Leading Adviser Awards 2023

41 | Acquisition International, Leading Adviser Awards 2023 rights policies, due diligence protocols or other corporate business structures. “ Whenever appropriate, we seek to resolve conflicts without taking legal action, but we also take pride in our ability to manage legal proceedings, be it litigation or arbitration, efficiently and robustly. Our client base is largely international, and we work with many of the most discerning clients and law firms in the world. ” International law’s ability to touch ordinary citizens is a sign of its success. As the field has matured, traditional international law sources such as bilateral and multilateral treaties, custom and general principles are complemented by ‘soft’ legal norms such as declarations, resolutions, guidelines, recommendations and international standards. In many areas, such as in sustainability and human rights due diligence, soft international norms inspire domestic legislation that creates hard law obligations. It can be daunting to navigate this voluminous body of law to make the most of the governance tools this can offer for both companies and State entities, and it can strain available resources. This is where a practice such as Westerberg can give invaluable assistance. International rules that regulate citizen interactions within their own state and with other countries can empower people and help lead to change. Neither states nor companies can afford to ignore litigation driven by coalitions of citizens, as has been seen for example in the field of climate change and human rights, where individuals and civil society have gone to court to force compliance with climate commitments or to force companies to rid their value chains of modern slavery. Such cases require also private entities such as companies to gain an understanding Care for clients in complex cases of their responsibilities under international law, and to find ways to meet them without jeopardising core commercial objectives, just as States must ensure their commitments can be met while pursuing meaningful State policy. Maria underlines that the Westerberg team prides itself on being able to combine these perspectives to do best for its clients. Another key strength of the firm is in international arbitration. It is thoroughly experienced in proceedings before the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) Arbitration Institute and also frequently participates in or co-organises events with the SCC to contribute its thought-leadership in arbitration matters. The team is often consulted by major international law firms on points of Swedish and international law in international arbitrations seated in Sweden. The firm is particularly well-known for its work in post-award proceedings. This regularly involves public international law issues being heard before local courts, in particular where the underlying arbitration is based on commitments and obligations under international treaties, such as in investment arbitration. While a lot of the firm’s work is confidential, it is publicly known that Westerberg is currently acting for a State, defending an arbitral award that the claimants are seeking to have set aside before the Swedish courts. The award concerns a purported investment in Ukraine, where it is argued that the claimants were deprived of their investment in violation of the Energy Charter Treaty’s chapter on investment protection. The tribunal declined to take up the case, finding the investment to be tainted by corruption. The claim is excessively large and the legal principles at play are hugely significant. In another post-award case in the public domain, Westerberg acts for investors seeking to enforce an arbitral award against a State by seizing assets invested by the State’s sovereign wealth fund in shares in Swedish publicly listed companies. In a hallmark win in 2021, the Westerberg team persuaded the Swedish Supreme Court that State saving for future purposes was not in itself a sovereign activity to make such funds unattachable for the State’s debts under an international award. This was notable as the Swedish Supreme Court’s decision departed from the stance taken by the Dutch Supreme Court, and the judgment is thereby part of an international legal conversation between these wellrespected precedential courts. To be a cog in the wheel of this judicial conversation, in defence of client interests, nicely sums up Maria’s academic interests and her work as a practising public international lawyer. Company: Westerberg & Partners Advokatbyrå AB Web Address: https://westerberg.com/ Contact Name: Maria Fogdestam-Agius