The German firm has taken on a new half-billion euro energy dispute this year
|People in Who’s Who Legal:
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|6 (of which 3 are as sole or chair)
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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 René-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, while Christoph von Burgsdorff in Hamburg, who became a partner in 2012, focuses on corporate transactional and joint venture-related disputes.
As well as 11 German offices, the firm also has a presence in Brussels, Budapest, Istanbul, 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).
The firm 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.
On the commercial front, Luther has helped Turkish clients win a series of ICC arbitrations. In 2014, it also achieved wins in two CIETAC arbitrations between a German electrical components supplier and a Chinese-listed company in the solar sector.
Luther was one of the five European law firms that helped establish the European Federation for Investment Law and Arbitration, a non-profit association to promote the benefits of investor-state arbitration and influence EU policy on investment protection. Happ is sitting on the federation’s executive board.
He is also acting as counsel, alongside newly promoted senior associate Georg Scherpf, for German investors Jürgen Wirtgen, Stefan Wirtgen and JSW Solar (zwei) in an Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) claim against the Czech Republic, which got underway in late 2013.
The firm has also accepted new instructions in an ECT case against Spain arising out of the country’s renewable energy cuts, as well as a €500 million ICC case in the nuclear industry.
Karl von Hase was recruited as a partner in the firm’s Düsseldorf office in mid-2014, and acts as both counsel and arbitrator in commercial and corporate matters.
An ICSID claim the firm is pursuing on behalf of Greek petroleum company Mamidoil against Albania reached the stage when the parties issued a statement on costs in April 2014.
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. The client, who wished to stay anonymous, also praised how the lawyers developed their relationship 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 10 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 11 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