Paris and London are working together more closely than ever; meanwhile, the firm-wide practice area is coming into shape
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$17 billion
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 5 (of which 1 is as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
Eversheds’ international arbitration practice has its roots in legacy firm Frere Cholmeley. In the early 1980s, one of that firm’s founding partners – Rodman Bundy – began to represent states in boundary disputes at the International Court of Justice. Iran and its state-owned oil company became regular clients for matters at the Iran-US Claims Tribunal, and that platform led to more general commercial arbitration work, particularly oil and gas and construction cases.
With the arrival of David Sellers as a partner, Bundy and his team in Paris worked on many of the best known nationalisation and lex petrolea cases of the decade.
In the 1990s, the work in Paris included Libya/Chad, Gabcikovo/Nagymaros (aka Hungary/Slovakia) Qatar/Bahrain, and the Aerial Incident and Oil Platform cases. Loretta Malintoppi and later Will Thomas, formerly of Freshfields, joined the practice during this phase.
In 1998, Frere Cholmeley merged with Eversheds.
In the 2000s the practice continued to work extensively on public international law disputes – cases from this period include Eritrea/Yemen, Eritrea/Ethiopia and Indonesia/Malaysia – but has taken on more commercial arbitration and expanded its PIL work into ICSID cases.
In London, arbitration work caught life around the time that Stuart Dutson arrived as partner from Linklaters. The two offices collaborate extensively on all of the areas mentioned, along with other areas of international law advisory work including sanctions. Dutson and Thomas have been instrumental in linking the two offices, according to sources inside the firm.
In 2008, Eversheds embarked on a series of mergers in Europe and Asia, and now has a pan-office international arbitration practice led by Claudius Triebold in Zurich.
Eversheds has offices in Dublin, Geneva, London, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Stockholm, Vienna, Warsaw, Zurich, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Johannesburg, Qatar, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Who uses it?
The firm is popular with governments of all types. The government of North Sudan (then Sudan) used it for high-profile proceedings against the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which redrew the boundary of the oil-rich Abyei region. India and Cambodia are also using the firm on sensitive boundary disputes.
Away from all that, one of its more unusual assignments is for Franz Sedelmayer, the German businessman who is waging a one-man crusade against the Russian Federation over an unpaid SCC arbitral award issued 12 years ago.
On the corporate front, Unilever, Caja Madrid, Pertamina, Total, Vitol and the Abu Dhabi armed forces are all clients.
The firm scored a result for Sedelmayer. In a landmark decision from July 2011, the Swedish Supreme Court ruled his attachment of real property owned by the Russian Federation in Sweden could remain and wasn’t cancelled by the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The property is valued at US$3 million; Sedelmayer is owed US$4.5million.
The firm has also won cases for Pakistan (two ICSID cases) and Midgulf International (for whom it recently persuaded the UK courts to enforce an arbitration agreement; in the process deviating from accepted principles of competence-competence and separability).
The firm has completed a tie up with Middle Eastern law consortium KSLB, which will improve its ability to service work in a range of jurisdictions, including Saudi Arabia.
In Zurich, Monika McQuillen, who covers litigation and arbitration, was made partner.
Bundy’s PIL work continues unabated. He was instructed by Cambodia for a dispute with Thailand at the International Court of Justice concerning the 900 year-old Preah Vihear Temple that lies between the two states. The ICJ issued provisional measures in April 2011 directed at both Thailand and Cambodia to establish a provisional demilitarised zone.
In another high-profile case, Bundy is defending the government of India in an arbitration at The Hague brought by Pakistan to halt a controversial hydropower project in India-controlled Kashmir. In September 2011, the seven-member tribunal issued provisional measures ordering a partial stay on construction while it considers whether the project is in breach of a water-sharing treaty.