Spain’s pre-eminent boutique recruited a specialist in Arab and North African arbitration last year
As its name indicates, this well-known arbitration boutique is synonymous with Spain’s most famous international arbitration practitioner. Cremades followed a reverse career path in the field, starting out as an arbitrator aged 26 and then moving into advocacy work. These days his main role is again as arbitrator and he has accumulated an illustrious CV. Among other things, he is a former vice president of the London Court of International Arbitration and a current member of the International Council of Commercial Arbitration – he was the chief architect of the programme for the ICCA Congress in Rio de Janeiro in 2010. He’s also a founding member of the Spanish Arbitration Club.
In terms of his jurisprudential contribution, his name is on many of the most significant awards at ICSID and according to sources in Spain, his “influence can be seen in the most important judicial decisions in the field”. He had a significant influence on the drafting of the 1998 Spanish Arbitration Law.
In 2010, he received a medallion from the Arab Association for International Arbitration recognising him as an “ideal arbitrator in Euro-Arab arbitration.” In the same year he was the recipient of a 1,200-page liber amicorum.
He is also a member of GAR’s editorial board.
As for the firm that bears his name, founded in 1969, it is 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 & Asociados. An event in Bernardo Cremades’ honour in 2008 was attended by 90 former colleagues.
While many of those colleagues have moved on to pastures new, partner David Cairns is now also a well-known figure in his own right. Educated in New Zealand, Cairns has worked in Madrid since 1999. The researchers of the GAR “45 under 45” a few years ago picked Cairns for their list of the cream of the younger crop. One of Cairns’ notable accomplishments was to coach the Spanish team that won the 2008 Vis Moot.
In February 2011, the firm welcomed Libyan arbitration practitioner Farah Beitelmal, who joined after a two-year stint as deputy counsel at the ICC International Court of Arbitration, where she had the responsibility of administering cases in the Arab world. She is fluent in Arabic, English and Spanish, and trained at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Shearman & Sterling.
Cremades’ popularity as an ICSID arbitrator continued – he received new appointments to tribunals hearing claims against Moldova and Albania and an ad hoc committee in a claim against the Central African Republic. He continues to sit on other panels considering claims against Egypt, Ukraine and Costa Rica. In addition he was tapped by the newly opened international arm of US arbitration and mediation provider JAMS to appear on its European roster of arbitrators.
Meanwhile, Cairns was among 10 individuals designated to ICSID’s panel of conciliators by the chairman of the centre’s administrative council.
On the advocacy side, Spanish real estate investor Grupo Mall has retained the firm for a BIT dispute with Mexico over a tourist resort taken over by Mexico’s ICA. Cairns continues to act for Spanish construction company Elsamex in an ICSID case against Honduras.