The year 2015 was majorly influenced by the geopolitical situation in Ukraine and the military conflict in the East of the country. This led to multiple disruptions in the performance of commercial contracts and triggered multiple investment disputes and led to a rise in arbitration-related work both in investment and commercial disputes.
The most recent investment cases involve Ukrainian companies, both state-founded and private ones, having initiated dispute settlement proceedings. There were also multiple private commercial disputes initiated against counterparties resident in Crimea.
Ukrainian companies are becoming more and more active in international commercial arbitration and litigation. According to the most recent LCIA report 3.1% of its caseload constituted cases involving a Ukrainian party. This results in necessity to engage a legal counsel competent enough to provide appropriate legal support.
The general economic situation in Ukraine and around the world has led to significant increase of debt restructuring, insolvency and liquidation-related disputes. Given the 2015 commencements of arbitrations and investment notices sent, it is anticipated that 2016 will be characterised by continued multiple arbitrations on Crimea-related and other commercial disputes as well as arbitral awards enforcement proceedings.
The Ukrainian arbitration-related legal market is anticipating possible upcoming changes in the regulation of arbitration at national level. At the beginning of 2016 there was a new Draft Act (no. 4351) registered in the Ukrainian Parliament which provides for judicial support to international arbitration by Ukrainian courts. Hopefully, the law will be adopted in the near future. We also expect implementation of the privatisation campaign, which may also potentially lead to dispute resolution assignments in this area.
Sayenko Kharenko’s reputed team is known for handling a wide array of arbitration across different arbitration rules. The firm arbitrates for solid names from the agricultural, banking, industrial, IT sectors; and is regularly attracted for representation in sensitive issues caused by the conflict on the Eastern regions and the annexed Crimea. In particular, the arbitration team represented one of the major Ukrainian banks in two arbitral proceedings concerning enforcement of pledge located in Crimea. The firm’s portfolio also encompasses multimillion complex post-M&A disputes between shareholders. Tatyana Slipachuk is a top reputed figure among arbitration practitioners, and was named as the prominent expert and one of the most in-demand arbitrators. Another key individual is Oleksandr Droug.
Arzinger demonstrates consistent expansion of its caseload of international disputes, in particular cases arising from investment, debt recovery and non-fulfillment of contractual duties. The firm rapidly expands the number of its Ukrainian clients, along with adding shareholders cases and complex multi-jurisdictional disputes to its portfolio. The team grows its market standing for handling investment disputes. At present the firm represents the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine in a series of high-stake cases, inter alia, more than USD 300 million recovery arbitration proceeding with Ukrenergy Trade ZRT (Hungary) and arbitration proceeding with Korlea Invest а.s (Slovakia) under VIAC rules. Another benchmark representation of the Ministry includes the investment arbitration proceeding under ICSID brought under the Ukraine-Netherlands Bilateral Investment Treaty. Markian Malskyy, partner and practice head, is highly appreciated for extensive practice and activities in arbitration circles.
Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners Ukraine is known for its well-versed team advising on commercial, investment and sports arbitrations. Recent instructions include participation in the enforcement matters at the Control and Disciplinary Committee of the Football Federation of Ukraine; successful representation of Spanish coaches with respect to FIFA and FFU Rules, and conducting negotiations with the Football Club in matters regarding payment of outstanding payments. The team represents clients both before Ukrainian and foreign arbitration institutions, and is led by two partners who are highly regarded on the market, Serhii Sviriba and Markiyan Kliuchkovskyi.
Throughout 2015, established market player ARBITRADE has strengthened niche aspects of its arbitration practice, such as investment, sports and commodities arbitration. Its team members acted as arbitrators, counsels and experts on Ukrainian law at various arbitral institutions. The major highlight is investment arbitration against Ukraine in ICSID brought under the Ukraine–Netherlands Bilateral Investment Treaty, where ARBITRADE represents Dutch investor, City-State N.V. and its Ukrainian subsidiaries. Among other notable instructions of late are acting as an expert appointed by a claimant, a Ukrainian bank on Ukrainian substantive law, in the LCIA and participation at the pre-arbitration stage of a dispute caused by the annexation of Crimea. ARBITRADE broadened the geographical reach of its arbitration practice by opening a representative office in Bulgaria. Having received appraisals from peers, Yuliya Chernykh (moved of counsel) co-heads the practice and is increasingly seen as arbitrator in the scientific area. Andriy Shulga, partner, heads the practice.
The past year has been remarkable for Integrites in terms of strengthening the dedicated team and expanding its caseload. The portfolio of projects included commercial arbitrations seated in London, Paris, Seoul, Stockholm, Moscow and Kiev as well as an investment-treaty case. The firm has completed a large SCC arbitration representing leading a poultry producer in the CIS in a complicated dispute with a producer of poultry-processing equipment. Another notable highlight was acting as a co-counsel to Morgan Stanley in a dispute which began as LCIA arbitration and developed into several fraud litigations in the USA. On the investment dispute side the team is currently representing the State of Ukraine in a multimillion ICSID case initiated by a Dutch company, Gilward Investments BV, under a Ukraine-Netherlands BIT. In September 2015 Olena Perepelynska (previously — Sayenko Kharenko) joined the firm as a partner and head of CIS International Arbitration. Another key team member is partner Vsevolod Volkov, who heads the arbitration practice in Ukraine.
AstapovLawyers International Law Group* is traditionally among the strongest market players in international commercial arbitration. The sizeable team receives instructions from an impressive list of clients from agribusiness, transport, energy, financial and investment sectors. In addition to Kiev, the group has offices in Moscow and Almaty, and is active across LCIA, VIAC, GAFTA, FOSFA, etc. It stands out for its particular expertise in Russian disputes, and is also known for being attracted for complex large scale shareholders disputes. Eugene Blinov, partner and head of international arbitration department,with Oleh Beketov, partner and head of international litigation, were acknowledged as established experts.
As a recognized dispute resolution force for domestic and multi-jurisdictional litigation, Ilyashev & Partners is rapidly developing its capacities in arbitration. One consistent client, namely BTA Bank, enlisted the firm for representation in a number of high-value arbitration proceedings of the ICAC at the UCCI regarding collection of assets of guarantors in Ukraine. Another highlight included a number of arbitration proceedings on non-payment of freight at the LMAA. Dmytro Shemelin was named by colleagues for his extensive track record. The practice is overseen by managing partner Mikhail Ilyashev, while senior partner Roman Marchenko was enlisted as an arbitrator in a range of LMAA cases.
The vast majority of cases handled by the Kiev office of CMS Cameron McKenna, as well as in previous years, come from the energy and natural resources sector, where the firm has exceptionally strong positions on the market. A notable project of 2015 is acting as a Ukrainian law counsel to JKX Oil & Gas plc in international arbitration proceedings and litigations brought against Ukraine under the Energy Charter Treaty over gas market restrictions and punitive taxation measures imposed by Ukraine (the mandate included obtaining the first ever emergency award against Ukraine). The team often acts in ICSID and UNCITRAL arbitrations. Olexander Martinenko, senior partner, head of commercial, regulatory, dispute resolution, is highly appreciated by peers, and is often invited as a Ukrainian law expert. Olga Vorozhbyt, partner, is another key figure of the practice. Olga Shenk strengthened the team when he joined the office as a senior associate in November 2015 from Baker & McKenzie.
The new ambitious though already experienced and known for previous work in one of the most authoritative Ukrainian law firms, namely the team of AEQUO, attracted instructions from high-profile clients and cases often involving major international investors and Ukrainian government authorities. In particular, the arbitration firm acts for Ukrainian clients in a set of unprecedented multi-billion international arbitrations at the SCC Arbitration Institute. Another notable representation is acting for Ukrainian clients at eight interrelated LCIA arbitration proceedings in a complex corporate dispute worth over USD 100 million. The group’s work was also sighted in media, construction, agrarian and distribution spheres, especially often in LCIA and in pre-arbitration dispute settlements. Counsel Pavlo Byelousov is dedicated to this practice area. The practice is supervised by managing partner Denis Lysenko.
Given its renowned strength in corporate finance, Avellum Partners is the point of choice in corporate and comprehensive shareholders disputes. The firm carries on representation of a high net worth individual, one of the shareholders, in a complex multi-party shareholders’ dispute in connection with the management and operation of a large Ukrainian agricultural holding against a sovereign wealth fund in ICC arbitration. The 5-lawyer practice team is led by Dmytro Marchukov, who joined from EPAP Ukraine as a partner and head of the dispute resolution practice in September 2015.
Vasil Kisil & Partners is particularly valued for traditional expertise in litigation matters and was seen to have grown its arbitration caseload throughout last year. The firm provided continuous legal advice on arbitrations pursuant to LCIA, GAFTA arbitrations, enforcement of arbitral awards in Ukraine and other jurisdictions. 2015 brought a broad range of contentious matters, including disputes and pre-arbitration stages of dispute resolution, arising from corporate, commercial, investment and real estate issues. The portfolio of clients covers the energy, chemical, construction, banking, machinery, agrarian and food industries. The main force in international arbitrationis Oleg Alyoshin, partner, who is often cited as a representative of the “old school”, and earns praise from peers for his long-standing market presence.
LBL — Legal Bureau of Likarchuk1 started its work in October 2015 as a boutique law firm with its primary focus on disputes and corporate/M&A. The director of the legal bureau and head of dispute resolution is Kostiantyn Likarchuk, a former partner at Avellum Partners, who came back to legal practice after serving as Deputy Chairman of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine, Director of Customs. He managed to form a solid portfolio of Ukrainian and international clients (Stihl, Dafi, MIS, VTB, WebMoney). The firm advised majority shareholders of Nemiroff Vodka Limited on LCIA arbitrations as well as a Ukrainian bank on debt recovery against one of the largest telecommunication company in various jurisdictions, including Ukraine, BVI and Cyprus. Among other ongoing projects is advising investors of Sky Mall on some 25 sets of litigation proceedings in England, BVI, Cyprus and Ukraine. Counsel Mykyta Nota, is another key figure of this practice.
The arbitration team of ENGARDE is known for handling complex cases on behalf of sound Ukrainian financial players and institutions. The team represents clients in a range of arbitration regulations, including ICC, LCIA and the SCC. Among remarkable current highlights is representing Smart Holding (Ukraine) in a dispute with Commerzbank Group (Germany) under ICC Arbitration Rules. Irina Nazarova enjoys an international reputation and was endorsed by peers for her deep theoretical knowledge, ability to handle complex multijurisdictional disputes and activity as an arbitrator.
Grischenko & Partners has been referred as a veteran of Ukraine’s international arbitration scene. In 2015 the international investment dispute of State Enterprise Energorynok v. Republic of Moldova under the Energy Charter Treaty, where the firm acted as a counsel for a claimant, was finally resolved at the SCC. The team also advised State Enterprise NNEGC Energoatom on possible arbitration against the State of Ukraine. Partner Sergei Voitovich, the head of arbitration practice, has been named by peers as a highly authoritative practitioner over the course of a number of years.
AGA Partners enjoys extensive experience in international arbitration with a sharp focus on commodities arbitration for a remarkable array of agribusinesses. For the last year the team reported on 20 arbitration processes to a total value of around USD 150 million. Notably, the team represented Public Company Rise, Ukrlandfarming group, in a dispute where Nibulon S.A. claimed damages for non-delivery of corn due to prohibition of export from Ukraine. Ivan Kasynyuk and Irina Moroz possess expertise in GAFTA and FOSFA arbitration. For many years, including 2015, Aminat Suleymanova, managing partner, has been highly visible on the market and gets endorsements from peers.
Lexwell & Partners is increasingly active in multi-jurisdictional litigation and investment disputes. The firm acted as a local counsel for its client in a dispute related to valuable ferroalloy assets located in Ukraine before the LCIA. The team acted as a co-counsel to the Ukrainian Government in investment arbitrations initiated by JKX Oil And Gas plc and its subsidiaries before the arbitration institute of the SCC; and is a co-counsel to the Ukrainian Government in the Krederi Ltd v. Ukraine investment dispute initiated at the ICSID. Managing partner Andrey Kolupaev is a key figure.
Asters commands significant experience in handling a range of arbitrations, particularly concerning investment protection. Recent developments with Crimea, which was annexed by Russia, have enlarged the firm’s workload. Given the team’s significant experience, Asters is a frequent choice in debt/losses recovery cases. The firm develops global dispute resolution strategies in various jurisdictions. The team leaders are Oleksiy Didkovskiy, managing partner, Yaroslav Petrov, counsel, with input from Anna Tkachova, associate.
Odessa-based Interlegal is a significant force on the legal market of the south of Ukraine, particularly for its niche position in maritime and shipping. The team receives instructions from clients on shipping, trade and construction matters. The recent case portfolio included recovery of damages due to the non-contractual condition of delivered goods in LCIA; recovery of a deposit under a sale-purchase contract of the vessel in LMAA; charges and damages recovery in the ICAC. The team practices English and Moldovan law, and it includes Andrey Perepelitsa, Karina Gorovaya, Natalia Myroshnychenko, Aleksey Remeslo, Karina Gorovaya.
The Kiev office of Baker & McKenzie has been providing legal assistance to clients in complicated disputes, including handling complex cross-border matters. Amongst others, the firm represents international and Ukrainian clients in commercial disputes as to the international sale and purchase of goods and services, corporate rights and real estate, investment protection, real estate and mortgage matters, etc., and acts on recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. Partner Ihor Siusel heads the dispute resolution practice group in Kiev.
Redcliffe Partners (prior to 1 December 2015 — Clifford Chance) announced the launch of a full-scope dispute resolution practice following the hire of Sergiy Gryshko, a well-known arbitration and litigation lawyer from CMS Cameron McKenna. He has a wealth of experience in all types of dispute resolution proceedings and acted in sophisticated international investment arbitrations, which are used increasingly by foreign investors to protect their rights relating to investing in Ukrainian assets; and has also been involved in developing and negotiating some core international treaties and agreements for the Government of Ukraine.
Founded in 2012 by Anton Sotir, the GoldenGate Law Firm has managed to develop a sizeable international commercial arbitrations portfolio and sharp focus on sports arbitration. In 2015 the firm was busy with challenging cases, especially in the area of football, including matters of employment and enforcement, multijurisdictional matters. Landmark projects include representing FC Barcelona in front of the CAS in their appeal against a transfer ban from world football body FIFA; representation of ACF Fiorentina against Mohamed Salah and FC Chelsea at the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber for Lombardi Associates Ltd, a UK-based sports company, in a dispute regarding the unilateral termination of an employment contract by the player. The firm also handles a number of commercial arbitrations, regularly tackling cases in the agrarian, international trade and investments fields.
ANTIKA Law Firm is known for its strong footprint in the area of energy and natural resources and expertise in subsequent dispute resolution, as well as in debt recovery cases. The firm handles arbitration cases at the ICAC at the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and German Maritime Arbitration Association. Alexey Kot, managing partner is the main contact.
WTS Tax Legal Consulting provides legal support through arbitration proceedings, recognition and enforcement of decisions of foreign courts and commercial arbitrations in Ukraine. The team, as guided by Maxim Oleksiyuk, won the landmark decision of the Supreme Economic Court of Ukraine as to the arbitrability of disputes regarding the turnover of corporate rights.
The practice of recognition and enforcement of the arbitration awards in Ukraine at Dentons has been growing successfully and extending the firm’s capabilities. Managing partner Oleg Batyuk is a prime contact.
Trusted Advisors, a new market player in the dispute resolution field, expands its specialization in commercial arbitration. The practice is led by partner Ivan Lishchyna.
Poberezhnyk & Partners, with its strong focus on dispute settlement, was instructed by Europlastik-UA LLC for representation in the IAC at the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a case on debt recovery for delivered commodities. Partner Tatiana Ignatenko led the project.
Attorneys’ Association Gestors received instructions from State-owned JSC Chornomornaftogaz to represent its interests in the LCIA in 2015-2016 for a case related to debt collection. Andriy Tsvyetkov is a lead partner.
Certificate in International Sports Law, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK).
LL.M. (summa cum laude) in International Sports Law, ISDE (Madrid, Spain).
LL.M. in International Commercial Arbitration Law, Stockholm University (Stockholm, Sweden).
LL.B. (summa cum laude), National University “Law Academy named after Yaroslav Mudryi” (Kharkov, Ukraine).
Anton Sotir is the managing partner at GoldenGate Law Firm. He regularly represents his clients in various international disputes, commercial arbitration and sports law cases. His experience includes handling arbitration proceedings at many institutions, including LCIA, SCC, ICC, ICAC, VIAC, CAS, GAFTA/FOSFA, and at ad hoc tribunals.
He also serves as an arbitrator adjudicating commercial disputes, and acts as permanent arbitrator in the Dispute Resolution Chamber of the Football Federation of Ukraine. In addition, he has broad experience of enforcing arbitral awards and foreign court decisions in Ukraine. Besides his private practice, he acts as a consultant at Lombardi Associates, with a special focus on the Central and Eastern European region.
Anton is an author of many articles in the spheres of commercial arbitration, sports law, maritime and transportation. He is a contributor to various books acting as an expert for Ukraine, including the 1st edition of the International Arbitration (2015), The FIFA Regulations on Working with Intermediaries (2015), The Sports Law Review (2016).
International Arbitration, Sports Law, Maritime Law, International Commercial Law
Ukrainian, Russian, English