Chevron’s go-to firm in Ecuador is acting in a number of treaty claims
- Pending cases as counsel:
- Treaty cases:
In 2004, Pérez Bustamante & Ponce participated in the first-ever claim against Ecuador at ICSID, helping Repsol YPF to win a US$13 million award.
Remarkably, two of the firm’s partners oversaw the whole case, without any assistance from international co-counsel.
Today, the firm – one of Ecuador’s oldest – is the first port of call for many foreign energy companies faced with developments they don’t like, such as changes introduced by the Correa administration. Clients include Perenco, Murphy Oil, Duke Energy and Noble Energy.
It has often found pairing up with international counsel such as Covington & Burling, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and King & Spalding. Brazilian construction group Odebrecht used the firm, alongside White & Case, when it was threatened with expulsion from the country over a hydropower plant dispute.
Chevron has also turned to the firm for local law advice in its long-running dispute over environmental pollution in the Amazon rainforest – most recently in its denial of justice claim against Ecuador now playing out before arbitral tribunal in The Hague.
Rodrigo Jijón, one of the founders of the Ecuadorean Arbitration Institute, leads the practice. While known for his expertise in energy law, he assists a wide variety of clients and is praised for his versatility. Another well-respected team member, Javier Robalino, left in 2011 to become head of international arbitration at another Quito firm, Paz Horowitz.
Among the younger members of the practice, associate Juan Manuel Marchán is increasingly active on investment treaty matters. He formerly worked for Ecuador’s oil ministry.
The firm is representing foreign investors in two potential new treaty claims against Ecuador. The first is a denial of justice claim by a UK management consultancy, Development Delivery, that has been trying to enforce three commercial arbitration awards in the local courts for almost a decade. The amount at stake isn’t huge – under US$1.5 million – but the case could be significant, as the company plans to bring the claim before ICSID despite the state’s withdrawal from the centre’s jurisdiction in 2009.
The second treaty claim is by Spanish gaming company Cirsa, in response to a 2011 ban on gambling in Ecuador that it says resulted in the “total destruction” of its investment.
Meanwhile, the firm is defending an Ecuadorean construction company, Astec, in an ICC arbitration brought by Italian company Geodata concerning a joint venture agreeement.
The firm says it is also looking to branch out into sports arbitration.
Pérez Bustamante & Ponce Abogados is one of the most prestigious and the largest full services law firm in Ecuador.
Because of the country’s complex political and judicial situation, alternative dispute resolution methods have become necessary in the business. The firm’s Arbitration Team has been extremely successful since its creation and has delivered positive results to our clients in various areas of business.
The firm has gained global recognition in investment arbitration cases at ICSID, as well as proceedings according to UNCITRAL and ICC arbitration rules. In all of those cases we have worked as co-counsel with the most notable international law firms with positive and quantifiable results for our clients.
Besides, our firm has a strong team that handles local complex arbitration cases.
We continuously handle cases in several areas of business including energy and natural resources, project financing, construction, securities, banking, telecommunications, and health. Our clients include multinational companies, global non-governmental organizations, and the most prestigious Ecuadorean companies.
The Arbitration Team comprises partners with experience and knowledge in litigation and arbitration as well as younger attorneys with salient academic credentials and creativity. In order to best serve our clients’ needs, we assemble a team for each project that includes attorneys with expertise in the required areas.
A significant number of partners and associates are arbitrators and secretaries in various arbitration centers in Ecuador as well as abroad. Most of the members in our Arbitration Team are also law professors and lecturers at the most prestigious universities in the country.
Pérez Bustamante & Ponce firmly believes in high-quality legal services, the importance of our clients’ trust and confidence, the necessity of technological developments, and the practice of law with emphasis on internationalization.
For more information please contact:
Rodrigo Jijon Letort
Juan Manuel Marchan