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GAR 100 - 11th Edition

Claro y Cia

06 April 2018

The Chilean outfit settled a long-running dispute over lithium royalties and won provisional measures in a fight over a hydroelectric power project

People in Who’s Who Legal 1
Pending cases as counsel 5
Value of pending counsel work US$220 million
Treaty cases 1

The Chilean outfit settled a long-running dispute over lithium royalties and won provisional measures in a fight over a hydroelectric power project

Founded in 1880, Claro y Cía is the oldest firm in Chile. It came to GAR’s attention through Felipe Ossa, who joined in 2006 after four years with the international arbitration practice at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

But even before that – as GAR’s sister title Latin Lawyer 250 notes – Claro y Cía had established itself as one of the country’s most prestigious firms recognised for its disputes work as well as for banking, finance and M&A specialisms. Senior partner José María Eyzaguirre was one of the first practitioners in the region to take part in major international arbitrations. In 1999, he was co-counsel with Freshfields in an ICC case involving Heineken and local brewer Quiñenco.

When the local arbitration body, CAM Santiago (the Centre of Arbitration and Mediation at the Santiago Chamber of Commerce), unveiled a new roster of arbitrators, five of its lawyers were on the list – the most of any local law firm.

Who uses it?

Recent clients include US energy group AES, tyre producer Goodyear, New Zealand’s Greymouth Petroleum, French advertising group Publicis and Chilean chemicals company SQM.

It also represented EDF in the enforcement of an ICC award against Total and Repsol before the Supreme Court of Chile.

Track record

Together with Squire Patton Boggs, the firm helped US solar panel manufacturer First Solar defeat an ICC claim brought by investors in one of South America’s largest solar power plants. A Chilean court later threw out a lawsuit in which the unsuccessful claimants accused the sole arbitrator that ruled against them of misconduct.

The firm won a favourable award for US copper producer Freeport in a large construction case at CAM Santiago in 2012 and has acted for it in several further cases.

It is also behind some of the milestone court decisions on arbitration in Chile. Those include persuading a Chilean court to award interim measures under the country’s international arbitration act for the first time. Ossa and another partner handled a case that led to Chile’s first court ruling upholding the principle of competence-competence.

Recent events

Claro y Cía has been representing Chilean electricity producer AES Gener in an ICC arbitration against the Nuevo Maipo consortium, made up of Germany’s Hochtief and Italy’s CMC di Ravenna. In February 2018, it defeated an attempt by the consortium to require the firm’s client to post US$73 million in security while the case is pending, also winning an order for the return of confidential data. The underlying dispute concerns the construction of a hydroelectric power plant outside Santiago and has given rise to two emergency arbitrator proceedings.

The firm helped SQM settle a domestic arbitration with Chilean state entity Corfo in early 2018 concerning royalties from one of the world’s biggest lithium deposits.

Since 2016, Ossa has been chairman in Chile of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and the Spanish Arbitration Club.

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