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GAR 100 - 9th Edition

Ashurst

17 February 2016

The Australian tie-up continues to bring in energy and resources work

People in Who’s Who Legal 2
Pending cases as counsel 50
Value of pending counsel work US$20 billion
Treaty cases 0
Current arbitrator appointments 21 (of which 12 are
as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 6

Ashurst joined the GAR 100 for the first time in 2015. Based in London since the 19th century, its current incarnation springs from a 2012 merger with Blake Dawson, one of the “big six” Australian law firms. The merger brought together two well-respected litigation departments and provided Ashurst’s 20-year-old international arbitration practice with a mass of work arising from the Australian energy and resources boom. The wider firm is recognised for its expertise in the energy, power and construction sectors, which carries over into the disputes side.

The international arbitration practice is led globally by co-heads Ronnie King in London and Ben Giaretta in Singapore. There are also two Australia heads: Georgia Quick in Sydney and Peter Ward in Perth.

Network

The key offices are London, Singapore, Sydney and Perth, but the firm has lawyers with arbitration experience across Europe and the Asia Pacific region.

In recent years, Ashurst has focused on developing its Asian offering. Starting out with Singapore, it now has arbitration lawyers in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Jakarta, and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. It now has growth plans in the UAE. In total, the firm has 24 offices in 14 countries.

Who uses it?

Energy and resources clients feature prominently. Rusal, the Russian aluminium producer owned by Oleg Deripaska, is a regular client. Other names on the books include UK-listed mining company Avocet; Swiss-based chemicals company Ineos; Australia’s Intrepid Mines and Bluescope Steel; and the UK’s Tullow Oil.

The firm has also acted for financial services groups Aviva, Credit Suisse and ANZ, hotels group Accor, technology companies Intel, Daewoo and Siemens and the Mitsui and Mitsubishi conglomerates.

It has been advising TP Ferro, a consortium made up of France’s Eiffage and Spain’s ACS, in a €345 million claim relating to the construction of part of a new high-speed rail link between France and Spain.

The firm’s record of state work includes acting for a Kuwaiti state entity in a high-profile case brought by Dow Chemical and defending Ghana against an IT company’s claim in UNCITRAL proceedings in The Hague.

Track record

In 2014, Ashurst helped aluminium producer Rusal settle a pair of LCIA claims that were thought to comprise one of the largest Russia-related disputes ever heard in London. The claims were brought by one of Rusal’s minority shareholders, Ukrainian businessman Viktor Vekselberg’s Sual Partners, challenging the validity of supply contracts worth US$48 billion that Rusal had entered into with another shareholder, commodities trader Glencore.

The firm achieved another settlement the same year for Australia’s Intrepid Mines, which had brought a US$3 billion case against Indonesia’s Indo Multi Niaga, thought to be one of the largest SIAC cases in history. That was worth US$80 million.

Ashurst also defended Kuwait’s state-owned Petrochemical Industries Company in an ICC claim brought by the US’s Dow Chemical over the collapse of a joint venture. The case ended in 2012 with a US$2.2 billion award in Dow’s favour, which the Kuwaiti company has now satisfied.

Recent events

In 2015, Ashurst reportedly acted for healthcare logistics company in an arbitration arising from the release of over US$10 million in escrow following an acquisition of a pharmaceutical business.

Tom Cummins and Dyfan Owen were promoted in London. Owen subsequently moved to Dubai to become head of the firm’s UAE dispute resolution team.

The firm’s first disputes partner in Japan, Christopher Bailey, left Ashurst for King & Spalding in Tokyo.

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