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April 1, 2020

King & Spalding Advises on Landmark Virtual Trial in London High Court

King & Spalding has represented several defendants in one of the first virtual trials in English legal history.

The case – National Bank of Kazakhstan & the Republic of Kazakhstan v The Bank of New York Mellon, Anatolie Stati and Ors – was initially listed for seven days and scheduled to commence in the London High Court on 23 March, 2020. However, after a case management hearing on 19 March, 2020, Mr Justice Teare ruled that in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the trial should take place in an entirely virtual format.

Commencing on 26 March 2020, the trial concluded on 1 April, 2020 with minimum disruptions to the proceedings. These proceedings involved witnesses and experts from several jurisdictions, including Belgium, Kazakhstan and the U.S. as well as logistical challenges such as conferencing solutions and a service provider capable of arranging and moderating a fully virtual trial. The trial was also the first in the English High Courts to be live-streamed on YouTube.

The case relates to global enforcement-related proceedings which stem from a US$541 million Energy Charter Treaty award rendered against the Republic of Kazakhstan in December 2013 in favour of Moldovan oil and gas investors, represented by King & Spalding.

The case, for which the firm also provided advocacy, was recently named in The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2020 list (see details here).