For more than 30 years, Maxim has represented clients in Russian state courts of all levels, including the Russian Supreme Court and the Russian Constitutional Court, and in international arbitration centres such as the ICAC, the SCC, the ICC and the LCIA.

He has extensive experience giving evidence in foreign courts and arbitral proceedings as a Russian law expert.

Independent legal directories The GAR 100, The Legal 500, Chambers & Partners, Best Lawyers, Who’s Who Legal, Pravo-300, and Kommersant all recommend Maxim.

“… Maxim Kulkov is a formidable trial lawyer who has very persuasive advocacy skills”The Legal 500 EMEA

Maxim is “a market-leading Russian litigator who is highly visible in complex Russian commercial disputes”Chambers Global

“He is also well regarded for his extensive expertise in providing domestic law expert advice in international arbitration cases. Maxim Kulkov also regularly acts as an arbitrator”
Chambers Global

“He’s clear and definitive in what he says.” “He understands what is needed”
Chambers Global

“Maxim Kulkov is our go-to Russian law expert. He is uniquely placed as a Russian law practitioner who has worked for many years on complex disputes with a fantastic global perspective. Maxim is well regarded and respected in the English High Court as an expert who gives independent, clear, reasoned, and coherent opinions …”
The Legal 500 EMEA

“Maxim Kulkov – clear writing and calm oral testimony skills that tribunals and courts find convincing. Quickly gets to the root of an issue and is creative in finding solutions”
The Legal 500 EMEA

“Maxim Kulkov and Oleg Kolotilov are two of the most technically gifted disputes lawyers operating in the Russian market. They are backed up by a superb team of diligent and hardworking juniors”
The Legal 500 EMEA

“Maxim Kulkov is one of the strongest Russian litigators acknowledged for his marked skill in complex Russian commercial disputes”
Chambers Europe

“He [Maxim Kulkov] is very persuasive in court”
Chambers Europe

“Maxim Kulkov is a leading individual in the Russian dispute resolution market in general and for arbitration in particular’ and ‘Maxim Kulkov is excellent as an expert witness”
The Legal 500 EMEA

“… one of the top litigators in Russia [Maxim Kulkov]”
Chambers Europe

“Maxim is very knowledgeable and practical” and he “is also very good at understanding the commercial issues of a dispute”
Chambers Europe

Managing partner Maxim Kulkov is “a big name in the industry”
The Legal 500 EMEA

Kulkov is a “man of great abilities” with an “encyclopaedic knowledge in the fields of Russian civil law and private international law” – a “brilliant legal scholar with the delivery of a prize heavyweight boxer”
The GAR 100

Kulkov is “brilliant” at anticipating opponents’ arguments and interrogating the facts of a case “three times deeper than I could have imagined”
The GAR 100

… a “force of nature” and a “market leader” [Maxim Kulkov]
Chambers Europe

… a “very creative, innovative litigator, really determined to fight for you in the court” [Maxim Kulkov]
Chambers Europe

Headed by the “approachable and pragmatic” Maxim Kulkov, KK&P represents clients across a wide range of international arbitration forums
The Legal 500 EMEA

“Kulkov and Pokryshkin are like ‘raging bulls’ during hearings”
The GAR 100

“The KK&P partners are distinguished by their ‘bravery’, proving more willing to take on cases against major Russian state-owned companies than some of their local competitors”
The GAR 100

“Managing partner Maxim Kulkov is a popular choice among international corporates for complex Russian litigation cases”
Chambers Global

“He [Maxim Kulkov] has experience in cross-border litigation, where he often acts as a Russian law expert”
Chambers Global

“He [Maxim Kulkov] knows his stuff and he’s easy to deal with, he’s a terrific contact to have in Russia”
Chambers Global

“He [Maxim Kulkov] possesses a lot of experience of hearings in arbitration courts, the gift of persuasion and the ability to communicate his position in an accessible way”
Chambers Global

“He’s [Maxim Kulkov] culturally bilingual as well as actually bilingual; he can give you international law firm advice but from a Russian lawyer with that insight into the domestic market”
Chambers Global

[Maxim Kulkov] “weighs up the pros and cons of everything but is able to give you clear recommendations”
Chambers Global

“He [Maxim Kulkov] is very responsive and takes a lot of care to deal with complicated matters. It’s very pleasant and satisfying to work with him. Sources also note his extensive track record in domestic litigation”
Chambers Europe

“Strategic and persuasive” [Maxim Kulkov]
The Legal 500 EMEA

“Maxim Kulkov has represented Brunswick Group in various commercial disputes for more than 7 years. His involvement in a case makes us confident of its successful resolution”
Brunswick Rail

“We have found their [Maxim Kulkov, Oleg Kolotilov, Nikolay Pokryshkin] advice to be measured, considered and business-oriented, the merits and risks of every course of action having been carefully calculated. The team’s work is both results-driven and as efficient as possible for the client”

“We are grateful to [Maxim] for cooperation that allows our company to receive necessary legal services and high quality advice”

“Over many years, Maxim Kulkov has proved his ability to resolve the most complicated issues. He has successfully represented me and my architecture bureau three times in international arbitrations in Moscow and Stockholm. The fourth dispute was settled even before its filing with the court”
Erick van Egeraat

“We have worked with Maxim Kulkov and his team for a number of years already, and together we successfully tackled unique and complex situations. Maxim’s arsenal includes an approach that is tailor-made to the client’s needs and to the requirements of each of his cases”
Interstate Bank

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Examples of his work are given below.

Commercial Arbitration

Representing the client in a dispute before the ICC (Stockholm) over the client’s claim against its counterparty, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of wind turbines. The client won tenders for the production of “green” electricity and started the construction of wind farms. The wind turbines were to be produced, supplied and maintained by the opponent.
However, due to the sanctions, the opponent …

Representing a claimant in a dispute involving two oilfield services companies in arbitration under ICAC Rules on compensation for restoring the hermetic seal of an ultradeep oil well after defective cementing works by the defendant. The firm won over 90% of the claim.

Defending Metallimpress (a general contractor) in the ICAC against a claim worth over US$65 million filed by Zhoukovsky (a customer) in connection with complaints regarding the quality of work on the construction of a shopping centre. The firm successfully defended the client from 75% of the claim.
Maxim Kulkov was Tribunal Chair in an SCC arbitration between a major Russian EPCI contractor in oil and gas industry and a European largest energy and engineering company, concerning the recovery of US$12 million under a services agreement in connection with gas turbine generators supplied for the development of an oil field in the Caspian Sea.

Representing a major European construction company in ICC arbitration proceedings. Our client was involved in the construction of an elite residential complex in Moscow. After the commissioning of the building, the general contractor (an Italian company) refused to return the client the retention guarantee and set it off against a penalty for the violation of the terms of work, which reduced the client’s claim to zero.
Representing a co-owner of a supermarket chain in the process of applying for interim measures (seizure of real estate) in support of an LCIA arbitration initiated in England and a dispute in Cyprus in connection with the violation of a shareholders’ agreement (SHA) regarding management of large shopping centres in Moscow and the Moscow Region. The client entered into a settlement agreement with the opponent on favourable terms.

Defending a client – a major railcar leasing operator, – in a dispute with two transportation companies to which our client had leased railcars under a long-term relationship. Due to the fact that the transferred railcars were actually and legally arrested in Ukraine due to sanctions, the lessees refused to pay the rent, including by referring to the force majeure circumstance confirmed by a certificate of the Chamber of Commerce …

Representing a major Russian private company in the power and heat supply industry in a dispute against a major international company offering engineering solutions for various equipment, including turbines for heat power plants. Turbines of two of the client’s thermal power plants serviced by the opponent stopped working. This resulted in more than four months of the client’s plants being idle, causing enormous …

Preparing and implementing a dispute strategy in relation to a claim brought by a Russian industrial equipment manufacturer against a foreign counterparty that unilaterally terminated a contract. Our work includes analysis of the client’s ability to invoke legal provisions protecting Russian persons from the consequences of sanctions imposed by foreign states, as well as taking provisional measures against …

Defending Goldman Sachs in a dispute over a claim brought by VEB.RF, which applied to the Commercial Court of Moscow to recognise the exclusive jurisdiction of Russian courts under Article 248.1 of the Commercial Procedure Code of Russia, as well as for the recovery of the termination amount from our client. The dispute arose out of a cross-currency interest rate swap concluded between the parties, however …

Defending Goldman Sachs in a dispute over a claim brought by a major bank seeking recognition of the competence of Russian courts to hear a dispute (Article 248.1 of the Russian Commercial Code) arising out of an agreement on financial transactions between the parties. The bank was sanctioned, the parties terminated the agreement, and the client transferred the termination amount to the claimant but, due to the ban …

Defending J.P.Morgan subsidiary in a dispute against a sanctioned Russian bank (top-3 in terms of assets). The client’s UK affiliate and the opponent entered into agreements under which the opponent was owed RUB 1.4bn. The funds were transferred to a blocked account. The agreements contain arbitration clauses and are governed by English law, but the claimant is seeking to recognise the exclusive jurisdiction …
Defending Citibank in a dispute with a sanctioned Russian bank. Due to the sanctions imposed by the US and the UK, our client transferred the opponent’s assets – totalling US$25m – to a special blocked account.

Defending Commerzbank, Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, Bayerische Landesbank (major German banks) in disputes against a Gazprom subsidiary relating to the refusal of clients to make payments to the opponent under bank guarantees due to sanctions restrictions. The claimant is currently attempting to recover funds from the clients through a Russian court despite the fact that the guarantees …
Defending Bank of New York Mellon in a dispute with a Russian bank which is subject to sanctions. The dispute is connected with a client’s transfer of US$7m from the opponent’s correspondent account to a special blocked account. Despite the fact that the dispute is under the jurisdiction of US courts, the claimant filed a claim in a Russian court under Article 248.1 of the RF CPC.
Defending an investment company before the Limassol District Court in relation to the claims brought against the client by its customers. The dispute arose out of the client’s inability to conduct securities transactions due to its being included in sanctions lists.
The team is defending the client against the claims by developing a comprehensive legal position on the issue of recognising sanctions as a force majeure circumstance.

Advising an international Swiss investment bank on interaction with counterparties in the context of sanctions and restrictive measures imposed on the territory of Russia by decrees of the RF President in February–March 2022. We also developed a strategy for negotiations with an opponent – an investment company, and a leader in the futures and options market according to the value of its clients’ operations in Russia …

Developing a defence strategy for a one of Russia’s largest distributors of telecommunications equipment. Due to the imposition of sanctions on the import of high-tech equipment into Russia, the client’s Taiwanese counterparty could not supply the equipment directly to the client. To overcome the problem, the client entered into an agreement with a Turkish intermediary who was to purchase the equipment in Taiwan and resell …
Domestic Litigation

Defending ATAC (Auchan Group) in a dispute over a property owner’s claim against a client as an allegedly dishonest tenant seeking compensation for use of the premises for the entire rental period. We have proved that charging exorbitant inspection standards can disrupt the rental market. Anyone in the market would have to conduct a full investigation to see if the owner of the leased item has any problems that could lead …
Representing Ukraine in the case of Tatneft’s application for recognition and enforcement of an investment arbitral award worth approximately US$150 million (the first case to be heard in Russia on the recognition and enforcement of decisions of an international investment arbitration against a foreign state).
Successfully defending T Plus, a major Russian company operating in the field of electricity and heat generation, in connection with Volga Paper Company’s claim for damages of US$11.5m arising out of the sale and purchase contract for a thermal power plant.
Representing Orion – a defendant in a corporate dispute (worth over US$13m) relating to the invalidation of an issue of shares in a Russian IT company and the challenging of the SPA. The claimant alleged that she was a beneficiary of the company and that the shares were disposed of without her consent. The claim was dropped.

Successfully defending a client in a dispute over a claim brought by the opponent, who declared that two audit reports prepared by the client were misleading. The complexity of the dispute is due to the fact that such cases are extremely rare in Russia, and there is no relevant detailed regulation or settled court practice. The claimant’s actions posed a serious threat to the client’s reputation as they casted doubt on the quality …

Successfully defending the client’s business reputation due to the fact that inaccurate, defamatory information was disseminated regarding alleged wrongdoing during the conduct of business by the client, its participants and management.
In order to defend the client, we proved that the Telegram channel where the inaccurate information was published belongs to the defendant …
Preparing a legal opinion on the prospects for a dispute with a major Russian bank arising out of a futures transaction agreement (forward agreement). As a result of the bank’s actions, the client was unable to convert foreign currency into roubles at a favourable exchange rate and incurred more than US$18m in losses. Despite the lack of court practice on the issue, the team offered the client a number of options for defending its interests.
Foreign Litigation

Representing a client in a dispute over the recognition and enforcement of an ICAC award before the Commercial Court of Belgrade (Serbia). The ICAC ruled in favour of the client recovering tens of millions of euros in unpaid advances and accrued interest. The defendant, a Turkish subcontractor, refused to execute the award voluntarily and made unsuccessful attempts to have the ruling annulled by the Russian …

Providing legal support in a dispute in the courts of appeal and cassation in Turkey, in which our client is one of the defendants. The claimant, a Turkish subcontractor, is seeking to invalidate bank guarantees issued by a Turkish bank (the second defendant in the case) to secure the opponent’s obligations to the client. The opponent, referring to the UN Resolutions and letters of the Turkish Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency …

Successfully defending a client in a series of proceedings challenging interim measures imposed by an Italian court. The client is constructing one of the largest gas processing plants in the world. The client’s Italian subcontractors, in breach of contract, failed to extend their performance bank guarantees, so the client filed claims under the guarantees. The opponents appealed to a Turin court, which, by way of interim measures …
Advising a major global leasing company on Russian sanctions and insurance regulations in a litigation in an English court. The dispute arose between the client and insurance companies, which refused to treat the failure to return more than one hundred aircraft leased to Russian airlines due to Russian export restrictions as an insured event.
Defending an investment company before the Limassol District Court in relation to the claims brought against the client by its customers. The dispute arose out of the client’s inability to conduct securities transactions due to its being included in sanctions lists.
The team is defending the client against the claims by developing a comprehensive legal position on the issue of recognising sanctions as a force majeure circumstance.
Expert Reports

Preparing expert report for Autostore Technology AS v Ocado Group PLC & ors case (Top 20 Cases of 2020 according to The Lawyer). The client (Ocado) was sued by rival company Autostore in connection with an alleged patent infringement. The claim was aimed at blocking the import, manufacture, sale, and use of the client’s invention, which Autostore claims infringes its patents. Our client’s defence strategy was built …

Preparing an expert opinion for the High Court of England in PJSC Tatneft v Bogolyubov & Ors on over a hundred issues of Russian law. As a result, the firm’s efforts helped the defendants defeat a US$300m claim.

Preparing an expert opinion for the High Court of England on a number of Russian law issues, including recovering damages in connection with the alleged rigging of an auction in the Yukos bankruptcy case. As a result, the firm’s efforts helped to defeat a US$40m claim against the defendants.

Preparing an expert report on Russian law issues for LCIA proceedings in relation to a dispute concerning the recovery of US$1.3bn of debt under a loan agreement. The case was complicated by the Respondent’s extraordinary argument that the Board of Directors of the client’s parent company lacked authority to approve arbitration proceedings. Thanks to the expert report and persuasive testimony …

Preparing an expert report in an SCC case with regard to the statute of limitations for a contractor agreement. The client was a contractor for a leading Russian producer of nickel under an agreement governed by Russian law. The Tribunal agreed with Maxim Kulkov’s opinion, and the client defeated a US$15m claim.

Preparing an expert report for an LCIA arbitration arising out of a credit line agreement. The report covers complex issues of invalidity of foreclosure of an LLC share by leaving it with the pledgee; fiduciary duties of the pledgee towards the company whose shares are pledged to it and unjust enrichment allegedly arising on its side; interpretation of an arbitration clause and applicable law clause in a situation where a pledge agreement …

Preparing expert reports for the High Court of England in a dispute between a subsidiary oil trading company of a Russian bank and one of the oldest oil trading companies in Europe. Our client filed a claim for damages caused by unlawful interim measures for petroleum products that were never delivered to it. The opponents filed a counterclaim for recovery of damages, insisting that our client had “intercepted” previous oil …

Preparing an expert report on Russian law issues in a dispute related to a borrower’s provision of false accounting statements and misrepresentation regarding the financial parameters of a transaction when obtaining a bank loan. Funds originally intended to finance a coal mining company were eventually withdrawn through complex ‘round-tripping’ transactions.
The dispute is complicated by issues of causal …

Preparing expert reports by Maxim Kulkov for an English court in a dispute initiated by Gazpromneft against Mr Drelle, who was accused of embezzlement. The reports included issues of corporate law and bankruptcy proceedings, in-depth analysis of Russian court judgments against the client for violations of fundamental principles of fair trial, and analysis of the grounds and possible violations in the criminal prosecution against the client.

Preparing an expert report on the concept of “trust” in Russian law in a dispute between top manager of one of the world’s leading producers of phosphate-based fertilizers and an opponent who filed a claim against our client demanding the transfer of the client’s shares (or their value), which it allegedly holds in a trust in favour of the claimant, and lost profits.