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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Claus von Wobeser

Claus von Wobeser

Von Wobeser y Sierra SCPaseo de los Tamarindos 60, 4th FloorBosques de las Lomas, CuajimalpaMexico CityMexico05120

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Claus von Wobeser is a distinguished practitioner who is held in high esteem as “a leading figure internationally”. He has vast experience in international arbitration and stands out as “the clearest mind in Mexico”.

Questions & Answers

Claus von Wobeser is founding partner and head of the dispute resolution practice of Von Wobeser y Sierra. He has acted in more than 150 international arbitration proceedings, as either arbitrator or counsel, as per the rules of the ICC, ICDR, LCIA, HKIAC, UNCITRAL, NAFTA, ICSID and ICSID Additional Facility, among others. He frequently participates as an expert in arbitration proceedings, and as an expert on Mexican law before US and English courts. Additionally, his experience includes having acted as ad hoc judge of the Inter-American Human Rights Court and as conciliator in ICSID proceedings.

What attracted you to a career in dispute resolution?

I started my career as a transactional M&A lawyer. At the beginning of the 1980s, however, I became a member of the ICC Court of Arbitration, where I discovered the importance of arbitration and noticed that ICC international arbitration was non-existent in Latin America. I started acting as arbitrator in disputes that were unrelated to Mexico and began promoting dispute resolution in the region with Yves Derains and Bernardo Cremades. My experience as arbitrator led me to start undertaking party representation in disputes as counsel.

What challenges did you face when setting up your own firm?

When I started the firm in 1986, with Maclovio Sierra and Javier Lizardi, there was no arbitration work in Mexico and the firm focused on transactional work. In the early 1990s, however, Mexico adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law, NAFTA entered into force and profound reforms to the judicial system took place, which led to an independent judiciary and an increase in foreign investment. This changing landscape led me to found our dispute resolution practice.

To what extent is sector-specific knowledge on the part of the arbitrator important when handling a dispute?

Sector-specific knowledge is very important as both an arbitrator and counsel. Most disputes I have heard as arbitrator have been related to infrastructure, construction, oil and gas, and electricity, and this has equally led our work as counsel at the firm to strongly develop in these areas.

How is third-party funding currently affecting litigation practice in Mexico?

There is virtually no third-party funding yet.

To what extent, if any, do you think changing trade relationships with the US will impact the Mexican arbitration market?

The new USMCA will affect arbitration in Mexico and the region. In particular it will impact investor-state arbitration, since the new dispute settlement mechanism provided in Chapter 14 drastically reduces the possibility of hearing claims before arbitral tribunals for investors in many sectors. However, commercial private disputes will remain unaltered and it is anticipated that these disputes will increase in number due to the economic climate.

Where, in your opinion, does the future of investment arbitration lie?

I am a strong proponent of investor-state arbitration as the preferred mechanism for resolving investment disputes. The current system, in my opinion, works well and like any system could benefit from a few improvements. However, I would caution walking away from the current system towards a multilateral investment court system (eg, contemplated in CETA and several other treaties). In my experience, this change would deviate the future of investment arbitration from its right track.

How would you like to see the firm develop over the next five years?

I see the firm consolidating its position as leader in complex disputes in Mexico and continuing as leader in the market in arbitration, both for our work as arbitration counsel as well as for the work of several of our partners acting as arbitrators in international and domestic disputes. As counsel we have 30 lawyers dedicated to dispute resolution (including Mr Guillermo Ortiz Mayagoitia, former chief justice of the Supreme Court) and we will continue to grow our partnership in this area.

You have had a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?

I would like to communicate to the world Mexico’s notable development as an arbitration seat, in both its legislation and its judiciary, and to encourage this location such that it becomes a globally renowned, reliable arbitration seat. I would also like to channel my experience in Mexico more broadly towards developing commercial arbitration in the Latin American region.

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Global Leader

Arbitration 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Claus von Wobeser is “a very seasoned practitioner”, report interviewees, who further deem him "one of the most sought-after arbitrators – and rightly so!"

Biography

Claus von Wobeser is managing partner and founder of the dispute resolution practice of Von Wobeser y Sierra.

He is renowned for his advocacy skills and strategic thinking in highly complex disputes both in litigation and arbitration proceedings.  Some of his landmark cases include acting as lead counsel to COMMISSA in a setting aside proceeding brought by PEMEX, getting the award recognised before US courts and acting as counsel to Anheuser-Busch in an ad hoc arbitration with an amount in dispute of US$1.5 billion obtaining a favorable award.

Mr von Wobeser has acted in over 150 international arbitration proceedings, either as arbitrator or counsel, as per the rules of the ICC, ICDR, LCIA, HKIAC, UNCITRAL, NAFTA, ICSID and ICSID Additional Facility, among others.

Mr von Wobeser has served as vice president of the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC, as co-chair to the IBA arbitration Ccmmittee, as president of the arbitration commission of the Mexican chapter of ICC and as member of the panel of arbitrators of ICSID and is currently member of the London Court of Arbitration, president of the Latin American Arbitration Association (ALARB),  among other designations.

His studies include a law degree (JD equivalent) from Escuela Libre de Derecho in Mexico City and a Doctorate of Law in international and European law studies from Université de Droit, d’Economie et de Sciences Sociales in Paris.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

National Leader

Mexico - Arbitration 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Claus von Wobeser is a long-standing figure in the arbitration market with decades of dedicated experience acting in international arbitrations.

Biography

Claus von Wobeser is founding partner and head of the dispute resolution practice of Von Wobeser y Sierra. He has acted in more than 150 international arbitration proceedings, either as arbitrator or counsel, as per the rules of the ICC, ICDR, LCIA, HKIAC, UNCITRAL, NAFTA, ICSID and ICSID Additional Facility, among others.

He frequently participates as an expert in arbitration proceedings and as an expert on Mexican law before US and English courts. Additionally, his experience includes having acted as ad hoc judge of the Inter-American Human Rights Court and as conciliator in ICSID proceedings. Mr von Wobeser has served as vice president of the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC; as co-chair to the IBA arbitration committee; and as president of the arbitration commission of the Mexican chapter of ICC. Currently, he is a member of the panel of arbitrators of ICSID; a member of the London Court of Arbitration; vice president of the Latin American Arbitration Association; and professor of arbitration for the ICC/Escuela Libre de Derecho annual arbitration course, among other designations.

Claus von Wobeser has a law degree (JD equivalent) from the Escuela Libre de Derecho in Mexico City; a doctorate of law in commercial and European law studies from the Université de Droit, d'Economie et de Sciences Sociales in Paris.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Claus von Wobeser has vast experience in commercial litigation, including representing clients in sophisticated IP and corporate governance disputes.

Biography

Claus von Wobeser is founding partner and head of the dispute resolution practice of Von Wobeser y Sierra. He has acted in more than 150 international arbitration proceedings, either as arbitrator or counsel, as per the rules of the ICC, ICDR, LCIA, HKIAC, UNCITRAL, NAFTA, ICSID and ICSID Additional Facility, among others.

He frequently participates as expert in arbitration proceedings and as an expert on Mexican law before US and English courts. Additionally, his experience includes having acted as ad hoc judge of the Inter-American Human Rights Court and as conciliator in ICSID proceedings. Mr von Wobeser has served as vice president of the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC; as co-chair to the IBA arbitration committee; and as president of the arbitration commission of the Mexican chapter of ICC. Currently, he is a member of the panel of arbitrators of ICSID; a member of the London Court of Arbitration; vice president of the Latin American Arbitration Association; and professor of arbitration for the ICC/Escuela Libre de Derecho annual arbitration course, among other designations.

Claus von Wobeser has a law degree (JD equivalent) from the Escuela Libre de Derecho in Mexico City; a doctorate of law in commercial and European law studies from the Université de Droit, d'Economie et de Sciences Sociales in Paris.

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