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XXIV Old Buildings has devised a five-year plan to raise its profile among Chinese law firms after the lengthy Danone/Wahaha dispute showed there is a place for the bar on disputes between Eastern and Western companies.
In the arbitration, which took place in Stockholm - which has positioned itself as a neutral jurisdiction where Chinese and Western companies can resolve disputes - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer advised Danone.
King & Wood, which was advising Wahaha, instructed XXIV Old Buildings barrister Stephen Moverley Smith QC and Christopher Moger QC from 4 Pump Court.
Since working on the dispute, XXIV Old Buildings has drawn up a five-year plan to get closer to Chinese law firms, sent delegations of barristers to China and taken part in the Lord Chancellor’s Training Scheme for Chinese Lawyers.
“We get the impression that for conflict reasons, Chinese lawyers are quite interested in what the bar can provide,” said Nicholas Luckman, practice manager at XXIV Old Buildings, who believes that the bar can help Chinese firms avoid conflicts of interest in major international disputes.
“We’ve identified the vision, been retained by a Chinese law firm in a long-running case, and on the back of that we feel there must be other opportunities,” he added.
The Danone-Wahaha dispute centred on a venture formed by the two companies in 1996. Danone alleged that Wahaha set up companies within China - but outside of the venture - to sell competing products, under the Wahaha brand.