Paul Varul

Senior Partner, Head of Dispute Resolution and Arbitration, Estonia

Tartu, Estonia

+372 730 1610; +372 511 1535

Estonian, Russian, English

According to Legal500, high-profile Paul Varul is ‘the father of Estonian bankruptcy law’.


Representing 24 Estonian municipalities in high-profile constitutional disputes against the Republic of Estonia concerning the lawfulness of the administrative reform, i.e. forced mergers of municipalities. The ruling of the Supreme Court enabled several municipalities to evade a forced merger, i.e. to remain independent municipalities.

Representing the Estonian Centre Party in a high-profile dispute in the arbitration court of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry over the lawfulness of EUR 730,000 in guarantee letters by a former secretary-general and issued to the party’s campaign manager, advertising agency Midfield.

Representing Swedbank as a third party in Alberta Trade vs. Buruktal Nickel Plant insolvency disputes and related commercial dispute in the Court of St Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast (Russia). The case concerned the question of ownership of precious metals with a value of 19.5 million dollars. Swedbank won in all court instances.

Successfully representing City of Pärnu in a dispute over a purchase and sales agreement against real estate company Herder. This is the largest case won in the history of the City of Pärnu.

Representing the Estonian commercial bank, Eesti Maapank, in one of the largest bankruptcy cases in the Baltics and in many related court proceedings.

Acting as an expert in the arbitration court of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in disputes in the matter of Sampo Pank (former Postipankki Oy), OKO Bank Plc (former Okopank Osuuspankkien Keskuspankki Oyj) and VTB Bank (Germany) AG (formerly Ost-West Handelsbank AG) versus the Republic of Estonia (through the Ministry of Finance) concerning the Republic of Estonia’s investment protection contracts with the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Finland, and several corporate and insolvency matters.

Representing the Bank of Estonia and Financial Supervision Authority and different bankrupt credit institutions and insurance companies (EVEA Bank, Inko Balti Bank, Tartu Commercial Bank, ERA Bank, ASA Insurance, AB Life Insurance, Polaris Insurance) in bankruptcy proceedings.

Advising the leading independent main financial services provider in the Baltics, Luminor (DNB Bank Estonian branch), in MRP Ärigrupp’s bankruptcy proceedings and disputes.

Serving as an arbitrator for the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce in the matter of Tschudi Shipping Company versus the Republic of Estonia.

Advising the leading independent main financial services provider in the Baltics, Luminor (Nordea Bank Finland Plc Estonian branch), as a creditor in a bankruptcy proceeding.

Serving as an arbitrator for the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce in the matter of Alta Foods versus Luterma (former Kalev) in their dispute over the sale of the biggest foodstuffs producer in Estonia, Tere.


2011–2016 Leader of the Estonian work group of The Scandinavian/Baltic Network on Insolvency
2011 Founding Member and Member of Council of The European Law Institute
2006 Expert Commission in Insolvency Law within the Ministry of Justice
20062009 Compilation and Reduction Team for Common Frame of Reference, operating under the auspices of the European Commission
2008 Member of the Board of INSOL-Europe Academic Forum
2008 INSOL-Europe and INSOL-International
2007 International Insolvency Institute
20032008 Study Group on European Civil Code
19992002 Chairman of the Expert Commission for the Law of Obligations Act and the General Part of the Civil Code Act
2002 Academy of European Private Lawyers
1994 Estonian Bar Association
19921999 Chairman of the Head Commission for the development of the Estonian Civil Code Act and Commercial Code


Since 2017 Senior Partner, law firm TGS Baltic (formerly VARUL)
19942017 Senior Partner, law firm VARUL
19951999 Minister of Justice of the Republic of Estonia
1992–2015 Civil Law Professor, University of Tartu


1985 St. Petersburg University, Legal Science, PhD
1975 University of Tartu, Faculty of Law, BA (cum laude)