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Most innovative law firms in Dispute Resolution 2012

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Firm
Award level
Innovation
Originality
Rationale
Impact
Total
Description
AshurstStand-outFighting a £112m fine against Imperial Tobacco79723Led the challenge to collapse the Office of Fair Trading's case against Imperial Tobacco by forcing the OFT to adopt a factual approach. This was the largest competition case ever to come before the UK courts and it will have a significant impact on Competition Act cases.
Baker McKenzieStand-outDispute avoidance for De La Rue67922Maneuvered through highly sensitive political circumstances to ensure that the world's largest integrated commercial security printer and papermaker, De La Rue, avoided a dispute over the rightful ownership of Libyan Bank notes during the revolution. In a case that had huge potential impact – Libya mainly deals in cash – the firm successfully managed its client's risk exposure.
Addleshaw GoddardStand-outChallenge to the OFT68721Spearheaded a successful argument against fines levied by the OFT in a major construction cartel investigation which, clients say, would not have gone ahead without the firm's determination and encouragement. It impacted 112 companies whose fines had been miscalculated.
Stephenson HarwoodStand-outServing a claim through Facebook67821In a European first, the firm used Facebook to serve a claim against a defendant. It demonstrated the court's openness to use social media as a valid communications channel and opens up claimants' ability to recover funds.
Allen & OveryHighly commendedSafeguarding London's reputation as an arbitration centre75820The firm saw the implications of the Court of Appeal's judgement in Jivraj v Hashwani for London as an arbitration centre. The judgement found that an arbitrator should be treated as an employee and was therefore subject to far-reaching anti-discrimination employment laws. Allen & Overy pro-actively approached the International Chamber of Commerce and intervened in the litigation, acting for them on a pro bono basis. They were successful in the Supreme Court and helped to protect London's reputation as an arbitration centre.
Berwin Leighton PaisnerHighly commendedOnline newspaper content67720The firm acted for the Newspaper Licensing Authority (NLA) on a breach of copyright case against Meltwater in the Copyright Tribunal. In a climate where there is an assumption that internet content should be free, the firm marshalled some creative arguments to convince the High Court and Court of Appeal to protect NLA's licences and stop copyright infringement. It resulted in a decision which has huge significance for newspapers and set a precedent for the terms of use of online newspaper content, in effect protecting NLA's core business.
Bird & BirdHighly commendedLongest running 'patent troll' litigation in the electronics sector76720The firm advised Nokia in a patent trolling claim which suggested that it required a licence to patents owned by IPCom, who sought billions in royalties. Had Nokia settled IPCom's claim for anything near the demanded sums, it could have presented Nokia and Europe as a soft touch for 'patent trolling' and welcomed an onslaught of patent litigation. The work began in 2008 and over 70 separate actions have been completed involving 49 patent families. Litigation is ongoing but the bulk of the issue has now been resolved and the result has been an overwhelming success for Nokia.
Hogan LovellsHighly commendedA $10bn fraud case for a major Kazakhstan bank77620The firm acted for BTA Bank in nine claims brought in England against Mukhtar Ablyazov, BTA's former chairman. The claims brought by BTA in England total more than $6bn. A number of landmark judgments have set precedents for future fraud cases but at time of going to press, the case was still ongoing.
Taylor WessingHighly commendedAsset tracing in a large pensions case77620In the largest pensions fraud case since Maxwell, the firm advised Independent Trustee Services Limited (ITS) which had been called in to replace GP Noble Trustees Limited, which was accused of embezzling £52m from nine different pension schemes. Through the adoption of various commercial solutions, the firm successfully helped ITS trace assets in many jurisdictions.
GarriguesHighly commendedChallenge to Spanish local municipality tax66719In getting two major competitors, Orange and Vodafone, to work together, the firm successfully took a case against the imposition of local taxes to the European Court of Justice.
Jones DayHighly commendedCayman Islands cross-border dispute67619In a dispute that involved the refinancing of a luxury five star hotel in the French West Indies, the firm created a strategy which forced its opponent to reveal its arguments far sooner than they would have liked, resulting in the collapse of the case. The opponent's strategy was to advance claims by way of complex and lengthy arbitration proceedings and to prevent the firm's client ESO Capital from enforcing its security. Jones Day developed a strategy to flush out the borrower entities and circumvent the arbitration process.
McCann FitzGeraldHighly commendedQuinn litigation67619In what has been described as a complex chess game, the firm, acting for receivers IBRC (the former Anglo-Irish Bank), conducted litigation in 11 different jurisdictions to recover assets. The estimated saving for the client is to date €500m, and the firm was responsible for a number of firsts throughout in the recovery of what were largely personal assets.
Mishcon de ReyaHighly commendedBank of Ireland fraud case67619In a multi-million euro forged cheque scam, the firm secured a victory for the bank in the English High Court, which then made it easier for the bank to litigate in Switzerland, where the bank's stolen monies had been frozen. Mishcon stepped in to overturn the strategy of a previous legal adviser, who's approach had failed.
Reynolds Porter ChamberlainHighly commendedTottenham Riots67619After the 2011 London riots, the firm proactively re-drafted the insurance industry's claims forms to enable better clarity between insured and insurer. Claims can now be made online and in a narrow time frame.
Slaughter and MayHighly commendedCollapse of Keydata Investment Services Limited47819Norwich & Peterborough Building Society (N&P) had recommended Keydata's products to thousands of its customers so when the latter failed, it needed both legal advice and commercial solutions. Slaughter and May designed a bespoke scheme to deliver ex gratia payments to investors in return for assignment to N&P of their rights in their Keydata investments and the settlement of any potential claims against N&P by investors. Crucially, it was acceptable to all the different regulators which had varying objectives and responsibilities.
Uría MenéndezHighly commendedPrivacy of data66719When one of the firm's banking clients was ordered to hand over its customers' private information, Uría used a unique strategy that invoked the use of constitutional law to fight off the order (which could not be appealed). It has created a precedent in Spain that acknowledges latest data protection and privacy standards.
Bird & BirdCommendedInternet Service Providers (ISP) obligations66618The firm challenged a Belgian ruling which obliged ISPs to monitor and filter all traffic on their networks. Previous cases concentrated on ISPs' attempts to reduce copyright theft but the firm challenged the idea that ISPs should be responsible for policing. They argued that monitoring all content would infringe internet users' privacy and freedom. The impact of the case is being felt all over Europe and in the US, and the firm has potentially secured ISPs from having to submit to untenable business practices.
Hogan LovellsCommendedEmployers' pensions liability66618Acting for the trustee of the Pilots National Pension Fund (PNPF), the firm was faced with sorting out a £300m deficit. Through its strategy, the firm received judgements on 38 issues, many of which have bedevilled the pensions industry for the last 10 years. The scheme was complicated by the fact that many of the marine pilots were self-employed, but the firm's success will see 1,600 members receive their full pensions.
Simmons & SimmonsCommendedEnforcement for Nomihold66618In a four-year enforcement litigation, the firm was granted an award now worth in excess of $210 million against Mobile TeleSystems Finance SA ("MTSF"), a wholly-owned Luxembourg subsidiary of a Russian parent company. The firm obtained an order that they be added as a party to an arbitration in England between MTSF (who they had judgment against) and its parent. This was an unprecedented remedy and MTSF has been ordered to direct payments from its parent to England, thus establishing jurisdiction in England for the enforcement measure, an order never before made by the court here.
Tuca Zbarcea & AsociatiiCommendedForeign direct investment in Romania66618The firm unblocked Romania's largest foreign direct investment worth US$ 4bn through its representation of Rosia Montana Gold Corporation SA (RMGC). The company hoped to develop the most complex industrial project in Romania, a gold and silver mining project but had been beset by litigation for five years. Tuca's team of 20 lawyers managed to break the deadlock of 20 different pieces of litigation.
Allen & OveryCommendedAdvice to the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA)55717The firm, a long-standing adviser to ISDA, helped it act as a custodian to the Master Agreement governing the derivatives industry in recent litigation which dealt with the consequences of default events. Although ISDA had no financial stake in the litigation, it wanted to be a party to it for the good of the financial markets in general. Allen & Overy was critical in helping ISDA form its strategy in a case which is likely to have serious impact for financial institutions.
Hogan LovellsCommendedChallenged the OFT's decision on tobacco price fixing55717The firm successfully acted for Morrisons and Safeway in the tobacco litigation, enabling its clients to revoke huge fines, £8.6m in the case of Morrisons, and £10.9m in the case of Safeway, one of the largest of all the retailers involved. The case will allow manufacturers of different products to offer discounts to retailers in return for specified price reductions, without the fear they will be accused of anti-competitive behaviour by the Office of Fair Trading.
Jones DayCommendedChallenge to the European Commission (EC)55717The firm successfully overturned the EC's finding that a parent company that holds (almost) all of the share capital of its subsidiary is jointly liable for the anti-competitive behavior of that subsidiary. Instead of contesting the presumption of liability, the Jones Day team focused on arguing that it is for the court to ensure that such presumption be rebuttable in practice.
McCann FitzGeraldCommendedHMRC wind-up petition65617The firm effectively saved a company providing software to store and access millions of medical records in the UK through proceedings in the Irish Court. It secured an order that gave the UK company protection from its UK creditors, a groundbreaking decision which saved the company from a winding-up petition from the HMRC. It also enabled new funding to be attracted and the Group was successfully re-structured.
PLMJCommendedOnline betting in Portugal56617The firm acted for the National Association of Casinos to ban the world's biggest online betting company (bwin.com) from promotion in Portugal.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & FlomCommendedLack of jurisdiction56617The firm secured the dismissal for lack of jurisdiction of a €1bn claim filed against the Slovak Republic by the Dutch health insurance holding company, HICEE.
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