Firm Profile > Juris > Reykjavik, Iceland

Juris
BORGARTÚN 26
105 REYKJAVÍK
Iceland

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

Juris ‘manages any situation promptly and with superb accuracy’. Halldór Jónsson and associate Bjarni Aðalgeirsson advised entrepreneur Birgir Þór Bieltvedt on a series of high-profile M&A deals concerning Domino’s Pizza Group and Hard Rock Café. Simon Knight is leading the team in acting for Sunnuvellir on Silicor’s $900m silicon plant project. Vífill Harðarson was involved in matters involving corporate restructuring.

Dispute resolution Tier 1

With their ‘exceptional support and superb knowledge’, the lawyers at Juris focus on commercial and financial litigation, among other matters. The team represents Kaupþing Bank in civil proceedings for the recovery of funds lost due to alleged criminal conduct prior to the 2008 financial collapse. Following the successful representation of Kaupþing against claims brought by AB76, Andri Árnason and Stefán A. Svensson are currently assisting the bank with handling further claims regarding its alleged market abuse. Other work includes defending Borgun hf. against claims alleging abuse of a dominant position and collusion, as well as defending Íslandspóstur (Iceland Post) against an alleged market abuse claim brought by Póstmarkaðurinn. Simon Knight stands out for his 'strong cross-border dispute resolution skills'.

Restructuring and insolvency Tier 1

Juris focuses on insolvency litigation and provides corporate advice to troubled companies and their liquidators. Following its successful representation of Kaupthing regarding a priority claim filed by AB 76 in the winding-up proceedings of the bank, the firm is currently handling claims concerning the market behaviour of Kaupthing. The matter is handled by Stefán Svensson and associate Andri Árnason, who are also acting for Kaupthing in €60m civil proceedings seeking recovery of funds. Halldór Jónsson led advice on the liquidation of Iðngarðar. Íslandsbanki remains another key client.

EEA and competition Tier 2

Led by Stefán A. Svensson and Andri Árnason, Juris assists Síminn with its objection to the legality of a competition law exemption permitting cooperation between certain other telecoms operators. The practice acts for other notable clients including Iceland Post, Borgun and high-profile Icelandic businessman Birgir Þór Bieltvedt. Associate Hólmfríður Björk Sigurðardóttir joined from the Icelandic Competition Authority.

Maritime and transport Tier 2

Juris' team acts for large fishing corporation Ísfélag Vestmannaeyja on its domestic and international operations, which included representing the client in a claim against the Icelandic government regarding the distribution of mackerel quotas. Finnur Magnússon and Sigurbjörn Magnússon are key figures and jointly assist Iceland's largest exporter of cod liver oil Lýsi with all legal matters pertaining to its expansion overseas and general business operation issues. Associate Bjarni Aðalgeirsson is also noted.

Real estate and construction Tier 2

Juris is growing its real estate market presence, especially with regard to project finance. Key contact Halldór Jónsson led the team in acting as the liquidator for Iðngarðar, which involved the recovery of real estate, among other matters. Simon Knight took the lead in providing investment strategy support to large Icelandic companies, as well as in advising Halicilla on the acquisition and management of multiple properties.

Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 3

Praised for their ‘reliability, stability and good knowledge of what they are doing’, the lawyers at Juris advise on project financing and regulatory issues. With Simon Knight leading the work, the team is assisting Sunnuvellir with its interest in Silicor’s proposed silicon plant. Halldór Jónsson,  who is ‘a very reliable lawyer, negotiator and adviser’, was supported by associate Bjarni Aðalgeirsson in advising Birgir Bieltvedt on financial matters related to headline transactions regarding Domino’s Pizza Group in Norway, Sweden and Iceland.

TMT and IP Tier 3

Juris provides general IP support to clients including large telecom companies, such as Míla and Síminn, but also handles matters for innovative, rapidly growing start-ups. The ‘knowledgeableAndri Árnason is a key contact.

The firm: Juris as it is known today was created as a result of three waves of mergers between 2006 and 2011 involving the practices of some of Iceland‘s leading lawyers. The origins of the firm, however, date back to 1953, ranking Juris among Iceland‘s more venerable law firms.

In the early days Juris dealt with a wide range of issues including corporate matters, private client work as well as aviation and telecommunications. Notably in those early days Juris represented and acted for Iceland Telecom (now Síminn), a client that has remained with the firm to the present day, a testament to Juris’ uncompromising standards and its prompt, practical and commercially focused advice.

Icelandic society has undergone profound transformation since the 1950s. Throughout that time Juris has been responsive and adapted to meet the changing needs of its clients. Most recently, with its expertise in banking and litigation, Juris was able to assist clients dealing with the fall-out from the 2008 banking collapse, including successfully representing clients in several landmark Supreme Court cases.

Areas of practice: Juris concentrates on commercial and financial matters. It is the only Icelandic law firm with native Icelandic and English lawyers working together in Reykjavík, which enables it to provide seamless cross-border legal advice, benefiting clients in terms of expertise, accessibility and cost.

A number of the firm’s lawyers have previously worked in-house at major Icelandic and British organisations with the result that it is familiar with the workings of business and understands its needs and priorities. Juris advises on a wide range of issues involving Icelandic and English law including new project finance developments which, among many other issues, require it to consider and advise on environmental law and tax, other corporate and financing transactions, M&A and investment work, including from overseas, as well as general commercial and contract law work. The firm also has considerable expertise in litigation, competition issues, marine and fishing.

Department Name Email Telephone
Banking and finance Simon Knight
Banking and finance Vífill Harðarson
Competition and EU/EEA Finnur Magnússon
Competition and EU/EEA Stefán A Svensson
Corporate and commercial Halldór Jónsson
Corporate and commercial Simon Knight
Energy and resources Finnur Magnússon
Energy and resources Lárus L Blöndal
Insolvency and restructuring Stefán A Svensson
Insolvency and restructuring Vífill Harðarson
IP, IT and telecoms Edda Andradóttir
IP, IT and telecoms Simon Knight
Litigation and arbitration Finnur Magnússon
Litigation and arbitration Stefán A Svensson
Tax Halldór Jónsson
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Andri Árnason  photo Mr Andri Árnason
Mrs Edda Andradóttir  photo Mrs Edda Andradóttir
Mr Lárus L Blöndal  photo Mr Lárus L Blöndal
Mr Vífill Harðarson  photo Mr Vífill Harðarson
Mr Halldór Jónsson  photo Mr Halldór Jónsson
Mr Simon Knight photo Mr Simon Knight
Mr Sigurbjörn Magnússon  photo Mr Sigurbjörn Magnússon
Dr Finnur Magnússon  photo Dr Finnur Magnússon
 Katherine Nichols  photo Katherine Nichols
Mr Stefán A Svensson  photo Mr Stefán A Svensson
Number of lawyers : 22
English
Icelandic
other Scandinavian languages
Contacts : Simon Knight (simon@juris.is)
Contacts : Finnur Magnússon (finnur@juris.is)
Contacts : Stefán A Svensson (stefan@juris.is)
Contacts : Vífill Harðarson (vifill@juris.is)

At Juris we know that a diverse team increases collaboration and creative approaches to problem solving, enabling us to provide an exceptional service to all of our clients. Our commitment to inclusion extends to every race, gender, age, religion, identity and experience.

Halldór Jónsson, Managing Partner

What do you see as the main points that differentiate juris from your competitors?

As one of Iceland’s largest full-service firms we are able to advise our clients on all aspects of their business, from corporate and tax to dispute resolution. Our team of Icelandic and English lawyers working together from our Reykjavik offices is also unique in Iceland.

Three of our senior lawyers are English solicitors, which not only gives us the ability to advise clients on a broader range of issues but also allows us to bring different perspectives to projects to provide clients with innovative, tailor-made solutions.

The fact that we all work in the same office results in a greater level of collaboration and means we are the Icelandic firm that is best placed to advise both international clients looking to Iceland and domestic clients doing business overseas.

Many of our lawyers also have experience in business and have worked as in-house counsel. This background enables us to understand commercial realities and to focus on delivering effective and creative solutions in a language our clients understand.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Key practices which we see growing are corporate M&A, both domestic and cross-border, as well as project financing, particularly in the infrastructure sector. In recent years, Iceland has had strong economic growth which has led to increased M&A activity.

Although there are indications that the rate of growth may be slowing down, we expect M&A and investment activity to continue to grow, in particular opportunistic transactions as well as further interest in Iceland from abroad.

The recent lifting of most of the capital controls that have been in place since the 2008 collapse is also likely to drive activity as it creates new opportunities for businesses and investors.

Investment in infrastructure has been a hot topic in Iceland recently, particularly given the sharp increase in tourist numbers and the resulting need to have adequate infrastructure. The momentum behind this and the urgency has been growing and we expect to see significant growth in this field.

We also anticipate that there will be changes in the financial services industry in the coming year with the implementation of PSD2 and as the Icelandic financial services sector continues to realign in the wake of the 2008 collapse.

What changes do you anticipate in the icelandic legal landscape in the next few years?

Like many countries, Iceland is currently in a period of flux where previously held assumptions are being re-evaluated, new ideas raised and disruptive technology is also having an impact. In this dynamic environment we can expect the legal landscape to change in the coming years.

These changes are likely to be both structural, involving public institutions and the constitution, and sectoral, with new legislation and new technologies impacting the way various sectors operate.

For much of the last decade we have also had capital controls in Iceland. Whilst many of the capital controls have recently been lifted, the Central Bank of Iceland has retained some control measures and we can expect a hands-on approach to economic management to continue, with a dynamic regime adapting to changing economic pressures.

How does juris assist its clients in navigating the icelandic legal environment?

The breadth of our team’s knowledge and experience allows us to keep clients informed about the latest developments and help them plan for changes, both through updates as well as working with clients on bespoke solutions.
For instance, based on our experience of the 2008 financial collapse, we are able to help clients plan for and mitigate the risks of the next potential downturn, at the same time as enabling them to complete transactions in an efficient manner.

Through our team of English and Icelandic lawyers we provide international clients with a unique gateway to Iceland. We have a deep understanding of the legal and cultural differences and work hard to help our clients steer a smooth course by providing clear, succinct and timely advice in terms and language that our clients understand.

The various backgrounds of our team also allow us to share our international clients’ “outsider’s perspective” whilst being able to give them the benefit of being fully connected to the Icelandic business community. We also have a strong network of lawyers in other jurisdictions with whom we work on projects involving cross-border elements.

Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

In recent years, we have advised a group of institutional investors in relation to the Norðurturn property development next to Iceland’s largest shopping mall. We became involved in the project in early 2010 after the project had run into difficulties.

Our clients, who were bondholders in the project, with different approaches and agenda, wanted to safeguard their interests. Our initial work involved leading negotiations between the bondholders on how to move forward with the project in a synchronised manner.

Subsequently, we led the negotiation with the building contractor on behalf of the bondholders, with the result that the parties’ interests were restructured into an SPV and agreements were entered into to finalise the building of the 15 story commercial and retail development.

Following this we advised the project on lease agreements for the entire development, which has now been completed and occupied. With our assistance our clients have been able to turn around a credit recovery matter, creating significant value on their investment, and we continue to advise the project on operational issues to continue to maximise value for the stakeholders.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

We enjoy long-standing relationships with many of our clients based on mutual trust and understanding and we pride ourselves on being approachable and “user-friendly”.

Apart from seeking out and taking on new talent, our senior staff has changed very little over the last few years which has enabled us to provide our commercial clients with the continuity and stability they desire even though the economic and legal environment changes.

The longer we work with a client the more we deepen our understanding and knowledge of their business, aspirations and principles, which enables us both to provide solutions efficiently and to assist with strategic direction.

At the same time, we recognise that many clients need a one-off solution or assistance with an isolated project. Our range of experience and backgrounds allows us quickly to understand their businesses and identify the key issues so as to provide the services they need, when they need them and in the manner in which they need them.

In three years’ time we see Juris continuing to be a leading firm for both domestic and international clients, continuing to support our longstanding clients and building new long-term relationships with new clients.