London Still Holding Court

29 08 2018

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For Ukrainian parties involved in disputes on share purchase or shareholder agreements, joint ventures, loans and other financial instruments with a high amount at stake, in most cases, London is still the preferred choice, says Oleg Alyoshin, a partner and head of international arbitration at Vasil Kisil & Partners in Kiev.

He says: "It was, and, I believe, still is, a perception among the businessmen from the post-Soviet area that London is such a place of universal justice and fairness, that English contractual law is something simple (because the law is what a contract says) and an English court shall interpret the contractual provisions from the standpoint of fairness and honesty."

The reality has sometimes been different, but generally this is still the case, he explains, adding that another reason for London’s attraction is that its judiciary provides creditors with rather effective injunction instruments enforceable in many countries, such as freezing orders, disclosure orders, Norwich Pharmacal orders, et cetera.

In his practice, any reduction in the number of Ukrainian parties choosing London has not been significant although, traditionally, the majority of energy-related disputes go to the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) and construction/infrastructure disputes go mainly to the ICC International Court of Arbitration, with Paris or London as the seat.

For Ukrainian parties, Alyoshin sees no reason why the perception of London as a major dispute resolution hub will signiicantly change in future.

"I see that Paris is putting much effort into competing with London and it may be that Paris could take on a certain amount of disputes,” he says.

For Russian parties, he has a different view: "I think that the amount of Russian-related disputes going to London may be significantly decreased in future", citing the political situation and the arbitration reform in Russia which is intent on having Russian parties with Russia-related disputes resolve those disputes in Russia.

Published: CDR-News, Autumn 2018

Author: Oleg Alyoshin