GAR 100 - 8th Edition

ArbLit – Radicati di Brozolo Sabatini Benedettelli

Professional notice

The young Italian boutique is handling some weighty treaty cases

People in Who’s Who Legal:1
Current arbitrator appointments:13 (of which 6 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator:2

NEW ENTRY This Milan-based outfit was launched by Luca Radicati di Brozolo and Michele Sabatini, who broke away from Bonelli Erede Pappalardo, Italy’s largest law firm, in 2013. They brought some big cases with them, including two trailblazing ICSID claims concerning Argentina’s 2001 sovereign debt default and no less than six Energy Charter Treaty claims filed by solar investors against the Czech Republic.

A well-known name in Italy, Radicati di Brozolo is also highly regarded for his expertise in EU and antitrust law, and was head of the competition department at Italy’s Chiomenti Studio Legale in the 1990s, when he also headed the firm’s Brussels office. He joined Bonelli in 2001, later heading its London disputes desk. He has sat as arbitrator at the ICC and LCIA, as well as the Milan Chamber of Arbitration and the Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In addition, he is chair of private international law at the Catholic University of Milan and a former vice chair of the International Bar Association’s arbitration committee.

Sabatini, who was a senior associate at Bonelli but joined ArbLit as partner, also sits as arbitrator in ICC cases and the Milan chamber. He is a member of the Milan and New York bars, and has particular expertise in FIDIC disputes.

A more recent addition to the partnership is Massimo Benedettelli, who joined in late 2014 from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Milan and is also an arbitrator and professor of international law.

Who uses it?

The International PhotoVoltaic Investors Club, a group of foreign investors in the Czech solar power industry, have retained ArbLit for a cluster of treaty claims relating to state reforms to that sector.

ArbLit is also representing Italian construction group Consta and its subsidiary, Mattioli Joint Venture, in contract-based claims against Ethiopian and Djiboutian state entities at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague and heard under the rules of the European Development Fund.

In commercial cases, its clients include Italian construction and defence companies, including Finmeccanica.

Track record

Already pretty good. In the past two years, the firm has won preliminary rulings in two ICSID cases brought on behalf of Italian holders of defaulted Argentine sovereign bonds who have refused to accept a haircut on the face value of the debt. In 2013, a majority panel in the Ambiente Ufficio case agreed to hear claims by around 90 bondholders under an investment treaty. In late 2014, a panel in the Giovanni Alemanni case rejected most of Argentina’s objections to claims by 74 bondholders under the same treaty but joined certain jurisdictional issues to the merits.

Like the more famous Abaclat dispute, in which ArbLit is not involved, the cases raise controversial questions over ICSID’s ability to handle multiparty proceedings and the role of investment arbitration in sovereign debt crises.

Radicati di Brozolo is no stranger to breaking new ground at ICSID. At his former firm, he was counsel to Italian oil company Saipem in a landmark ICSID case against Bangladesh, where a state court’s interference in an ICC arbitration was held to amount to expropriation under a BIT.

Recent events

Radicati di Brozolo joined Fountain Court Chambers in London as a door tenant in April 2014. Benedettelli joined from Freshfields as a name partner in October.

The firm defended a Finmeccanica subsidiary in an ICC claim brought by French shipbuilder DCNS concerning a failed torpedo manufacturing joint venture. Benedettelli sat as an arbitrator in that case, which ended a few months before his move to ArbLit.

Client comment

Luigi Patanè, who stepped down as CEO of Consta in May, describes the ArbLit team as “a very good mix between experience and dynamism”. The firm’s small size guarantees “easy and direct contact” with the partners managing the case, he adds.

Frank Schulte, a member of the solar investors’ club mentioned above, turned to Radicati di Brozolo and Sabatini to replace their original counsel in their dispute with the Czech Republic. He describes them as “excellent lawyers” whose in-depth involvement in the case “really makes them superior”.

Another client, an Italian company active in Romanian public works projects that instructed ArbLit for a FIDIC dispute, says the firm has “an effective network of associates” that are especially useful for dealing with local-law issues.

15, Via Alberto da Giussano
20145 Milan, Italy
+39 02 8425 4810

ARBLIT Radicati di Brozolo Sabatini Benedettelli is a recently created boutique specializing exclusively in domestic and international dispute resolution, with a primary focus on arbitration. It is the only firm of this kind in Italy and capitalizes on its partners’ decades of experience as top international practitioners in leading firms in the field.

ARBLIT’s partners, two of whom renown academics and authors and highly reputed experts in their areas of practice, have vast experience representing Italian and foreign clients in ad hoc and institutional domestic and international arbitrations, in a broad range of seats and under all the main arbitration rules and applicable laws and in all types of disputes and areas of business.

They regularly sit as presiding, sole and party-appointed arbitrators in such types of arbitrations, and appear as legal experts in arbitrations and foreign court proceedings.

ARBLIT and its partners have an important track record in investor-State arbitration. Their expertise also covers conflict of laws and jurisdictions, commercial and corporate law, European Union law, public international law, competition, construction, M&A, oil and gas, intellectual property, sports, banking and finance.

In addition to its arbitration practice, ARBLIT has significant litigation expertise in arbitration-related and other matters before domestic courts, as well as before the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. It advises on litigation strategies, particularly in complex multi-jurisdictional disputes, dispute prevention, third-party funding, bilateral investment treaty protection, drafting choice of court and arbitration agreements, assists in out of court settlements and in the selection of counsel and advisers in a variety of jurisdictions.

As shown by its first year’s success, ARBLIT is a truly international boutique ideally suited to provide top-tier assistance to clients thanks to its partners’ expertise and reputation, the quality of its team, language resources, flexibility and contacts across a broad spectrum of jurisdictions.

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