I Comillas Arbitration Day: Investment Arbitration and EU Law

International Arbitration Club  | 

From left to right: Prof. George A. Bermann (Columbia Law School), Katharine Menéndez de la Cuesta (Holland & Knight), and Prof. Juan Fernández-Armesto (Armesto & Asociados).

From left to right: Prof. George A. Bermann (Columbia Law School), Katharine Menéndez de la Cuesta (Holland & Knight), and Prof. Juan Fernández-Armesto (Armesto & Asociados).


The Comillas Alumni International Arbitration Club and the Faculty of Law of Comillas Pontifical University organized the first edition of the Comillas Arbitration Day on Wednesday, June 21 at the Alberto Aguilera campus (Madrid). The event, which gathered more than 100 scholars, lawyers, and arbitrators from Spain and abroad, featured some of the most preeminent experts in the arbitration field, including Professor George A. Bermann (Columbia Law School) and Professor Juan Fernández-Armesto (Armesto & Asociados).

The first panel was entitled “Lessons learned from the Renewable Energy Disputes Involving Spain”. It featured Elena Gutiérrez García de Cortázar, Founding Partner of MGC Arbitration (Paris); Gabriel Bottini, Co-Head of the International Arbitration Practice of Uría Menéndez (Madrid); Lena Sandberg, Partner at Gibson Dunn (Brussels); and Socorro Garrido Moreno, Head of the International Arbitration Department of Spain (Madrid). The round table was moderated by Antonio Vázquez-Guillén, Co-Managing Partner of Allen & Overy Spain (Madrid).

The panelists analyzed the intricacies of States’ right to regulate in the current regime of investor-State arbitration, particularly in light of the saga of cases brought against Spain. The speakers also touched on the issue that Spain’s payment of an award granting investors compensation for the State’s adoption of regulatory changes in the renewable energy scheme might constitute State aid under European Union law. The discussion, insightful and dynamic, was furthered by multiple questions from the audience.

The second panel, entitled “Conversation on Enforcement of ICSID Awards and EU Law”, featured Professor George A. Berman, Gellhorn Professor of Law, Monnet Professor in European Union Law, and Director of the Center for International Commercial & Investment Arbitration at Columbia Law School (New York), and Professor Juan Fernández-Armesto, Founding Partner at Armesto & Asociados (Madrid). The conversation was moderated by Katharine Menéndez de la Cuesta, Partner at Holland & Knight (Miami).

The panelists analyzed key decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union such as Achmea, Komstroy and PL Holdings. They also looked at the clash between the ICSID Convention and European Union Law.

The event concluded with a cocktail reception where panelists and attendees had the opportunity to further explore the topical issues covered during the conference.

This event was made possible thanks to the sponsors of the Comillas Alumni International Arbitration Club (Allen & Overy, Armesto & Asociados, Clifford Chance, Holland & Knight, inARB and Uría Menéndez) and the partner organizations of the Comillas Arbitration Day (the Spanish and Ibero-American Arbitration Club, the Columbia International Arbitration Association and Fide Fundación).

Reporter: Victoria Rodero Semivolkova (LL.M. candidate at Comillas Pontifical University '24).