After 15 years working at at the boutique run by Spain’s pre-eminent arbitrator, Bernardo Cremades, and eight years at another firm, Calvin Hamilton felt it was time to set up on his own. Hamilton, which he founded in 2008, was intended to meet a need for “more precise expertise” in international arbitration in Spain, he says. The firm fills a niche advising foreign law firms on matters either related to Spanish law or where Spain is the seat of arbitration, along with work on enforcement or challenges to awards in Spain. It is also consulted at the contract-drafting stage to advise on the local and international implications of proposed arbitration clauses.
- People in Who’s Who:
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Value of pending counsel work:
- US$79 million
- Treaty cases:
- Current arbitrator appointments:
- 1 (of which 1 is as sole or chair)
- No. of lawyers sitting as arbitrator:
Hamilton collaborates with younger lawyers on a flexible basis and the number of fee earners on the books can be at times as high as four.
Hamilton was born in Guyana and trained in the US before moving to Spain, meaning he is versed in both common and civil law. When not working as counsel or arbitrator, he teaches as an associate professor of international commercial arbitration at the Instituto de Empresa, Madrid.
Who uses it?
The firm has worked for clients from the technology, manufacturing, real estate and construction, and oil and gas sectors. Most of the time there’s a link of some type with Spain. In two recent matters – one in London and one in New York – the common denominator was Spanish law.
At other times, the firm is a useful bridge between Spain and another jurisdiction. In two disputes seated in Madrid in which it acted, the applicable laws were those of the British Virgin Islands and Venezuela.
Small firms don’t tend to generate a track record as fast as larger ones, so we only have Hamilton’s personal record to go by. Earlier in his career he obtained an €85 million award against a Spanish bank following arbitration in New York. That followed a €17 million award for a group of claimants against a Spanish car parts manufacturer. Since founding his own boutique, he’s 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.
The firm said farewell to Luis Capiel, one of its younger members, who joined Uría Menéndez in Madrid. Two of the other younger regular collaborators, Russian Alina Bondarenko and Californian Gabriela Torres, are back with the firm after taking time away.
The firm has been instructed by a solar module manufacturer which is the respondent in a multimillion-dollar LCIA dispute over a long-term take-or-pay contract.
Meanwhile, Hamilton has been spending time in the English-speaking Caribbean promoting and assisting with the idea of arbitration law reform. He’s set up blogs, taken part in conferences and visited various ministries of justice.