From project initiation to damages assessment: a bright light between expectation and reality?

By Tsegaye Laurendeau

On 19 March 2024, we held: ‘From project initiation to damages assessment: a bright light between expectation and reality?’, an event hosted by Signature arbitration partner Tsegaye Laurendeau as part of Paris Arbitration Week 2024.

Our panel of experts comprised specialists with backgrounds in finance, accountancy, or M&A advisory, and who now act either as valuation experts or arbitrators in international arbitrations.

The panel provided their valuable insights into how the approach to risks and valuation issues at the inception of a project can influence the assessment of damages in the arbitration. There was a range of views in the room and practical tips to take away. The discussion topics included:

1. Whether risks at the inception of a project and in damages assessments are the same.

2. The importance of placing the project or transaction, which gives rise to the dispute, in its broader economic context in order to arrive at a meaningful loss assessment.

3. What should be the experts’ approach to the project financial analysis at the project development stage and why? Is it a useful framework, relevant, binding or should it be disregarded?

4. The value of contemporaneous documentary evidence v. witness evidence in valuations?

5. Document production – the experts’ role.

6. Valuations methods – is market value a reliable starting point when assessing loss or value to the injured party?

7. Why the values arrived at by the experts on the opposing sides in a dispute are so far apart and possible solutions to that.

For those interested in reading further into the points discussed on the day, we are preparing a more comprehensive note and will circulate this in due course.

Tsegaye Laurendeau commented: “It was a very constructive event and I hope everyone who attended found it valuable. I am grateful to the panellists for skilfully unpacking issues that often come across as esoteric and for explaining their relevance in complex damages cases. I am also grateful to the audience for helping steer the discussion with topical questions.”

Our thanks to the excellent panel of speakers: Mark Kantor (Independent Arbitrator and Mediator), Susan Blower (Ankura), Jessica Resch (Analysis Group), Min Shi (Oxera), and Kai Schumacher (AlixPartners).

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