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International Commercial Arbitration

There is a long history concerning international commercial arbitration in Latin America. At the epicenter of this discipline are the questions about the validity of arbitration agreements and clauses, and the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in Latin American jurisdictions. For decades there existed a perceived hostility from Latin American governments and private parties towards international commercial arbitration. However, starting in the decade of the 1990s, an increasingly “arbitration friendly” environment developed in the region. Thus, we see that many Latin American countries have ratified the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and the 1975 Inter-American Convention on International Commercial Arbitration...

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International Civil Litigation

In a globalized world, globalized litigation is unavoidable. Also called multi-jurisdictional litigation, international civil litigation occurs when a foreign element is present, whether a foreign defendant or plaintiff, a foreign forum or law, or a transaction or occurrence taking place in a jurisdiction different to that where the case is being tried. The U.S. doctrine of forum non conveniens is perhaps the most relevant theory developed by U.S. court to tackle, and avoid, that litigation brought by non-U.S. plaintiffs is ventilated in U.S. courts...

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Constitutional Law

Constitutional Law is the venue where all the political and philosophical theories dealing with the notion of government, separation-of-powers doctrine, the organization of the state, and the protection of individual freedoms find their place. After many authoritarian interludes in recent history, Latin American countries have been extremely active in updating their constitutions to bring them up to date on the most recent developments ocurring in the United States and Europe. In that sense, there is a continuum in the constitutional “reception” occurred and ocurring in Latin America throught its history. More recently, constitutional tribunals with broad powers have taken the highest schelons when it comes to constitutional review in the region...

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Environmental Law

The area of environmental law is perhaps one of the most rapidly-changing sectors in Latin America. As the economic development region is still strongly focused on the extraction of natural resources, most countries in the region have passed legislation creating institutional frameworks governing sustainability aspects in the areas of forest and land management, the fishing industry, soil conservation, pollution control, environmental damage, to name just a few. Colombia was the first Latin American country to approve its National Resource and Environmental Protection Code in 1974. Later in 1988 Mexico passed its General Act on Ecological Balance and Environmental Protection, and Peru enacted its Environmental and Natural Resources Code in 1990...

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Business Law

The field of corporate law is ever-evolving in Latin America. Just as Sarbanes-Oxley-inspired legislation swept through the region just a few years ago, presently issues related to corporate social responsibility, the overall protection of minority shareholders’ rights, the expansion of stock markets, private equity regulations, electronic commerce, and other related innovations, are dominating the legislative agenda of the fastest developing countries in the region. Further, many Latin American jurisdictions have kept up the pace of a globalized legal environment by creating or expanding the reach of a myriad of business forms. For example, the Latin American fideicomiso (trust) has been subject to increasing liberalization and deregulation, and other innovative corporate forms such as ...

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Civil Law

Latin American countries belong to the civil law tradition. This legal system tracks its roots to the law of the Roman Empire, to Canon Law, to Customary Law, and to the Ius Commune, also called the Romano-Canonical Law of Europe. Latin American civil law jurisdictions are Code-based legal systems, that is, they rest upon systematized bodies of law contained in a single and subject-oriented compendium. The contrasts with common law are clearly perceived in essential elements of each legal tradition and culture, namely, concerning the role of equity, the emphasis on written law as opposed to judicial precedents, the role of stare decisis, the avaiability of equitable remedies, and the function of notaries public, to name but a few...

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