Global Arbitration Review launched new GAR 100
6 April 2023
We are honoured to be included in the newly published GAR 100 among the world’s elite firms for international arbitration. The criteria for the survey included reputation, experience and the amount of work.
The 25-strong arbitration practice is led by partner Dirk Knottenbelt in Rotterdam, who is president of the supervisory board of the Netherlands Arbitration Institute (NAI) and sits on the board of the Dutch Arbitration Association. Other names to know in Rotterdam are partners Thomas Stouten and Remme Verkerk, and counsel Isabelle van den Nieuwendijk.
Houthoff announced in March 2022 that it was terminating its relationship with Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine.
The firm enjoyed various successes in the Dutch courts. It helped a group of Swedish investors attach an aircraft belonging to Tanzania as they tried to collect on a US$165 million ICSID award. A court in Limburg refused to lift the attachment.
It helped HeidelbergCement (now Heidelberg Materials) obtain the partial set-aside of an NAI award. The decision is being appealed at the Dutch Supreme Court.
For Dutch investors, the firm defeated anti-arbitration proceedings brought by Spain before the District Court of Amsterdam. Spain had sought an order that aimed to cease enforcement of an intra-EU ECT award abroad.
The firm has teamed up with Hanotiau & van den Berg to help India pursue various challenges to investment treaty awards worth US$111 million in favour of Mauritian telecoms investors. The Dutch Supreme Court upheld two partial awards in early 2023. A challenge to the final award is pending before the District Court of The Hague. India has also brought revocation proceedings to try to reopen the awards on the basis of alleged fraud by the investors.
Companies owned by convicted US insurance executive Greg Lindberg are using the firm in set-aside proceedings stemming from a €150 million NAI dispute with bankrupt Dutch life insurer Conservatrix.
Houthoff continues to act as lead counsel in three different ICC arbitrations against PDVSA’s Bariven, with more than US$1 billion in dispute.
The firm has been acting for Italian energy company Eni in annulment proceedings relating to a billion-euro arbitration with Dutch gas company GasTerra. The case is awaiting a Dutch Supreme Court decision.
Knottenbelt joined the advisory board of the newly launched Hague Court of Arbitration for Aviation.
One client says Houthoff distinguishes through its “pragmatic approach and business sense”, adding that Stouten is “razor sharp”.
Stouten draws praise from another client, who calls him “one of the future leaders in the Dutch arbitration world”. That client adds that Houthoff appears to “find the brightest minds time and again”.