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Peter Turner KC 2024

Peter Turner KC

Solicitor 1987; avocat à la Cour (France) 2016

Silk: 2015

“Peter Turner KC is an enormously skilled advocate. He is calm under pressure and controls the room when before the arbitration panel. He is creative, persuasive and demonstrates uniformly strong judgement." Chambers Europe (France) 2023- Arbitration (International) client, Europe

Peter Turner KC has over 30 years' experience as an advocate, primarily in arbitrations but also in court. He also sits as an arbitrator. 

Peter's practice comprises investment-treaty arbitration (under the ICSID and UNCITRAL Rules and ad hoc, including administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration), other matters involving issues of public international law, and complex and high-value commercial disputes, including post-M&A disputes and construction and engineering cases. His industry experience covers a wide range, from energy (including nuclear and renewable energy) to financial services and banking, from ground-handling at airports to manufacturing. 

Peter takes matters under any governing law and conducts cases in English and French. 

Peter taught international arbitration at Sciences Po in Paris for many years and is the co-author of A Guide to LCIA Arbitration.

Areas of expertise

Investment-treaty arbitration

Peter's practice in investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) comprises cases under the ICSID and UNCITAL Rules and ad hoc, including arbitrations administered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, acting for both investors and States. 

Peter argued the very first case in which the "EU defence" was raised by a respondent State in an intra-EU investment-treaty case, Eastern Sugar v Czech Republic, in which he successfully represented the investor. 

He has also acted in litigation before the Commercial Court arising from arbitrations, in particular challenges to awards and their enforcement and anti-suit injunctions in support of arbitration. He also has experience of shareholder actions, unfair prejudice petitions and injunctions to prevent the calling or payment of bonds. 

Cases of note:

  • A Mauritius-based investor against a South Asia State under a BIT, UNCITRAL Rules, English language, London seat.   - This case was brought by an investor in a company providing ground-handling services in the respondent State. The case notably involved questions of the law of treaties in public international law, in particular whether the States parties to a treaty could amend it such as to affect the rights of an investor who had already brought a claim, whether a so-called interpretation was in reality an amendment, and whether an arbitral tribunal had the jurisdiction to decide that point. There were also complex issues of the administrative law of the respondent State, as well as matters of its criminal procedure. 

  • The Republic of Korea (South Korea) in an arbitration brought by Elliott under the Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), UNCITRAL Rules, PCA-administered, English language, London seat. Value c USD 700m. - Elliott had been an investor in South Korean companies that merged, causing Elliott to claim that it had suffered a loss and that the merger itself had been approved only because of improper acts of the Korean Government. The case involved issues of attribution of the acts of a public body and (especially) the quantum of the claimant's loss, including conducting event studies to determine the effect of certain events on quoted share prices.

  • Eurus Energy (Japan) against the Kingdom of Spain under the Energy Charter Treaty, ICSID Rules, English language. Value c 200m. - Eurus is an investor in wind farms in Spain. It suffered (as did many other investors in Spain's renewable-energy sector) from changes in Spain's tariff regime for renewable energy. The case involved questions of EU law as Spanish and public international law, in that Spain argued that the tribunal could not award damages as to do so would be in breach of the EU State aid regime. Spain has applied to annul the award in Eurus's favour under the ICSID Convention. 

  • Nomura in an arbitration against the Czech Republic under the Netherlands-Czech Republic BIT, UNCITRAL Rules, PCA-administered, English language, London seat. Value c USD 5 bn. - This case, the first case ever brought by a Japanese company under an investment treaty, involved the insolvency and forced sale of a bank in which Nomura's Dutch SPV, Saluka, had invested. The case was notable for the attempt by the Czech Republic to bring a counterclaim. Once the tribunal had held that it could not, it brought a parallel commercial case under the contract selling the bank to Nomura. 

  • The Socialist Republic of Vietnam in an arbitration brought by an individual under the Netherland-Vietnam BIT, UNCITRAL Rules, PCA-administered, English language, London seat. Value c USD 1.5bn. - The claimant was a former refugee from South Vietnam who had settled in the Netherlands and later invested in Vietnam. The Vietnamese courts held that the investments were illegal, imprisoned the claimant and confiscated his investments. The claimant claimed denial of justice and damages or the return of his properties. 

  • Republic of Korea v Dayyani [2019] EWHC 3580 (Comm) - Representing the Republic of Korea in an application to set an award for USD 65 million aside under s.67 Arbitration Act 1996. The award had been rendered in an arbitration brought under the Iran-Korea bilateral investment treaty.

International Commercial arbitration

Peter represents parties in arbitrations under all major sets of rules (ICC, LCIA, SIAC, HKIAC, SCC, etc) and under all governing laws. A representative sample of recent cases is set out below. 

Cases of note:

  • Representing a Consortium composed of a Japanese and a South Korean company in an expert determination and arbitration against an Algerian company, ICC Rules, Algerian law, English and French language, seat Geneva. Value c USD 500m - A dispute arising out of the contract to build the largest fertiliser plant in Africa, involving technical and construction-related issues as well as complex questions of Algerian law (the governing the contract) and Swiss law (the law of the seat), the latter including questions of the extension of the arbitration clause and the law governing the validity of an expert determination.

  • Representing a Belgian company in an arbitration against a Chinese contractor, ICC Rules, Belgian law, English language, Brussels seat. Value c €200m. - This case involves a fixed-price turnkey EPC contract for the construction of a combined-cycle power plant in Belgium.

  • Representing a French electricity company in three post-M&A arbitrations against a French nuclear-energy company, ICC Rules, French law, French language, Paris Seat. Value c €1.5bn. - Thee disputes arose from the acquisition by a large French electricity of a French nuclear-energy company. as the acquired company had been a supplier to the buyer, and as disputes had arisen under certain supply contracts, the parties agreed in the share-purchase agreement to refer those disputes to ICC arbitration in Paris. 

  • Several cases for European gas buyers against Russian, Norwegian and Algerian sellers, seats in Stockholm, Zurich and Geneva, ICC and SCC Rules, various governing laws, various English and French languages. Values up to several billion US dollars. - These cases arose under long-term gas-sales agreements for the supply of gas into Western Europe from Russia Norway and Algeria.

  • Representing a Luxembourg-based buyer of an American company in a post-M&A arbitration, ICC Rules, French law, English and French language, Paris seat. Value c USD 100 m. - This dispute arose from the discovery by the buyer of the existence of patent litigation against the acquired company in the US courts, which the target company lost, being ordered to pay damages. The case involved a thorough analysis of the US patent litigation, including both expert and factual evidence about the conduct of the case, as well as issues of contractual construction and general French law. 

  • Representing a Belgian chemical company in two post-M&A arbitrations arising out of the acquisition of an Italian company, ICC Rules, Italian and Belgian law, English language, seat Geneva. Value several hundred million euros. - The first dispute arose out of the discovery by the buyer that the target had been a member of a cartel and had been fined by the European Commission. The second case involves the discovery by the buyer of severe pollution in the sites operated by the acquired company, which the seller had concealed. The cases involved highly technical environmental expert evidence and issues of the (Belgian) lex societatis of the buyer as well as the construction of the contract under its governing (Italian law) and the law of the seat (Swiss law). 

Public International Law

Peter's ISDS practice involves issues of public international law in as much as the treaties under which such cases arise are governed by international law. His practice also involves advice under public international law more widely

Cases of note:

  • Western Sahara Campaign UK v Secretary of State for International Trade [2022] EWHC 3108 (Admin) - This case was a judicial-review application brought by WSCUK, an NGO that supports the claim to independence of Western Sahara from the Kingdom of Morocco. WSCUK challenged the implementation by the Secretary of State for Trade of preferential tariff regulations for goods imported into the UK from Morocco, including those from Western Sahara. The impugned regulations themselves were made in furtherance of the UK-Morocco Association Agreement (UKMAA), which replaced its EU equivalent after Brexit. WSCUK and the Polisario Front had also challenged the EU Association Agreement before the European courts. 
    Peter acted for an interested party, COMADER, a Moroccan trade federation whose members in Western Sahara were affected by the regulations. 
    The Claimant argued that the UKMAA must be read as not extending to products from Western Sahara, as to hold otherwise would mean that the treaty conflicted with peremptory norms of customary international law (jus cogens). The case involved arguments on this question, and the law of treaties, as well as matters of English administrative law.

ADR, acting as arbitrator

Peter has acted as arbitrator in a number of cases under the ICC, LCIA, and UNCITRAL Rules

Cases of note:

  • SCC Rules, Pakistani law, Stockholm seat, president. Value USD 50m. - A post-M&A case involving issues of accounting standards and contract construction
  • ICC Rules, English law, Paris seat, co-arbitrator. Value USD 10m. - A case arising out of a manufacturing contract in the aerospace industry. 
  • LCIA Rules, English law, London seat, co-arbitrator. Value c USD 300m. - A case arising out of an investment in the telecoms sector in Central Asia. 
  • UNCITRAL Rules, international law, NAFTA, co-arbitrator. Value c USD 75m. - An ISDS dispute under the old NAFTA brought by a US investor in Canada in the agricultural sector. 
  • ICC Rules, Pakistani law, London seat, co-arbitrator. Value c USD 100m. - A dispute involving the ownership of mining interests in Pakistan. 
  • LCIA Rules, French law, London seat, sole arbitrator. Value c USD 160m. - A dispute between a French and an Israeli company in the renewable energy sector. 

Construction and Engineering

  • Representing the owner in a dispute relating to the construction of a mixed residential and commercial development, DIAC Rules, UAE law, seat Dubai. Value of claim, c AED 5.7 bn, counterclaim AED 5.8 bn. This dispute arose out of a dispute under a contract to develop a new city quarter in the Gulf, involving issues of delay, planning and engineering.
  • Representing a consortium of contractors in a dispute relating to the construction of an airport terminal, DIAC Rules, UAE law, seat Dubai. Value c AED 1.5 bn. A dispute arising out of the contract to build an airport terminal in the Middle East, involving complex issues of contract construction and delay and disruption.
  • Advising the owner in a dispute relating to the construction of an extension to a light railway, DIAC Rules, UAE law, seat Dubai. Value c €150m. Preparing detailed advice on the contractor’s claims for delay and disruption as notified to the owner but before the arbitration had begun and advising on settlement negotiations.
  • Representing a Consortium composed of a Japanese and a South Korean company in an expert determination and arbitration against an Algerian company, ICC Rules, Algerian law, English and French language, seat Geneva. Value c USD 500m - A dispute arising out of the contract to build the largest fertiliser plant in Africa, involving technical and construction-related issues as well as complex questions of Algerian law (the governing the contract) and Swiss law (the law of the seat), the latter including questions of the extension of the arbitration clause and the law governing the validity of an expert determination.
  • Representing the contractor in a dispute relating to the construction of a nuclear power station in Europe, ICC Rules, a European law, Stockholm seat. Value c €3 bn. This dispute arose out of the construction of a large nuclear power station and involved in particular dealing with very complex disruption claims and how to deal with the refusal of the nominated body to conduct adjudication of claims before arbitration.

Recommendations

  • "Peter has very good manners and he is a good strategic thinker, I only have positive commments about him." Chambers Global (Europe-Wide) 2024 - Arbitration (International) client, Europe.
  • "He is creative, persuasive and demonstrates uniformly strong judgement." Chambers Global (Europe-Wide) 2023 - Arbitration (International) client, Europe. 
  • "He is an enormously skilled advocate, calm under pressure, and controls the room when before the arbitration panel." Chambers Global (Europe-Wide) 2023 - Arbitration (International) client. Europe. 
  • "He has provided very helpful advice in terms of French enforcement and other various approaches that we are taking. Overall, he was also excellent on the preparation." Chambers Europe (France) 2023 - Arbitration (International) client, Europe
  • "Peter Turner KC is an enormously skilled advocate. He is calm under pressure and controls the room when before the arbitration panel. He is creative, persuasive, and demonstrates uniformly strong judgement." Chambers Europe (France) 2023 - Arbitration (International) client, Europe. 
  • "He is praised by sources for his ability to grasp the most complex topics with ease." Chambers Europe (France) 023 - Arbitration (International) client, Europe.
  • "Peter Turner KC is a longstanding figure in the French market and has a wealth of experience advising clients on investment and commercial cases."
  • "Prominent European corporates from the construction, energy and manufacturing sectors mandate Peter Turner KC for his longstanding experience in the handling of post-M&A arbitrations under ICC rules. He also assists with ECT claims, distribution disputes and enforcement proceedings. 

Rankings

  • Chambers Europe (France) 2023 & 2024 - International Arbitration, Band 2
  • Chambers Global (Europe-Wide) 2023 &2024 - International Arbitration, Band 3
  • Legal 500: Hall of Fame 2024 - Dispute Resolution: International Arbitration (France) 
  • Legal 500: Mentioned for Arbitration in Private Practice Power List 2023 (France) 
  • ODA Classement: 4 Stars for Arbitration International in 2023 (France)
  • Who's Who Legal: Recommended for Arbitration in Global Guide in 2023 & 2024 (France) 
  • Who's Who Legal: Thought Leader for Arbitration in National Guide in 2024 (France)