Legal Business

Areva

  • Group general counsel: Coralie Bouscasse.
  • Team headcount: 134 lawyers.

The legal team at French nuclear giant Areva has been praised for its capabilities in ‘perhaps one of the largest and most complex cases in the history of international commercial arbitration’, namely its high-profile battle against Finnish energy consortium Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) over the construction of Olkiluoto 3, a nuclear power plant on the shore of the Gulf of Bothnia in the municipality of Eurajoki in western Finland.

Having started in 2005, the plant is being built jointly by Areva and the German engineering giant Siemens, but delays and cost overruns at Olkiluoto 3 triggered a legal battle between the Areva-Siemens consortium and TVO. The Areva-Siemens consortium initiated arbitration proceedings in December 2008 and the dispute is now in arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce. In October last year, Areva-Siemens raised its claim against TVO to €3.5bn. Adding to the complexities was TVO filing its own claim against Areva-Siemens in September 2012 and it is seeking compensation from Areva-Siemens for financial losses stemming from delays in building the 1,600MW nuclear reactor.

‘Throughout that time, we have been consistently impressed by the Areva team’s ability to maintain a grasp over every one of the case’s many angles,’ says one partner at an international law firm. ‘Through its hard work, it made a seemingly unmanageable case function like clockwork. The level of sophistication the team has shown in this process is remarkable and worthy of much praise.’

General secretary Pierre Charreton, who served as GC until April 2014, is cited for his ‘cunning sense of strategy’. Team members also highlighted for their contribution include current legal chief, Coralie Bouscasse; Jens Bürkle, GC for nuclear activities; and senior legal counsel, Marion Saizeau.>

Concludes one partner: ‘Charreton stands as a prime example of excellent leadership. His presence and leadership are clearly the key ingredients that make Areva’s legal team run as seamlessly and effectively as it does.’