Annual summary 2019: Schjødt and dispute resolution - when the going gets tough
Schjødt continues to have perhaps the strongest professional environment for commercial and civil dispute resolution. During 2019, our lawyers assisted Norwegian and international clients in a large number of disputes before both Norwegian and international courts and other dispute resolution bodies. In total, more than 150 disputes have been heard in ordinary courts or arbitral tribunals, and in 19 of the cases the disputed amount exceeded NOK 100 million. Schjødt's lawyers are also at the forefront of other important values: In 2019, we handled a number of important issues concerning freedom of speech, freedom of press and human rights.
Dispute can for some be a negatively charged word that signals disagreement and conflict. Dispute resolution is something else: In all simplicity, these are various methods to achieve the best possible solution to an often undesirable situation.
Schjødt has for many years regarded dispute resolution as a separate field that makes special demands on the lawyer. Therefore, all disputes Schjødt are involved with, are handled by our dispute resolution department consisting of highly competent lawyers with different professional backgrounds. We specialize in preparing and conducting lawsuits and arbitration cases before various dispute resolution bodies. And we provide clear and commercial advice when other ways to resolve the dispute may be the best solution.
Key figures – 2019
Schjødt's dispute resolution department consists of more than 50 lawyers who regularly litigate commercial cases before the ordinary courts and arbitral tribunals. The dispute resolution department is represented at all of Schjødt's offices: Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Ålesund, Stockholm and London.
We have 16 lawyers who are admitted to the Supreme Court of Norway and who regularly practise before the country's highest court. In 2019, our lawyers had 15 cases in the Supreme Court (cases in the appeals committee not included).
Our mapping shows that we in 2019 assisted Norwegian and international clients in approximately 150 lawsuits and arbitration cases that were heard by the ordinary courts or arbitral tribunals. Here, we only count cases that were settled or scheduled for hearing in 2019. We also have a number of cases that are either in an early stage or where final hearing still lies ahead.
Schjødt assists our clients in all cases where it is needed. Our dispute resolution lawyers cover all disciplines and legal areas. In a number of cases, great values are at stake: In 2019 we went before the courts/arbitral tribunals with disputes where the total disputed amount far exceeded NOK 10 billion. In 19 cases, the disputed amount exceeded NOK 100 million. Many of our largest cases are international arbitration cases related to energy, offshore, shipping and acquisitions/transactions.
Schjødt's substantial and robust dispute resolution department allows us to always put the right lawyers on the case in question. Our breadth means that we have the experience and expertise to both be able to handle the largest and most complex disputes, while also solving smaller cases in a good and cost-effective way.
Our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. We work hard and systematically to prove worthy of the trust shown us, and we believe our efforts produce results: In 2019, approximately 75% of our cases ended with a positive outcome for our clients or with the parties agreeing to an amicable solution. This figure testifies to sound procedural assistance, but also to the ability and willingness to give advice to avoid dispute and find solutions in situations where the outcome may be uncertain.
Schjødt's dispute resolution lawyers do not only assist in commercial disputes where financial assets are at stake. We also stand up for freedom of speech, freedom of press and human rights. Examples of our involvement range from legal assistance for Edward Snowden to work for the independence of lawyers and judges in countries such as Turkey and Russia through the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). We are also proud to be permanent legal counsel for Ferd's "social entrepreneurs".
Furthermore, Schjødt takes social responsibility through ongoing pro bono work for disadvantaged groups. A particular focus of our pro bono activity in 2019 has been assistance to Syrian victims of torture on the part of the regime in cooperation with the Helsinki Committee and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).