GAR 100 - 16th Edition



Professional notice

Helped Poland to set aside a treaty award in the Belgian courts

People in Who’s Who Legal1
Pending cases as counsel12
Value of pending counsel workUS$1.01 billion
Treaty cases as counsel1
Third-party funded cases0
Current arbitrator appointments2 (0 as chair or sole)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator1

Founded in Brussels in 1965, Liedekerke was one of the few players in the Belgian market to resist the trend of integration with Anglo-American law firms in the early 2000s. It has remained independent ever since, leaving the disputes team less hampered by conflicts of interest than some of its competitors.

Liedekerke got into international disputes at an early stage. In 1970, two of the founding partners, John Kirkpatrick and Michel Waelbroeck, represented Belgium before the International Court of Justice in the landmark Barcelona Traction case concerning protection of foreign shareholders.

The firm has developed a strong focus on francophone Africa and handles arbitrations for various companies and governments in the region. It has also been involved in some of the biggest enforcement proceedings in the Belgian courts of recent years, including the Yukos case against Russia. Liedekerke is one of the few Belgian firms that also acts in foreign court proceedings, including in France, Canada and the UK.

The arbitration and dispute resolution practice has been led since 2019 by Arnaud Nuyts, who has been at the firm for almost three decades. He works alongside partner Aimery De Schoutheete and counsel Bruno Hardy. Another name to know is senior associate Gabriele Ruscalla, who joined in 2021 after five years as counsel at the ICC in Paris.


While the arbitration team is based in Brussels, Liedekerke also has offices in London as well as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda.

Who uses it?

The firm’s state clients include Belgium, Poland and the DRC, whose national mining company Gécamines regularly uses it for commercial arbitrations. Kazakhstan is another high-profile client.

In addition to the Yukos shareholders, its private clients include Lebanon’s Consolidated Contractors Company, and Emirati logistics company DP World.

Track record

The firm lifted attachments on more than US$22 billion in assets owned by a Kazakhstan sovereign wealth fund in 2018. The assets had been frozen at the request of the Statis, Moldovan businessmen trying to enforce a US$500 million Energy Charter Treaty award. 

Together with Foley Hoag, the firm helped Belgium see off a €1 billion ICSID claim brought by a Chinese shareholder in financial services group Fortis Financial, in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. The case was thrown out in 2015.

It has had several wins for the DRC. In one case, it defeated a US$150 million claim by the Congolese subsidiary of a US grain dealer in a Zurich-seated case under Swiss Rules. Liedekerke also knocked out the vast majority of a US$750 million ICC claim by another US investor.

Liedekerke helped Gécamines settle an ICC claim worth US$150 million that it brought against subsidiaries of China’s Jinchuan Group over a copper and cobalt mining venture. Jinchuan apparently agreed to pay US$25 million to settle the dispute.

Finnish businessman Mohamed Bahgat turned to Liedekerke to help attach money paid by Egypt to Brussels-based international air safety body EUROCONTROL. Bahgat was seeking to enforce a US$120 million award against Egypt over the loss of his metal investments. The state agreed to settle the award in 2021.

Recent events

Liedekerke secured another good result for Kazakhstan in its dispute with the Statis, persuading the Brussels Court of Appeal that the ECT award was obtained by fraud and therefore cannot be enforced.

Nuyts, alongside a team from Skadden, helped DP World win on liability in an ICSID claim against Belgium over a container terminal at the Port of Antwerp. A tribunal majority held that the repossession of land at the concession amounted to partial expropriation. The proceeding is now in the quantum phase, with reports that Belgium could be on the hook for as much as €150 million.

The firm also helped Poland to overturn an UNCITRAL award obtained by Manchester Securities Corporation under the US-Poland BIT. The firm says this is the first time an investment treaty award has been annulled by the Belgian courts.

At the ICC, the firm is acting for an international construction company in a Geneva-seated arbitration relating to a major oil and gas project in Qatar, and a UAE-based pharmaceutical distribution company in a London-based case with a Russian manufacturer.

Liedekerke continues to act for Gécamines in a Paris-seated ICC arbitration concerning its role as a minority shareholder in a joint venture with a foreign investor to operate ore and cobalt deposits in the DRC.

Hardy, who has been at the firm since 2015, was promoted to counsel in 2022.

Client comment

A state client says the firm is “exceptional”, with Nuyts, in particular, excellent at dealing with complicated matters.

Fady Khayat of UAE healthcare company Panchrest says Nuyts is “strategic, academic, experienced [and] cool”. Associate Julien Degroof is “very smart, can recall every minute detail and is great at contextualising the issue at hand”.

Sevag Panossian, general counsel at Consolidated Contractors, says it is “always easy to coordinate” with the Liedekerke lawyers and to “have them understand our company’s needs and perspectives”.

Liedekerke’s International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Practice (IADR) is the leading practice in Belgium for international arbitration and arbitration-related court proceedings, including setting-aside and enforcement of awards. Our senior lawyers also regularly sit as arbitrators in commercial and investor-state arbitrations.

Our team is the largest team of lawyers in Belgium acting as counsel in international commercial and investor-state arbitrations, and has been involved in disputes spanning all continents. Our experience in international arbitration covers proceedings under the major arbitration institutions and disputes governed by a wide variety of laws. We have acted in arbitrations under the rules of many institutions such as the ICC, LCIA, SIAC, ICSID, and of institutions in Switzerland (SAC), Belgium (CEPANI) and Luxembourg (CLL), as well as in ad hoc proceedings under the UNCITRAL rules.

The track-record of Liedekerke’s IADR practice for enforcement and setting-aside proceedings is unparalleled in Belgium. We have been involved in the major enforcement and annulment proceedings that have taken place in Belgium over the last 10 years, including proceedings involving sovereign entities and sovereign immunities. Liedekerke also has extensive experience in cassation appeals in arbitration-related court proceedings.

Liedekerke’s lawyers act for international companies, financial institutions and sovereign entities in international arbitration proceedings in a variety of fields including mining, energy , engineering and construction, infrastructure, M&A and shareholder disputes, and distribution disputes. We have represented clients in cases under the laws of a wide range of jurisdictions, including England & Wales, the laws of all major jurisdictions in the Gulf and the Levant (Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Lebanon), the laws of Northern and Central African States (Algeria, DRC, and OHADA), and of course Belgian law, International law and the UNIDROIT Principles.

In addition to our work as counsel in international arbitration proceedings and in enforcement proceedings, Liedekerke also regularly assists clients in cross-border issues. Our lawyers are called upon to advise and assist in the organisation and coordination of multi-jurisdiction claims and defence strategies, in international investment protection, in the drafting and negotiation of international contracts and to assist in pre-litigation negotiations strategies to ensure the best outcome for our clients.

Regional Expertise: Europe, the Middle East, and Africa

Liedekerke has a strong foothold in Europe, with offices in Brussels and London. In addition, our team has long been involved in engineering, construction and distribution disputes in the Middle East, and in Africa and the Great Lakes Region where we can count on the local presence of our offices in the DRC and Rwanda to provide the best representation to our clients, companies and State entities alike, in particular in the mining sector.

Our diverse team of lawyers have experience in OHADA law, the laws of the DRC, Rwanda and Burundi, and the laws of Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE, among many others.

The team is composed of 2 Partners, 1 Counsel and 12 Associates with various levels of experience, which allows us to deploy a full capacity on cases of any size. Our lawyers have been partly educated abroad, mostly in the United States, and are well versed in the particularities of foreign laws and foreign proceedings. The team has diverse linguistic capabilities from English, French and Dutch, to Italian, Spanish and Arabic.

Founded in 1965, Liedekerke is the largest independent law firm in Belgium. With more than 130 lawyers, our aim is to provide the best legal advice, tailored to our clients’ needs, in all sectors of the law. The firm has offices in Brussels (1965) and London (UK, 2007). Since 2015 and 2019 respectively, Liedekerke operates subsidiaries in Kinshasa (DRC, January 2015), and Kigali (Rwanda, June 2019), allowing us to provide advice to clients across Francophone Africa and the Great Lakes Region.


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