Dispute resolution in Costa Rica

Aguilar Castillo Love

The dispute resolution team at Aguilar Castillo Love provides a 'personalised service' to a client roster of household names, advising on a wide spectrum of matters. These range from corporate crime, international arbitration and civil litigation to contentious administrative disputes and cases involving sensitive reputational issues. The group is headed by litigation lead Esteban Agüero Guier, senior partner John Aguilar-Quesada and criminal litigation authority Rodolfo Brenes Vargas, and supported by alternative dispute resolution expert Tatiana Rojas Hernández and associate Laura Rodríguez Amador, who specialises in administrative law. The team represents such clients as DHL, Cargill and AstraZeneca, with expertise over a broad span of sectors including pharmaceuticals, beverages, logistics, food, chemicals and telecoms. New senior associate Sergio Herra Rodríguez, who joined the firm from Nassar Abogados in July 2020, brings additional expertise in white-collar crime cases to the team.

Practice head(s):

Esteban Agüero Guier; John Aguilar-Quesada; Rodolfo Brenes Vargas

Testimonials

‘They provide a personalised service and keep in close contact with clients.’

‘Esteban Agüero builds good relationships with his clients, which gives them a sense of trust and security.’

Key clients

Synthes (Johnson & Johnson)

Cooperativa de Productores de Leche (Dos Pinos)

DHL

AstraZeneca

Latin Trading

Cargill

Quimicas Mundiales

Feilo Sylvania

CBRE (Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis)

Corteva Agriscience (Dow/Dupont)

Work highlights

  • Defending Synthes (Johnson & Johnson) in a criminal trial for social security fraud, allegedly committed by former employees.
  • Representing Cooperativa de Productores de Leche (Dos Pinos) as a defendant in criminal litigation related to an alleged tax offence.
  • Representing DHL as a creditor in one of the most important bankruptcy proceedings in Costa Rica against the company Yanber.

Alta Batalla

The Costa Rican market’s newest regional firm, following its merger with firms in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras in May 2021, Alta Batalla remains a leader in dispute resolution. Its experienced team is led by arbitration expert Alejandro Batalla and civil liability specialist Róger Guevara, and supported by Raúl Guevara and associate John Brenes, who has expertise in economic crime cases. Handling both litigation and arbitration, the group represents clients in both domestic and international disputes; moreover, its service extends to criminal, administrative and civil litigation, collection procedures, and disputes over government procurement and competition law. Since publication, the team has been further strengthened with the promotion of Mariela Martínez to the partnership – effective as of June 2022; her practice encompasses civil litigation (in particular non-completion of contracts, civil and extra-contractual responsibility), and domestic arbitration.

BLP

Working to 'high standards of excellence', the powerhouse dispute resolution team at BLP remains a leader in the field, assisting regional and multinational companies engaged in high-value, cross-border disputes. Led by 'extremely dedicated' litigation authority Mauricio Salas, and supported by director Robert Morales, who specialises in administrative proceedings, and special counsel Alejandro Rojas, a civil liability expert, the group represents clients from a broad range of sectors, such as pharmaceuticals, agribusiness, telecoms, hospitality and construction. The team handles the full spectrum of disputes, including product liability cases, criminal proceedings, consumer protection cases and shareholder disputes, with expertise in arbitration and mediation in addition to litigation.

Practice head(s):

Mauricio Salas

Testimonials

‘Mauricio Salas has extensive knowledge and is extremely dedicated. He and his team work to high standards of excellence.’

‘They are very responsible and serious. They are also very complete in their coverage. They have experts in many areas that are often not available in the market in a single firm.’

‘I am impressed by the technical ability and the deep academic knowledge of Alejandro Rojas, Mauricio Salas and Robert Morales.’

‘This litigation practice stands out for its bandwidth and diversity. I know other firms with good trial lawyers in criminal or labour cases, for example, but as far as I know only BLP has specialists across the full spectrum of litigation relevant to companies – it has good litigators in tax, administrative, environmental, IP and labour cases. It is a full-service practice.’

‘They are technically very solid lawyers and are used to representing large companies. They are also very responsible. Litigation in our country can last up to ten years, and with BLP you can be confident that they will not forget or lose interest in the case despite the passage of time.’

Key clients

Kani

Millicom – Tigo

Gencom

Grupo Pelón

Repretel

Work highlights

  • Represented Kani, one of the biggest bean producers in the country, in multiple civil and criminal proceedings.
  • Acted for Millicom in a case involving a breach of contract dispute with a Major League soccer team.
  • Acting for Gencom Group in civil and criminal proceedings to safeguard the real, economic and administrative concession rights of various companies owned by the client in Costa Rica.

Dentons Muñoz

The 'responsive, straightforward and commercially minded' dispute resolution team at Dentons Muñoz remains a market leader, acting for both local and multinational clients. The group’s full-service offering covers commercial litigation and arbitration, advice on anti-corruption and compliance issues, restructuring-related disputes, white-collar crime cases, assistance in internal investigations, and cross-border litigation. Spearheaded by Roy Herrera, who also leads the firm’s restructuring, insolvency and bankruptcy group, and backed by senior associate Aracelly López, an expert in arbitration, and compliance specialist Tatiana Reuben, the team has an impressive client roster including international companies such as La Prairie Group, Caterpillar Financial and Gas Natural Fenosa, drawn from the energy, financial services, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, hospitality, real estate and manufacturing sectors, among others.

Practice head(s):

Roy Herrera

Testimonials

‘The team at Dentons provides a high-quality service and value for money.’

‘The lawyers understand their client’s needs and are responsive, straightforward and commercially minded.’

Key clients

La Prairie Group

Claro

Caterpillar Financial

Hacienda Pinilla

Gas Natural Fenosa

Jack Parker Corporation

Maccaferri

Schneider Electric

Glatfelter

Tulemar Bungalows & Villages

Firmenich

EY Law Central America

Highlighted for its 'responsiveness, strategic approach and preparedness', the litigation group at EY Law Central America represents clients in a wide spectrum of matters, including complex arbitration and litigation. The team is experienced in collections claims and provides support in distribution cases involving modification, termination or restructuring, and also advises on due diligence and valuation of contingencies. Following the departure of practice co-head María del Mar Herrera in February 2021, the team is led by experienced litigator Allan Hernández, and backed by firm managing partner Hernán Pacheco and manager Daniela Rivas, who specialises in administrative law, the team represents regional and international clients such as Kimberly Clark, Multibank and Infarma, across a diverse range of sectors, from hospitality, telecoms and pharmaceuticals to education, chemicals and real estate.

Practice head(s):

Allan Hernández

Testimonials

‘They have the best lawyers in every area where we have needed advice. Their responsiveness, strategic approach and preparedness make them unique and leaders in various fields.’

‘What makes them stand out is their availability, their friendliness, even in complicated situations, the respect they show for their clients and their ability to resolve conflicts in the best way, in the shortest possible time and at the lowest cost.’

Key clients

Kaeser Compresores de Guatemala y Cía

Arrienda Express

Infarma

Tricon Energy

Banco de Desarrollo Rural

Kimberly Clark Costa Rica

Financiera Comeca

KTM Sportmotorcycle

Grupo Heroica Voilio & Trejos

Multibank

Work highlights

  • Representing Kaeser Compresores de Guatemala in two litigation cases relating to the termination of a distribution agreement, as the defendant and in the counter lawsuit for damages against the plaintiff.
  • Representing Kimberly Clark Costa Rica in cases relating to the termination of various distribution agreements, involving the negotiation of various settlements.
  • Acting for Hotel Mirador del Valle in a claim filed against a major private insurance company and a developer over the enforcement of guarantees in the contract for the construction of a hotel.

Facio & Cañas

The experienced litigation team at Facio & Cañas represents regional and multinational corporations involved in high-value disputes. Led by veteran litigator Federico Torrealba, and supported by newly promoted partner Gianna Cersosimo and associates Adelita Olivares, who has expertise in contractual conflicts, and anti-piracy specialist Ana Guillén, the group represents clients including InterContinental Hotels, Smartcell and BICSA over a wide span of sectors, including telecoms, construction, banking, energy, tourism, transportation, education and technology. The team’s expertise extends to criminal and judicial administrative lawsuits, civil and commercial arbitration, insolvency proceedings and conciliation processes.

Practice head(s):

Federico Torrealba

Testimonials

‘We are happy with the service and support we receive from Gianna Cersocimo and Federico Torrealba.’

Key clients

InterContinental Hotels (Hotel Camino Real)

BICSA

Improsa Bank

Fonotica (Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music)

Thule

Crossfit

Tous

United World College

Textron/Arctic Cat

Liquidating Board of ELCA Bank

Work highlights

  • Acted for SmartCell in a $6m arbitration filed against mobile phone company Claro for damages following the breach of the distribution contract.
  • Acted for Grupo Saret in a claim against the national electricity company, CNF, for damages related to the construction and management of a biothermal plant.
  • Acted for BICSA in a claim brought against the state for the reimbursement of taxes that were allegedly illegally charged and paid.

Arias

The litigation and arbitration group at Arias specialises in commercial disputes and white-collar crime cases, as well as distribution-related litigation. Led by litigation directors Víctor Garita and German Rojas, and arbitral and judicial procedure expert Abraham Balzer, the team has an impressive client portfolio of multinational companies, including L'Oreal and Mondelez, from a diverse variety of industries, including cosmetics, automotive, food and beverages, energy, hospitality, health, financial services and real estate. The firm also has experience in civil litigation and debt collection proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Victor Manuel; German Rojas; Abraham Balzer

Key clients

Pfizer

Mondelez

Essity

SBA Communications

Ulatina

FIFCO

Condor Editores

Lyomark Pharma

Hencorp

Work highlights

  • Acting for Pfizer in criminal and administrative proceedings related to counterfeit products or imported original products sold illegally.
  • Representing Mondelez in a class action labour lawsuit.
  • Representing FIFCO subsidiaries in matters related to fraudulent administration in their commercial premises.

Artavia & Barrantes Abogados

Artavia & Barrantes Abogados specialises in litigation and arbitration, in addition to assisting with litigation prevention, negotiation, mediation and other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. The experienced team is led by conciliation and arbitration authority Jaime Barrantes Gamboa and veteran civil and commercial litigator Sergio Artavia, and is supported by Evelyn Salas and Fabian Volio.

ECIJA

The experienced team at ECIJA acts for businesses at the multinational, local, and regional levels in a range of disputes, including investment-related cases, civil and commercial litigation, administrative proceedings, debt collection, and international and domestic arbitration. Led by ‘excellent’ arbitration expert Mauricio París and the ‘clear, direct, thorough and responsiveMariela Hernández, a specialist in administrative claims, the team represents such household names as Pfizer, Maersk, Shell, Coca-Cola, and Sanofi, with clients drawn from a wide array of sectors, including pharmaceuticals, energy, food and beverages, insurance, hospitality, agriculture, and construction. The team is backed by associate Mauricio Rapso, and was bolstered by the arrival of special counsel Arturo Guerrero, who joined the firm from Sáenz & Asociados in August 2020. Since publication, the practice has been significantly augmented with the hire of penal specialist José Francisco Madrigal, as counsel; formerly at his own eponymous boutique, his brief is to develop the firm's white-collar crime capability.

Practice head(s):

Mauricio París; Mariela Hernández

Testimonials

‘Mauricio Paris is excellent. He is extremely thorough and attentive in his work. He has the perfect combination of academic curiosity and practical instinct. His knowledge always stands out.’

‘The firm has highly trained litigation lawyers who focus on service, explaining the processes to the client in a clear and precise way. They seek to resolve any issue that is requested of them.’

‘This team stand out for the interest they take in clients’ cases and their knowledge of the processes clients need to follow. What I have liked most is their availability to deal with my queries and their knowledge of the sector I work in.’

‘The fact that you can speak to a partner – in this case Mauricio Paris – and get his advice before working with an associate makes me feel special. Mauricio Paris has always been very forthright and extremely knowledgeable. Mauricio Rapso has been very helpful and responsive. The transparency and responsiveness is a welcome change from other firms I have used in the past.’

‘The personal treatment and hands-on approach make ECIJA unique. They are also very smart and look outside the box. Mauricio Paris and Mauricio Rapso make you feel like a partner instead of a client.’

‘What makes this practice unique is their knowledge of the industry, their willingness to understand the client’s business, and their communication skills and constant contact and follow-up. Mauricio Paris and Mauricio Rapso stand out for their responsiveness, dedication to their clients, and ongoing and clear communication. In addition, the management of billing and investment of time in cases is a bonus for clients.’

‘We have had a long and productive relationship with partner Mariela Hernandez, characterised by diligence, competence and commitment. She is clear, direct, thorough and responsive.’

‘The team stand out for their rapid response times. They are always available and always attentive. They are practical and don’t complicate matters.’

Key clients

Pfizer

Maersk

CMA CGM

Herbalife

Shell

Coca Cola Femsa

Sanofi

Panamerican Life Insurance

Improtsa

Ghella

Work highlights

  • Representing Inprotsa in a complex dispute with Del Monte involving at least three different cases, all relating to the execution of a $26m arbitral award in favour of Del Monte and the destruction of 800 hectares of pineapple crops.
  • Represented the French shipping company CMA-CGM in two lawsuits, one filed by a transportation service provider in Costa Rica for breach of contract and collection of damages, and one filed against APL (a shipping company acquired by CMA) by a client alleging breach of contract and damages.
  • Represented Honduran company Comercia y Exportación Comex in an international arbitration proceeding against a Costa Rican publisher related to the publication of educational texts for public schools in Honduras.

Sfera Legal

The team at Sfera Legal represents local and international clients involved in high-value, cross-border disputes, including construction disputes, commercial and civil litigation, collection proceedings, investment disputes, and cases relating to franchising and private contractual agreements. Founding partner Robert van der Putten leads the team, with support from negotiation specialist José Schroeder, and associates Jaime Jiménez Umaña, who has expertise in construction disputes, Arnoldo Acuña Alvarado, Carolina Argüello, an expert in administrative matters, and labour litigator Erika Barrantes. The group’s client roster covers such sectors as real estate, tourism, construction, insurance, food and health. Added value has arrived with new associate Alonso Miranda Rivera, who joined the team from Arias in August 2020, bringing experience in representing companies in disputes against the state.

Practice head(s):

Robert van der Putten

Testimonials

‘A quick response to any question is something that you can expect from the dispute resolution team at Sfera. Carolina Arguello is our contact and she is great at handling cases and looks for alternative ways of resolving them instead of waiting several years to go to a hearing in court.’

BG&A Abogados Corporativos

At 'a high level, both in terms of legal skills and human qualities', the team at BG&A Abogados Corporativos represents local and multinational companies involved in high-value disputes. It handles such matters as administrative, civil and labour litigation, as well as conciliation, negotiation and mediation. Led by founding partner Benjamín Gutiérrez, the group represents a large client roster of multinational companies including Office Depot, Mexichem and Telefonica (Movistar), which spans a broad range of sectors, from construction, sports and tech to education, telecoms and tourism. The team is supported by experienced litigator and senior associate Christopher Rojas.

Practice head(s):

Benjamín Gutierrez

Testimonials

‘BG&A’s litigation and arbitration team is at a high level, both in terms of legal skills and human qualities. They know the subject and have close and lasting relationships with clients.’

‘BG&A Abogados stands out as a firm that works together, making decisions in a collegial manner and recognising each other’s knowledge and strengths. They respond rapidly to our queries. We have never lost a case with them.’

‘The service provided by BG&A is of an international standard, with satisfactory results and impeccable treatment of clients. What makes them stand out the most is their transparency and professionalism.’

‘It is a highly competent group of lawyers who all work together. Cases are handled with the participation of several lawyers from the firm in order to strengthen the analysis and the legal strategy to be implemented. They keep us up to date as clients and provide clarity regarding the status of the processes, the goals to be achieved, and the time periods that each stage will take.’

‘They are very consistent in their communication and relationships with clients. Of course, they also have a high level of competence in terms of their legal knowledge and strategy.’

Key clients

Grupo Cobasa

Orconsa

La Coruña Zaragoza de Palmares

ACNUR

Comité Cantonal de Deportes de Montes de Oro Puntarenas

Federación de Automovilismo

Asociación Automovil Club de Costa Rica

Asociación para el Desarrollo de Badminton

Federación Paravolleyball

Federación Unida de Triatlón de Costa Rica

Alfaquímica de Centroamérica

Office Depot

Universidad Internacional Sek de Ecuador

Universidad Internacional Sek de Chile

Colegio Internacional Sek – Costa Rica

Colegio Internacional Sek- Chile

Colegio Internacional Sek- Quito

Colegio Internacional Sek – Guayaquil

Colegio Internacional Sek – Los Valles

Colegio Internacional Sek – Pacífico (Viña del Mar)

Colegio Internacional Sek – Austral

Colegio Internacional Sek – Colombia

Colegio Internacional Sek – Guadalajara

Colegio Internacional Sek – Paraguay

Colegio Internacional Sek – Las Américas (República Dominicana)

Colegio Internacional Sek – Budapest

Colegio Internacional Eiris

Colegio Internacional de Levante

Hotel Planas

International Education Systems

Boca Ratón Preparatory School

Panamá Preparatory School

Tiempo Libre Tilisa

Uniformes Designs

Unión Española

Grupo Creativo Diseño y Construcción

SEPER

Iunit

Concretera Nacional

RGIS Servicios Costa Rica

BSDEV Internacional

PVI Costa Rican Optics

Corporación Siete

Productos de Concreto

Sherwin Williams

Transacciones Ferreteras de Costa Rica

Colegio Nuestra Señora de Sion

Metalco

Mexichem

Grupo Sur

Multillantas Panamá

Datatecnología DTCR

Telefónica (Movistar)

Banco Nacional de Costa Rica

Proyectos de Acceso (Proa)

Constructora Volio y Trejos

Consultora, Constructora y Desarrolladora Ecoaire

Plycem

Saint Clare

AASA Automatización Avanzada

Municipalidad de San José

Junta Administrativa del Hospicio de Huérfanos de Cartago y COVAO

Paradise Medical Services

Colegio Santa María

Almacén Mozel

Autosasa

Tecnología Express

Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social

Mafisa

German – Tec

Asesores Contables Duarte Duarte

Grupo Lázaro

Inmobiliaria Madreselva

Civitar

Nexsys Centroamérica

Dylana Mena Camacho

Plasma Innova

Possehl Mexico

Sharon Torres Zamora

Hanna Total Collections

Cooperativa de Empleados de Proyectos Hidroelectricos

Alquiler de Equipo para la Construccion (Alco)

Representaciones Agropecuarias Técnicas de Centroamérica

Asociación Cultural Monterrey

Asociación Escuela Futuro Verde

Servicentro San Román de Turrialba

ALBERYSAM (Sistema Educativo Montealto)

Econs Structor

Profesionales en Cómputo Procom

Work highlights

  • Represented Universidad Internacional Sek in a claim against Amazon for reputational damage caused to the client and its president, Jorge Segovia Bonet, by the series “El Presidente”.
  • Represented Unión Española SADP, the usufructuary of a piece of land in the municipality of Independencia, Chile, where Santa Laura Stadium is located, in a dispute with the municipality after it revoked a construction permit without valid grounds.
  • Representing Parque Recreativo los Manantiales in a contentious administrative lawsuit filed against the client and the National Insurance Institute for non-contractual liability and alleged damages and losses caused after an accident in one of the recreational centre’s swimming pools.

COLBS Estudio Legal

The ‘creative' litigation and arbitration department at COLBS Estudio Legal continues to handle disputes involving multinational corporations, regional financial institutions and investment funds. Led by Javier Escalante (litigation and arbitration proceedings), Sebastián Jiménez (civil litigation), and associate Edwin Rojas, who specialises in contentious civil matters, the team acts for international clients -such as LafargeHolcim- and covers a broad span of sectors, including financial services, mining, construction, pharmaceuticals, hospitality and real estate. The group offers a full range of services, from complex litigation, debt collection actions and mediation/negotiation through to commercial and investment arbitration. Key support is provided by associate Daniela Alvarado . Since publication, the firm has endured a spin-off with Escalante's departing to establish TACTIC Estudio Legal in February 2022, taking Alvarado (and others) with him.

Practice head(s):

Sebastián Jiménez; Edwin Rojas

Testimonials

‘Javier Escalante and Edwin Rojas are very dedicated to their clients.’

‘They are very creative in finding solutions.’

‘I would like to highlight the knowledge of the lawyers in their specialist fields and their client service throughout the case – the lawyers were friendly but still very professional. They mastered the issues very well and provided detailed follow-up on the case. They maintain close relationships with clients, which generates a lot of trust.’

‘What stands out is their knowledge, transparency, and close relationships and communication with clients. It really feels like they are looking after my interests. The whole team has been very professional. Javier Escalante and Edwin Rojas have a broad understanding of the issues, accessibility and empathy, and the desire to resolve the case and protect the interests of the client.’

Key clients

LafargeHolcim

Fondo de Inversión Inmobiliario Vista

Soares da Costa

Financiera Brunca

Prodesa

Lapas Nitrógeno Siete

Hermosa Oceanfront Developments

Condominio Mapaches

Work highlights

  • Acted for LafargeHolcim in a claim related to illegal logging taking place on ten properties adjacent to the client’s main limestone mine in Costa Rica.
  • Acted successfully for Soares Da Costa in a dispute with the Costa Rican government over the repair of a highway bridge.
  • Representing LafargeHolcim in a case related to the expropriation of a portion of one of the client’s properties by the government to build a major national road.

Consortium Legal

The litigation and arbitration group at Consortium Legal acts for regional and multinational clients. Led by arbitration authority Rolando Laclé Zúñiga, antitrust expert José Pablo Valverde and experienced litigator Andrés Martínez, the group represents such multinational clients from a broad spectrum of sectors, including hospitality, pharmaceuticals, building materials, food and financial services. The group handles banking and public law litigation, commercial and civil litigation, cases involving extra-contractual civil liability and contractual liability, and arbitration at the local and international level.

Practice head(s):

Rolando Laclé Zúñiga; Jose Pablo Valverde; Andrés Martínez

Oller Abogados

The 'highly strategic' litigation and arbitration group at Oller Abogados acts for regional and multinational corporations involved in high-value disputes. Its full service extends to handling debt recovery actions, employment litigation and arbitration proceedings. Led by experienced litigator Pedro Oller and arbitration expert Ricardo Vargas, and supported by Roberto Esquivel, who heads the public law practice, the team acts for clients across such sectors as construction, finance, aviation, energy, hospitality and real estate, including Copa Airlines, Petróleos Delta and Western Union.

Practice head(s):

Pedro Oller; Ricardo Vargas

Testimonials

‘Oller has been a strategic partner for our company for more than ten years. Though they are a third party, they are almost part of our organisation. The key to their success is how knowledgeable they are, how well they have guided us on the best legal practices in the market, and how robustly they have built our internal policies and rulings.’

‘The first and most important thing about the firm is that they want to do things right. They provide honest and transparent feedback, giving us as an organisation an impeccable reputation when it relates to legal claims received. They are always available – no matter the time or day of the year, they are always there to support you.’

‘They are highly strategic, always act in the best interests of the client, and have great knowledge of the subject matter.’

‘They are excellent professionals, with high standards of personal and professional ethics. Ricardo Vargas is an experienced lawyer with a commercial and professional vision.’

Key clients

Acciona Agua

Asebanacio

Asociación Solidarista del Hospital Nacional de Niños

Experian Services Costa Rica

Copa Airlines

Petróleos Delta

Western Union

Work highlights

  • Acted for Acciona Agua in an arbitration for more than $20m against the Costa Rican government over non-compliance with a public construction contract.
  • Acted for Asebanacio in the recovery of past-due credits, filing more than 50 lawsuits against the client’s debtors with a total claimed amount of almost $300,000.
  • Defending Petróleos Delta in around 12 lawsuits filed by former employees of the client’s gas stations.

Zürcher, Odio & Raven

The litigation and arbitration group at Zürcher, Odio & Raven represents clients before the courts, arbitral tribunals and administrative authorities, handling disputes related to competition law, public and private procurement, inheritances, compensation, bankruptcy and international contracts. Jonatán Picado is the key contact.