Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has extensive experience in resolving international disputes, whether by international arbitration, litigation or proceedings in multiple fora and jurisdictions.
We are widely acknowledged to have one of the world’s leading practices in the international arbitration of disputes arising out of large-scale infrastructure projects, joint ventures and cross-border investments, with particular reference to matters involving oil and gas, power generation and telecommunications. Comprising more than 20 experienced practitioners operating out of the firm’s offices in Geneva, London, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Moscow, Beijing and the United States, the international arbitration practice has experience in well over 200 cases in arbitral fora all over the world, conducted pursuant to the rules of the LCIA, the ICC, the ICDR, UNCITRAL, the Swiss Chambers, the Dubai International Arbitration Centre, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, ICSID and other such sponsoring organizations and adjudicated under many different systems of national law.
Our clients in these matters have variously included sovereign governments and national utilities, power plant and mineral concession developers, oil companies, telecommunications operators, general EPC contractors, subcontractors, equipment and material suppliers, architects, insurers and other stakeholders. Partners in the international arbitration practice are currently acting or have recently acted as lead counsel in pending cases involving such matters as:
- the claims and defenses of a Russian shareholder in its disputes with an English joint venture partner over one of the 10 largest oil and gas companies in the world. The dispute took place in three separate English law arbitrations under UNCITRAL Rules in Stockholm, Sweden. The English partner brought an arbitration against its Russian partner for breach of the Sale and Purchase Agreement by which the joint venture was constituted, and a second arbitration against it for breach of a Shareholders’ Agreement. Both arbitrations arose from the Russian company’s previous acquisition of assets in Russia and Ukraine and were an attempt by the English partner to deflect its potential liability to its Russian joint venture partners in a first arbitration that those partners had brought against the English company for its attempt to form a separate joint venture with the Russian state oil company to explore for oil and gas in the Russian Arctic.
- the claims of a Saudi Arabian entity against Spanish engineering and construction companies for their performance of several EPC projects in oil and gas processing in Saudi Arabia (ICC rules, Swiss law, Geneva forum)
- the claims of a German EPC company in a €100 million ICC arbitration against its Polish boiler subcontractor for work on a 833 megawatt lignite-fired power plant in Belchatow, Poland. The case involves more than 20 heads of claim and counterclaim, with the main issue in dispute being the extent of pass-through liability for the €89 million in delay liquidated damages that were assessed by the owner of the plant under the main EPC contract.
- the claims and defenses of a Houston-based technology company in a $180 million ICC arbitration against a Korean industrial manufacturer and Hyundai affiliate to which had been licensed proprietary technology for manufacturing polysilicon (a key ingredient in solar panels and semiconductors) in exchange for license fees and reimbursement of its out-of-pocket expenses
- the claims of a Middle Eastern chemical company in a $120 million London seat LCIA arbitration against a U.S. oil and gas company concerning the failure to supply required volumes under a gas sale and purchase agreement, alleged force majeure and complex technical questions of reservoir engineering
- the successful defense of claims of up to $19 billion in a London seat UNCITRAL arbitration arising under a New York law-governed agreement. This case involved lawyers from our New York, London and Geneva offices operating seamlessly together in a single team.
Akin Gump’s international arbitration practice receives high rankings in such publications as Chambers Global, The Legal 500 and Global Arbitration Review, and our lawyers are regularly singled out for praise and recognition. Geneva partner Michael J. Stepek is recommended in Chambers Global as having earned praise from clients for his “client-focused approach and excellence in forming arguments” and in the European Legal 500, which notes client comments that he is “very strong in formulating arguments,” “a sharp thinker, very independent and self-sufficient” who “always gets excellent results.” London partner Justin Williams is recommended in Chambers UK, which reports that “Sources praise his punctual, practical and professional service and attest to his ‘strategic and valuable advice during arbitration’,” and in Legal 500 UK, which notes that “Williams gives honest advice about how to win an arbitration.”
Akin Gump also has a leading English litigation practice, and we are involved in many of the highest-profile disputes in London, spanning energy, telecommunications, construction, M&A, investment funds and shareholder issues. For example, we recently obtained an anti-suit injunction restraining Indian shareholders from prosecuting their claims before the Indian Company Law Board and exercising other rights under Indian law on behalf of a shareholder in a dispute over control of a $1 billion consumer products company. We currently act for Petrobras in its $500 million litigation concerning the P36 production platform, described in The Times newspaper as “the world’s largest oil platform dispute.” We also regularly work alongside local counsel in handling litigation in other jurisdictions, including India, the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus and the Cayman Islands.