Paul Varul

Paul Varul

Senior Partner, Head of Dispute Resolution and Arbitration
Tartu, Estonia

According to the most renowned legal directories Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, Paul Varul is "extremely knowledgeable", "widely respected" and "the father of Estonian bankruptcy law".

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  • About

    Paul Varul has advised a wide range of Estonian and international clients on all aspects of private law. He has extensive knowledge and experience in the field of contract law and insolvency law. Paul Varul is renowned for his competence in dispute resolution, having represented clients in several high-profile actions, including international arbitration in Stockholm, London and Washington. Paul Varul has also served as an arbitrator for the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and for the Arbitration Court of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He has also acted as an expert witness in several international arbitration proceedings in Stockholm, London, Washington and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

    Paul Varul is a renowned expert in insolvency law. He has been one of the main authors of the Estonian Bankruptcy Act, is the Chairman of the Insolvency Law Expert Commission at the Ministry of Justice, is a member of the International Insolvency Institute and INSOL Europe and has been involved in many bankruptcy proceedings as a representative of both debtors and creditors.

    Paul Varul is also a recognized expert in contract law, being one of the authors of Estonian Law of Obligations Act and the model law of central importance in the EU, the Common Frame of Reference (Definitions, Principles and Model Rules of European Private Law). As the Chairman of the Expert Commission of new private law development, Paul Varul has been involved in drafting all the major private law legal acts in Estonia, such as the Law of Property Act, General Part of the Civil Code Act, Family Law Act, Law of Succession Act, Commercial Code, Law of Obligations Act, Bankruptcy Act, Reorganisation Act and Electronic Communications Act. He is also one of the compilers and authors of the quoted articles of the Civil Code General Act, the Law of Property Act and the Law of Obligations Act.

  • Major Projects
    • Representing 24 Estonian regarding the administrative reform

      Representing 24 Estonian municipalities in high-profile constitutional disputes against the Republic of Estonia concerning the lawfulness of the administrative reform, i.e. forced mergers of municipalities. The ruling of the Supreme Court enabled several municipalities to evade a forced merger, i.e. to remain independent municipalities.

    • Representing the Estonian Centre Party in a high-profile dispute over the lawfulness of EUR 730,000 in guarantee letters

      Representing the Estonian Centre Party in a high-profile dispute in the arbitration court of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry over the lawfulness of EUR 730,000 in guarantee letters by a former secretary-general and issued to the party’s campaign manager, advertising agency Midfield.

    • Representing Swedbank in insolvency disputes

      Representing Swedbank as a third party in Alberta Trade vs. Buruktal Nickel Plant insolvency disputes and related commercial dispute in the Court of St Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast (Russia). The case concerned the question of ownership of precious metals with a value of 19.5 million dollars. Swedbank won in all court instances.

    • Representing City of Pärnu against real estate company Herder

      Successfully representing City of Pärnu in a dispute over a purchase and sales agreement against real estate company Herder. This is the largest case won in the history of the City of Pärnu.

    • Representing Eesti Maapank in one of the largest bankruptcy cases in the Baltics

      Representing the Estonian commercial bank, Eesti Maapank, in one of the largest bankruptcy cases in the Baltics and in many related court proceedings.

    • Acting as an expert in the arbitration court of the ICSID

      Acting as an expert in the arbitration court of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in disputes in the matter of Sampo Pank (former Postipankki Oy), OKO Bank Plc (former Okopank Osuuspankkien Keskuspankki Oyj) and VTB Bank (Germany) AG (formerly Ost-West Handelsbank AG) versus the Republic of Estonia (through the Ministry of Finance) concerning the Republic of Estonia’s investment protection contracts with the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Finland, and several corporate and insolvency matters.

    • Representing the Bank of Estonia and Financial Supervision Authority in bankruptcy proceedings

      Representing the Bank of Estonia and Financial Supervision Authority and different bankrupt credit institutions and insurance companies (EVEA Bank, Inko Balti Bank, Tartu Commercial Bank, ERA Bank, ASA Insurance, AB Life Insurance, Polaris Insurance) in bankruptcy proceedings.

    • Advising Luminor in MRP Ärigrupp’s bankruptcy proceedings and disputes

      Advising the leading independent main financial services provider in the Baltics, Luminor (formerly DNB Bank Estonian branch), in MRP Ärigrupp’s bankruptcy proceedings and disputes.

    • Serving as an arbitrator for the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce

      Serving as an arbitrator for the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce in the matter of Tschudi Shipping Company versus the Republic of Estonia.

    • Advising Luminor as a creditor in a bankruptcy proceeding

      Advising the leading independent main financial services provider in the Baltics, Luminor (Nordea Bank Finland Plc Estonian branch), as a creditor in a bankruptcy proceeding.

    • Serving as an arbitrator for the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce

      Serving as an arbitrator for the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce in the matter of Alta Foods versus Luterma (former Kalev) in their dispute over the sale of the biggest foodstuffs producer in Estonia, Tere.

  • CV

    Memberships

    2011 – 2016
    Leader of the Estonian work group of The Scandinavian/Baltic Network on Insolvency
    2011
    Founding Member and Member of Council of The European Law Institute
    2006
    Expert Commission in Insolvency Law within the Ministry of Justice
    2006 – 2009
    Compilation and Reduction Team for Common Frame of Reference, operating under the auspices of the European Commission
    2008
    Member of the Board of INSOL-Europe Academic Forum
    2008
    INSOL-Europe and INSOL-International
    2007
    International Insolvency Institute
    2003 – 2008
    Study Group on European Civil Code
    1999 – 2002
    Chairman of the Expert Commission for the Law of Obligations Act and the General Part of the Civil Code Act
    2002
    Academy of European Private Lawyers
    1994
    Estonian Bar Association
    1992 – 1999
    Chairman of the Head Commission for the development of the Estonian Civil Code Act and Commercial Code

    Professional career

    Since 2017
    Senior Partner, law firm TGS Baltic
    1994 – 2017
    Senior Partner, law firm Varul
    1995 – 1999
    Minister of Justice of the Republic of Estonia
    1992 – 2015
    Civil Law Professor, University of Tartu

    Education

    1985
    St. Petersburg University, Legal Science, PhD
    1975
    University of Tartu, Faculty of Law, Bachelor of Law (cum laude)