By Douglas Thomson • Thursday, 26 November 2015
Dutch law firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek has made a new partner, Albert Marsman, who is part of the team defending the US$50 billion Yukos awards in set-aside proceedings in The Hague.
The promotion of Marsman, 34, will become effective on 1 January. He will be the sixth partner in De Brauw’s arbitration practice, where he is currently a senior associate. Marsman joined the firm upon qualifying as a lawyer in the Netherlands in 2007. He had done undergraduate and masters’ degrees in law at Leiden University and later in 2010 did a second masters’ at Stanford University in the United States. He is based in Amsterdam.
Recently, he has been part of a team fighting a range of attacks on the Yukos awards on behalf of their creditors in the District Court of The Hague, as co-counsel to Shearman & Sterling.
A team led by Dutch arbitration specialist Albert Jan van den Berg, for Russia, says the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to hear the claims and violated its own mandate, including by improperly delegating powers to tribunal assistant Martin Valasek.
It also says the tribunal failed to give adequate reasons for key aspects of its rulings and violated public policy “including the Russian Federation’s fundamental right to due process in defending itself in economic disputes.” De Brauw’s team is led by head of international arbitration Marnix Leijten and partner Marc Ynzonides. Marsman has also worked on other enforcement proceedings against sovereigns in the Netherlands, which he says is “a relatively favourable jurisdiction for award creditors given the ease with which assets can be attached, and the fact that many assets are structured through the Netherlands.”
He has also appeared as an advocate in arbitrations, including Dutch insurer Achmea’s UNCITRAL claim against Slovakia, which ended in a reversal of adverse legislation and a €22 million award his client in 2012. A subsequent claim he handled for Achmea against Slovakia, seeking an order to prevent an impending expropriation, was rejected on jurisdictional grounds last year. Slovakia has since shelved plans to expropriate the investments in question.
On the commercial arbitration side, Marsman recently represented Phillips in its ICC claim against Japanese electronics company Funai over a failed deal to sell off the company’s electronics line. Philips is reported to be claiming €190 million in the arbitration, while Funai has filed its own €312 million counterclaim.
He has also participated in some of De Brauw’s signature line of gas-pricing arbitrations for GasTerra, a subsidiary of the Dutch state, Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon, and was part of the team that won the company a €833 million UNCITRAL award from Italy’s Eni in 2013.
Marsman says, “It is a great honour to be appointed partner at De Brauw, the firm that I joined as a junior associate in 2007. I am thrilled with the opportunity to continue, in this fantastic new capacity, working on resolutions for our clients’ complex arbitration disputes.”
Leijten calls Marsman “an exceptionally talented arbitrator and litigator, and a great pleasure to work with.” “This move reflects our clients’ continued demand for services in the area of international arbitration, and we are very happy to have further expanded our team with the addition of Albert,” he adds.
Marsman was promoted to the partnership alongside senior associates Mariken van Loopik and Stefan Molin in the firm’s financial markets and competition law practices.
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