A partner in Gowling WLG's disputes practice, Michael Darowski has extensive experience handling a broad range of complex, high-value international commercial disputes resolved by way of arbitration. He has handled disputes involving English and many other governing laws, and has acted in arbitrations under the rules of all of the main arbitral institutions and in ad hoc disputes (including pursuant to investment treaties). He has been involved in national court proceedings in relation to all aspects of the arbitration process - from applications for interim relief, to challenges to awards and enforcement - in several jurisdictions, including England, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands. Michael is also qualified as a solicitor in Hong Kong, having spent several years on secondment there.
Michael's practice focuses particularly on natural resources, oil and gas, energy, financial, transportation and telecoms sectors. He has arbitrated disputes all around the world, but has substantial experience of disputes relating to the CIS and Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the Far East. Michael provides his international clients, ranging from multinational corporations and financial institutions to wealthy private individuals, with practical, commercial solutions to the challenges they face.
A keen advocate, Michael has conducted advocacy and cross-examination at all stages of the arbitration process. Michael also has full rights of audience for civil matters at all levels of the English courts. Michael is experienced in helping clients to avoid disputes or resolve them at an early stage, including through negotiation, mediation and expert determination proceedings. He also regularly advises clients on the drafting of dispute resolution provisions in commercial contracts. Michael accepts appointments as an arbitrator.
Natural resources, oil and gas, and energy
- Acting for a UAE based energy company in an ad hoc arbitration proceedings claiming multi-billion dollar damages against a Middle-East NOC in relation to its total failure to supply pursuant to a long-term gas supply agreement, including successfully obtaining an award establishing liability and defending the award on the subsequent challenge to the English High Court pursuant to ss.67 and 68 Arbitration Act 1996.
- Represented the Republic of Albania in an ICSID arbitration pursuant to the Albania - Italy BIT relating to an alleged expropriation of a hydropower project and television station (Hydro S.r.l. and others v. Republic of Albania (ICSID Case No. ARB/15/28), and in two related ICC arbitrations pursuant to a BOT Concession Agreement.
- Represented the Republic of Albania in an ICSID arbitration under the Energy Charter Treaty relating to the alleged expropriation of a waste management project (Albaniabeg Ambient Sh.p.k. and others v. Republic of Albania (ICSID Case No. ARB/14/26)
- Acted for Victor Pinchuk in a LCIA arbitration relating to mining and mineral processing assets in Ukraine.
- Successfully obtained a permanent injunction for UAE energy companies in a LCIA arbitration against a European energy major in connection with a breach of a confidentiality agreement relating to a farm-in to world class gas reserves in Iraq, including completing the arbitration establishing liability on an expedited three month timetable.
- Acted for European and Middle Eastern gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) producers in several gas price review arbitrations under the ICC rules relating to the supply of pipeline gas and LNG to Northern Europe, arising out of the decoupling of oil and gas prices and the development of LNG reload facilities.
- Acting for an oil and gas major in UNCITRAL arbitration against a NOC arising from a unitization agreement relating to production from an oil field in North Africa.
- Advised an East European NOC on the termination of a PSC for breach of development obligations by a Canadian contractor.
- Acted for two Turkish electricity distribution companies in two separate ICC arbitrations involving US$500 million claims against a state party for breach of privatisation contracts.
- Advised an oil and gas major in a dispute against a NOC subject to ICC arbitration for clarification of development rights under PSC.
- Advised an oil and gas major on termination of an EFET Agreement for the sale of gas.
- Acted for a major mining company in an LCIA arbitration against a Thai copper smelter pursuant to a sale and purchase agreement.
- Advised a Swiss-based mining investment fund on disputes arising under supply agreements relating to rutile and nickel mines in Africa and SE Asia.
Corporate and finance
- Acted for a Ukrainian party in US$1 billion LCIA arbitrations against joint venture partners, involving commencement of 23 related LCIA arbitrations relating to a complex corporate holding structure, applications to the Cypriot court for statutory relief, and to the US court for section 1782 discovery in support of foreign proceedings.
- Acted for a Russian-based private equity fund in a LCIA arbitration breach of warranty claim arising out of a share purchase agreement relating to a Russian mail services provider.
- Acted for a Ukrainian agricultural conglomerate in a LCIA arbitration for breach of warranty and misrepresentation claims under a share purchase agreement.
- Acted for a Russian agricultural producer in a LCIA claim arising out of share purchase agreement relating to agricultural assets, including applications for injunctions in BVI and Cyprus.
- Acted for a major Thai manufacturing group in ICC arbitration proceedings in a US$2 billion claim for breach of a Singapore-based joint venture in the brewing industry.
General commercial (including TMT/Tech/IP/Life sciences, food and beverage, aviation, automotive)
- Represented a US-based multinational restaurant brand in various LCIA arbitrations relating to franchises in Spain, Mexico, Greece and Cyprus, including successfully closing restaurants operating in breach of franchise agreements.
- Represented a multinational mobile telecommunications company against the former Albanian state-owned fixed-line operator in ICC arbitration proceedings relating to the payment of network interconnection charges.
- Acted for global pharmaceutical company in shareholder dispute with North African local partner relating to project to the construct production plant and conduct joint marketing of pharmaceutical products subject to ICC arbitration.
- Successfully acted for a US leisure company in the first ever application in Hong Kong to set aside an international arbitration award (Brunswick Bowling & Billiards Corporation v Shanghai Zhonglu Industrial Co Ltd and Another (HCCT 66/2007))
- Acted in an arbitration under the SIAC Rules concerning a claim for breach of a SPA for the sale of a hotel in Vietnam.
- Advised a US contractor in a dispute against a Libyan state-owned port operator relating to supply and installation of a security system.
- Acted for a Scandinavian aircraft component supplier against an Indian airline in UNCITRAL arbitration, including an application to the Indian court for an injunction in support of the arbitration proceedings.
- Acted for an Indian rice producer in LCIA arbitration for breach of non-compete provisions in Indian law governed business sales and purchase agreements.