Strategic Research Sponsor of the American Bar Association's Section of International LawThe Queen's Award for Enterpise 2012

Claus von Wobeser
Office:
Guillermo González Camarena 1100 - Piso 7
Col. Santa Fe, Delegaci├│n Alvaro Obregon
01210
City:
Mexico City
Country:
Mexico
Tel:
+52 55 5258 10 11
Fax:
+52 55 5258 1098

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Arbitration

Dr Claus von Wobeser obtained his law degree from the Escuela Libre de Derecho in Mexico City and a PHD from Paris University in international law. He has served as vice president of the International Court of Arbitration, co-chair of IBA’s arbitration committee, president of the ICC Arbitration Commission (Mexican Chapter) and member of ICSID’s Panel of Arbitrators. He has acted in international arbitrations as per the rules of the ICC, AAA, ICDR, ICSID, DCH among others.

What separates Von Wobeser y Sierra from the competition?

Since being appointed member of the ICC Court in 1982, I have been in close contact with arbitration. At that stage, arbitration was practically unheard of in Mexico. I started Von Wobeser y Sierra’s arbitration practice in 1986, positioned as one of the few law firms with this expertise in Mexico. We have built a team of experts in dispute resolution by supporting lawyers that studied at the best universities in the US and Europe and that worked at top-tier arbitration firms in the world. The number of cases we have as counsel and as arbitrators gives us a great competitive advantage.

We have participated in major arbitrations in Mexico, obtaining significant awards that have generated important precedents in arbitration practice.

How has the arbitral landscape changed since you first started out?

As I recall, at the beginning of my career there were very few cases of arbitration involving Mexican parties.There was no arbitration practice established in Mexico. Gradually, through conferences and seminars, practitioners and companies started learning about arbitration. ICC Mexico was set up in 1985 and immediately started promoting arbitration. After the adoption of the UNCITRAL Model Law into our Commerce Code, the practice started to develop and commercial arbitration has grown exponentially ever since.

Things are different from when I first started. There are hundreds of cases being referred to arbitration, and it is now considered the standard procedure for disputes involving large infrastructure projects. More than 700 lawyers have the diploma on arbitration from ICC Mexico and Escuela Libre de Derecho.

You are also a distinguished litigator. What are the pros and cons of arbitration over litigation as a form of dispute resolution?

Litigation is an ideal forum for disputes over day-to-day issues that, because of the content or amount in dispute, are best dealt with by local courts. For example, in the finance industry, mortgages or day-to-day bank transactions have traditionally been solved very effectively through litigation.

On the other hand, arbitration is best suited to disputes that are complex in subject matter and/or amount. When there is a need for specialised knowledge or expertise, arbitration caters for this need. For example, arbitration in the finance industry has found a niche in complex disputes, such as those related to derivatives or international letters of credit.

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