Public law in Venezuela

Altum Abogados, S.C.

Altum Abogados, S.C. is home to a public law team which advises on public contracting, permits and authorizations, and various regulatory matters. The firm is also particularly recommended for its advice to companies seeking to negotiate with state-owned businesses, particularly in the aviation sector. Practice head Martha Cohén also handles antitrust and anti-corruption matters, expropriations, and sanctions law, while associate Ariana Cabrera is one to watch.

Practice head(s):

Martha E. Cohén A.

Work highlights

  • Matter summary

Araquereyna

Araquereyna’s public law team handles a range of consumer protection, antitrust, and public contracting matters. The team is led by Rodrigo Stefani, while other key figures include Antonio Canova. Since publication the firm has further strengthened its offering with the hire of  public law specialist and former Baker & McKenzie, S.C. partner, Juan Carlos Balzán, in Febraury 2022; his expertise also reaches into state contracting matters and arbitration.

Ayala, Dillon, Fernández, Linares Consultores Jurídicos

Ayala, Dillon, Fernández, Linares Consultores Jurídicos is a boutique firm specialising in administrative law, privatisations and nationalisations. Carlos Ayala Corao leads the practice and is also noted for his experience in international and human rights law.

Badell & Grau Legal Consultants

Badell & Grau Legal Consultants provides a wide range of services in the public law space, including procurement, class actions, and administrative proceedings. The team is led by founding partner Rafael Badell Madrid, who has substantial government -side experience prior to founding the firm.

Baker & McKenzie, S.C.

Baker & McKenzie, S.C. is home to a team that is particularly recommended for public procurement and governmental contracts, providing advice throughout the full life cycles of such matters. Telecommunications and broadcasting are another key area for the firm, with several recent matters involving licensing applications and regulatory advice.  The firm also advises several companies on their joint ventures with state-owned businesses, including in relation to sanctions. Eugenio Hernández-Bretón and Maria Eugenia Salazar head the team, with the former focusing primarily on the energy sector, while the latter is active in investment protection and telecommunications.

D'Empaire

D’Empaire remains one of the strongest names in the public law field, with a strong track record across a wide range of matters. The media sector provides frequent work for the firm, with recent work involving censorship, as well as the renewal of licenses for radio broadcast. The firm is also highly experienced in the nationalisations and expropriations field, with several prominent domestic companies instructing them in this area. Constitutional, administrative, and criminal law specialist José González heads the team alongside dispute resolution specialist José Humberto Frías, while associate Daniel Bustos is one to watch. On the environmental front, a team led by the experienced Francisco Bolinaga acts primarily for prominent multinationals operating in Venezuela, advising the likes of Nestle, PepsiCo, and Tetra Pak on compliance with environmental regulations, applications for permits, and contact with relevant administrative bodies. The practice is also notable for its work in the sub-area of water law and its regulations, frequently handling its clients' dealings with the water ministry.

Practice head(s):

José V González; José H Frías

Dentons

Luis Andueza heads the regulatory and public law team at Dentons, and is highly experienced in the fields of constitutional law, administrative law and litigation, competition law, and economic regulation. The firm also handles public contracting work, assisting companies in their negotiations with the state, as well as joint-venture matters. The firm has a strong following among investors into mixed companies in the oil and gas sector, providing advice on a range of regulatory matters, frequently to high-profile international players.

Practice head(s):

Luis Andueza – Partner

Work highlights

  • Advised Gold Reserve on the new legislation related to the commercialization of gold and also in relation to the Constitutional Antiblockage Law.
  • Advised Casa de Representación Chemical Dampe, C.A. on the negotiation and execution of a License and Supply Agreement with pharmaceutical company Mithra/Novalon for purposes of distributing pharmaceutical/contraceptive products in Venezuela.

Grau García Hernández & Mónaco

Grau García Hernández & Mónaco provide advice on a wide range of public law mandates including exchange controls, expropriation, litigation, and the acquiring of permits. Gustavo Adolfo Grau Fortoul and Miguel Mónaco are key figures within the practice.

InterJuris Abogados

InterJuris Abogados is particularly active in sanctions work, advising a range of clients on the US sanctions regime and its effects on business in Venezuela. The firm also handles a range of other public law matters including Constitutional law, administrative disputes, procurement, and interactions with regulatory bodies, often with a focus on the contentious side of the practice. Miami-based Luis Ortiz-Alvarez heads the team, while María Cecilia Rachadell is recommended for sanctions work.

José Gregorio Torrealba heads the public law team at LEĜA Abogados, which is one of the most active firms in the field of administrative law, frequently bringing high-profile judicial review cases in a range of sectors. Advice on expropriations is another key facet of the practice, with the team helping several clients protect their foreign investments against nationalization measures. Torrealba himself is also highly recommended for public procurement work, while other key figures within the team include competition specialist Faustino Flamarique, and Andrés Linares-Benzo, who is particularly recommended for public law disputes.

Practice head(s):

José Gregorio Torrealba

Work highlights

  • The client has initiated a legal claim against CANTV, one of the biggest public companies of Venezuela, responsible for phone and cellphone services, internet, among other telecommunications operations. This case has implied an administrative pretrial filed before CANTV, in order to fulfil the judicial admissions requirements and a judicial claim recently filed before the Administrative Political Chamber of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice (STJ). The legal relationship between LS CABLE and CANTV starts in January 2013, when CANTV issued a call for an internationally announced open biding proceeding for the award of a contract for the purchasing of warehouse material including optic fiber, copper cables for external plant, transition, optical fiber, and electricity conductors. By letter dated 23 April 2016, LS Cable was awarded the contract for the procurement of cables of different kind. The services and materials were provided by the contractor (LS CABLE), but CANTV did not pay many of the bills. As a consequence of the lack of payment of the invoices properly presented by the private contractor we filed a claim before the STJ for payment of for million eight hundred thirty three thousand four hundred and fifty dollars with forty five cents (USD 4,833,450.45) plus interest.
  • Matter summary

Mendoza, Palacios, Acedo, Borjas, Paez Pumar & Cia.

Mendoza, Palacios, Acedo, Borjas, Paez Pumar & Cia. is highly active in a wide range of public law matters,  Including representation in constitutional law cases and expropriation proceedings, as well as providing advice on price controls, foreign investment, exchange controls, and regulation in the insurance and banking sectors. The firm also frequently handles joint venture and public procurement work, advising clients on their dealings with the state. Constitutional law and procurement specialist Esteban Palacios heads the team alongside Carlos Eduardo Acedo, who specialises in regulatory work.

Practice head(s):

Esteban Palacios; Carlos Eduardo Acedo Sucre

Work highlights

  • We are advising Corporación de Cemento Andino on the expropriation procedure of a cement production complex in Venezuela, in which the tribunal ordered that the owner should be properly compensated for the loss of property.
  • We represent Domegas in a claim of nullity against a resolution imposing a fine, issued by the Ministry of Popular Power for Oil. The case is being heard before the Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Tribunal.
  • We are advising our client in a judicial proceeding before the administrative tribunals against an eviction order from one of the biggest municipalities in Caracas.

Palacios, Torres & Korody

Palacios, Torres & Korody is home to a team with good experience in the field of economic regulation, advising clients in highly-regulated sectors such as energy, mining, telecommunications and banking, on their dealings with regulatory bodies, including in judicial proceedings. The firm is also highly active in the price control, foreign exchange, and public procurement sectors, where practice co-head Juan Korody is the key name to note. Fellow co-head Leonardo Palacios is notable for his substantial government-side experience, while associate Daniel Betancourt is a key contact for regulatory compliance work.

Tinoco, Travieso, Planchart & Núñez

The team at Tinoco, Travieso, Planchart & Núñez is particularly recommended for its constitutional and administrative law practice, including challenging laws on constitutional grounds. The firm also handles permits, licensing, and expropriation. Margarita Escudero León leads the group.

Torres, Plaz & Araujo

Torres, Plaz & Araujo handles the full spectrum of public law matters, but is particularly notable for its arbitration practice, frequently handling contract disputes with the state in the oil, mining, and public projects sectors. The practice is led by Juan Domingo Alfonzo Paradisi, whose experience includes expropriations, telecommunications regulation, consumer protection, international trade, and competition law. Domingo Piscitelli Nevola is another key member of the team, particularly regarding procurement, administrative law, and constitutional law.

Practice head(s):

Juan Domingo Alfonzo Paradisi

Work highlights

  • We drafted and filed an application for the nullity of the Salinas Law of the State of Zulia before the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice on grounds of unconstitutionality of said Law. We represented the client in an important case regarding constitutional matters, as well as before the state legislative council in order to achieve the nullity of said regulations.
  • Currently, it represents an emblematic and very important case in Venezuela since three favourable decisions have been obtained from the first court of contentious administrative matters ordering the suspension of the effects of an administrative act of occupation. We obtained very successful and favourable results for the client, also obtaining unprecedented results in Venezuela. The case represents one of the most important cases ( if not the most important) currently taken before the Venezuelan administrative contentious courts. We represented the client in the occupation procedure initiated by the National Superintendence for the Defence of the Socioeconomic Rights (S UNDDE ) . We represented the client before the First Court of Contentious Administrative matters in nullity proceedings, as well as regarding the temporary occupation issued by the SUNDDE, in which a positive result was obtained.
  • We represented and assisted the client before the National Superintendence for the Defence of the Socioeconomic Rights (SUNDDE). We elaborated and issued certain legal opinions regarding the company’s portfolio of products regulated by the National Superintendence for the Defence of the Socioeconomic Rights (SUNDDE). We assisted the client on administrative control proceedings and public inspections carried out by the National Superintendence for the Defence of the Socioeconomic Rights (SUNDDE). We issued a legal opinion regarding the cost-structures of the company and its consequences under Venezuelan law.