Peter & Kim
Avenue de Champel 8C
Peers and clients say:
"Wolfgang is one of the best counsel and arbitrators around"
"He has a great understanding of complex business issues"
"Mr Peter impresses with his knowledge of business valuation and management processes"
Wolfgang Peter is a founding partner at Peter & Kim, a global specialist practice in Switzerland, South Korea, Singapore and Australia, dedicated to international commercial and investment arbitration. Dr Peter represents major companies and states as counsel in large and complex international arbitrations. He also regularly serves as an arbitrator in high-stake arbitrations, under the auspices of various global institutions. He has acted, up to April 2022, in over 270 international arbitrations.
What qualities make for a successful M&A arbitrator?
A background in M&A transactions is obviously helpful, but other than that, experience with financial reporting and accounting would be useful, as well as attention to financial intricacies and shareholder rights.
How has the role of arbitrator changed since you started your career?
The role of an arbitrator is fundamentally still that of a dispute adjudicator, but today an arbitrator is expected to be much more proactive in terms of procedural management (handling witness conferencing for instance or preparing questions for the parties in advance of the hearing) as well as being attuned to issues of environment, human rights and corruption just to name a few of the recurrent themes, which were not on the radar for most arbitrators 20 years ago.
What difficulties do fixed fee structures present for arbitration experts?
Fixed fee structures may be of interest to the parties to minimise costs, however, this might disincentivise the experts and become potentially counterproductive. One may find better ways of minimising costs, by better identifying strategic goals of the arbitration before launching one, for instance.
Could e-discovery technologies be used in case assessment for smaller cases? What benefits would this bring?
The use of e-discovery could help the parties reduce costs and save time, if implemented correctly. However, advanced software for searches comes with its own transactional costs, which means it cannot be economically used in cases that are too ‘small’ (in terms of amount in dispute, it is assumed).
How have the new ICC rules impacted commercial arbitration practice?
The impact of the new rules of 2021 has not been fully felt yet, since most of the current arbitration proceedings use the previous version of the rules. However, I expect that the following changes would have a larger impact – 1) provision for virtual hearings and a shift away from paper filings; 2) amendments to the consolidation provision, and to the joinder provision to allow for joinder after the confirmation or appointment of a tribunal in certain limited circumstances; 3) a requirement that parties disclose certain third-party funding agreements.
Many arbitral awards are starting to end up back in court for enforcement proceedings. Does arbitration have an enforcement issue, and how could this be addressed if so?
Arbitration fundamentally does not have a problem of enforcement, since it is governed by the New York Convention, which has been remarkably successful and widely ratified around the world. What has changed, however, is the parties’ combativeness against enforcement, by relying, for example, on public policy exceptions (corruption or the intra-EU objection in the BIT arbitration context) which are interpreted differently in different jurisdictions.
What challenges did you face when setting up your own firm?
Having set up a new firm just two years ago, I would think that building a new brand is always a challenge, but of course building efficient teams is always a part of the challenge, especially if the firm is spread throughout continents. This was a different challenge compared to my starting days in arbitration, when international arbitration itself had not yet created its “brand” and one had to convince many parties to opt in for arbitration.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The founding of my new firm in 2020 and my 14 years of entrepreneurial activity in the watch industry were based on the same advice, which I always tried to adhere to: be entrepreneurial and not only identify the opportunities but be bold and seize them.