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Pinsent Masons

18 February 2016

Counsel to the UK’s Home Office in its politically charged dispute with Raytheon, which settled in 2015

People in Who’s Who Legal: 2
Pending cases as counsel: 49
Value of pending counsel work: US$10.2 billion
Treaty cases: 1
Current arbitrator appointments: 6 (of which 1 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator: 4

Pinsent Masons made its first appearance in GAR 100 in 2015. Unsurprisingly for a firm with a history of excellence in construction law matters, it has been named law firm of the year in that disciple by GAR’s sister publication Who Who Legal for the past nine years running. Its international arbitration practice has its roots in large-scale infrastructure projects, including the Channel Tunnel.

The late Tony Bunch was a member of the advisory committee that reported on the draft of the UK Arbitration Act Bill 1996. The firm also helped the Dubai International Arbitration Centre in the revision of its rules, and maintains close ties with other major centres around the world.

Network

Under practice head Mark Roe, the London office has the largest number of arbitration partners at its disposal, including Virginie Colaiuta, the vice chair of the IBA disputes sub-committee on international construction projects.

Asia is also a hub. There work is led by partner Mohan Pillay in Singapore, whose firm Pinsents absorbed in 2007.The team also has partners in Hong Kong, Beijing, Dubai, Istanbul, Paris and Munich. In 2015, the firm opened two new offices in Sydney and Melbourne.

Track record

The firm earned an interim award for Indian infrastructure group GMR in its US$800 million claim against the Maldives over the alteration of the terms of an airport concession agreement. A Singapore-based panel found the government liable for the company’s losses.

Pinsent also acted for Fujitsu in an arbitration relating to a failed IT system, in which DLA Piper acted for the UK government. It has been reported that the government lost the arbitration, which could leave the NHS with a £700 million bill. Pinsent has previously represented Fujitsu in a dispute with IBM.

Another success has been for a Qatari company and individual as defendants in five related LCIA disputes worth a total of around US$75 million, which the claimants eventually discontinued.

Recent events

The firm says that it successfully defended a consortium of oil companies against a US$227 million UNCITRAL claim relating to the construction crude oil pipeline in Africa and won a counterclaim. It also settled an ICC claim exceeding US$180 million for a major European contractor against a CIS-based conglomerate. The contractor had brought the claim for wrongful termination.

An LCIA award obtained against the UK Home Office by US defence contractor Raytheon was set aside by the High Court on the ground of serious irregularity and the dispute subsequently settled with a reported £150 million payout to Raytheon. Pinsent Masons had represented the Home Office.

Infrastructure disputes partner Peter Megens joined the firm’s Melbourne office from King & Spalding in Singapore, along with construction specialist Michael Battye. Andrew Denton moved from London to Sydney to build a construction arbitration offering in the new office

The firm also welcomed Sibylle Schumacher, former head of the dispute resolution group at Field Fisher Waterhouse, in Munich.

Partner Meriam Al-Rashid co-founded the Arab Legal Forum for London-based arbitration practitioners with professional and cultural ties to the Arab world.

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