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Gabriela Alvarez-Avila

Gabriela Alvarez-Avila

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In the 2022 Chambers Ranking, Gabriela is recognized as " 'a phenomenal lawyer,' that has set notable international law precedents in arbitration with the awards handed down in cases she has participated in.” Very professional and knowledgeable lawyer" and as "very meticulous and able to create a solid line of defence for clients. She is also great at devising strategies."

About

Gabriela focuses her practice on international arbitration as well as international and investment law. She is experienced in complex and high-stake transactions related to infrastructure projects, banking, electricity, telecommunications, and oil and gas.

Gabriela has represented investors, states, governmental entities and state-owned companies in international arbitrations under the arbitration rules of the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). She has also acted as president of tribunals and as co-arbitrator in arbitrations under the UNCITRAL Rules, the ICC Rules and the Arbitration Center of Mexico Rules (CAM).

Gabriela was designated in the ICSID Panel of Arbitrators by Mexico, the Panama Arbitration and Conciliation Center and the Panel of Arbitrators for International Investment Arbitration of the Beijing International Arbitration Center. She was also appointed as member of the ICC Court of Arbitration for Mexico. She is also the former Chair of the ICC Mexico Investment Arbitration Committee, a member of the CAM Arbitration General Council, a member of the CANACO Arbitration Commission and a member of the Instituto Mexicano de Arbitraje.

Bar admissionsMexico

Gabriela Alvarez-Avila is known for representing sovereigns and state-owned enterprises in investor-state and commercial arbitration matters. One client said: 'Gabriela Alvarez-Avila is an excellent and meticulous professional.' Another respondent declared: 'She is one of the best lawyers I have been able to work with. A perfectionist who is always aware of the client's concerns.'

'Respected dispute resolution practitioner Gabriela Alvarez-Avila of DLA Piper benefits from solid expertise assisting clients with investment arbitration cases; she is an extraordinary lawyer, one of the most experienced ones in arbitration, and enjoys several years of experience in the area.'

— Chambers Latin America Guide, 2023

EXPERIENCE

Gabriela has participated in numerous international arbitration proceedings, among them the following:

  • Represented two investors in connection with their BIT claim arising out of investments in the solar energy sector.
  • Leading an Investment Arbitration claim on behalf of a Canadian mining company in its NAFTA claim against Mexico.
  • Represented the Kingdom of Spain in an ICSID annulment proceeding, obtaining the annulment of the first award rendered against the State in the renewable Energy sector. All costs were granted to the client (Eiser Infrastructure and others c. Kingdom of Spain – ICSID Case No. ARB/13/36)
  • Represented Cameroon in an ICSID arbitration of US$120 million in the banking sector obtaining the dismissal of the claims for lack of ICSID jurisdiction (Capital Financial Holdings Luxembourg, S.A. c. Republic of Cameroon – ICSID Case No. ARB/15/18)
  • Represented Kuwait in an ICSID arbitration of US$320 million related to a construction project in the tourism sector, obtaining the dismissal of all the claims and the payment of all the costs (Almasyria For Operating & Maintenance Touristic Construction Co. L.L.C. c. Kuwait – ICSID Case No. ARB/18/2)
  • Represented Kazakhstan in an UNCITRAL arbitration in relation to a poultry project, obtaining the dismissal of the claims due to lack of jurisdiction (Ruby Roz v. Kazakhstan)
  • Represented Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration and its subsequent annulment proceeding in connection with a service contract in the Energy sector, obtaining a partial annulment of the award and an important reduction in the amount of the damages in favor of the State (Tidewater Inc., and others c. Venezuela – ICSID Case No. ARB/10/5)
  • Represented Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration in the Energy sector obtaining the dismissal of the claims for lack of jurisdiction and a decision rejecting an application for annulment filed by the investor and granting costs (Venoklim Holding B.V. c. Venezuela – ICSID Case No. ARB/12/22)
  • Represented Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration for US$18 million, in connection with the reform of the Energy sector in Venezuela. The Tribunal admitted part of the jurisdictional objections filed by the State and reduced the damages to approximately US$1.4 million. The annulment application filed by Venezuela was admitted and the award partially annulled, reducing the award to approximately $200 million. This represents the highest amount in damages annulled in the history of ICSID (Venezuela Holdings, B.V. y others c. Venezuela – ICSID Case No. ARB/07/27)
  • Represented a Latin American State in relation to a contractual claim in the Energy sector.
  • Represented Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration for US$30 million, related to the reform of the Energy sector in Venezuela and the expropriation of a significant oil project. (ConocoPhillips Company and others c. Venezuela – ICSID Case No. ARB/07 /30)
  • Represented Kazakhstan in an ICSID arbitration for US$1.2 million in relation to a dispute in the Energy sector, obtaining the rejection of the claims and the granting of costs in favor of the State. (Caratube International Oil Company LLP c. Kazajistán – ICSID Case No. ARB/08/12)
  • Represented Venezuela in an ICSID arbitration initiated by Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Europe. In 2016, the majority of the Tribunal issued a decision accepting all of Venezuela´s arguments on damages except one, including agreeing to apply a nominal discount rate of 19.88% and to reduce the claimant's claimed future profits by 25% (Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Europe c. Venezuela – ICSID Case No. ARB/12/13)
  • Represented a Mexican state-owned company in an LCIA Arbitration relating to an infrastructure Project in the Energy sector for EU$45 million.
  • Represented the Dominican Republic in an UNCITRAL arbitration for US$600 million in the renewable Energy sector (Michael Anthony Lee Chin v. Dominican Republic – ICSID Case No. UNCT/18/3)
  • Represented Turkmenistan in an ICSID arbitration in the construction sector, obtaining the dismissal of the claims for lack of jurisdiction (Kiliç Ĭnşaat Ĭthalat Ĭhracat Sanayi Ve Ticaret Anonim Şirketi v. Turkmenistan – ICSID Case No. ARB/10/1)
  • Represented a Mexican state-owned company in an LCIA Arbitration relating to an infrastructure Project in the Energy sector for EU$45 million.
  • President of the Tribunal in an ICC arbitration between a Mexican Supply electricity company and a Mexican company active in the wholesale electricity market regarding a power purchase agreement.
  • President of the Tribunal in an ICC arbitration between two Mexican companies regarding a share purchase agreement in connection with an infrastructure project in Mexico.
Languages
  • English
  • Spanish
  • French
Education
  • J.D., Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

  • LL.M., University of Geneva

  • Ph.D. Studies, University of Geneva Graduate Institute of International Law

Awards

Gabriela is ranked among the top international arbitration lawyers by Chambers Global, Chambers Latin America, The Legal 500 and Who’s Who Global: Arbitration.  She was recently recognized in The Legal 500’s 2021 Arbitration Powerlist: Latin America, which specifically features those lawyers that have “been involved in some of the most complex and high-value arbitrations on the planet, and boast a wealth of experience in extremely diverse areas.”  Sources note that Gabriela is “very meticulous and is able to create a solid line of defence for clients. She is also great at devising strategies."

In its most recent ranking for Chambers Latin America 2022, Gabriela is praised as a “phenomenal lawyer” that “has set notable international law precedents in arbitration with the awards handed down in cases she has participated in.”

Since 2016 Gabriela has been ranked in Latin Lawyer’s “Women in Law: In celebration of female attributes,” which describes her as a “role model” and “a mentor for young female lawyers” who has “made a name for herself in the challenging world of international arbitration.” Latinvex additionally named her to its list of Latin America’s Top 100 Female Lawyers.

Pro Bono

Participate in the Scholarship Program of Abogadas MX, an NGO that promotes, among others, the empowerment of women lawyers in Mexico. As a founding member and part of the Board of Abogadas MX, her pro bono activities have been key in developing the Abogadas MX D&I guidelines for law firms in Mexico, a project implemented with the support and guidance of UN Women, with the objective of building a level playing field in law firms for women lawyers and make sure that fundamental D&I principles are implemented by law firms in Mexico.

Publications

  • "Doing Business in Mexico: Chambers Guide 2023" July, 2023
  • "Doing Business in Mexico • Chambers Guide 2022" August, 2022
  • CRE impone sanción por más de US$450 millones; Suprema Corte emite precedente desfavorable a los permisionarios, June 28, 2022
  • The 2022 ICSID Rule Amendments: What investors and States need to know, 7 June 2022
  • El Congreso de la Unión desecha reforma constitucional en materia eléctrica y aprueba reforma legal para regular el litio, April 20, 2022
  • La Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación desestima acción de inconstitucionalidad contra la reforma a La Ley de la Industria Eléctrica, April 8, 2022

Media Mentions

Prior Experience

Before joining DLA Piper, Gabriela practiced at several major law firms in Mexico City and Geneva, Switzerland. She additionally served as counsel at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and a Spanish multinational financial services company.

Teaching Experience

Has taught International Arbitration at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económica (CIDE) and at the Commercial PostGraduate Program of the Escuela Libre de Derecho.

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Mexican Bar Association
  • US-Mexico Bar Association (USMBA), Dispute Resolution Committee, Former Co-Chair
  • International Bar Association, London
  • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration
  • Member of the ICC International Court of Arbitration for Mexico
  • Arbitration Commission, Mexican Section
  • Investment Arbitration Committee – Mexico, Former President
  • Working Group on Investor-State Arbitration
  • ICC Task Force on Maximizing Probative Value of Witness Evidence
  • International Law Association, Mexican Branch
  • Revista de Derecho Económico Internacional, Editorial Board
  • Institute for Transnational Arbitration, Advisory Board
  • Latino American Arbitration Association (ALARB)
  • Mediation and Arbitration Center of the National Chambers of Commerce, Services and Tourism (CANACO), Arbitration Commission
  • Arbitration Center of Mexico (CAM), General Council
  • Mexican Institute of Arbitration
  • Member of Panel of Arbitrators, Centro de Arbitraje y Conciliación de Panamá (CeCap)
  • Member of Panel of Arbitrators, BAC/BIAC Panel of Arbitrators for International Investment Arbitration

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