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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Nathalie Voser

Nathalie Voser

Schellenberg Wittmer LtdLöwenstrasse 19PO Box 2201ZurichSwitzerland8021
Watch interview with Nathalie Voser

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Questions & Answers

Nathalie Voser is a partner in Schellenberg Wittmer’s dispute resolution group focusing on arbitration and complex international litigation. She has acted as arbitrator and counsel on record in a vast number of cases. Her areas of specialisation include disputes regarding construction/infrastructure projects, civil engineering and energy-related projects, in particular, oil and gas, including investor-state disputes.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A LEGAL CAREER?

The interest in legal issues and my anger when I felt that something was “not just”.

WHAT DO YOU MOST ENJOY ABOUT WORKING IN ARBITRATION?

The fact that it is very international. Arbitration escapes any national boundaries and allows arbitration practitioners to leave their home country, be this temporarily or even permanently. Also I highly appreciate this exposure to foreign legal systems, which is due to the fact that many of my cases as arbitrator are not related to Switzerland or Swiss law.

HOW HAS THE ROLE OF ARBITRATOR CHANGED SINCE YOU STARTED YOUR CAREER?

Today, I see the tendency that the arbitrator “shall fix it”. They shall make the procedure shorter, cheaper, more efficient, but – of course – everything with outstanding quality. Proactive arbitrators are today more the rule than the exception, while when I started my career this was not the case.

WHAT MAKES SCHELLENBERG WITTMER STAND OUT FROM ITS COMPETITORS IN THE MARKET?

We are a very international team with very experienced arbitration practitioners. The partners of the team are all outstanding practitioners with high peer recognition.

WHAT ARE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TRENDS YOU ARE SEEING IN ARBITRATION AT THE MOMENT? WHICH SECTORS ARE THE BUSIEST?

I think that the oil and gas sector is very busy. This might have something to do with the fact that the contracts concluded by many investors in foreign countries are around 20 years old and in need of termination or adaptation. I have been appointed in such areas myself. However, due to the confidential nature of arbitration and the limited insight into other cases, there might be other areas where it is very active. This is certainly the case for the construction arbitration sector. Here I see more disputes in the Middle East.

HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR PRACTICE DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

The arbitration community will have to continue exploring means to conduct arbitrations more cost-efficiently for the benefit of the parties. The “Prague Rules” is a token of this trend. Due to cost and time reasons I see more parties settling the case very early in the arbitration.

LOOKING BACK OVER YOUR CAREER, WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING ARBITRATION YOU HAVE BEEN A PART OF?

This is probably a case, decided by an award in 2018, that became public and concerned a dispute over the construction of a water conveyance system in Jordan by a Turkish contractor. The case had also non-legal aspects rooted in the Jordanian culture.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING TO START OUT IN THE PRACTICE AREA?

The participation at the VIS Moot during university years is a good and useful experience! Then I think that the best start is to work as an administrative secretary to experienced arbitrators and to join an arbitration team in an international law firm.

Thought Leaders - Construction 2019

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Nathalie Voser ranks among the elite construction arbitration specialists in Switzerland, with sources calling her “exceptionally well versed in any type of construction dispute”.

Questions & Answers

Nathalie Voser is a partner in Schellenberg Wittmer’s dispute resolution group. She acts as counsel and arbitrator in a vast number of cases and also advises clients involved in complex multi-jurisdictional disputes before state courts. Nathalie’s practice focuses on commercial and investor-state disputes regarding construction; civil engineering and energy-related projects; oil and gas; research and development; distribution and licence agreements; joint ventures; mergers and acquisitions; and the pharmaceutical and automotive industries.

You have experience and expertise in both investor-state and commercial construction arbitrations. What are the most significant differences between these two types of arbitration?

The fact that a state or a state entity is a party in an arbitration does not change per se the nature of the arbitration, as long as it is not an international treaty-based arbitration. Particularities may arise due to how states appoint outside counsel, but otherwise there is no significant difference.

When it comes to arbitration with claims based on international public rights and obligations enshrined in international (investment) treaties, it changes the arbitration rather radically. This is, in my experience, a different field of law and the only common denominator is the similar arbitration-related procedural issues arising in both types of arbitration.

What are the greatest challenges that arbitrators with your expertise face today?

The “fight“ between the parties has become tougher in the past 10 years, particularly in high-stakes cases. The biggest challenge in my view is resisting any attempts of obstruction by a party, and finding means to make sure the arbitration is not being derailed due to such attempts. In this context, distinguishing legitimate from non-legitimate procedural requests and objections is not always an easy task.

What do clients look for when selecting counsel in an arbitration dispute?

From an arbitrator’s perspective, I think clients look for counsels who are very experienced in arbitration and know their way through difficult procedural situations. I also believe that parties prefer counsels with specific industry expertise.

With the proliferation of arbitration centres around the world, how will Switzerland continue to keep its competitive edge?

Switzerland is in the process of revising its international arbitration law. It will become even simpler for foreign counsel to understand the very pragmatic and simple arbitration code that holds party autonomy as its highest principle. However, the reason that distinguishes the Swiss seat the most is a solid body of case law of the Supreme Court with about 40 to 60 decisions per year on setting aside arbitral awards. This is of great assistance in terms of legal certainty. Also, I am not aware of any other jurisdiction where the state courts decide on setting aside applications in four to six months as the Swiss Supreme Court does. This is (or should be) of great importance to parties when choosing the seat.

How has the firm adapted to address the challenges caused by legal market saturation?

Schellenberg Wittmer has positioned itself in the international arbitration market with a very strong, diverse and international team. We have also managed to broaden our client base by adding sports arbitration and investment treaty arbitration to our core competencies. We are particularly well known for our unique construction law team that I co-head.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

It is difficult to single out one achievement, but every time I conclude an arbitration as chair with an award, I have a great sense of achievement. I never came across an “easy“ case and, as presiding arbitrator, the main responsibility to conduct the proceedings and render a “right” award falls on my shoulders. This goes with a sense of both high intellectual satisfaction and accountability.

What advice would you give young women considering arbitration as their specialty?

It is not clear how this market is going to evolve, especially in Europe and post-Achmea, so I would advise them to not specialise too early on during their education – for example, focusing on investment treaty arbitration in university. Also, perfect English skills are essential and, for non-native speakers, an exchange year is ideal. Finally, the VIS Moot Court (East or West) is an excellent way to get to know the arbitration world and gain experience very early on.

You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?

I feel very thankful for what I have accomplished so far and there is not much I would like to change. In the coming years, however, I would welcome the opportunity for more experience in treaty-based investment arbitrations.

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader
WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Global Leader

Arbitration 2019

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Nathalie Voser has an excellent reputation in the construction and energy sectors, with peers lauding her as "one of Switzerland's brightest stars". She is “well known for her counsel work” and also stands out as a top-tier arbitrator.

Biography

Nathalie Voser is a partner in Schellenberg Wittmer’s dispute resolution group in Zürich. She has acted as counsel and arbitrator in a large number of cases. Her practice focuses on contracts regarding construction, civil engineering and energy-related projects, oil and gas projects, research and development, distribution and licence agreements, joint ventures as well as mergers and acquisitions.

Nathalie's recent expertise in arbitration includes acting Swiss counsel to a Hungarian energy and gas company in the setting aside proceedings before the Swiss Supreme Court; representing a German construction company alongside its Dutch consortium partner in ICC arbitration against a Polish shipyard operator in a dispute over a contract regarding the delivery of technical equipment for a specialty ship; and acting as arbitrator in a UNCITRAL arbitration facing an investor and a state in a contractual oil and gas dispute under a production sharing contract.

Among other positions, Nathalie is currently a vice president of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and a board member of the Swiss Arbitration Association.

In 1988, Nathalie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Basel and was admitted to the Swiss Bar in 1990. In 1992, she became a juris doctor summa cum laude and in 1994 she earned an LLM with honours from Columbia University, New York. In 2014, she was awarded the title of professor in private law, arbitration law, private international law and comparative law by the University of Basel, where she regularly teaches courses in commercial arbitration and other areas of Swiss private law. She has published a leading textbook in arbitration and numerous articles in the area of dispute resolution.

Construction 2019

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Nathalie Voser ranks among the elite construction arbitration specialists in Switzerland this year, with sources calling her "exceptionally well versed in any type of construction dispute".

Biography

Nathalie Voser is a partner in Schellenberg Wittmer's dispute resolution group in Zürich. She has acted as counsel and arbitrator in a vast number of cases and has advised clients involved in complex multi-jurisdictional disputes before state courts. Her practice focuses on contracts regarding construction, civil engineering and energy-related projects, oil and gas production projects, research and development, distribution and licence agreements, joint ventures as well as mergers and acquisitions. Nathalie is well known for her expertise in the construction, (renewable) power production, oil and gas, pharmaceutical and automotive industries.

Nathalie's recent construction and engineering expertise in litigation includes the representation of an Emirian company in arbitration against an Austrian company in a dispute in relation to the construction of a desalination plant in the United Arab Emirates; and representation of a German construction company alongside its Dutch consortium partner in ICC arbitration against a Polish shipyard operator. She is currently appointed as arbitrator in a number of construction and engineering cases.

Nathalie is currently a vice president of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and a board member of the Swiss Arbitration Association. She is a Swiss delegate in the ICC Arbitration and ADR Commission in Paris.

In 1988, Nathalie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Basel and was admitted to the Swiss Bar in 1990. In 1994 she earned an LLM with honours from Columbia University, New York. In 2014, she was awarded the title of professor in private law, arbitration law, private international law and comparative law by the University of Basel.

Litigation 2018

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Nathalie Voser is a go-to lawyer who is known for her strong expertise in infrastructure project disputes.

Biography

Nathalie Voser is a partner in Schellenberg Wittmer's dispute resolution group in Zürich. She has acted as counsel and arbitrator in a large number of cases and has advised clients involved in complex multi-jurisdictional disputes before state courts. She also regularly represents parties before Swiss Courts in arbitration related matters. Her practice focuses on contracts regarding construction, civil engineering and energy-related projects, oil and gas production projects, research and development, distribution and license agreements, joint ventures as well as mergers and acquisitions. Nathalie is well known for her expertise in the construction, power production, oil and gas, pharmaceutical and automotive industries.

Nathalie's recent expertise in litigation includes being Swiss lead counsel to a Hungarian energy and gas company in the setting aside proceedings before the Swiss Supreme Court; representation of an Emirian company in arbitration against an Austrian company in a dispute in relation to the construction of a desalination plant in the United Arab Emirates; and representation of a German construction company alongside its Dutch consortium partner in ICC arbitration against a Polish shipyard operator.

Nathalie is currently a vice president of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and a board member of the Swiss Arbitration Association. She is a Swiss delegate in the ICC Arbitration and ADR Commission in Paris.

In 1988, Nathalie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Basel and was admitted to the Swiss Bar in 1990. In 1994 she earned an LLM with honours from Columbia University, New York. In 2014, she was awarded the title of professor in private law, arbitration law, private international law and comparative law by the University of Basel.

National Leader

Switzerland - Arbitration

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Nathalie Voser continues to be regarded as an “obvious inclusion” in the listings and is equally well regarded by sources for her work as arbitrator and counsel. She offers a broad array of industry expertise covering energy, construction and distribution agreements among other matters.

Biography

Nathalie Voser is a partner in Schellenberg Wittmer's dispute resolution group in Zürich. She has acted as counsel and arbitrator in a vast number of cases. Nathalie Voser is well known for her expertise in the construction industry, (renewable) power production, oil and gas (production sharing agreements), pharmaceutical and automotive industries. Her experience includes commercial and investor-state disputes.

Nathalie's recent expertise in arbitration includes acting Swiss counsel to a Hungarian energy and gas company in the setting aside proceedings before the Swiss Supreme Court; representing a German construction company alongside its Dutch consortium partner in ICC arbitration against a Polish shipyard operator in a dispute over a contract regarding the delivery of technical equipment for a specialty ship.

Among other positions, Nathalie is currently a vice president of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and a board member of the Swiss Arbitration Association.

In 1988, Nathalie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Basel and was admitted to the Swiss Bar in 1990. In 1992, she became a juris doctor summa cum laude and in 1994 she earned an LLM with honours from Columbia University, New York. In 2014, she was awarded the title of professor in private law, arbitration law, private international law and comparative law by the University of Basel, where she regularly teaches courses in commercial arbitration and other areas of Swiss private law. She has published a leading textbook in arbitration and numerous articles in the area of dispute resolution.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Nathalie Voser is a distinguished arbitration specialist in the construction field. She has significant experience acting as both counsel and arbitrator in a variety of multi-jurisdictional disputes.

Biography

Nathalie Voser is a partner in Schellenberg Wittmer's dispute resolution group in Zürich. She has acted as counsel and arbitrator in a vast number of cases and has advised clients involved in complex multi-jurisdictional disputes before state courts. Her practice focuses on contracts regarding construction, civil engineering and energy-related projects, oil and gas production projects, research and development, distribution and licence agreements, joint ventures as well as mergers and acquisitions. Nathalie is well known for her expertise in the construction, (renewable) power production, oil and gas, pharmaceutical and automotive industries.

Nathalie's recent construction and engineering expertise in litigation includes the representation of an Emirian company in arbitration against an Austrian company in a dispute in relation to the construction of a desalination plant in the United Arab Emirates; and representation of a German construction company alongside its Dutch consortium partner in ICC arbitration against a Polish shipyard operator. She is currently appointed as arbitrator in a number of construction and engineering cases.

Nathalie is currently a vice president of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and a board member of the Swiss Arbitration Association. She is a Swiss delegate in the ICC Arbitration and ADR Commission in Paris.

In 1988, Nathalie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Basel and was admitted to the Swiss Bar in 1990. In 1994 she earned an LLM with honours from Columbia University, New York. In 2014, she was awarded the title of professor in private law, arbitration law, private international law and comparative law by the University of Basel.

Switzerland - Litigation

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Nathalie Voser is “a very well-known dispute resolution lawyer” with impressive experience in large, cross-border disputes. Peers say, “She is dogmatically thorough,” and she enjoys an excellent reputation for her work in the energy and construction sector.

Biography

Nathalie Voser is a partner in Schellenberg Wittmer's dispute resolution group in Zürich. She has acted as counsel and arbitrator in a large number of cases and has advised clients involved in complex multi-jurisdictional disputes before state courts. Her practice focuses on contracts regarding construction, civil engineering and energy-related projects, oil and gas production projects, research and development, distribution and license agreements, joint ventures as well as mergers and acquisitions. Nathalie is well known for her expertise in the construction, power production, oil and gas, pharmaceutical and automotive industries.

Nathalie's recent expertise in litigation includes being Swiss lead counsel to a Hungarian energy and gas company in the setting aside proceedings before the Swiss Supreme Court. She has been advising a Swiss entrepreneur in complex criminal civil multi-jurisdictional litigation before Italian state courts for many years.

In 1988, Nathalie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Basel and was admitted to the Swiss Bar in 1990. In 1994 she earned an LLM with honours from Columbia University, New York. In 2014, she was awarded the title of professor in private law, arbitration law, private international law and comparative law by the University of Basel.

Awards won by Nathalie Voser

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