Litigation and International Business

At Martínez-Echevarría you will find comprehensive legal services, in coordination with the other practices of Commercial, Maritime, Administrative, Tax and Employment Law, in any type of matter that may affect the international activity of a company, whatever the commercial or industrial sector or the geographical region. International business  entails additional challenges and consequently the need to mitigate risks within the preventive design of operations, thus reducing the likelihood of legal disputes. It will also be strategic to rely on specialised advice in the form of legal opinions during the actual performance of the contract in order to be able to react to any difficulties that may arise and, if necessary, to rely on a legal team experienced in international litigation. Indeed, the risk of cross-border disputes and often even parallel proceedings in different jurisdictions makes it necessary to efficiently select the various procedural options, and this is only possible  by means of expert legal advice to guide the client through a complex procedural horizon. The complexity derives not only from the fact that more than one legal system may be involved, but also that it may involve jurisdictions belonging to different legal systems such as Civil Law and Common Law.

Martínez-Echevarría’s areas of expertise in international business and litigation are:

International contracts

In the preventive or non-contentious legal dimension, this practice of Martínez-Echevarría together with the Commercial, Civil, Maritime and Transport practices, provide extensive experience in the design and drafting of international contracts. The drafting of international sales contracts is usually the core of the advice offered in this area, with particular attention to the Incoterm chosen and the drafting of general conditions of sale adapted to the needs of the exporter. The conditions of the purchase-sale must be suitably reconciled with the type of transport contract to be used, the means of payment chosen, the insurance of the goods and the real or bank guarantees to cover the successful outcome of the business. Among international business collaboration contracts, our experience focuses on agency, distribution, franchising, assignment and licensing of industrial property contracts, international financing contracts (international leasing and factoring) and international joint venture contracts.

International jurisdiction and proceedings with a foreign element

If the litigation arises in Spain and is related to a dispute previously initiated in another jurisdiction, or vice versa, we will accompany our client, helping them to find their way through this cross-border multi-jurisdictional complexity so that they can make the most efficient decisions to reach a satisfactory result. In this sense, disputes on jurisdictional issues (pleas challenging international court jurisdiction, pleas of international lis pendens, etc.), as well as the organisation of proceedings with a foreign element (international regime of court notifications and the collection of evidence abroad) are an essential part of the activity of the practice with regards to international litigation. At Martínez-Echevarría we combine extensive legal knowledge and experience in litigation or arbitration with international elements in Spain throughout all our locations, together with the ability to adapt to the client’s needs in relation to the logical coordination between the proceedings initiated in Spain and the court or arbitration proceedings that the client may have pending in other jurisdictions.

Recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments

Martínez-Echevarría has extensive experience in the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments, be they from EU Member States or third countries. Automatic recognition, or even the abolition of exequatur, introduced by the EU instruments applicable to civil and commercial litigation, family and parental responsibility, maintenance obligations, matrimonial property regimes, property consequences of registered partnerships, international successions or insolvency proceedings, have resulted in the development of a wide range of possibilities in this sector which we can share with our clients. In relation to judgments issued by courts of third countries, the Spanish Law on International Judicial Cooperation in Civil Matters of 2015 has led to the introduction  of a new judicial procedure of exequatur which guarantees an adequate channel of homologation of foreign judgments in Spain, as well as containing other interesting possibilities, particularly with regard to the effectiveness of registering foreign decisions.

International debt recovery

Also worth noting, as an additional specialisation related to the previous one concerning the exequatur of foreign judgments, is Martínez-Echevarría’s experience in international debt recovery using the procedural instruments established by EU Law. Thus, the European Payment Order, the European Enforcement Order and the European Account Preservation Order enable us to assist our clients in simplifying the collection of cross-border debts.

International insolvency

The team of lawyers and professionals of Martínez-Echevarría’s Commercial, Maritime and International practices excel for their proven experience in their respective areas of expertise in the field of international insolvency, dealing with the characteristic problems of cross-border insolvency proceedings when the main proceedings are located in Spain or when only secondary or territorial proceedings can be initiated in Spain, as well as addressing the coordination needs between main and secondary proceedings in different jurisdictions. The EU’s international judicial cooperation instruments  allow for the automatic recognition and enforcement of judgments of other EU Member States in insolvency matters in Spain, with the Insolvency Law requiring exequatur for decisions of non-EU countries. Our experience in this sector also includes all  necessary actions for the receiver appointed by foreign courts to be able to carry out his or her functions in Spain.

International arbitration

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is naturally an essential part of legal advice in international business and contracting. We can assist during the negotiation phase of the contract and the arbitration agreement establishing alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, as well as during the development itself of international commercial arbitration, conciliation or mediation procedures in accordance with the most well-known international arbitration rules and in the most relevant arbitration institutions existing in Spain. At Martínez-Echevarría we also offer our extensive experience in the Spanish legal reality as to the choice of arbitrators and experts for arbitration procedures opened in Spain. If the client wishes to challenge an arbitral award issued in Spain, we can file an action for annulment before the courts and, of course, if the client has already obtained an arbitral award in another jurisdiction, we will assist in the process for its recognition and enforcement in Spain. 

Notas Jurídicas

En relación con el confinamiento de los ciudadanos en sus domicilios, conviene recordar que es un principio mantenido por el Tribunal Constitucional respecto de la aplicación de los derechos fundamentales que estos deben de ser interpretados en el sentido más amplio posible, y solamente podrían estar limitados cuando colisionen con otros derechos fundamentales; junto a que, por el contrario, las restricciones o limitaciones a los derechos fundamentales deben ser interpretadas restrictivamente. Precisamente, con base en dichos principios interpretativos de cualquier derecho fundamental, todas las sanciones que se están imponiendo, incluso las detenciones que se están llevando a cabo, deberán de ser examinadas bajo dichos criterios interpretativos. Podrían todas ellas ser impugnadas por la vía especialmente regulada de protección jurisdiccional de derechos fundamentales en todas nuestras leyes procesales.

Antonio Torrecillas

La crisis sanitaria mundial hace pensar en un muy probable aumento de la morosidad por parte de deudores domiciliados en el extranjero en relación con sus obligaciones de pago en España derivadas de contratos mercantiles o incluso de las cuotas debidas a las comunidades de propietarios. Este riesgo es mayor en relación con el Reino Unido porque a la crisis sanitaria se suma la eventualidad del fin del período transitorio del Brexit a final de año, salvo nueva prórroga. Por ello, como acreedor, es necesario iniciar acciones judiciales dirigidas a la recuperación del crédito cuanto antes lo permita el funcionamiento de los juzgados en España y, en todo caso, antes de la finalización del presente año, a fin de consolidar las ventajas procesales actualmente existentes para el cobro de créditos en la Unión Europea.

Miguel Checa

En los contratos internacionales siempre ha sido habitual incorporar cláusulas de fuerza mayor, frustración del contrato o imposibilidad de cumplimiento. Ahora, con la crisis sanitaria, esas cláusulas revisten una importancia mayor y una mínima diligencia exige revisarlas y, en su caso, renegociarlas, siempre en atención a la ley aplicable al contrato.

En caso de que el incumplimiento se haya producido motivado por la crisis sanitaria, a fin de reducir el riesgo de litigación en España o en el extranjero, deberán buscarse, en primer lugar, vías de negociación de salida a la situación de incumplimiento y, en su caso, formalizar o documentar correctamente conforme a las consideraciones anteriores la resolución del contrato.

Miguel Checa

La crisis sanitaria mundial hace pensar en un muy probable aumento de la morosidad por parte de deudores domiciliados en el extranjero en relación con sus obligaciones de pago en España derivadas de contratos mercantiles o incluso de las cuotas debidas a las comunidades de propietarios. Este riesgo es mayor en relación con el Reino Unido porque a la crisis sanitaria se suma la eventualidad del fin del período transitorio del Brexit a final de año, salvo nueva prórroga. Por ello, como acreedor, es necesario iniciar acciones judiciales dirigidas a la recuperación del crédito cuanto antes lo permita el funcionamiento de los juzgados en España y, en todo caso, antes de la finalización del presente año, a fin de consolidar las ventajas procesales actualmente existentes para el cobro de créditos en la Unión Europea.

Miguel Checa

En los contratos internacionales siempre ha sido habitual incorporar cláusulas de fuerza mayor, frustración del contrato o imposibilidad de cumplimiento. Ahora, con la crisis sanitaria, esas cláusulas revisten una importancia mayor y una mínima diligencia exige revisarlas y, en su caso, renegociarlas, siempre en atención a la ley aplicable al contrato.

En caso de que el incumplimiento se haya producido motivado por la crisis sanitaria, a fin de reducir el riesgo de litigación en España o en el extranjero, deberán buscarse, en primer lugar, vías de negociación de salida a la situación de incumplimiento y, en su caso, formalizar o documentar correctamente conforme a las consideraciones anteriores la resolución del contrato.

Miguel Checa

En relación con el confinamiento de los ciudadanos en sus domicilios, conviene recordar que es un principio mantenido por el Tribunal Constitucional respecto de la aplicación de los derechos fundamentales que estos deben de ser interpretados en el sentido más amplio posible, y solamente podrían estar limitados cuando colisionen con otros derechos fundamentales; junto a que, por el contrario, las restricciones o limitaciones a los derechos fundamentales deben ser interpretadas restrictivamente. Precisamente, con base en dichos principios interpretativos de cualquier derecho fundamental, todas las sanciones que se están imponiendo, incluso las detenciones que se están llevando a cabo, deberán de ser examinadas bajo dichos criterios interpretativos. Podrían todas ellas ser impugnadas por la vía especialmente regulada de protección jurisdiccional de derechos fundamentales en todas nuestras leyes procesales.

Antonio Torrecillas