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Leanie van de Merwe

Fax +974.4424.6101
Leanie van de Merwe is an associate working with the Doha office of K&L Gates. She recently joined the construction law and dispute resolution team, and assists with international, and domestic, commercial and construction disputes, with a focus on alternative dispute resolution. Her experience includes ICC and QICCA arbitrations.

Professional Background

Ms. van de Merwe has served as legal counsel and analyst for the South African Competition Commission (CCSA), where she was responsible for investigating and prosecuting anti-competitive business practices. Her high-profile matters were regularly heard by the Competition Tribunal of South-Africa. Before joining the firm, she worked as a visiting lecturer at Qatar University, College of Law. Her duties included coaching the university team that competed in the 22nd Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. Ms. van de Merwe graduated from the University of Pretoria in 2009. She holds a master’s degree in Intellectual Property Law from the same institution. Ms. van de Merwe is also a member of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces of South Africa and was admitted to practice as an attorney in South Africa in 2011.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • Member of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces, South-Africa
  • Member of the Young ICCA, a world-wide arbitration knowledge and skills network for young practitioners, established in 2010

Speaking Engagements

Presented a talk on the interaction between IP law and Competition law at an Intellectual Property law short course held at the University of Cape Town, in June 2013.
Construction disputes
  • Providing legal support to a team of lawyers handling a multi-million dollar construction dispute under the ICC Rules (London seat) between an Indian contractor and a Qatari company regarding the construction of a polysilicon plant in Doha, Qatar.
  • Key member of arbitration team acting for a Qatari contractor in a QICCA arbitration against a Qatari client for non-payment relating to civil engineering works in Industrial City, Doha. Responsible for drafting all aspects of documentary requests and overseeing document review process.

  • Engaged on behalf of the South African Government as counsel of the CCSA in antitrust counselling and litigation in various industries, including health care, oil and gas, agriculture, chemicals and media and advertising.
  • Involved in investigating and prosecuting contraventions of the South African Competition Act (the Act), involving multiple defendants in various jurisdictions.
  • Played a major role in the investigation of the seven major oil companies in South Africa regarding allegations of fixing the price of bitumen. Subsequent to the referral of this matter to the Competition Tribunal, the CCSA reached settlements with a number of these companies which admitted to contravening the Act. Ms. van de Merwe was an integral part of the settlement negotiations and the subsequent conclusion of two of the settlement agreements before the Competition Tribunal.
  • Leading attorney in the merger investigation of the acquisition of Freeworld Coatings Limited by Kansai Paints Company Limited, which involved complex public interest concerns and was the first hostile take-over noted in South African history.
  • Leading attorney involved in the enforcement case of the CCSA versus Afgri Operations Limited and others, which resulted in eight consent agreements (settlement agreements with the CCSA on behalf of the Government) and associated penalties. Multiple firms, through intense settlement negotiations, admitted to fixing the daily grain storage tariff in South Africa.
  • Advised stakeholders, including Senior Governmental officials, on the legality of various complex commercial practices, trade associations, communications among market players, market regulation, mergers, joint ventures, strategic alliances and commercial agreements.