GAR 100 - 13th Edition

Kulkov Kolotilov & Partners

Professional notice

Representing foreign executives in a challenge to a US$62 million award

People in Who's Who Legal1
Pending cases as counsel2
Value of pending counsel workUS$70.6 million
Treaty cases0
Current arbitrator appointments1 (1 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator1

This Moscow boutique was set up in 2015 by Maxim Kulkov, a former counsel and head of the Russian disputes practice at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and Oleg Kolotilov, who was a senior associate at the same firm. The two name partners were soon joined by another Freshfields alumnus, Nikolay Pokryshkin.

KK&P thinks its small size gives it greater flexibility. It only accepts a limited number of cases, which have so far included matters at most of the leading international arbitration centres in Europe as well as the ICAC (the arbitration court attached to the Russian Chamber of Commerce). It highlights debt recovery and asset dissipation matters as among the firm’s strengths.

Kulkov is a member of the ICC commission on arbitration and the ICC Russia arbitration commission. He is also on the arbitrator lists of ICAC, SIAC, the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association, the Russian Arbitration Association and other institutions in Russia and Kyrgyzstan. He also helps promote mediation in Russia.

Pokryshkin is a listed arbitrator at the International Arbitration Court at the Chamber of Commerce of Kyrgyzstan.

Who uses it?

Clients include US railcar leasing company GATX, Gazprom’s aviation fuel subsidiary Gazpromneft-Aero, Russian asset management group Alma, Agroprosperis (the second largest crop agricultural holding in Ukraine), international aerospace technology company MDA, and a major international music company.

Clifford Chance has used the firm in relation to a dispute between Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and Vladimir Chernukhin, the former Russian deputy finance minister and ex-chair of Vnesheconombank.

The government of Ukraine is using the firm in proceedings brought by Russian oil producer Tatneft to enforce an investment treaty award worth US$150 million over the loss of its investment in Ukraine’s largest oil refinery.

Track record

The firm helped Kyrgyz businessman Alexander Niyazov prevail in an ICAC case against subsidiaries of Russian oil company Rosneft in a post-M&A dispute relating to Kyrgyz oil companies, for which it drew praise from the client.

KK&P represented a BVI company in an English-seated LCIA case against a large holding company over shareholdings in a major oil and gas producer.

It also represented a Russian spare parts aircraft and helicopter supplier and servicing company, Avia-FED-Service, in four suits against Artem, a Ukrainian military equipment manufacturer. The firm won all four suits.

Recent events

The firm’s ongoing work still includes representing a large industrial facilities constructor in a US$65 million ICAC arbitration dispute between the client and a developer, and providing legal advice on whether LCIA awards in corporate disputes between Russian companies may be recognised and enforced by Russian courts, considering recent arbitration reforms in the country.

KK&P has also been advising a world leader in gases, technologies and services in industry and health in connection with the enforcement of a US$2.5 million ICAC award, while Pokryshkin is leading the team representing senior German executives in efforts to annul a US$62 million award issued by the Arbitration Court at the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Client comment

Niyazov, the Kyrgyz businessman mentioned above, says the KK&P partners are distinguished by their “bravery”, proving more willing to take on cases against major Russian state-owned companies than some of their local competitors. He says Kulkov and Pokryshkin are like “raging bulls” during hearings. Kulkov is “brilliant” at anticipating opponents’ arguments and interrogating the facts of a case “three times deeper than I could have imagined”. Pokryshkin is “sharp and creative” and “always considers all the possible options”.

He adds that, while “quite expensive”, KK&P charges much less than international law firms while providing the same quality. Niazov’s legal costs were recovered from the respondent in his case.

From the legal department of Zarubezhstroytechnology (ZST), a subsidiary of state-owned transport company Russian Railways, Yulia Chernook used the firm for two ICAC cases against an Austrian contractor and related enforcement proceedings. She says KK&P provides a “deep, thoughtful, scrupulous approach” and a “matter of fact, proactive attitude”. Kulkov is a “man of great abilities” with an “encyclopaedic knowledge in the fields of Russian civil law and private international law”.

Stuart Dutson, head of international arbitration at Simmons & Simmons in London, co-counselled with Kulkov on a banking dispute at the LCIA with Russian, UK and Israeli angles. He calls Kulkov a “brilliant legal scholar with the delivery of a prize heavyweight boxer”.

KK&P is a Russian arbitration and litigation boutique focusing on commercial dispute resolution in Russia and abroad (including CIS-related disputes with Russia & CIS-based parties and assets).

KK&P comprises 24 years’ experience working for international and Russian clients on cross-border disputes and proceedings in over 50 jurisdictions and provides the following services:

  1. representation of clients as counsel in all major arbitration institutions, including the ICAC, ICC, SCC, LCIA and VIAC, as well as in ad hoc arbitrations (under UNCITRAL rules);
  2. preparing legal opinions and expert reports on Russian law, as well as  giving evidence in arbitral proceedings and foreign courts (performed by Managing Partner Maxim Kulkov as a Russian law expert); and
  3. providing arbitrator services:
  1. KK&P Managing Partner Maxim Kulkov has considered 44 cases in different roles, such as co-arbitrator, sole arbitrator, and tribunal chair, including in the SCC, ICC, ICAC, and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) Arbitration Centre. Maxim is a listed arbitrator at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association (JCAA), and the Arbitration Court under the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP);
  2. KK&P Partner Nikolay Pokryshkin is a listed arbitrator at the International Arbitration Court at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Kyrgyz Republic.

For over 5 years, KK&P has consistently been ranked among the top Russian firms handling the most complex international and domestic dispute resolution cases both my Chambers Europe and the Legal 500.  Since 2008, the firm has been one of the two recognised Russian firms among the world's best GAR 100 arbitration firms.  The KK&P partners - Maxim Kulkov, Oleg Kolotilov and Nikolay Pokryshkin - are recognised by the authoritative international rating agencies, such as Chambers and Partners, the Legal 500 and Who's Who Legal, in a number of Dispute Resolution practice areas, i.e., Domestic High-End, International, Arbitration and Mediation, Litigation, and Restructuring & Insolvency (Litigation).

The firm’s clients most recent feedback according to major legal directories:

  • “The ‘very well-connected’ team at KK&P ‘knows the Russian disputes market inside and out’ and is ‘highly recommended for difficult mandates’.”
  • “KK&P has strong capabilities in representing clients in Russian and international arbitration forums, and is particularly active in debt recovery and the enforcement of arbitration awards.”
  • “The firm stands out because of its very responsible and rigorous approach.”
  • “Very thorough and detailed work on each and every aspect of the case.”
  • “Clients highlight the team for its market insight, in particular the team's ‘theoretical knowledge and extensive judicial practice’ and underline its ‘very good understanding of international law.’”

KK&P’s smaller structure, which enables it to achieve greater flexibility in staffing and pricing, and avoid conflicts of interest, has proved successful. With KK&P, clients benefit from a dedicated and focused team with a partner’s active involvement from start to finish.

KK&P’s recent arbitration cases include:

  • representing a leader in alternative investing in an LCIA dispute on a claim against a major diversified construction holding. The dispute arose in connection with an English law agreement for the purchase of shares by one of the largest regional oil and gas producers, and concerned the recovery of an advance payment under a failed transaction which was entered into under English law;
  • representing a client in the SCC in a dispute arising out of the termination of a premium hotel management contract (the firm recovered lost profits for the next 40 years of the contract);
  • representing a contractor participating in the construction of a nuclear power plant in an ICC arbitration on a subcontractor’s claim for compensation for the stand-by of dredging equipment;
  • defending a general contractor in the ICAC at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation against a claim by a customer worth approximately US$65 million in connection with complaints about the quality of work on the construction of a shopping centre, as well as submitting a counterclaim on behalf of the general contractor for the return of equipment left at the site;
  • representing an international oilfield services company in the ICAC at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation in a lawsuit against another international oilfield services company in connection with the reimbursement of the client’s expenses on remedying an accident and restoring the hermetic seal of an oil well;
  • representing Avia-FED-Service, which supplies and repairs spare parts for all Russian-manufactured aircraft, in an ICAC arbitration against a Ukrainian state-owned holding company regarding the recovery of an advance payment under an air force supply contract for end users located abroad;
  • representing a beneficiary, a Kyrgyz oil trader, in an ICAC arbitration of a dispute with subsidiaries of Rosneft in connection with the recovery of additional payments under an M&A Transaction Agreement relating to four Kyrgyz oil companies previously owned by the client;
  • representing a share purchaser in the ICAC in connection with the recovery of an advance payment made under a transaction which, as a result of unsatisfactory due diligence results, was not performed.

For arbitration enquiries, please contact KK&P’s partners:

 

KK&P Commercial Arbitration practice page: www.kkplaw.ru/en/practice/commercial-arbitration/  

The firm’s other key practices: http://kkplaw.ru/en/what-we-do/

Contacts:

[email protected]

+7 495 258 3941 (KK&P’s business hours: 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Moscow time, GMT +3)

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