The Legal 500



Legal market overview

Chile remains one of the most competitive economies in the region and its substantial mining resources and economic stability make the country of continuing interest to the international business community. Michelle Bachelet’s re-election for a second non-consecutive term in December 2013 has brought a raft of reform bills to Parliament, which has filled business players with worry at a time where the Chilean economy is slowing down (forecasted growth is 3.4%). The new government’s most polemical proposition at the time of writing is an extensive tax reform, which has led the area to become many law firms’ key focus during early 2014, and the widespread creation and reinforcement of dedicated tax groups to meet clients’ needs in the sector.

The country’s reliance on energy imports is one of the greatest challenges to its continued growth, and as a consequence investment in energy projects continues to expand, particularly in the renewable energy sector. The falling price of commodities during 2013, along with stricter emission targets, has made it more difficult to raise funds for new mining projects. This, coupled with increased judicial opposition to new exploration projects, has somewhat dampened mining activity over the past year, but has made power transmission and generation even more attractive to potential investors.

Banking and finance remains one of the most lucrative legal sectors in Chile, with significant activity related to acquisition and project financing, IPOs on the local market, and stock and debt issuances. Corporate M&A activity has been on the rise, with an increased volume of mid-size foreign companies starting operations in Chile, and local companies investing abroad (particularly in the Latin American region). Construction, regulatory, environmental and litigation instructions have all also been significant sources of instructions for firms.

Chile’s five powerhouses – Carey, Claro & Cia., Philippi Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner, Barros & Errázuriz and Cariola Díez Pérez-Cotapos – remain at the pinnacle of the legal market, picking up a good chunk of the country’s high-value legal work. Behind the leading five is a chasing pack of smaller firms distinguished for their expertise: full service outfit Morales & Besa has a first-class finance practice, Prieto y Cía. shines in energy, Baker & McKenzie heads the mining market, while Guerrero, Olivos, Novoa y Errazuriz has top-end corporate capabilities; all of them field large dedicated teams and have international credibility.

The Chilean market also houses highly specialised boutiques, including Estudio Carvallo for insurance, Alessandri & Compañía Abogados for IP, Pellegrini & Cía. for competition and antitrust, Núñez, Muñoz, Verdugo y Cía. Ltda. Abogados for mining, and Uribe, Hubner & Canales for labour law.

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Legal Developments worldwide

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    On 6 December 2014, Council Regulation (EU) No 1290/2014 entered into force. This regulation is the latest in a series of regulations regarding "sectoral sanctions" against Russia.
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  • Review of the Constitutional Court Decision on the Cancellation of Article 42/1 (C) of Law No. 556

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    Especially after the drop in oil prices the companies that are in early stage of their investments have begun to get position aiming to turn into an advantageous investment and started to look to what extent the regulations allow them to transfer and grant their rights under Turkish Petroleum Law. This may be deemed also as an exit strategy for some from operational perspective as it parallels with the tendency around the world and has direct relation with oil prices. 
  • Contracting the Petroleum Operations under Turkish Petroleum Law: Scope and Limits of Liability on P

    As exception to liberty of contracting and unlike a number of other industries, Turkey's petroleum industry imposes certain obligations to petroleum right owners in contracting the conduct of the petroleum operations.  At the first glance this seems that it aims to strengthen the management of hazards by enhancing the safety however the liability imposed to petroleum right owners in case of contracting the operations still remains unclear in terms of limitation.
  • Liabilities of Primary Employer and Subcontractors in case of a Collusive Contract

    Growing economy and competitive environment in Turkey has been leading companies to seek more profitable ways to conduct their business. Therefore companies have chosen to engage in subcontracts for the purpose of reducing their costs. Yet, to serve such purpose, at some point companies have started utilizing subcontracts to limit employees' entitlements through collusive contracts. Labor Law numbered 4857 (the " Labor Law ") and Bylaw on Subcontractor dated September 27, 2008 (the " Bylaw ") regulate which services or works may be subcontracted and strictly prohibit collusive contracts. According to Article 2/7 of the Labor Law, a collusive subcontract is considered null and void. Such nullity of subcontract automatically results in primary employers being redefined as main and sole employers of employees assigned to subcontracted work. Consequently, primary employers are solely responsible for employees' rights arising from subcontracted works and technically, primary employers would not have the option to recourse to subcontractors in order to claim any compensation due to their sole responsibility.
  • Boundaries of the Turkish Competition Authority’s Investigative Powers

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    The acquisition of a minority shareholding may come under the Turkish Competition Authority's (" Authority ") scrutiny in two ways, mainly: 1) it may result in de facto or de jure sole or joint control, depending on the rights possessed by the minority shareholders and/or shareholding structures and past voting patterns; and 2) it may not result in control but in cross-shareholding structures amongst competitors in a concentrated market which may raise questions about coordinated effects. This article discusses the circumstances under which the abovementioned consequences may arise under Turkish competition law with references to the relevant legislation and the most noteworthy cases in this regard.

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