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Our practice has a strong track record in major administrative, civil and commercial and corporate crime disputes.

the lawyers give to-the-point, practical advice

Chambers Europe Guide to Europe's Leading Lawyers for Business 2017

a high-quality service

The Legal 500 EMEA 2017

always supportive in helping us to take the correct decision ... they build up a relationship with the client rather than just seeing us as a source of fees

Chambers Europe Guide to Europe's Leading Lawyers for Business 2017

offers high-level expertise, smooth communication and swift responses

Chambers Europe Guide to Europe's Leading Lawyers for Business 2016

efficiency and diligence are particular strengths of this team

Chambers Europe Guide to Europe's Leading Lawyers for Business 2016

We offer a highly specialised level of representation before the courts in Greece and Europe, industrial tribunals, the ICC and in arbitrations and mediations. Our team’s success rate in litigation is over 90%.

We approach disputes constructively, averting litigation where this is feasible and getting the best possible results where it is unavoidable. In either case, we focus on time and cost management to ensure minimal disruption to the ordinary course of our clients’ business. We place emphasis on pre-litigation risk management and case viability, recognising the need for communication with our clients on strategy, the issues at stake and developments to allow for informed decisions throughout the process.

Our practice offers a significant breadth of expertise across all types of commercial, administrative and white collar crime disputes. We enjoy long-standing relationships with clients across a wide range of industries who regularly instruct us on disputes arising in the course of their everyday business. Industry specialisations include medical, pharmaceutical, food and beverages, retail, electronics, car manufacturing, infrastructure, energy, insurance and securities.

Administrative & Compliance Disputes

Our practice has a significant expertise in this area, advising clients in disputes relating to regulatory and legislative compliance and interpretation. We represent clients in the challenge of acts and decisions of central and local government and public bodies and in fiscal, corporate governance, licensing and financial investigations by the regulatory and tax authorities. We advise on petitions for the annulment of penalties and fines and on disputes arising from public procurement processes and the award of public tenders.

Banking & Finance Disputes

We act on behalf of banks and financial institutions in respect of disputes arising in the retail and investment banking sectors and relating to products, transactions, investments, securities, insurance, fraud, debt recovery and regulatory investigations.

Corporate & Commercial Disputes

We have a vast amount of experience and a unique track record litigating corporate and commercial disputes arising from the performance and termination of commercial agreements and corporate relationships. These range from breach of contract to claims relating to company and asset acquisitions and disposals, mergers, joint ventures, agency and distribution agreements and real estate development and infrastructure projects. We advise act for clients on corporate governance and accountability litigation including actions relating to shareholder and directors’ duties and liabilities, as well as employment disputes.

Corporate Crime & Fraud

Our team represents companies and employees who are facing investigations, criminal liability or civil proceedings triggered by allegations of fraud, corruption, bribery and negligence. A significant part of our practice involves risk assessment and management. We also handle claims relating to breach of fiduciary duty and have unparalleled experience in setting out the defence options available to deal with the enforcement of sanctions imposed by government or regulatory authorities.

Fraud Investigations

We also have substantial experience in investigations of fraudulent and alleged or suspected fraudulent acts. We have repeatedly been instructed to conduct such investigations, independently or as part of a multi-disciplinary task-force, and present our findings, risk assessment and recommendations, usually in the form of a detailed report. Our client base includes some of the biggest names in the pharmaceuticals, electronics, defence, automobile, clothes and apparel industries. Our team includes a Certified Fraud Examiner and reports regularly on any change in the legal landscape in Greece pertaining to anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws and practices.

Restructuring & Insolvency Disputes

We advise on a wide range of contentious issues arising from restructurings, bankruptcies and insolvencies. We represent shareholders, directors and officers of companies in the process of being restructured as well as creditors, advising on enforcement of security, asset tracing, retention of title and employment issues.

Who to contact

Contact Christos
Contact Dimitris

Recognitions

  

Council of State Administrative Litigation

We represent The Union of Greek Insurance Companies and 14 domestic and international insurance companies before the Council of State in an application aiming to overturn legislation under which insurance companies are no longer required to pay contributions to the Subsidiary Insurance Fund for the Personnel of Insurance Companies in accordance with the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding entered into between the Greek Government and the Troika as part of the Economic Adjustment Programme. This is a critical case for insurance companies in that it concerns the abolition of a major mandatory contribution to the fund calculated with reference to the net profits from insurance contracts. Innovative constitutional and social security law issues are involved.

Damages and Tort Actions

We are representing a leading international banking institution in moral and actual damages and defamation action and a tort action lodged by a listed company. Both cases involve Greek bonds and are high profile due to political ramifications. We have been successful at first instance in both and the first is currently under appeal.

Public Supply Contract Dispute

We are representing the subsidiary of a major foreign State–owned company in administrative proceedings and litigation before the civil and administrative courts against the Greek State in the context of sanctions imposed during the execution of a public supply contract.

Hydrocarbon Exploration Dispute

We are representing a major petroleum company in its petition for interim measures against another petroleum company conducting exploration works in areas subject to exclusive rights for the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons granted in favour of our client by the Greek State.

Labour Disputes

We are representing a leading Greek natural cosmetics company with a growing international presence on an ongoing basis in relation to their labour disputes.

Investments Litigation and Personal Data Actions

We successfully represented an international bank in proceedings initiated by clients in connection with various investments in their portfolios and a claim by a former employee for €0.5m damages for unlawful use of personal data, which has been rejected and is subject to appeal. The total value of the claims is c€17.5m.

€17.5m Bond Loan Dispute

We represented a German bank on the termination of a bond loan and enforcement of its claim against the debtor’s property, possibly through mandatory sale at auction.

€275m Loan Disputes

We are advising a major Greek bank and its UK subsidiary in the termination of a facility agreement relating to a loan of €250m to a Greek company and c. €25m to a related Cypriot company, and the enforcement of their claims on the debtor’s property by asset liquidation. Recovery and enforcement will affect the financials of the bank due to the amounts involved and the difficult position of the Greek banks in the current financial climate.

Car Manufacturer Labour Disputes

We represent the Greek subsidiary of a luxury car manufacturer in their labour related disputes on an ongoing basis.

Insurance Litigation

We represent the Greek subsidiary of a leading European Life Insurance provider in their insurance related disputes on an ongoing basis.

Article 99 Bankruptcy Procedures

Bernitsas Law advised a leading German bank in the partial recovery of its claim from a Greek listed company applying for protection under Article 99 of the Greek Bankruptcy Code.

€70m Enforcement of Arbitral Awards

We are representing a consortium of construction companies in the enforcement of several arbitral awards issued against the Greek State to recover amounts of paramount importance to the claimant.

Dealership Litigation

We represent a major importer and distributor of cars in their litigation with former dealerships arising from claims for improper termination of agreements.

€1.9m Defamation Claim

We are advising several high profile individuals in defamation suits against various newspapers and websites. Most recently we are representing a former minister in defamation and slander actions. In this respect, we have prepared and filed three defamation and slander actions against two newspapers seeking the payment of damages of approximately €1.9m for printing false/slanderous stories against our client. Both the stories in question and the filing of the actions in response thereto received extensive publicity from the said newspapers and other media. The court has issued a decision in favour of our client.

€9.7m Damages Claim

We are acting for an international electronics manufacturer in connection with the c. €10.5m dispute arising from the termination of their distribution agreement with its former Greek air conditioners distributor and their potential exposure. This includes defending the client against a €9.7m claim for damages brought by its former distributor following the termination and advising on their claim for unpaid invoices. We are also providing advice and support on Greek law matters to the client’s in-house and external UK counsels in connection with parallel proceedings in the UK.

Finance Institution Labour Disputes

We represent an Austrian finance institution in their labour related disputes on an ongoing basis.

Hellenic Armed Forces Supply Dispute

We represented a supplier active in the defence industry in litigation before the Court of Audit relating to the non-approval of payments for material and services provided to the Hellenic Armed Forces.

HRADF Tenders Disputes

We advised the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) in proceedings before the Council of State and the Audit Board on numerous petitions for annulment and reversal in the context of the privatisations launched by the HRADF. This involves innovative issues relating to privatisation procedures.

International Bank Management Dispute

We represent the Greek branch of an international bank in their high value dispute with a former manager.

Damages Claims for Termination of Dealerships

We are advising the subsidiary of a leading German car manufacturer in several damages claims brought against it by some of its dealers for the allegedly improper termination of their dealerships and the payment of compensation for various types of alleged damages, including lost profits, goodwill indemnity, investments, operating expenses and moral damages. We have so far been 100% successful in all proceedings brought against our client and the case has set a precedent relating to the goodwill indemnity in dealership agreements.

Renault €25m Damages Claim

We have successfully represented Renault in numerous court proceedings with its former Greek distributor and other members of the former distribution network, including the rejection of a €0.5bn damages claim by its former Greek distributor and the filing and acceptance of a €25m claim against the latter and its guarantor, and so far have achieved the most favourable result for our client in all cases. Due to Renault’s involvement, the market share of its opponent, as well as the amounts at stake, this is a landmark case.

Distributorship Dispute

We successfully represented a European car manufacturer in proceedings brought against it by its former Greek distributor for the payment of damages allegedly arising out of the termination of the distributorship before the First Instance Court, the Appeals Court and the Supreme Court, which ended with the rejection of all claims against it.

€30m Breach of Trust and Unfair Competition Dispute

We are successfully acting on behalf of the subsidiary of a major multinational German athletic and casual footwear manufacturer in their breach of trust and fiduciary duty and unfair competition dispute, involving civil, commercial and criminal actions with a total value of over €30m. This dispute has significant consequences for the industry as it creates a precedent. The case was widely covered in the press due to the market presence of our client and its opponent, the alleged improprieties involved and the amounts at stake.

€25m Breach of Trust and Mismanagement Dispute

We are successfully acting on behalf of the subsidiary of a leading Italian denim jeans, clothing and accessories manufacturer in the filing of several claims, including a pending €25m breach of trust and fiduciary duty, unfair competition and mismanagement claim against the subsidiary’s former management and legal entities controlled by the latter. Due to the market status of our client and its opponent, the numerous publications in the press on this dispute, the alleged improprieties and the amounts at stake, this is a landmark case.

Life Insurance Damages Claims Dispute

We are advising the subsidiary of a leading European insurance company in complaints and damages claims relating to life insurance products sold in the Greek market brought against it in the aftermath of the Cypriot banking crisis. The first decision issued in this matter is in favour of our client.

€10m Moral Damages Claim

We advise a leading international banking institution in a €10m moral damages action brought by a listed company.

Gaming Sector Regulatory Disputes

We represent international gaming companies in their petitions to annul a tacit decision by the State and the Greek Regulatory Authority for Gambling refusing online gaming licenses and a Ministerial Decision and decision of the Greek Regulatory Authority for Gaming on gaming taxation and regulation of the online gaming market. These are very important cases as they involve issues which are central to the functioning of the market and pivotal for gaming companies in that they challenge the strict restrictions of the legislative framework governing online gaming, not currently permitted by Greek law.

Claw Back Disputes

We are advising a Greek and international pharmaceutical company in their appeals before the Council of State of decisions requiring them to pay claw backs to the Hellenic Organisation for the Provision of Healthcare Services. These cases are important as they involve a number of fundamental issues for pharmaceutical companies. A recent decision has been issued in another clawback dispute which is likely to set an unfavourable precedent for our case.

Hellenic Petroleum Council of State Litigation

We represented Hellenic Petroleum SA in litigation before the Council of State relating to a decision of the State Privatisations Inter-Ministerial Committee for the transfer of State shares to HRADF.

Ministry of Defence Penalty Dispute

We defended a leading International group in relation to the imposition of a penalty by the Ministry of Defence in the context of the execution of an offsets contract.

Public Asset Development in Corfu Dispute

We advised the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) on annulment and interim measures petitions submitted by public authorities relating to a public asset development in Corfu.

€59m Belgian Food Retailer Shareholder Dispute

We are representing a leading multinational Belgian food retailer in their €59m dispute against former shareholders.

Investments Disputes

We advised a major banking group in proceedings initiated against it by its clients in connection with investments and were involved in the drafting and execution of a settlement agreement.

€3m Metal Products Manufacturer Shareholder Dispute

We are representing the subsidiary of a major French metal products manufacturer in their €3m dispute against former shareholders.

€14m Public Tender Litigation Before Council of State

We represented a manufacturer of electronic systems for use by the defence industry in a petition for suspension and annulment before the Council of State in relation to a Greek tendering procedure governed by NATO provisions and procedures for the supply and installation of material of a value of €14m for the Hellenic Armed Forces.

Clothing Manufacturer Labour Disputes

We are advising the subsidiary of a leading casual clothing manufacturer in its labour law disputes.

Olympia Odos Arbitration

We are representing Olympia Odos, a joint venture of Greek and international construction companies, including Vinci SA and Hochtief PPP Solutions GmbΗ, in its capacity as the concessionaire of the €2.4bn (construction cost) concession project for the Elefsina – Korinthos – Patra stretch of the PATHE Motorway, in a series of disputes with the State before Technical Panels and Arbitration Tribunals and in various claims brought by third parties before the Civil Courts.

€3.3m Debt Recovery

We have advised a leading Korean manufacturer in the resolution of its dispute with its Greek customer and debtor and the recovery of the latter’s €3.3m debt.

European Payment Order

We represented a Spanish company in its successful defence against a European payment order and its annulment.

Asset Tracing & Freezing of Debtor’s Assets

We assisted a Gibraltar company in the tracing and subsequent successful filing of a freezing order of its debtor’s local assets and in the main proceedings against the debtor in Gibraltar. We successfully defended the freezing order against the debtor’s application for review which was rejected. We continue to advise in relation to the main proceedings in Gibraltar and on matters of enforcement.

Claim Arising from Termination of Distribution Agreement

We are advising a Danish company in its defence against a claim lodged by its former distributor for the payment of damages allegedly arising from the termination of the distributorship.

SCA Group Employment Disputes

We advised a member of the SCA Group before the employment authorities in relation to a dispute arising from the implementation of a voluntary exit plan and termination of employment of all the company’s employees.

Ongoing Litigation Support

We represent a leading group of pharmaceutical, cosmetics, clothing and food retail companies in disputes arising in the course of their day to day business.

WIND Telecommunications Administrative Litigation

We represent WIND Telecommunications in administrative litigation arising from disputes with the National Telecommunications and Postal Committee and alleged violation of Greek and EU legislation.

Energy Dispute with Municipality

We are representing a leading energy company in their dispute against the Municipality of Milos.

Non-Performance Damages Claim

We represent a leading international group in a damages claim brought against it by its former distributor and licensee for the alleged non-performance of their agreement and the payment of compensation for various damages, including lost profits.

Recourse Action against €30m Penalty

We advise a leading IT company in its recourse action initiated against the State in respect of a €30m penalty, outstanding payments and supply disputes arising from the execution of a public tender.

Debt Recovery Proceedings

We undertake debt recovery for several clients on an ongoing basis, including the local subsidiaries of a leading pharmaceutical company, an electronics giant and a clothing and accessories manufacturer.

€100m Succession Dispute

We are advising a high net worth individual in a succession dispute arising between heirs to a €100m estate.

Termination of Contracts Risk Management

We advised a leader in the design, manufacture, inspection, service and maintenance of critical safety equipment on the termination of its contractual arrangements in Greece and the prevention and handling of any subsequent litigation.

Greek Government Bonds Dispute

We are representing a major US Investment Bank in civil litigation against various parties arising from the sale of bonds of the Greek State.

Renewable Energy Arbitration Dispute

We are representing a renewable energy provider in arbitration on production site development agreements.

Debt Recovery Claim

We represent a pharmaceuticals company in a debt recovery claim against public hospitals and the State.

Corruption Investigation

We have been tasked with investigating possible acts of corruption within the local subsidiaries of several pharmaceutical companies.

European Payment Order

We successfully advised an Italian company in the issuance of a European payment order against its Greek debtor.

  • one-off breach of contract disputes
  • disputes arising from the performance and termination of commercial agreements
  • corporate governance disputes
  • corporate transaction disputes
  • corporate crime, fraud, negligence, breach of fiduciary duties
  • anti-bribery and anti-corruption risk management and disputes
  • intellectual property disputes, breach of patents, trademarks and copyright
  • licensing disputes
  • product liability disputes
  • medical liability disputes
  • insurance disputes
  • litigation arising from bankruptcies and restructurings
  • annulment of government and local government acts and decisions
  • litigation resulting from fines and penalties imposed by public authorities
  • succession disputes
  • environmental disputes
  • debt recovery proceedings
  • enforcement proceedings
  • recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments