UK: Clyde & Co Advises Turkish Government on Earthquake Settlement
Last Updated: 27 June 2002

Court Approves US $110m Settlement - the Largest of its Kind

International law firm, Clyde & Co, advised on the successful mediation and settlement of substantial damage claims relating to the Istanbul to Ankara motorway during the earthquake in Turkey in November 1999. An application by the Turkish joint venture former partner challenging the settlement was rejected by the Commercial Court on June 25th 2002 and the insurance monies have now been paid to the Turkish Government.

The case was settled for approximately US $110m, believed to be the largest single non-marine contractors all risks (CAR) claim paid by the insurance market. The claim related to damage to a viaduct and the collapse of the tunnel under construction in the Bolu Mountains.

Commercial Litigation partner, Jonathan Wood, advised the Turkish Government’s General Directorate of Highways and Italian contractors, Astaldi. The project was covered by a CAR insurance policy provided by Generali-Kent Sigorta of Turkey. Reinsurers involved included Assicuranzioni Generali, Allianz Cornhill and AXA.

The General Directorate of Highways, the contractor and Turkey-based insurers, Generali-Kent, originally reached agreement to indemnify the losses on November 1st 2001. Further negotiations between the contractors, the government and insurers were held in Ankara, following the challenge to the settlement and were led by Jonathan Wood on behalf of the Turkish Government. The resulting agreement was ratified by the Turkish Minister for Highways and by the Italian Ambassador.

However, an application challenging the agreement was subsequently made to the Commercial Court in London, by the Turkish joint venture former partner. Clyde & Co had made a successful application to the Court for a Freezing Order of the funds, until the case was resolved yesterday.

Commenting on the case, Jonathan Wood said,

"The Turkish earthquake was one of the major disasters of recent times and a positive outcome to this claim was in everyone’s interest; its settlement through the effective use of mediation has proved beneficial to all concerned. We are delighted that this matter has now been finally resolved. As a result of which, important work to improve the Turkish infrastructure can now restart at the earliest opportunity."

The team at Clyde & Co comprised Jonathan Wood (partner), Chris Burdett (senior assistant), Tom Taylor and Adam Chichester-Clark (assistant solicitors), Tom Wooden and Beverley Green (para-legals) Nick Elwell-Sutton, Naomi Hewitt and Andrew Rourke (trainees), supported by in-house lawyers Ibrahim Baylan and Lucca Puletti for KGM and Astaldi respectively, and Kerim Atamer and Mahmoud Karaman of the Turkish law firm, Attamer & Karaman

  1. Clyde & Co is a leading international law firm with particular strengths in trade, shipping, insurance and reinsurance, transport, energy, corporate and commercial law, finance and technology. The firm has over 400 lawyers and 450 support staff based throughout the world. It has offices in London, Guildford, Cardiff, Paris, Nantes, Piraeus, St Petersburg, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Caracas, and an associate office in Belgrade.
  2. Jonathan Wood is Head of Commercial Recoveries and Dispute Resolution at Clyde & Co. He handles a wide variety of commercial litigation, arbitration and ADR. He specialises in banking, insurance and reinsurance, commercial fraud, insolvency and trade related cases, many of which have an international dimension. Jonathan has acted for ECGD which provides credit and political risk insurance for exporters on major projects overseas for a number of years, and represented HM Government on its privatisation. He is a member of the London Court of International Arbitration, and Vice Chairman of the International Bar Association Committee on International Sales. He is also a member of the International Bar Association Committees on Insurance, International Litigation and Arbitration and the American Bar Association Litigation Section. He was recently appointed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Human Rights pro bono panel. Jonathan has been warmly endorsed by legal Directory Chambers & Partners in its 2001-2002 edition and was identified as a leading practitioner in Commercial Litigation.

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