Bernardo Cremades, to whom the firm owes its name, has been described as “Mr Spain” and “the best of them all” in the past.
- Who’s Who Name:
- Bernardo Cremades and David Cairns
He followed a reverse career path into the field, starting out as an arbitrator and then moving into advocacy work, before rising up the ranks of leading arbitrators to his current exalted position (he received his first arbitrator appointment aged 26 on the basis of his academic writings). At ICSID, his name is on many of the most significant awards and he estimates he has appeared as counsel or arbitrator in several hundred cases in the investment and commercial spheres.
Cremades is a member of the International Council of Commercial Arbitration and was a key planner for the ICCA Congress in Rio de Janeiro in 2010. He is also a former vice president of the London Court of International Arbitration and a founding member of the Spanish Arbitration Club.
According to sources in Spain, his “influence can be seen in the most important judicial decisions in the field” and he had a significant influence on the drafting of the 1998 Spanish Arbitration Law.
Founded in 1969, the law firm that bears his name is now home to around 10 lawyers devoted to international arbitration, many of whom also undertake client work. It’s almost been Spain’s unofficial university of arbitration: a GAR special report on Spain discovered that at least half of the leading Spanish names in the market had earned their stripes at B Cremades y Asociados. An event in Bernardo Cremades’ honour in 2008 was attended by 90 former colleagues. More recently he was the recipient of a 1,200-page liber amicorum in recognition of his contribution to the field.
Another name to know there is David Cairns. Although educated in New Zealand, Cairns has worked in Madrid since 1999, and is now a figure in his own right. The researchers of the GAR “45 under 45” a few years ago picked Cairns for their list of the cream of the younger crop. Since then, he’s enjoyed success, among other things, as coach to the Spanish team that won the 2008 Vis Moot.
Cremades remained busy as an arbitrator this year, hearing claims at ICSID against Ghana, Costa Rica, Ukraine and Egypt. In April he received a medallion from the Arab Association for International Arbitration recognising him as an “ideal arbitrator in Euro-Arab arbitration”. Meanwhile Cairns is acting as counsel to Spanish construction company Elsamex in an ICSID claim against Honduras, which cleared the jurisdictional threshold in June. The liber amicorum in his honour is now available to buy.