South America

Our market-leading teams have experience advising clients on English law matters in South America involving commercial transactions and dispute resolution. We have successfully represented our clients across South America operating in resource rich and other competitive industries in meeting challenges, progressing trade and growing their businesses.
  • Profile
  • Experience
Stephenson Harwood has been active in the South American market for many years, principally in the areas of marine and international trade, energy & natural resources, corporate finance, TMT, banking and dispute resolution. These transactions together with our ability to handle the most significant and complex disputes blend our English legal expertise with experienced local counsel to provide innovative and effective solutions for our clients.

"They are very good and provide heavyweight legal services to us"
Chambers UK 2015

Unsafe port claim

Advising in relation to a grounding in the Orinoco river leading to a US$20 million unsafe port claim with arbitration proceedings in London and New York.

Exploded vessel

Acted for the charterer of a vessel which exploded and sank off the coast of South America, resulting in a successful appeal to the High Court on the interpretation of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992.

Oil trading and shipping

Advising state owned and independent trading companies on sale and purchase of crude oil and products, including advising on standard trading terms, contract drafting, sale of goods disputes, quality determination disputes, storage and joint ventures, letters of credit and application of sanctions.

Oil and gas – contentious matters

Advising a state-owned oil and natural gas company, on various contentious matters, contracts and charterparty advice.


Advising international investors on the acquisition of an Ecuadorian independent power generation company.


Advising Brazil's national oil company on various patent dispute and contractual intellectual property issues.

Offshore oil and gas

Advised on a variety of high value offshore oil and gas and construction projects in Brazil and Venezuela.

US$12 billion freezing order against PDVSA successfully lifted

Succeeded in lifting a US$12 billion international freezing order obtained by a company in the Exxon Mobil Group against our client, PDVSA, Venezuela's state oil company.

Freezing order against Republic of Bolivia successfully discharged

Acted for the Republic of Bolivia in discharging a freezing order against Bolivia and its national telecoms company, Entel, obtained by Dutch company ETI, in support of an arbitration claim ETI had brought against Bolivia. The judgment in this case became the leading authority on the availability of interim measures from the UK courts in support of ICSID arbitration and, on a separate point entirely, the type of foreign court proceedings for which interim measures are available.

Reinsurance dispute

Acted for the reinsurers of the Cano Limon Pipeline in Colombia which had sustained repeated damage due to attacks by terrorist organisations.


Acted for the owner of a vessel that was involved in a multi-vessel collision in the port of Barranquilla.

LCIA, UNCITRAL and ICC disputes

LCIA, UNCITRAL and ICC disputes involving all types of mining, oil exploration and production and commodities trading disputes.
© Stephenson Harwood LLP 2016. Any reference to Stephenson Harwood in this document means Stephenson Harwood LLP and/or its affiliated undertakings. Any reference to a partner is used to refer to a member of Stephenson Harwood LLP.