Joseph Hage Aaronson on trends in international dispute resolution | Video

European CEO speaks to Greg Joseph and Tom Beazley from Joseph Hage Aaronson about developments in international dispute resolution


Financial and commercial litigation, international arbitration and UK tax litigation – some of the most pressing issues for large corporations. European CEO speaks to Greg Joseph and Tom Beazley QC, representatives from leading law firm Joseph Hage Aaronson, about the changes to international dispute resolution.

European CEO: Well Tom, your firm is involved in some of the most significant and challenging litigations in the world; what are some of the high profile cases you’ve worked on, and what constitutes a good result?
Tom Beazley QC: The most important and significant cases for us at the moment are where we have commercial clients in the adverse position with states; whether they be in the tax area, or in areas like annulment of sanctions, or investment treaty claims, or other claims for investors under investor agreements. And it’s in those areas which verge between state immunity; the ways in which you can challenge states now as commercial entities, which you didn’t used to be. Those are the most significant cases for us in the London office.

We deal with pretty much anything that’s complicated

European CEO: Well Greg, what areas does your firm focus on, and do these represent a trend in commercial and financial cases at the moment?
Gregory P Joseph: We deal with pretty much anything that’s complicated. Now, what we find ourselves doing, because New York is a financial centre like London, a lot of financial cases.

Now, over the years those have changed. For a long time after 2008, they resulted from the demise of the credit system. So, credit default swap litigation was very intensive. Recently we’ve seen an enormous number of cases that are focused on the use of insurance products as investments, and litigations that are arising out of that; which include anti-trust and a variety of other kinds of financial and commercial kinds of things.

I think what we finally are seeing is the end of the 2008 cases – the asset-backed securities cases – and we’re going on to the next generation.

European CEO: Well Tom, your firm has offices in New York and London, so what do these different litigations, what advantages do they represent for your clients?
Tom Beazley QC: Well I think they give us the opportunity that we can both tap into each others’ knowledge base, experience, and expertise. And there are significant overlaps between US cases and English cases. But we also do cases all around the world, and so we can, we try to work together: whether it’s in arbitration or litigation. Wherever it might be.

Gregory P Joseph: An acquisition that went poorly for a major US client; they recently needed advice in the UK for a completely separate litigation, and asked about the availability of using UK resources.

We’ve also used Tom or others for UK affidavits or expert declarations in US litigation, because cases in New York do arise frequently under English law, just as cases in England occasionally pick up issues of New York law.

My colleagues in London are doing a wonderful job of growing the firm

European CEO: You also deal with a lot of anti-trust intellectual property cases. What should people be aware of in these situations?
Gregory P Joseph: It’s an interesting overlap between the two. Because in the US, intellectual property gives you a monopoly. But the plaintiff would call it an abuse of that monopoly, gives rise to anti-trust issues. So we’re seeing a number of cases arising in that area. And it’s a convergence of two, rather diametrically opposed, views of the law. One is a guaranteed, government-provided monopoly; the other is a government-forbidden monopoly. And as a convergence it’s quite interesting.

European CEO: Well Tom, how have investor-state claims changed over the last few years?
Tom Beazley QC: I think there’s a considerable growth over the last few years in investor-state claims. They’re not just restricted to bilateral treaty claims; they can come under multi-lateral treaty claims. And I think it’s the growth of the number of cases, combined with a shortage of arbitrators that presents a real problem in a really successful development of the whole area of bilateral investment treaties.

European CEO: Well Greg, finally: what’s your strategy for future growth?
Gregory P Joseph: How large to grow? I mean, that really is the fundamental question. Because maintaining a relatively, what I consider the right size, but a smaller size permits great exclusivity in case selection. And there’s always a tension between growth and focus.

I’m of the view in New York, that I’m rather content with the size that we’ve got. My colleagues in London are doing a wonderful job of growing the firm. And I think between the two, we’ll find a happy medium.

European CEO: Greg, Tom, thank you.
Gregory P Joseph, Tom Beazley QC: Thank you.