Dispute resolution in Spain
Allen & Overy
Allen & Overy focuses on arbitration and litigation in the financial services sector with a particular expertise in special situations, including insolvencies. Antonio Vázquez-Guillén, Javier Mendieta and Javier Castresana lead the team that specialises in investment arbitration, complex contractual litigation and multi-jurisdictional disputes. They can call on experienced senior associates Francisco Javier Fernández and José Luis Terron, who is a financial litigation expert. The firm recently represented several claimants, including Watkins Holdings, against the Kingdom of Spain in an arbitration under the 1965 convention on the settlement of investment disputes, and acted for Credit Suisse in financial litigation arising from criminal proceedings against shareholders and directors of a Luxembourg debtor. Other key clients include Bridgepoint, Eiser and Antin Infrastructure.
The ‘absolutely brilliant’ Jose Antonio Cainzos leads the ‘high-quality and dedicated’ practice at Clifford Chance, which specialises in representing multinational clients in cross-border litigation, international arbitration and investigations. Key names include intellectual property litigation expert Miquel Montañá and the ‘well-prepared and hardworking’ Ignacio Diaz. Also notable is counsel Carlos Zabala, who joined from Ramón y Cajal Abogados in 2018. The firm is representing the Agrolimen Group in a claim against Nuevo Arpegio, a private entity owned by the regional government of Madrid, relating to the sale of several rural plots of land. In another recent highlight, the ‘available, transparent and really reliable’ team is acting for Vestas Perú in its claim against Montealto Perú, following arbitration proceedings before the International Court of Arbitration.
Cuatrecasas is particularly active in Europe and Latin America, with expertise in competition law enforcement proceedings, banking litigation and acting for domestic and global companies in investment arbitration. César Rivera, who leads the team in Barcelona, specialises in commercial and corporate disputes arising out of M&A transactions, while Alfonso Iglesia leads the Madrid practice with Antonio Carreño. The firm is representing the Spanish subsidiary of Ceva Logistics in proceedings related to a fire that caused the destruction of a logistic complex in Madrid. Also notable in the team is Álvaro Mendiola, who is acting for SegurCaixa Adeslas in a dispute relating to fees for ancillary services to an insurance business mediated by AON.
J&A Garrigues SLP specialises in civil, contractual and commercial litigation, as well as multi-jurisdictional disputes. Joseph Tirando leads the team with Carlos de los Santos, who is particularly experienced in cross-border litigation and arbitration and has a focus on Latin America. Also notable is Eduardo Santamaría Moral, who specialises in litigation related to professional sports. Key clients include BBVA, Carrefour, Kia Motors, Iberia and Aegon.
The multi-disciplinary litigation and arbitration team at Uría Menéndez works from offices in Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia. Jesús Remón leads the department and has expertise in both judicial and arbitration proceedings, while the broader practice handles civil and commercial proceedings, as well as international and domestic arbitration. The experienced team also includes international arbitration specialist Miguel Virgós; contractual liability expert Alex Ferreres; and civil litigation expert Álvaro López de Argumedo, who represents clients in arbitration proceedings involving Spanish and Latin American jurisdictions. In a recent highlight, the firm is acting for Banco Santander and Banco Popular in civil claims arising from a previous decision that established a resolution scheme for Banco Popular. In other work, Javier Garcia Sanz is representing Bahía de Bizkaia Electricidad in challenging the administrative resolutions of the National Commission of Markets and Competition, which sets the tariffs paid by the client.
Baker McKenzie specialises in complex cross-border cases with a focus on financial and insolvency litigation, as well as sport-related cases. Leading the ‘very experienced team’ is arbitration and litigation expert José Ramón Casado and Víctor Mercedes, who is ‘an outstanding lawyer’ and former State Attorney who focuses his practice on civil, commercial and economic crime litigation. Clients include CaixaBank, FC Barcelona, Sony and Suez. The firm is representing the Spanish group Elsamex in a commercial dispute with ZAC Construction, related to three contracts to be executed in Botswana. Other work includes acting for Sydney Charles Insurance Advisers in proceedings brought by Martínez Ridao Aviación; the latter is seeking damages that amount to €4m based on the alleged lack of validity of aviation insurance and reinsurance policies executed by the client.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Best known for acting in complex matters, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has particular litigation experience in the areas of product liability and insolvency, as well as working for financial institutions. The firm’s mix of local and international clients includes RBS, Banco Sabadell, Banco Popular, Blackstone and Bayer. The experienced Rafael Murillo was recently promoted to practice head and is representing new client Volvo Trucks in claims filed against the manufacturer, seeking damages following high-profile proceedings before the EU Commission concerning the ‘trucks case’ cartel. In another recent highlight for the team, he is defending Nueva Pescanova in the context of a civil litigation against Pescanova related to damages arising from the latter’s insolvency proceedings.
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo provides ‘versatility and expertise in different areas of an issue’, with a particular focus on cross-border disputes and enforcement proceedings. The firm has experience across the litigation field, including in commercial, corporate, insurance and construction matters. The multi-disciplinary practice is led by Gonzalo Ardila, who is ‘supportive at all times’, and includes financial institutions specialist Juan Viaño. The ‘incredibly committed’ team is representing a Spanish infrastructure and construction conglomerate in arbitration proceedings related to the termination of a procurement contract, as well as acting for Sareb in various contentious issues arising from its holding and disposal of real estate assets and investment funds. Javier Izquierdo left to join Pérez-Llorca.
Linklaters’ practice ‘combines legal expertise with a commercial approach’ and runs the gamut of litigation work, particularly specialising in banking and investment funds. Borja Fernandez de Troconiz, who focuses on acting for corporates and financial institutions in a wide range of litigation matters, leads the team with the ‘extremely bright’ Francisco Málaga, an expert in litigation and insolvency. The practice is representing Loewe in ongoing litigation against real estate company Peromoinver, concerning the lease of Loewe’s flagship store in Barcelona. In another highlight, the department is acting for Mango in the insolvency proceedings of Espacio 50, a former contractor of the client’s which has been involved in the construction and remodelling of stores throughout the Spanish territory and abroad. Other key clients include Desigual, FCC, Morgan Stanley and Altadis.
Pérez-Llorca is best known for its arbitration practice, with noted experience in cross-border matters. The team, which is led by Félix Montero and Ana Ribó, was recently strengthened by the arrival of Javier Izquierdo, who joined from Gómez-Acebo & Pombo and boosts the department’s strength in the areas of financial institutions and bankruptcy litigation. Experienced arbitrator Fernando Bedoya was promoted to partner in 2018, and Beatriz García is acting for the MAN group of truck manufacturers in judicial proceedings initiated by truck dealers, claiming damages caused by the truck manufacturer cartel. In another highlight, the team is representing Comuto in a complex case initiated by the Confederación Española de Transporte en Autobús, seeking to stop Comuto’s activity in Spain.
Arbitration boutique Arias SLP has ‘an outstanding litigation practice’. The ‘well-respected’ founding partner David Arias ‘is incredibly capable, hardworking, energetic and has real gravitas’. He leads ‘a diligent and professional’ team with the ‘distinguished and competent’ Luis Capiel, who joined in 2018 from Uría Menéndez. Recent highlights include representing Algerian construction company ADO in proceedings before the Basque Country High Court brought by three Spanish companies, as well as acting for Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas in an ICC arbitration against a Qatari company. Dámaso Riaño is now Secretary General at the Madrid Court of Arbitration.
Ashurst LLP's area of expertise is in disputes related to financial institutions and insurance companies. Specialist in insolvency litigation José Antonio Rodríguez leads the department with María José Menéndez, who is experienced in arbitration related to M&A, joint ventures and insurance. Further strengthening the team is Pablo Garcia Manzano, who joined from the Council of State. Key clients include Credit Suisse International, NH Hotel Group and Banco Sabadell. The firm is representing Deutsche Bank against Eneas Proyectos in a matter related to the breach of a confidentiality agreement. In another highlight, the department is acting for Endesa Distribución Eléctrica in a dispute against Obras y Construcciones Alcalá Sur, which alleges the breach of an agreement regarding access to the electricity distribution network.
CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo acts for companies and individuals in issues ranging from business conflict to civil, criminal and tax disputes. A particular area of expertise is the firm’s corporate crime practice. The team is led by financial criminal law specialist Carlos Aguilar and was strengthened by the arrival of senior associate Emilio Moyano from Ramón y Cajal Abogados. In a recent highlight, the practice is representing Red Electrica de España in criminal proceedings heard before several courts throughout Spain, regarding the theft of copper cables from substations.
DLA Piper LLP has experience in the area of unfair competition conflicts, as well as share and purchase agreements. The team has also increasingly focused on commercial arbitration and litigation, where it acts for national and international funds. Complex and cross-border disputes specialist Óscar Franco leads the practice along with Alvaro Lobato, who has experience in commercial litigation and bankruptcy issues, and Javier Santos, who is an expert in international arbitration in the energy sector.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
The team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is known for its cross-border expertise and is led by Eduardo Soler Tappa, who is an expert in regulatory issues related to Spanish energy legislation. Also notable is counsel Manuel Rivero, who specialises in disputes related to civil, administrative and criminal law matters. Clients include Bankia, Air Europa Líneas Aéreas and Oaktree Capital. The team is representing The Kingdom of Spain in a high-profile international investment arbitration led by investment funds from Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain. In another recent highlight, the firm acted for Banco Santander in court proceedings related to the mis-selling of banking products by the client and Banco Popular.
Hogan Lovells International LLP has particular expertise in complex investment arbitrations against nation states, with a focus on engineering and construction disputes. The litigation practice specialises in the financial services sector and anti-trust disputes. José Luis Huerta leads the team and his experience includes international arbitration, corporate disputes and product liability. The firm is representing Antalis Group in proceedings brought by buyers of its products in the context of the envelope cartel case, where it was found guilty of anti-competitive practices; counsel Jon Aurrecoechea is leading in this matter. Other key clients include Barclays, Ford Credit Europe, Sarasti Group and LG Electronics. Bernardino Muñiz, formerly counsel at the firm, left to join ArcelorMittal.
Mercedes Fernández leads the team at Jones Day and has particular experience in disputes in the construction and energy sectors. The group focuses on complex cross-border and multi-jurisdictional matters. In recent work, it defended Acciona Windpower and Acciona Windpower Brazil in a dispute concerning the potential damages caused by the clients’ intervention in the production of concrete towers by Inneo Torres et al. The firm is also acting for CCAE, a key name in the unmanned petrol stations market in Spain, in an appeal against regional regulations that require all petrol stations to be manned in order to protect consumers.
Ramón y Cajal Abogados is ‘always available for quick answers when needed’ on a range of civil and commercial disputes. Ramón Fernández-Aceytuno leads the practice from Madrid and is noted for his ‘negotiation strategy and ability to explain complicated matters’, while the experienced Luis Briones leads the team in Barcelona. Also notable is Fernando Manzanedo, who joined from an in-house position at Bankia, and Ana Fernández, who is a specialist in arbitration in the financial services sector and was recently promoted to partner. She is defending Bankia against the class action brought by the Asociación de Usuarios Financieros, related to the discontinuance of mortgage loan clauses.
Andersen Tax & Legal is experienced in international arbitration and multi-jurisdictional litigation, as well as cross-border insolvency proceedings and corporate compliance matters. Iñigo Rodriguez-Sastre, who is a specialist in corporate law and litigation, leads the team with Benjamin Prieto. In recent work, the firm defended Zeta Group in litigation related to the payment of royalties for a broadcast advertising contract and successfully represented Redexis Gas in a dispute arising out of the gas supply of one of the major urban developments in Spain. Other key clients include Suzuki and the French government.
The ‘hands-on team’ at Araoz & Rueda specialises in international commercial arbitration. The practice is best known for handling disputes arising from energy projects, with particular experience in expropriation proceedings linked to the development of new infrastructures, as well as matters involving mining operations. Eduardo de León and Alejandro Fernández de Araoz lead the team, which has ‘a level of knowledge and expertise that is excellent’. Also notable is senior associate Ãngel Sanchez-Freire, who is ‘a rising star in arbitration’. Clifford Hendel left to launch an independent dispute resolution practice.
Arbitration boutique B. Cremades & Asociados focuses on international, commercial and investment arbitration. Founding partner and practice head Bernardo M. Cremades specialises in cross-border arbitration. Key clients include Ibercaja Banco, the Court of Arbitration for Sport and Lima Chamber of Commerce. The firm is also representing the Comunidad Judía de Madrid and Federación de Comunidades Judías de España in the high-profile case related to the ownership of the painting Rue Saint-Honoré, Après-midi, Effet de Pluie by Camille Pissarro, which Lilly Cassirer Neubauer was forced to sell to the Nazis in 1939.
BROSETA Abogados' area of expertise is in the financial services sector, particularly banking litigation. The ‘cohesive team’ is led by Patricia Gualde and ‘stands out for its professional excellence and availability’. The department was also recently strengthened by the arrival of senior adviser José Manuel Otero from legacy firm Otero Lastres, he specialises in intellectual property law and related disputes. The ‘very knowledgeable’ practice is handling over 1,000 judicial claims for Bankinter related to the nullity of multi-currency mortgages, as well as representing Mapfre Group in proceedings initiated by insured clients, regarding life and health insurance contracts.
ECIJA is noted for its ‘knowledge, strategy and industry acumen’, specialising in handling disputes in the areas of technology and corporate fraud. Javier Lopez, who is ‘an outstanding professional’, leads the team with recent arrival Jordi Pujante from Roca Junyent, who ‘provides sound advice’. The addition of Rafael Azpitarte from legacy firm Azpitarte Abogados further strengthens the group's litigation, commercial and banking credentials. The practice is representing holiday rentals company Homeaway in a Supreme Court appeal against a sanction imposed by the Valencian Tourism Agency for alleged breach of regulations on tourist accommodation.
The ‘great professionals’ at Eversheds Sutherland Nicea are particularly experienced in financial and international litigation. ‘Practical proposals and good implementation’ are paired with ‘technical excellence and market knowledge’ in a team led by Antonio Bravo, Luis Francisco Bermejo Reales, José Mariano Cruz and the ‘excellent, client-oriented’ Francisco J. (Kiko) Carrión García de Parada. Key clients include Mercedez-Benz Finance, Merck & Co, Allianz Group and Warner Music.
Public law and dispute resolution specialist Ernesto García-Trevijano leads the team at GTA Villamagna Abogados, which is active in a range of litigation matters. The firm has particular expertise in corporate, contractual and competition-related litigation. The practice is representing Smart Hospital Cantabria in judicial proceedings against the Cantabrian Health Service, relating to the interpretation of the contract of collaboration between the public sector and the private sector. In another highlight, the department is acting for Cementos Portland Valderribas in a matter related to the modification of the general urban development plan of Alcaláde Guadaíra, in Seville.
King & Wood Mallesons
Alfredo Guerrero leads the team at King & Wood Mallesons, which handles a range of civil, commercial and criminal litigations. A national and international client list includes Servicios Aeroportuarios, Whitepeak Advisors and Shanghai Canaan Asset Management. In a high-profile matter, the practice is acting for Valencia Club de Fútbol in several court proceedings related to the sale of the majority stake in the club to Meriton Holdings. Litigation specialist Marlen Estévez recently left the firm to join Roca Junyent.
Latham & Watkins LLP has experience in commercial and civil disputes with a particular focus on litigation in the energy and banking sectors. Antonio Morales leads the practice and specialises in disputes pertaining to energy and power projects, infrastructure and healthcare. His team is representing Novenergia in an arbitration proceeding against The Kingdom of Spain under the Energy Charter Treaty, as well as acting for Gas Natural Fenosa in a matter relating to the assignment of CO2 rights in Spain.
The ‘experienced team’ at ONTIER focuses on commercial disputes, including matters related to transactions and financial agreements. The practice is led by the ‘outstanding’ Cristina Camarero Espinosa, who is a ‘great performer in court and in arbitration’, and Pedro Rodero Rodríguez, who specialises in national and international arbitration as well as commercial law. The team is representing Columbus Participations Lux in a multiparty arbitration related to the breach of a shareholders’ agreement. Other key clients include Inveravante, Vodafone España and Banco Popular.
PwC Tax & Legal Services
PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal ‘anticipates the needs of the client’ and fields a team of ‘good problem-solving professionals’. The firm specialises in commercial litigation, as well as acting in disputes arising from the banking and finance services sectors. ‘Available and knowledgeable’ practice head Ernesto Benito ‘always has a solution’ and is an experienced arbitrator. The team represented Llao Llao Asia in a conflict with its franchisor, and acted for Hogar Útil, Cabde and Constructora de Viviendas Unifamiliares in a dispute against one of the biggest property developers in Spain.
RCD combines expertise in intellectual property and IT litigation, with domestic and international arbitration experience. The practice is led by Ignacio Benejam, Jordi Sanchez and Alfonso Maristany, who was promoted to partner in 2018. The team focuses on disputes arising from a range of commercial and corporate litigation, as well as multi-jurisdictional cases. It was strengthened by the arrival of senior associate Salvio Codes, who joined from Gómez-Acebo & Pombo. Juan Manuel de Castro moved in the opposite direction.
Known for investment arbitration and financial litigation, Roca Junyent has ‘a strategic, pragmatic approach, aligned with the interests of the client’. Jordi Calvo Costa leads the practice with Marlen Estévez, who recently joined from King & Wood Mallesons and is ‘an outstanding negotiator with strong interpersonal and oral skills’. Also recommended is the ‘highly-skilled’ Gonzalo Serrano Fonollosa, who is acting for Unilever España in a claim against Pescanova, arguing that the latter was unlawfully using drawings and the name of “Captain Pescanova”. Former team leader Jordi Pujalte left for ECIJA.
With notable expertise acting for financial institutions, Simmons & Simmons handles multi-disciplinary litigation and arbitration matters across a broad sweep of sectors. Civil and criminal litigation expert Fernando Aizpún and Andrés Mochales, who is experienced in financial litigation and bankruptcy proceedings, jointly head the practice. Also notable is counsel Verónica Ester Casas, who recently joined from the State Attorneys’ office and brings with her expertise in litigation related to EU law.