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singapore

SIAC registers record number of new cases in 2019

The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has set a new annual record for new cases after notching up 479 new filings in 2019.It marked the third consecutive year in which SIAC registered more than 400 cases. SIAC recorded 452 and 402 in 2017 and 2018, respectively. About 95 percent of the cases, while the remainder were ad hoc appointments.Additionally, in 2019, SIAC’s total sum in dispute was S$10.91 billion ($8.09 billion), a 14.6 percent increase compared to the amount in the previous year.The year saw parties from 59 jurisdictions arbitrate cases at the SIAC. According to the centre, “while India, China and the U.S. retained their top foreign user rankings, other significant contributors to SIAC’s caseload included new entrants from Brunei, the Philippines, Thailand, Switzerland, UAE and the UK, which is testament to SIAC’s global appeal to users from diverse legal systems and cultures.”

Davinder Singh, SC, SIAC chairman, said, “We are delighted that so many from around the world have placed their trust in us. We remain committed to ensure that SIAC will provide the best service ever in this field.”

Montreal

White & Case Advises Hg on Investment in Medical Systems

Global law firm White & Case has advised Hg, the specialist private equity investor focused on software and service businesses, on its agreement for an investment in Intelerad Medical Systems, a leading global provider of medical imaging software and enterprise workflow solutions.

Founded in 1999, Intelerad specializes in diagnostic viewing, reporting and collaboration solutions for radiologists. Headquartered in Montreal, Intelerad serves more than 300 healthcare organizations around the world, including radiology groups, imaging centers, clinics and reading groups, and has a strong and growing presence in hospital imaging departments.

Healthcare technology is a core sector for Hg, and Intelerad represents the fifth healthcare technology investment in Hg’s current portfolio.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020, following satisfaction of customary regulatory approvals.

The White & Case team was led by partner Oliver Brahmst and included partners Frank Lupinacci, Sang Ji, Steven Lutt, Tal Marnin and Arlene Arin Hahn, and associates Adam Plotkin, Jordan Kobb, Brian Fetterolf, Daniel Kozin, Brandon Dubov, Arian Mossanenzadeh, Harry Hudesman, Neeraj Shah, Caroline Cima, Julianne Prisco and Mark Kim (all in New York); partners Rebecca Farrington and Farhad Jalinous, counsel Paul Pittman and Keith Schomig, and associates Ajita Shukla and Daniel Rosenthal (all in Washington, DC); partner Jarlath McGurran and associate Mahir Maini (London); and partners Nirangjan Nagarajah and Michelle Keen, counsel Andrea Reeves, and associate Tiffany Leach (all in Melbourne).

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in India

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in India – Inclusion of UAE as a Reciprocating Territory

The Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India vide its Notification dated January 17, 2020 (“Notification”) declared United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) a “reciprocating territory” for the purposes of enforcing foreign civil decrees in India. The declaration has been made by the Indian government in exercise of powers under Explanation 1 appended to Section 44A, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (“CPC”). Pursuant to the Notification, decrees passed by the courts in UAE are now executable in India as if they were passed in India.

CPC lays down the procedure for enforcement of foreign judgments and decrees in India. A foreign judgment is a judgment of a foreign court and a foreign court means a court situated outside India and not established or continued by the authority of the Central Government. A foreign judgment needs to be conclusive for it to be enforceable in India. The test of conclusiveness of a foreign judgment is provided under Section 13 of CPC, which postulates that a foreign judgment shall be conclusive unless:

  1. It has not been pronounced by a court of competent jurisdiction;
  2. It has not been given on the merits of the case;
  3. It appears, on the face of the proceedings, to be founded on an incorrect view of international law or a refusal to recognize the law of India in cases in which such law is applicable;
  4. The proceedings in which the judgment was obtained are opposed to natural justice;
  5. It has been obtained by fraud;

f)    It sustains a claim founded on a breach of any law in force in India.

Broadly, a foreign judgment in India can be enforced in the following ways:

  1. Decrees passed by courts in reciprocating territories: Reciprocating territories enjoy the privilege of direct enforcement of a decree within the territory of India by filing execution proceedings of the decree before an Indian court. A reciprocating territory is any country or territory outside India which the Central Government may, by notification in the official gazette, declare to be a reciprocating territory and the superior courts with reference to any such territory, are the courts as may be specified in the notification notified by the Government. In accordance with the CPC, if a certified copy of the decree of any of the superior courts of any reciprocating territory is filed in a district court, the decree may be executed in India as if it has been passed by the district court. Such foreign judgment to be executable in India must be conclusive (i.e., should not be falling under any of the above stated six categories) and needs to comply with the laws of limitation of India. Also, the decree with reference to a superior court would be any decree or judgment of such court under which a sum of money is payable, not being a sum payable in respect of taxes or in respect of a fine or other penalties, but shall in no case include an arbitral award, even if such an award is enforceable as a decree or judgment.

Some of the countries that have been declared to be “reciprocating territories” are United Kingdom, Singapore, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Trinidad & Tobago, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, etc.

  1. Judgments passed by non-reciprocating territories: Such judgments can be enforced only by first preferring a lawsuit in an Indian court for a judgment based on the foreign judgment and second, filing for execution proceedings after obtaining the Indian decree. Section 14 of the CPC provides for presumption, albeit a rebuttable one, in favour of the foreign judgment being one passed by a court of competent jurisdiction. For the purposes of Indian courts, such foreign judgment is of evidentiary value only.

Considering that the decrees from reciprocating territories are directly enforceable in India, the inclusion of UAE as a “reciprocating territory” will be beneficial for a UAE decree-holder to enforce the decreed time and cost-efficiently in India. The courts in UAE which will be considered as the superior courts of UAE for the purposes of section 44A of CPC are the Federal Supreme Court; Federal, the First Instance and Appeals Courts in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah; and local courts in Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah Judicial Department, Abu Dhabi Global Markets and Dubai International Financial Center.

It further implies that Indian expatriates in UAE would no longer be able to seek safe haven in their home country if they have a decree against them in a civil case in the UAE. It would also be interesting to see how this development will impact the proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 were so far the National Company Law Tribunal (“NCLT”, in the matter of M/s Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited v. M/s Rajkumar Impex Private Limited CP/670/IB/2017), has held that NCLT has no jurisdiction to enforce foreign decree, however, there is no bar in it taking cognizance of the foreign decree. The Notification, however, will have no impact upon enforcement of arbitral awards passed by arbitral tribunals seated in UAE as the scope of Notification is strictly limited to decrees covered under section 44A of CPC.

Iraq Parliament votes to end presence of foreign forces

In a special session on Sunday the Iraqi Parliament approved a resolution that calls for the Iraqi government to end the presence of foreign forces in the country.

The vote comes in response to a US drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassim Suleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Despite the potential difficulties associated with the removal of US troops, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi ultimately recommended removal to the Council of Representatives. The resolution was passed unanimously by the 172 members in attendance.

US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement Sunday, “while we await further clarification on the legal nature and impact of today’s resolution, we strongly urge Iraqi leaders to reconsider the importance of the ongoing economic and security relationship between the two countries and the continued presence of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.”

While explaining the decision to target Suleimani, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in a Sunday interview that the US is preparing for several risks not only “from the proxy militias in Iraq but in the region more broadly along every vector, including cyber.”

Alexander McMyn Joins White & Case as a Partner in Singapore

Global law firm White & Case LLP has expanded its Global Banking Practice with the addition of Alexander (Xander) McMyn as a partner in Singapore.

“Singapore is the key financial hub in the Southeast Asian bank finance market, which has matured significantly in recent years with a marked increase in sophisticated financial sponsor activity,” said White & Case partner Eric Leicht, who leads the Firm’s Global Banking Practice. “Xander’s addition sends a clear signal that White & Case is determined to continue growing its role advising clients across Asia-Pacific on their most important financing transactions.”

McMyn has more than a decade of experience in Asia-Pacific and is recognized as a leading lawyer in the region’s finance market. He advises creditors, sponsors and borrowers on a wide range of transactions and has a particular focus on key investment destinations such as India, Indonesia and Australia, as well a thorough knowledge of other emerging Asia-Pacific markets. McMyn’s breadth of experience in the region is reflected in the variety of structures with which he is familiar – clients turn to him for advice on event-driven, structured and limited-recourse financings as well as commodities-related investments. Recently, a significant amount of McMyn’s work has involved the reassessment and restructuring of transactions that have not performed in the current environment. He joins White & Case from Hogan Lovells, where he was a partner, and brings nearly 20 years of experience.

“Xander is a leading lawyer with a substantial reputation in the Asia-Pacific finance market and strong relationships with key financial institutions in Singapore and across the region,” said White & Case partner Baldwin Cheng, Regional Section Head, Asia-Pacific Corporate, Finance & Restructuring. “Xander adds materially to our Asia-Pacific banking team, which is tier one ranked in Greater China and Japan, and he will play a particularly important role as we continue leveraging our capabilities in Southeast Asia.”

White & Case partner Eric Berg, Head of Asia-Pacific, said: “Xander’s arrival is a further demonstration of our ongoing pursuit of the Firm’s strategic growth priorities in Asia-Pacific. A combination of lateral additions and internal promotions have added ten new partners in the region over the past year, and these lawyers have strengthened our strategically key disputes, finance and M&A practices in Australia, China, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.”

White & Case Advises Naspers on US$1.16 Billion Acquisition

Global law firm White & Case LLP has advised Naspers, a global internet and entertainment group and one of the world’s largest technology investors, on its US$1.16 billion acquisition of an additional 29.1 percent shareholding in Avito, the leading Russian online classifieds site.

The transaction values Avito at an implied enterprise value of US$3.85 billion. Following the acquisition Naspers stake in Avito will increase from 70.4 percent to 99.6 percent (on a fully diluted basis). The remaining shares are held by existing management.

White & Case also advised Naspers on its minority investment in Avito in 2013 and on Naspers’ subsequent US$1.2 billion investment in 2015, when Naspers became the majority owner of Avito.

Avito was established in 2007 by Filip Engelbert and Jonas Nordlander together with founding investors Vostok New Ventures and Kinnevik. It achieved revenue of US$286.5 million and EBITDA of US$127.6 million for its last full financial year to March 2018 and Avito currently has 10.3million unique visitors per day.

The White & Case team which advised on the transaction was led by partners Eric Michailov (London / Moscow) and Johan Steen (Stockholm) with support from counsel Sophie Sahlin (London) and associates Hanna Wingren (London / Stockholm) and Ksenia Tyunik (Moscow).

 

Hogan Lovells reports rise for equity partners

Partners at transatlantic firm Hogan Lovells increased their profit share in the last calendar year, the firm’s latest results indicate. Profit per equity partner rose 4% to £1.035m in the year ending 31 December 2018, up from £996,000 in 2017.

The firm did not provide an overall pre-tax profit figure. Revenue rose from £1.581bn to £1.596bn – a 0.9% increase. Calculated in US dollars, profit per equity partner was $1.381m, up from $1.283m. Revenue was $2.11bn, up from $2.037bn.

Chief executive Steve Immelt said the firm expects an ’increasingly volatile global economy’ in the year ahead, with trade tensions and uncertainty caused by political instability such as Brexit creating a slow-down effect.

He added: ‘Having broken through the $2 billion revenue barrier in 2017 we have consolidated that position with further growth of just over 4% of revenue in 2018, as well as higher increases in revenue per lawyer and profits per equity partner.’

INNOVATION

Eversheds takes innovation steps

Eversheds Sutherland is pleased to announce the formation of a global innovation team dedicated to working with clients to address their most pressing priorities through creative and innovative solutions.

The Global Co-Heads of Innovation are UK-based Andrew McManus and US-based Anusia E. Gillespie. Mr. McManus brings to the role his deep experience in technology and years of experience at Eversheds Sutherland, while Ms. Gillespie offers her experience in the practice and business of law and a fresh and unique perspective from her recent work at Harvard Law School Executive Education.

Together, Mr. McManus and Ms. Gillespie will take a comprehensive, analytic and disciplined approach to innovation to better serve clients globally.

“We define innovation as focused and creative change in service to our clients,” said Eversheds Sutherland Co-CEO Mark D. Wasserman. “Our clients’ needs are ever-changing; the dedicated innovation team allows us to work together with our clients to focus on developing new ways to assist them in reaching their business goals.”

In the last year, Eversheds Sutherland has demonstrated its commitment to creating a robust innovation pipeline with the launch of Idea Drop, an internal crowdsourcing platform to curate innovative ideas; the global implementation of legal technology solutions including CaseReady, Client Portals and ESLocate; and the launch of Client Conversations, a custom app that provides key information about Eversheds Sutherland.

With their complementary backgrounds, Mr. McManus and Ms. Gillespie will lead the strategic planning for innovation and will coordinate on research and development, client partnerships, and best practices. They will engage with clients, lawyers and professionals from across the global legal practice to develop new resources and enhance existing processes, and will highlight areas for change and growth within Eversheds Sutherland.

“We have always seen innovation as central to our strategy to be a leading law firm by 2020,” said Eversheds Sutherland Co-CEO Lee Ranson, “Developing an innovation team was a natural next step to further our innovation goals. Andrew and Anusia are ideally placed to support our existing innovation projects. They will also propel the pace of our development more quickly into new areas that are ripe for change.”

Mr. McManus has been with Eversheds Sutherland for over four years. In his previous position he led the technology function as IT Director leading the development of the core platform. He is now solely focused on the technology and innovation needs of clients and in developing Eversheds Sutherland’s overall Digital Strategy and growing adoption of solutions to support lawyers and clients.

Mr. McManus said, “Our clients and our legal teams have the dual challenge of needing a stable and resilient platform on which to operate as well as needing to constantly innovate and change to keep up with the opportunities that disruptive technology provides. In order to truly adapt to the fast-growing needs of our clients, we need to ensure we are able to adopt new ways of working, whether this is based on new technologies or through the fostering of an innovative culture. We also need to provide our teams with the knowledge and the training to get the best from new ways of working themselves.”

Ms. Gillespie recently joined Eversheds Sutherland from Harvard Law School Executive Education, where she worked with industry leaders and Harvard faculty to research, design and launch business of law programs for practicing lawyers from around the world. Previously, she practiced law, founded and developed a business, and co-authored a book with Dr. Heidi K. Gardner, a Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Center on the Legal Profession.

“Staying ahead of the curve is vital, and the firms that can figure out how to do so will rise above the rest,” said Ms. Gillespie. “While at Harvard, I had the opportunity to study the challenges facing the legal profession and identify strategies that were and were not working. Eversheds Sutherland is forward-thinking in creating these positions, and I know we will develop innovative and competitive solutions to the benefit of our clients.”

London City

Crowell & Moring plans London training contract after Squires hire

Crowell & Moring’s new London managing partner Robert Weekes has set out plans to launch a training contract in the City office, having joined the US firm today from Squire Patton Boggs.

Weekes’ move was revealed by Leaders in Law last November, months after it was revealed that Squires’ global head Stephen Mahon would be relocating from the US to lead operations in London.

As head of Crowell’s London office, Weekes will be filling a similar position as before, having been a former City managing partner of Squires.

Now in his new role, Weekes said he plans to bring in a training contract to the London office from September 2021. His plans for the London office also include a pledge to triple its headcount by the end of 2022; Crowell currently has nine partners in London and six fee-earners.

To grow, Weekes has highlighted expansion in litigation, followed by the corporate group and regulation practices. Banking, insurance and financial regulation will be part and parcel of this growth plan. Weekes himself is a litigator, specialising in the financial disputes and investigatory work.

Litigator Weekes will take over from partner Jim Regan, who shares his time between the London and Washington offices. Regan had served as the point of contact between the firm’s head quarters and the London office.

Founded in 1979 by a group of 53 breakaway lawyers from Jones Day, Crowell totals more than 500 lawyers around the world.

Weekes said: “The firm wouldn’t have hired me if it didn’t want to grow. I have a reputation for expansion. I see myself as a person who knows how to grow teams that work well together across practice groups to find innovative and commercial solutions for clients.”

Crowell currently counts Microsoft, BMW, Siemens and BlueCross BlueShield among its clients.

Increase in share capital (football club – by extension)

The French Supreme Court related to private matters (Cour de cassation) ruled as a ratio decidendi on 28 November 2018 that the single vote on the resolution related to an increase in share capital reserved to employees is considered satisfactory to regularize an increase in share capital not subject to a vote on a preceding general meeting. This allows the possibility for a general meeting to ratify an increase in share capital reserved to employees (due to the relativity of the nullity – nullité relative). The legal concept that may be considered as underpinning the ratio decidendi is the French appearance theory: the ratification is being made possible by the subscribers (employees) having legitimately believed that the increase in share capital was regularly made.

This is in line with the spirit of company law to allow ratification as much as possible to ensure legal safety. In light of this, it is reasonable to think that this ratio decidendi can therefore be extended to other types of increase in share capital (not only reserved to employees). In particular, this ratio decidendi would be used (with an analogical reasoning) for an increase in share capital in the field of sports law (or IPOs), such as in football. In this respect, an increase in share capital of a football club would be subject to a ratification in the same manner.

Author: Ludovic Timbal Duclaux de Martin