International arbitration is a private way of resolving disputes between professional parties from different countries. Parties in international arbitration are (mostly, large) companies from different countries, but can also be sovereign states and foreign investors. Confidentiality and the high degree of freedom for parties in designing the process according to their own insights sets international arbitration apart from litigation before a national court. Parties can, for insance, appoint their own arbitrator.
We handle the following types of disputes:
- disputes between companies resulting from a conflict between two international joint venture partners;
- disputes with a state about, for example, disadvantaging a foreign investor, by (de facto) expropriating properties such as refineries or certain licenses.
- measures adopted by foreign states that create barriers to trade contrary to international treaties, such as import duties or quality requirements.
The (Dutch) national court is not always authorised or qualified to preside over these cases. The national court only really plays a role in disputes on the validity of a ruling in international arbitration (annulment procedures), or the enforcement of that ruling (disputes on the recognition and the enforcement of arbitral rulings). Sometimes this involves the Dutch national court, for example because objects for attachment are located in the Netherlands or because the parties want the international arbitration to take place in the Netherlands.
bureau Brandeis’ arbitration specialists are often involved in all the different stages of international arbitration.
We often act in arbitrations in relation to all possible disputes, as Dutch legal counsel, sometimes in cooperation with the regular legal counsel of the client, from his own jurisdiction. Collegiality, quality and efficiency are always key.
In addition, we act and advise in respect of annulment procedures pertaining to international arbitration rulings where the Netherlands was the place of arbitration. We (Louis Berger and Jozua van der Beek) successfully litigated the first annulment case regarding an arbitral ruling on a Bilateral Investment Treaty (Chevron/Ecuador) up to the Supreme Court. In case of sovereign states the question that often arises is whether arbitral rulings can be enforced. Our office has litigated a number of such cases, up to the Supreme Court.
We have extensive experience with attachments in relation to international arbitrations, where the place of arbitration was not the Netherlands. We advise and litigate on discovery with the help of witnesses or evidence based in the Netherlands. We assist with drafting and issuing legal opinions on issues of Dutch law to inform international arbitration panels. Naturally, we also act as attorneys in international arbitration procedures, for example before the International Court of Arbitration (ICC) or in arbitrations at other, specialised arbitration institutes, including all Dutch arbitration institutes.
Litigation in international arbitration is strongly influenced by the Anglo-Saxon legal culture. Witness statements, the hearing itself and cross examinations of (expert) witnesses are highly valued. This is also true for so-called ‘hot tubbing’, i.e. a confrontation at the hearing between experts appointed by the parties in order to get to the core of a dispute sooner. Parties in international arbitration therefore need to be able to count on an attorney who is highly experienced in all aspects of this special legal procedure.
bureau Brandeis’ international arbitration team has extensive experience in international arbitration.
Louis Berger presides the international arbitration team.