Luther is one of the first German law firms instructed on BIT cases.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$2 billion
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 7 (of which 1 are as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
One of the founding fathers of the German Institution of Arbitration, Martin Luther, established this firm in Hamburg in 1950. However, only 50 years later did its arbitration practice take off. Originally a boutique corporate firm (Martin Luther was one of the most respected corporate lawyers in post-war Germany), it was not until a merger with Arthur Andersen’s local legal division that it began to receive international arbitration work.
After the implosion of Arthur Andersen and some years with Ernst & Young, the firm became independent again. But it retained its international focus and now has 13 national and five international offices (Brussels, Budapest, Istanbul, Singapore and Shanghai).
The firm’s reputation developed in investment arbitration after it became one of the first firms in the country to be instructed on a treaty claim (Inmaris v Ukraine).
It was to Luther that Swedish energy company Vattenfall and its German subsidiaries would later turn to to bring the first ever investment arbitration against Germany – a €1.6 billion claim under the Energy Charter Treaty.
The firm has now handled two ICSID arbitrations and a third is expected soon.
The Vattenfall case settled, but Inmaris v Ukraine has cleared the jurisdictional stage – possibly widening the meaning of “investment”. (There are four claimants, only one of which had a direct contractual relationship with the respondent, a Ukrainian state authority.)
On the commercial front, the firm has recently helped Turkish clients win 10 out of 12 ICC arbitrations.
Hamburg-based Ulrich Theune established the arbitration practice, which is now co-chaired by Richard Happ in Hamburg and
Réne-Alexander Hirth in Stuttgart. Happ was lead counsel on the Vattenfall case; Hirth specialises in Asian arbitrations, having previously headed the Singapore office of another German law firm for many years. Jutta Wittler, in Cologne, specialises in international construction arbitration. All serve as arbitrators – mostly in commercial cases – apart from Happ, who also sits on investment panels.
The arbitration team has now broken away from the wider dispute resolution team to become an independent practice group.
The Hamburg office is about to be reinforced, the firm says, with a laterally recruited maritime arbitration partner and his team. Meanwhile, the Stuttgart office has added a Chinese lawyer, Guang Li, who speaks fluent German.
Luther is a leading full-service German commercial law firm offering comprehensive legal and tax services with more than 320 lawyers and tax advisors at offices in 11 German economic centers. With international offices in Brussels, Luxembourg, Shanghai and Singapore, we are also represented at important investment locations and financial centers in Europe and Asia. Luther works closely with an established network of respected law firms in the prevailing jurisdictions worldwide.
Luther’s arbitration practice group involves 5 partners and 7 associates, all of whom devote substantial part of their work on national and international arbitration. Luther has represented clients in proceedings under all major arbitration rules, be it DIS, ICC, LCIA, SCC, Swiss Rules, UNCITRAL ad-hoc, ICSID, CIETAC or SIAC. Current arbitration matters include a string of ICC disputes between Belgian, German, Singaporean and Turkish companies, an ICSID investment treaty claim against Ukraine and several CIETAC respectively VIAC arbitrations relating to German – Chinese joint venture disputes. We hold a wealth of expertise in arbitration with Asian parties and arbitrations involving states and state parties. Moreover, Luther represents clients in arbitration-related litigation before national courts, be it in defense or attack of proceedings and awards. Frequently, our lawyers are also appointed as arbitrators.
Luther’s arbitration practice group is headed by