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GAR 100 - 5th Edition

Castaldi Mourre & Partners

05 March 2012

Castaldi Mourre & Partners prides itself on being the firm of choice in Franco-Italian matters – but its work goes much wider than that

People in Who’s Who:
1
Pending cases as counsel:
9
Value of pending counsel work:
US$2.3 billion (includes Yukos)
Treaty cases:
1
Current arbitrator appointments:
32 (of which 14 are as sole or chair)
No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
2

Led by leading French counsel and arbitrator Alexis Mourre, this firm’s arbitration team is composed of eight dedicated lawyers and two who combine arbitration with private international law. Over the years, it has handled an above-average number of Franco-Italian matters – partly because of Mourre’s own background – and now has a second office in Milan. But, despite that tilt to its work, it can also offer lawyers qualified in the UK, Venezuela and Spain.

Mourre himself has had an entry in The International Who’s Who of Commercial Arbitration from the very first edition and has served as counsel, co-arbitrator, sole arbitrator or expert in more than 200 international arbitral proceedings. He is vice president of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, senior vice chair of the IBA arbitration committee and vice president of the Council of the International Business Law Institute of the ICC among other plaudits.

The firm has featured in the GAR 100 since its inception.

Who uses it?

Italy’s Saipem, Piaggio and Tecnimont are past clients, as are France’s Eutelsat, Swiss power technology group ABB, Italian construction firm Termomeccanica Ecologia, and the Marriott hotel group. The firm has worked on matters in the energy, telecoms, luxury goods, construction, space and aeronautics, and agro-industrial sectors.

One satisfied client recently was British highway contractor Fitzpatrick, which successfully resisted an application to set aside an award against Equatorial Guinea in the French courts. The firm was also sought out by the holders of an ICSID award against Egypt in enforcement proceedings (Waguih Elie George Siag and Clorinda Vecci v Egypt).

Track record

As just mentioned, the firm recently notched up a success for Fitzpatrick in set-aside proceedings – it enjoys a particular track record in that area. In 2009, it helped Greek steelmaker Halyvourgiki resist an application by Germany’s Linde Group to set aside an ICC arbitral award, in the French courts, on the grounds that it was contrary to substantive public policy (in the form of EU competition law).

It also has successes in front of arbitrators. The firm recently obtained an award of US$30 million for ABB in an arbitration in Zurich, and successfully assisted a US-Italian group of investors in an arbitration over a shareholders’ agreement for a Swiss financial institution.

Recent events

The firm welcomed two new Italian recruits: former ICC deputy counsel Valentine Chessa and Michela Chirichiello, who was legal adviser to a former president of the Iran-US Claims Tribunal. It says it may increase its Italian-speaking component yet further.

It is also noticing an increase in the workload being generated by associates, not partners. It now has an associate dedicated to handling the growing demand for services in respect to annulment and enforcement proceedings before French courts. Several senior associates have also started to be appointed as arbitrators.

Aksel Doruk, a member of the Paris Bar originally from Turkey, joined the firm as a junior associate in September 2011.

In 2010, Alexis Mourre was one of 16 experts asked by the European Commission to examine whether arbitration should be brought within the scope of the Brussels I Regulation, which requires EU member state courts to respect each other’s jurisdiction. Alex Vagenheim assists him in this area.

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