Key Experience

Commercial litigation 

  • We represented the Algerian state oil company in its application to set aside a $535m ICC award.
  • We represented the minority shareholder of an AIM listed plc active in the African mining industry. The client was victim of a campaign by the majority shareholder to take the value of its shares.
  • We acted for Kenblest, Kenya’s largest bread producer, in two separate actions against European bread plant suppliers.
  • We acted in arbitration proceedings in relation to a political risk insurance policy covering a cross-border oil pipeline in Africa, its coverage and the response to an alleged expropriation by the government of one of the countries in which the insured risk was situated.
  • We regularly advise on investor-state issues in Africa under bilateral investment treaties and concession agreements.

 

Read more about our Commercial Litigation team here.

 

International Arbitration 

Stewarts is well placed to service disputes connected with Africa. Our team has extensive experience of advising clients across the region, as shown by our representative cases below.

Many UK law firms will claim a practice in African disputes. Few can point to the depth and breadth of experience and the specialist expertise that our International Arbitration team possesses. Our reputation for our work across the continent is a standout feature of our rankings across the directories. Our team can operate in both English and French.

Our conflict free position means we can act when other leading disputes practices cannot. We regularly represent African corporates, investors and high net worth individuals in claims against multinationals and state entities, both in commercial arbitrations and in investment treaty claims. Our positioning also means that we can collaborate with our client’s existing advisers and co-counsel with any law firm in any jurisdiction that is best suited to help. 

We are also unrivalled in entering into innovative cost arrangements, including the use of third party funding and after the event insurance products where appropriate.

These elements allow our clients to arbitrate from a position of strength.  And they make Stewarts a destination practice for African disputes, which is why we are respected as a partner to Africa’s local markets. We are proud of the strong relationships that we have built with our clients and their lawyers in Africa, and our track record of genuine collaboration.

The experience of our firm includes advising:

  • a Nigerian integrated energy group in two ICC arbitrations in respect of claims arising out of a multi-billion dollar financing arrangement with multiple Nigerian and international lenders.
  • Aiteo, a West African oil & gas company, in various reported proceedings before the English Commercial Court, including claims for anti-suit (and anti-arbitration) injunctive relief and challenges to arbitration awards under section 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996.
  • a Cameroonian downstream petroleum distributor in arbitration under UNCITRAL rules against a supermajor in connection with the purchase of regional assets and related tax issues.
  • an investor within the oil & gas sector in three ICSID investment treaty arbitrations against a West African State.
  • a Ghanaian telecoms provider in LCIA arbitration against an Indian global IT consultancy.
  • an independent energy company in claims subject to LMAA/LCIA arbitration in connection with the operation of an FPSO and related infrastructure offshore Equatorial Guinea.
  • a major airline in respect of investment treaty claims against an African state in connection with the imposition of aviation-related fines.
  • a Nigerian oil company in a commercial dispute before the English court against a multilateral trade finance institution.
  • an insurer in LCIA arbitration with one of the world’s largest energy traders in connection with an agreement for the sale of LPG into Ghana.
  • a Cameroonian telecommunications conglomerate in LCIA arbitration, seated in Douala, in a shareholders dispute regarding unpaid tranches of shareholder loans.
  • a Nigerian engineering consultancy on claims subject to arbitration against a subsidiary of a major Italian engineering firm arising in connection with government tendered projects.
  • a West African government in respect of a US$ multi-million construction dispute with a UK- based contractor, including allegations of bribery.
  • a mining company in connection with a dispute arising out of an agreement for the sale and purchase of a large nickel mine in Botswana.
  • a Nigerian independent E&P company in respect of claims against a Chinese ship manufacturer subject to LCIA arbitration arising from alleged defects in an oil tanker.
  • corporate and individual claimants in ICSID arbitration against the Arab Republic of Egypt in respect of claims arising out of the US-Egypt bilateral investment treaty, domestic Egyptian investment laws and general principles of applicable international laws.
  • JV partners concerning a dispute against a local partner (plus satellite proceedings in Mauritius, BVI and a West African state) relating to a power project in a West African state.
  • an international shipping company in multi-party contract LMAA disputes arising out of a bareboat charterparty and the operation and ownership of vessels in West Africa.
  • a Zambian energy company in relation to proceedings against a prominent international private equity business concerning rights and obligations under a convertible instrument.

 

Read more about our International Arbitration team here.

Fraud

  • We acted on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria in a $1.3bn recoveries action against the former President of Nigeria, Sani Abacha.
  • We represent the former directors and shareholders of Imperial Bank in relation to the biggest banking collapse in the history of Africa.
  • We acted in relation to tracing and recovering funds concerning the diverted sale proceeds of a national mobile Nigerian telecoms company.
  • We advised in the Soma Oil case concerning bribery and corruption allegations relating to the acquisition of oil exploration and production contracts in Somalia.

 

Read more about our Fraud team here.

 

Aviation

  • We were instructed by the family of a gold miner working in Egypt on the family’s claims for compensation under international conventions following his death on EgyptAir Flight MS-804.
  • We were instructed by the families of all 13 South African victims and one Zimbabwean/UK victim on their claims for compensation arising out of Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771, an international flight from South Africa to Libya.
  • We were instructed by the family of a tourist killed in Tanzania during a safari flight. Our Aviation team has been instructed numerous times in relation to accidents involving bush flying operations and the particular difficulties that arise with bush flying in Africa.

 

Read more about our Aviation team here.

 

International Injury

  • We acted for two Australian nationals who sustained injuries in a serious safari jeep crash in the Nakaru National Park, Kenya, in 2015.
  • We acted for six claimants, of various nationalities, who were injured in a road traffic accident in Morocco when the minibus they were travelling in overturned.
  • We acted for the relatives of a British tourist who died in a quad-biking accident in Morocco in a claim against holiday company Virgin Limited Edition and its owner, Sir Richard Branson.

 

Read more about our International Injury team here.

 

Divorce and Family

  • We have particular expertise in cases with an international element since many of our clients have connections to multiple jurisdictions, including across Africa. In international cases, family situations often develop that require immediate and urgent action; knowledge, experience and the ability to act swiftly can often be critical to the outcome of a case. Our large and vastly experienced team, of whom six partners are fellows of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, is ideally placed to deal with the most complex of cases, whether these involve the resolution of financial claims on divorce, the international relocation of children, applications to the English Court for financial settlement following divorce proceedings overseas, or jurisdiction disputes. We offer a fast turnaround and a supportive approach to our clients, irrespective of where they are based. We have an extensive global network, and work closely with our affiliates across the globe with speed and efficiency, with the aim of achieving the best possible outcome for our clients.
  • On the non-contentious side, we regularly act for parties entering into marital agreements to protect their assets in the event of relationship breakdown. For global families either based in or with connections to the UK, it will often be sensible to put in place pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements in different countries. We have the requisite expertise to advise on how to implement these agreements, taking into consideration the impact of any country-specific laws and where necessary co-ordinating with lawyers in other jurisdictions with whom we have long-standing and strategic partnerships. Our aim is to protect our clients’ property and interests wherever they are located and ensure that future litigation can be avoided.

 

Read more about our Divorce and Family team here.

If you require assistance, please contact us or request a call from one of our lawyers.

Meet the Africa team

Our team has great experience dealing with disputes in Africa. 

We are highly ranked in the UK by Chambers and The Legal 500.

Mo-Bhaskaran, Head of Fraud and Head of Commercial Litigation