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GAR 100 - 10th Edition

Hamilton

08 March 2017

Promoting arbitration in the Caribbean

Pending cases as counsel 3
Value of pending counsel work US$18.3 million
Current arbitrator appointments 4 (of which 3 are as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator 1

After 15 years working at the boutique run by Spain’s pre-eminent arbitrator, Bernardo Cremades, and eight years at another Madrid-based firm, Calvin Hamilton felt it was time to set up on his own.

A member of the New York and Madrid Bars, Hamilton founded his firm in 2008 to meet a need for “more precise expertise” in international arbitration in Spain. The firm developed a niche advising foreign law firms on arbitrations seated in Spain and enforcement of awards in Spain, along with other Spanish law matters. It has also been involved in the promulgation of Spain’s Mediation Act.

However, the practice has lost its exclusively Spanish focus since Guyana-born and US-trained Hamilton moved back to the Caribbean. He is now based in Bridgetown, Barbados, where he is a senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies.

He’s actively involved in the promotion of arbitration in the Caribbean and is part of a task force drafting model arbitration legislation for the region. He’s also recently become vice chair of the Barbados chapter of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Versed in both common and civil law, Hamilton remains an arbitrator of the Madrid Arbitration Court and a member of the board of directors of the Spanish Arbitration Club.

Who uses it?

Hamilton has worked for clients from the technology, manufacturing, real estate and construction, and oil and gas sectors on disputes with a link to Spain or seated in Spain.

The firm mostly provides international arbitration advice to local counsel handling disputes for Caribbean clients.

Track record

Since his move to Barbados, Hamilton acted as co-counsel in two ad hoc UNCITRAL arbitrations seated in St Lucia and Grenada and advised counsel to a Caribbean state (believed to be Belize) on an arbitration-related matter before the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Combining his two geographical specialisms, he was also co-counsel to a Barbadian party in a construction dispute with a Spanish contractor that was seated in Barbados and conducted under UNCITRAL rules. A final award was issued in under nine months, which Hamilton is now helping to enforce in Spain.

Earlier in his career, Calvin Hamilton obtained an €85 million award against a Spanish bank following an arbitration in New York. That followed a €17 million award for a group of claimants against a Spanish car parts manufacturer.

After founding his own boutique, he fended off a claim by a Spanish oil and gas company against an Italian client concerning breach of a contract for the manufacture of segments of an oil pipeline in the Maghreb, and successfully acted for a US manufacturer of construction materials in an ad hoc arbitration against a French real estate company.

Recent events

While the firm has taken on two new ICC cases as counsel, Calvin Hamilton has also been busy as arbitrator. He’s been appointed in two cases under the international rules of the American Arbitraton Association and an ICC case involving a Caribbean state. He’s also been sole arbitrator in a renewable energy dispute at the Madrid Court of Arbitration, and has received one of the first appointments to a case at the new British Virgin Islands International Arbitration Court.