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Market Snapshot: Cross-border Litigation

Date of publication: 20 July 2019

Roman Marchenko, Attorney at Law, Senior Partner

Source: Ukrainian Law Firms 2019

Both 2018 and 2019 have seen an increasing number of high-value litigations involving parties from Ukraine. Along with other common law jurisdictions, London remains an extremely popular forum for Ukrainian litigants, not least because of its powerful instruments that allow to freeze assets around the world and obtain other types of interim relief. In their turn, Ukrainian businesses and high-net-worth individuals are now among the top foreign litigants appearing before the London commercial courts by number of court cases. Notably, most of such litigations involve allegations of fraud.

While general commercial and shareholders disputes remain popular among Ukrainian parties, some of the biggest arbitrations and litigations in terms of their monetary value come from the banking and energy sectors where the amounts in dispute have reached several billion US dollars. As many of these disputes involve state-owned companies and other major players on the Ukrainian market, their outcome will inevitably have a significant impact on the relevant industry sectors.

Unlike domestic litigations, cross-border disputes require an involvement of lawyers from different jurisdictions which are often very different from each other. Some Ukrainian law firms, such as Ilyashev & Partners, in addition to their domestic litigation teams, have well developed international dispute resolution practices which are formed from English-speaking lawyers with substantial international background including both civil and common law experience. This allows Ukrainian law firms to work effectively in conjunction with foreign lawyers in multijurisdictional disputes when representing Ukrainian parties. Having a team of lawyers with an international background also helps Ukrainian law firms understand the needs of foreign clients who require legal assistance in Ukraine, e.g. when obtaining security or disclosure orders in support of international arbitrations or in the process of recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards or court judgments.

Apart from that, Ukrainian lawyers are often instructed as experts on issues relating to Ukrainian law for the purposes of foreign court proceedings or international arbitrations.

Ukraine’s market is gradually becoming more open to international business, which is a factor that is likely to have an impact on the number of cross-border disputes involving a Ukrainian element in the coming years.