as an arbitrator in Singapore”. At SJ Berwin’s Hot Topics event in London, meanwhile, he added his voice to the chorus of cries for a code of ethics to apply to arbitrators.

As arbitrator, Hanotiau frequently hears ICSID matters and has recently been appointed to the official panel by Belgium. Among other matters he chaired a tribunal that heard a claim by Turkish telecoms companies against Kazakhstan, resulting in an award that was upheld by an annulment committee led by Stephen M Schwebel. He is currently chairing a tribunal hearing a German bank’s claim against Sri Lanka and sitting alongside van den Berg on the panel hearing an annulment request brought by the west African state of Togo. His commercial arbitration work includes chairing panels hearing an ICC claim bought by First Quantum Minerals against the Democratic Republic of the Congo (a dispute that has received extensive press coverage) and one of the most complex Sino-Western disputes to date, between French dairy group Danone and its Chinese joint venture partner.

He is a professor at the Catholic University of Leuven and the author of a book on complex arbitration.

Albert Jan van den Berg began in the field as assistant to the grandfather of the New York Convention, Pieter Sanders. He is the editor of an influential yearbook on commercial arbitration and the founder of a website devoted to the New York Convention – www.newyorkconvention.org. He is also a vice president of the LCIA. In 2008 he proposed a “new” New York Convention, offering a completed text that seeks elegantly to solve the growing number of problems that those relying on the Convention are starting to experience. Originally presented at the ICCA conference in Dublin, the text is now modified and known as the Miami Draft.

Like his old friend Jan Paulsson, he teaches at the University of Miami for several months a year.

His recent work as an arbitrator has included claims against Argentina under ICSID and UNCITRAL rules and Eureko’s recent claim against Slovakia.

Paul Lefebvre and Pascal Hollander are the younger partners at the firm. The partners have support from twelve associates – among them Marike Paulsson, the wife of Jan Paulsson and the chair of the recently created Young ICCA group.



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