The German firm is suing Albania at ICSID
- People in Who's Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$6 billion+
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 9 (of which 2 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, its arbitration practice only took off half a century later. 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 retained an international focus. Its 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). Luther also represented Swedish energy company Vattenfall and its German subsidiaries in the first-ever ICSID case against Germany – a €1.6 billion claim under the Energy Charter Treaty that eventually settled.
Hamburg-based Ulrich Theune established the arbitration practice, which is now co-chaired by Richard Happ in Hamburg and Réne-Alexander Hirth, who divides his time between his base in Stuttgart and the firm’s office in Singapore. 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 in commercial cases, with Happ also sitting on investment panels.
As well as 11 German offices, the firm is also present in Brussels, Budapest, London, Luxemburg, Shanghai and Singapore.
In 2012, the firm helped Hamburg sailing-tours group Inmaris win €3 million in an ICSID claim against Ukraine over an impounded vessel.
The firm helped Vattenfall settle its first ICSID claim against Germany in 2010; the company has since reinstructed the firm for a second ICSID claim against Germany concerning the closure of its nuclear power stations in response to Japan’s Fukushima crisis. (Sweden’s Mannheimer Swartling is co-counsel on the claimant’s side.)
On the commercial front, the firm has helped Turkish clients win a series of ICC arbitrations.
On the work front, the firm has successfully represented a German automotive supplier in a VIAC arbitration against a Chinese joint venture partner; and acted on behalf of a Singapore listed electronics company in a Zurich-seated ICC arbitration against a German-listed company.
Besides the second Vattenfall case, the firm has been acting for Greek petroleum products maker Mamidoil in an ICSID claim against Albania. The firm says it is also preparing an ICSID case against a South American state.
The head of a multinational who used lawyers from the firm’s Stuttgart and Shanghai offices was particularly impressed by their professionalism and knowledge, as well as their level of preparation and how the lawyers developed their relationship both with the COO and his company.
Luther is a leading full-service German commercial law firm offering comprehensive legal and tax services with more than 350 lawyers and tax advisors at offices in 11 German economic centers. With international offices in Brussels, London, 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