Defending South Sudan against a US$3.5 billion telecoms claim
|People in Who’s Who Legal||1|
|People in Future Leaders||1|
|Pending cases as counsel||28|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$16.5 billion|
|Treaty cases as counsel||6|
|Third-party funded cases||4|
|Current arbitrator appointments||6 (5 as chair or sole)|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||3|
Fieldfisher can trace its origins to a London law firm established in 1835. It opened offices in Brussels, Hamburg and Paris in 2007, and further mergers mean it now has 25 offices in 11 countries, mainly in Europe.
The firm was, until recently, better known for commercial litigation, particularly in the energy, commodities and technology sectors. It has been closely associated with work from the CIS region.
Its international arbitration practice owes a lot to one client in particular: Ukrainian businessman Ihor Kolomoisky. The firm has counselled Kolomoisky-linked companies in various arbitrations against Ukrainian and Russian state interests, including treaty claims over assets in Crimea.
Growing work in this area led the firm to formally launch an international arbitration group in 2019. The group has now grown to over 80 fee earners, including 25 partners. It entered the GAR 100 for the first time in 2022.
The group is co-led by partners Simon Sloane and Daniel Hayward in London. Sloane joined from Reed Smith in 2016 and acts in oil and gas, insurance, hotel and mining disputes. Hayward is a Russian speaker and has handled big cases coming out of the CIS and Africa.
Colin Gibson in London heads the wider disputes practice. Other partners to know in London are Tracey Wright and Alexandra Underwood, who both do investor-state work; and head of the CIS group Arik Aslanyan.
Shivani Sanghi in London joined from Covington & Burling in 2022 to head the firm’s new India practice.
There is also a practice in Paris launched in 2019 by Marily Paralika, who joined in that year from White & Case.
Most of the team is in London, with others in Birmingham, Brussels, Munich, Madrid, Barcelona and Milan.
The wider firm has a presence in several other German and Italian cities as well as Belfast, Dublin, Luxembourg, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Silicon Valley.
Who uses it?
Its client roster includes oil and gas, financial services and commodities companies, as well as high-net-worth individuals. This includes state-owned oil and gas companies in the CIS region, notably Kazakhstan, and instructions for two states in Europe and Africa.
Fieldfisher says it secured a favourable award for a group of Kolomoisky-linked companies including Lugzor in a treaty claim against Russia in October 2022. The case concerned expropriated real estate assets in Crimea.
It also represented companies beneficially owned by Kolomoisky and his business partner Gennadiy Bogolyubov in a US$6 billion Energy Charter Treaty claim against Ukraine, which was dismissed in 2021. That outcome is still being challenged in the Swedish courts.
The firm secured a favourable jurisdictional ruling in 2021 for another Kolomoisky entity, Gilward Investments, in a US$660 million ICSID case against Ukraine. The case has been suspended following the outbreak of war in 2022.
There has also been a win for a state-owned gas distributor in an LCIA arbitration over pricing under a 30-year gas supply agreement. The respondents were multinational oil and gas corporations, and the dispute was worth billions of dollars.
There were more hires in London. Partner Priyanka Kapoor joined from PCB Byrne, bringing experience in civil fraud and asset recovery. Ania Farren joined as partner from Omnia Strategy. Mehmet Baysan joined as of counsel.
The firm’s German disputes practice has also expanded, with the hire of partner Philipp Duncker and counsel Jonas Poell from Hogan Lovells. Duncker is based in Munich while Poell has relocated to Paris.
It emerged that the firm is defending South Sudan against a US$3.5 billion ICC claim brought by telecoms companies owned by Lebanon’s Fattouch Investment Group. The case concerns the suspension of a mobile operator’s licence.
The firm is acting in another gas price review case for a national distributor, under a long-term supply agreement, which is seated in Stockholm and subject to English law
Comprising over 80 fee earners across Europe and beyond, including 25 partners, Fieldfisher's arbitration team is qualified to practice law in more than 17 jurisdictions and are fluent in 14 languages. Over the last twelve months, we have acted on commercial and treaty arbitration matters totalling over £16 billion, and have continued to expand the international team with hires of leading individuals across Europe.
New partner arrivals include Ania Farren, the first woman to hold the position as Chair of the ICC UK Committee on Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution; Priyanka Kapoor, who specialises in commercial disputes emanating from India; Shivani Sanghi, an international arbitration specialist; and Philipp Duncker, an energy and automotive arbitration specialist in the firm's Munich office. Members of our international arbitration team appear as counsel and sit as arbitrators under the rules of most major arbitration institutions. Several of the firms' arbitration practitioners have been appointed to leadership positions with various arbitral institutions and organisations in the past 12 months, including co-president of the Paris Arbitration Week Board, Chair of the Benelux Arbitration and ADR Group, and to the steering committee of the Young Energy Arbitration Club.
The firm has particular strength and depth across investor-state, commercial, energy, commodities, tech, WIPO and other types of arbitration. Importantly, we continue to be instructed by states for commercial international arbitration work, including Kazakhstan state owned entities, African states and The Hellenic Republic. Our institutional clients in the Banking, Commodities and Oil and Gas sectors also continue to provide us with a regular stream of significant disputes, not all of which reach formal proceedings.
We have the largest disputes desk in the City of London focusing on assistance to Eurasian states, an area which drives a considerable proportion of arbitration work. Over 30 London fee earners are dedicated to high-profile arbitration references emanating from the CIS region, particularly those originating from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Some of our largest matters in the past 12 months in these regions have included acting for a Dutch Claimant investor in a public international law Bilateral Investment Treaty claim against the state of Ukraine, and four linked investor/State investment treaty arbitrations under UNCITRAL Rules against the Russian Federation. We also acted successfully for the claimants in four public international law Bilateral Investment Treaty claims on under UNCITRAL Rules in a PCA administration seated in the Hague. These arbitrations relate to claims of expropriation of real estate investments made in Crimea.
The firm is regularly involved in multiple large-scale contentious matters and we have made it our business to understand all our clients’ requirements to allow us to deploy the most efficient and practical technology solution alongside tailored workflows. We have created our own bespoke eDisclosure-based models to address the increasing demand in Data Subject Access Requests, utilising AI alongside other efficient processes to deliver a cost-effective and expeditious result within the strict timeframes that are often imposed.
Dispute Resolution is the largest department in Fieldfisher's network and has grown exponentially over the last few years. With over 400 contentious lawyers across the firm's European network, disputes work represents an ever-increasing percentage of Fieldfisher’s total turnover.
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