Firm Profile > Juris > Reykjavik, Iceland

Juris
BORGARTÚN 26
105 REYKJAVÍK
Iceland

Iceland > Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

At Juris, Halldór Jónsson and Andri Árnason jointly lead the team, which assists with commercial, corporate and M&A matters. With expertise in the banking, natural resources, fishing, energy, hospitality and infrastructure sectors, the group also advises on telecoms and technology mandates. Fielding Icelandic and English-qualified lawyers, the group handles cross-border transactions, refinancing mandates, competition issues and project finance work. Simon Knight is the go-to name for international matters.

Practice head(s):

Halldór Jónsson; Andri Árnason

Other key lawyers:

Simon Knight

Testimonials

‘Highly capable experts in their field.’

‘Very good knowledge of specialties and difficult issues. Halldór Jónsson has worked with us on specialised issues and has shown great interest and dedication.’

‘In our view Juris is a very competent and professional practice which offers good value for money. Their service is personal and they focus on their customers‘ needs. They have strong partners with depth of knowledge both on a practical and theoretical legal level. They have good knowledge on commercial issues and how that should be reflected in legal documentation.’

‘We would mention the partners Simon Knight and Andri Árnason in particular. Simon Knight is very strong in finance and cross-border corporate matters. Simon is diligent, meticulous with high attention to detail and swiftly responds to any inquiries. Simon speaks splendid Icelandic which is quite unusual for a non-native. Andri has proven to be very knowledgeable about Icelandic corporate law.’

Key clients

Sunnuvellir slhf.

Summa rekstrarfélag hf.

ORF Genetics hf.

Aðaltorg ehf.

Halicilla Ltd.

HB 5-7 ehf.

Ísfélag Vestmannaeyja hf.

Lýsi hf.

Fastus ehf.

Árvakur hf.

Já hf.

Vísar rannsóknir ehf.

RÚV ohf.

Megafone ehf.

Eyja fjárfestingafélag III ehf.

Iceland > Dispute resolution Tier 1

The 'highly competent team' at Juris handles high-value disputes in the banking, finance, fishing and telecoms sectors. Led by Supreme Court attorneys Andri Árnason and Stefán A. Svensson, the group represents clients in anti-competitive behaviour claims, cross-border financial litigation and asset recovery mandates. Recent highlights include acting for the Municipality of Ísafjörðura in a claim against Westfjord Power Company arising from the assignment of rights in power production, and representing Huginn in a claim against the Icelandic government relating to the distribution of mackerel quotas.

Practice head(s):

Andri Árnason; Stefán A. Svensson

Other key lawyers:

Andri Andrason

Testimonials

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

‘Juris has a highly competent team. What may set them apart from others in the “upper echelons” of Icelandic firms is the value, in Icelandic context, in the fact that the partners do not only possess a good reputation professionally, but that they are well regarded in domestic society. This is a valuable resource when it comes to the element of the lawyers work that is not purely concerned with the law, but people.’

‘Andri Árnason and Andri Andrason (partners) are those individuals of which I have the greatest experience. They both share the quality of being sharp and level headed. I have never seen them lose their composure, regardless of circumstances, which projects professionalism and inspires confidence. As for litigation, they are more than capable litigators whilst still being well versed in the substantive law and the often quite complex nature of the reality behind the case in question.’

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.

Huginn ehf.

Landsbankinn hf.

Ágúst Heimir Ólafsson

Norðurturninn hf.

Iceland > Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 2

Jointly led by Halldór Jónsson, Andri Árnason and Sigurbjörn Magnússon, the 'extremely professional and reliable' team at Juris acts for a range of longstanding clients including Íslandsbanki and Landsbankinn. Handling forensic investigations and large-scale financings, the group advises leading domestic players in the shipping, energy, hospitality and infrastructure sectors and handles property developments; it also has significant experience in cross-border transactions, including those pertaining to major international investments. Simon Knight and Vifill Harðarson are dual qualified in Iceland and England, while key consultant Katherine Nichols is dual qualified in England and the Republic of Ireland.

Practice head(s):

Halldór Jónsson; Andri Árnason; Sigurbjörn Magnússon

Other key lawyers:

Simon Knight; Vífill Harðarson; Katherine Nichols

Testimonials

‘Extremely professional and reliable. Through the years we have been able to trust in Juris in every situation we have faced. Compared to other firms their answers/documents stand out in a way since they are really well written and well thought through.’

‘All the individuals we have worked with in Juris are great people, we can rely on them at any time, they are easy to speak to. Compared to other firms they stand out in terms of accuracy and professionalism. They are all really trustworthy.’

‘In our view Juris has a very competent and professional practice which offers good value for money. They are not the biggest law practice in Iceland, but they are big enough to tackle the projects in this market. Their service is personal and they focus on their customers.’

Key clients

Borgun

Bakkastakkur

Summa rekstrarfélag

Kaupþing

Sunnuvellir

Rammi

Birgir Þór Bieltvedt

Íslandsbanki

Landsbankinn

Eyja fjárfestingafélag III

Megafone ehf. (formerly Aurora Stream ehf.)

Iceland > EEA and competition Tier 2

The 'highly experienced' EEA and competition team at Juris is jointly led by Andri Árnason and Stefán A. Svensson. The practice represents clients before the Icelandic Competition Authority, and counts Eimskip, Borgun and Síminn on its client roster. The department also has a significant amount of cross-border project finance experience, as well as expertise in state aid cases, GDPR issues, market abyse mandates and merger work. Senior associate Hólmfríður Björk Sigurðardóttir is a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Andri Árnason; Stefán A. Svensson

Other key lawyers:

Hólmfríður Björk Sigurðardóttir

Testimonials

‘Highly experienced in the field. I have worked with them on several cases regarding competition matters and they have always given the right advice, and we have never lost a case.’

‘Ethics. Business acumen. Intellect. Speed.’

Key clients

Íslandspóstur hf.

Síminn hf.

Já hf.

Borgun hf.

Eimskip Ísland hf.

Birgir Þór Bieltvedt

Iceland > Maritime and transport Tier 2

At Juris, the maritime and transport team is led by Sigurbjörn Magnússon and Finnur Magnússon. While the group is recognised for its expertise in fishing issues, it is equally adept at handling regulatory work and advises clients on the purchase and financing of vessels, international trade law and the importation and exportation of health supplements. The practice's impressive client portfolio includes Ísfélag Vestmannaeyja and Eimskip.

Practice head(s):

Sigurbjörn Magnússon; Finnur Magnússon

Testimonials

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

‘I have worked with and relied on one of the partners, Sigurbjörn Magnússon, since 1990. From the beginning Magnússon had a very sensible strategy of widening our knowledge and capabilities.’

‘In my opinion, Juris covers the entire spectrum. We are in fishing, fish processing, canning and fish export via our own channels. As such, we we need a law office with a very diversified knowhow. In my opinion Juris is a perfect partner for us in this respect. They also have an excellent record in court.’

Key clients

Ísfélag Vestmannaeyja hf.

Lýsi hf.

Eimskip Ísland hf.

Huginn ehf.

Rammi hf.

Iceland > Real estate and construction Tier 2

Juris' real estate and construction team recently acted for the Icelandic Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in a long-running dispute regarding the legal distinction between public and private lands with an emphasis on the status of the highlands and uninhabited territory. The group has also expanded its footprint in project finance work and advises property companies on investments in fishing rivers; it has further experience in planning and contentious matters, and regularly represents Icelandic municipalities. Team leader Halldór Jónsson and Simon Knight are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Halldór Jónsson

Other key lawyers:

Simon Knight

Key clients

Iðngarðar ehf.

Korputorg ehf.

Halicilla Ltd.

ÍSAM ehf.

Krókháls 13 ehf.

Municipality of Ísafjörður

Ísloft blikk og stálsmiðja ehf.

Icelandic Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs

Skuggi 4 ehf.

Norðurturninn hf.

LL06 ehf./GAMMA Capital Management hf.

Kvika banki hf.

Iceland > Restructuring and insolvency Tier 2

At Juris, the restructuring and insolvency team handles contentious and advisory work for distressed companies and the respective liquidators. Led by Andri Árnason and Halldór Jónsson, the group is also experienced in rescission and asset recovery mandates. In a recent highlight, the practice acted for Kaupthing in winding-up proceedings and the subsequent composition issues. Stefán A. Svensson is also a key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Andri Árnason; Halldór Jónsson

Other key lawyers:

Stefán A. Svensson

Key clients

Kaupþing ehf.

Íslandsbanki hf.

Aðaltorg ehf.

HB 5-7 ehf.

Iceland > TMT and IP Tier 3

Andri Árnason and Stefán A. Svensson head up the practice at Juris, which  advises start-ups and market leaders in the telecoms, media and newsprint sectors. In particular, the group recently acted for national broadcaster RÚV in various cases pertaining to journalistic liberty and the parameters of freedom of expression under both Icelandic law as well as Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The team also specialises in GDPR compliance work covering the drafting of relevant procedures as well as implementation projects.

Practice head(s):

Andri Árnason; Stefán A. Svensson

Key clients

Íslandspóstur hf.

Vísar rannsóknir ehf.

Megafone 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. Naturally, the COVID-19 pandemic has been, and continues to be, as huge an issue here in Iceland as it has been anywhere else. We have been active in advising our clients on their rights and obligations associated with the pandemic as well as on their options to adapt their businesses and contracts. Prior to this, with our expertise in banking and litigation, we were able to assist clients dealing with the fall-out from the previous major event in Iceland – the banking collapse in 2008 – including successfully representing clients in several landmark Supreme Court cases.

Areas of practice: Juris concentrates on commercial and financial matters. We are the only Icelandic law firm with native Icelandic and English lawyers working together in Reykjavík,  with the result that our cross-border work is a major strength and we are able 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 we are familiar with the workings of business and understand 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 us 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 AML/ATF, data protection, general commercial and contract law work. The firm also has considerable expertise in dispute resolution, competition issues, both contentious and non-contentious, and restructuring and insolvency. Our clients operate in a variety of sectors, including banking and finance, resources (including fishing and energy), hospitality, infrastructure, telecommunications and technology, property development and construction.

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 Partner
Mr Ingvar Ásmundsson  photo Mr Ingvar Ásmundsson Consultant.
Ms Hildur Þórarinsdóttir  photo Ms Hildur Þórarinsdóttir Associate.
Mr Bjarni Aðalgeirsson  photo Mr Bjarni Aðalgeirsson Partner
Mrs Edda Andradóttir  photo Mrs Edda Andradóttir Partner
Mr Andri Andrason  photo Mr Andri Andrason Partner
Mr Lárus L Blöndal  photo Mr Lárus L Blöndal Partner.
Ms Jenný Harðardóttir  photo Ms Jenný Harðardóttir Associate.
Mr Vífill Harðarson  photo Mr Vífill Harðarson Partner.
Mr Sigurður Helgason  photo Mr Sigurður Helgason Associate.
Mr Halldór Jónsson  photo Mr Halldór Jónsson Partner.
Mr Simon Knight photo Mr Simon Knight Partner.
Ms Sigrún Magnúsdóttir  photo Ms Sigrún Magnúsdóttir Associate.
Dr Finnur Magnússon  photo Dr Finnur Magnússon Partner.
Mr Sigurbjörn Magnússon  photo Mr Sigurbjörn Magnússon Partner.
Ms Katherine Nichols  photo Ms Katherine Nichols Consultant.
Ms Hólmfríður Björk Sigurðardóttir  photo Ms Hólmfríður Björk Sigurðardóttir Senior Associate.
Mr Stefán A Svensson  photo Mr Stefán A Svensson Partner.
Mr Jóhannes Tómasson  photo Mr Jóhannes Tómasson Associate.
Number of lawyers : 19
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.