Legal Reforms Predicted to Increase Efficiency of EU Arbitration Proceedings

Recent changes to the way the European Union (EU) handles legal proceedings will speed up arbitration hearings, which are rising in popularity among large companies with commercial disputes. A recent article published in Financial Times talks about the reforms that were announced in Brussels on December 14. The reforms are believed to help combat companies that try to get out of arbitration agreements by filing lawsuits in countries notorious for slow proceedings and in which their positions are favored.

In a recent statement, Interface Consulting’s Frank Adams, PE, noted that the firm is experiencing a significant upswing in international arbitration work, with numerous inquiries from parties outside of the US. He also commented on a rise in claims in the biofuels sector due to engineering delays and increased equipment costs, as well as increased demand for pipeline and LNG construction claims services in both domestic and international markets. Mr. Adams is an Arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and has also served as an expert in numerous arbitration hearings under the AAA, London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), and Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC).

Mr. Adams recently testified as an expert in two complex European arbitration hearings involving major biofuel plant owners and EPC contractors. Mr. Adams’s expert testimony concerned schedule delay and construction management issues. The first matter, held under LCIA rules and procedures, involved a retrofitted bioethanol plant that suffered delays and increased costs. Mr. Adams testified in the second dispute under the VIAC regarding the construction management and schedule delay of a biodiesel plant with a 100,000-tonne-per-year production capacity. Earlier in 2010, Mr. Adams also testified as an expert in a UNCITRAL arbitration involving an LNG facility in Yemen and in a dispute involving a UK-based EPC firm and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

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