Firm Profile > Juris > Reykjavik, Iceland

Juris
BORGARTÚN 26
105 REYKJAVÍK
Iceland

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

Juris' team has 'experts in all fields', which enables it to carry out a variety of work including construction projects, full and partial acquisitions of companies for buyers and sellers, refinancing mandates and complex competition law issues. The group also acts for new and established companies in emerging fields; it recently advised Borgun, one of Iceland's largest payment acquirers, on various aspects of its business, and assisted Aurora Stream with financing and structuring matters. Simon Knight is a key name for cross-border mandates; he recently worked with Stefán A. Svensson to advise Júpíter Rekstrarfélag on the ISK47bn sale of its stake in HS Orka. Svensson and co-head Andri Árnason are go-to practitioners for M&A transactions involving competition issues, and co-head Halldór Jónsson manages the tax structuring of M&A and other corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Halldór Jónsson; Andri Árnason

Key clients

Íslandspóstur hf.

Bakkastakkur slhf.

Sunnuvellir slhf.

Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd.

Oddi prentun og umbúðir ehf.

Reginn hf.

Halicilla Ltd.

Aurora Stream ehf.

Já hf.

Árvakur hf.

ORF Genetics hf.

Krókháls 13 ehf./Bílaumboðið Askja

Autoledger ehf.

GSOB ehf.

Sportköfunarskóli Íslands ehf.

Aðaltorg ehf.

Rekstrarfélag Júpíter

Úthafsskip/UTS Management

Dispute resolution Tier 1

Juris has leading expertise in competition law and abuse of dominance litigation across a variety of sectors including the telecoms industry, and also fields notable strength in damages claims in the banking and financial services sectors. Beyond these two work streams, the practice also handles constitutional law mandates, shareholder disputes, human rights claims and challenges to the government's authority. In a significant recent matter,  group co-head Stefán A. Svensson, a Supreme Court attorney and competition law expert, acted for Ísfélag Vestmannaeyja in a successful claim against the Icelandic government regarding the government's quotas for the distribution of mackerel. Supreme Court attorney and fellow co-head Andri Árnason has particular expertise in competition law disputes, supplemented by a wider caseload encompassing criminal law matters and disputes arising from winding-up proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Andri Árnason; Stefán A. Svensson

Testimonials

Very good service and have experts in all fields and good contacts abroad if needed.’

Key clients

Kaupþing ehf.

Íslandsbanki hf.

Borgun hf.

Íslandspóstur hf.

RÚV ohf.

Síminn hf.

Ísfélag Vestmannaeyja hf.

Icelandic Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs (fjármála og efnahagsfráðuneytið) on behalf of the Icelandic State.

Míla ehf.

Municipality of Ísafjörður

Korputorg ehf.

Eimskip Ísland ehf.

EEA and competition Tier 2

Juris' competition team frequently acts for claimants and defendants in abuse of dominance cases, and has further expertise in challenges to exemptions granted by the Competition Authority. Beyond these two consistent work streams, the team is also active in cross-border project finance matters involving state aid issues. Supreme Court attorney Andri Árnason has expertise in competition disputes and jointly leads the practice, which recently recruited associates Hildur Þórarinsdóttir, who was formerly at the Icelandic Data Protection Agency, and Sigrún Magnúsdóttir. Co-head Stefán A. Svensson frequently represents a diverse pool of clients in competition disputes, including abuse of dominance claims and disputes before the Post and Telecommunications Authority.

Practice head(s):

Andri Árnason; Stefán A. Svensson

Key clients

Íslandspóstur hf.

Síminn hf.

Já hf.

Borgun hf.

Eimskip Ísland hf.

Birgir Þór Bieltvedt

Maritime and transport Tier 2

With particular expertise in the fishing and shipping sectors, the maritime and transport group at Juris advises domestic companies on financings, acquisitions and commercial agreements, and acts in competition law disputes and fishing quota litigation. The practice also demonstrates additional expertise in international trade litigation, particularly relating to import bans imposed as a result of its disagreement with Greenland, Norway, the Faroe Islands and the European Union. Team co-head Finnur Magnússon stands out for his expertise in the fishing sector, in which he advises major Icelandic companies including Ísfélag Vestmannaeyja with fellow co-head Sigurbjörn Magnússon.

Practice head(s):

Sigurbjörn Magnússon; Finnur Magnússon

Key clients

Ísfélag Vestmannaeyja hf.

Lýsi hf.

Span-Ice ehf.

Úthafsskip ehf./UTS Management

Eimskip Ísland hf.

Real estate and construction Tier 2

Juris' recent real estate work includes advising clients on the development of hotels and data centres, lease agreements, property acquisitions and contentious matters including cases between municipalities and private companies regarding the delineation between private and public land. Simon Knight, who specialises in cross-border real estate and construction deals, recently advised Aðaltorg on the construction of an airport hotel involving a Chinese counterparty. Practice head Halldór Jónsson handles the tax structuring elements of real estate projects and transactions.

Practice head(s):

Halldór Jónsson

Key clients

Iðngarðar ehf.

Korputorg ehf.

Halicilla Ltd.

ÍSAM ehf.

Krókháls 13 ehf.

Reginn hf.

Municipality of Ísafjörður

Restructuring and insolvency Tier 2

Juris acts for petitioners, including companies and banks, in claims for damages arising from alleged criminal conduct, winding-up proceedings and loan defaults. The group is also recognised for its historic work for the winding-up of domestic banks following the 2008 financial crash, and has established expertise in rescission cases. Stefán A. Svensson is noted for his experience in complex insolvency mandates and rescission cases, while practice co-heads Andri Árnason and Halldór Jónsson have experience serving as liquidators.

Practice head(s):

Andri Árnason; Halldór Jónsson

Key clients

Kaupþing ehf.

Íslandsbanki hf.

Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 3

Juris' 'very competent and professional practice' has considerable expertise in contentious banking and finance matters arising from the 2008 financial crash, recovery proceedings and claims for damages, alongside a strong track record in domestic and cross-border project financing mandates in the telecoms, energy and infrastructure sectors. Dual-qualified partner Simon Knight, who is noted for being 'diligent and meticulous', is very active in multi-jurisdictional mandates and recently acted for Sunnuvellir on its $900m investment in Silicor's development of a solar silicon plant in Iceland. Halldór JónssonAndri Árnason and Sigurbjörn Magnússon jointly lead the department.

Practice head(s):

Halldór Jónsson; Andri Árnason; Sigurbjörn Magnússon

Testimonials

‘Juris’ service is personal – the team focus on their customers needs. They have strong partners with a great depth of knowledge both in terms of practical and theoretical matters.’

‘Simon Knight is very strong in finance and cross border corporate matters.’  

‘Finnur Magnússon is extremely strong in EU/EEA matters and the interplay between Icelandic law and the EU Acquis.’

‘Andri Árnason has proven himself to be very knowledgable about Icelandic corporate law.’ 

Key clients

Sunnuvellir slhf.

Summa Rekstrarfélag hf.

Birgir Þór Bieltvedt

Borgun hf.

Alliance Bernstein

Kaupþing ehf.

Íslandsbanki hf.

Landsbankinn hf.

Bakkastakkur slhf.

TMT and IP Tier 3

The TMT and IP practice at Juris handles contentious and non-contentious matters including GDPR compliance issues, freedom of expression matters, competition law disputes, corporate structuring work, governance mandates, financings and acquisitions; the majority of the firm's transactional work involves start-ups and established technology companies. Associates Hildur Þórarinsdóttir and Sigrún Magnúsdóttir recently joined the practice from the Icelandic Data Protection Agency and the University of Reykjavik, respectively. Andri Árnason continues to advise key client Síminn on its regulatory matters, and Stefán A. Svensson's expertise includes representing broadcasters in ECHR disputes and advising telecoms companies on competition issues and matters before the regulators.

Practice head(s):

Andri Árnason; Stefán A. Svensson

Key clients

Íslandspóstur hf.

Vísar rannsóknir ehf.

Aurora Stream ehf.

RÚV ohf.

Síminn hf.

Já hf.

Míla ehf.

Drífa ehf.

Five Degrees Software

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
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

Managing Partner Halldór Jónsson discusses how Juris enables its clients to navigate the Icelandic legal landscape.

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.