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David Arias

David Arias


David is a partner in the litigation, ADR and arbitration practice and has extensive arbitration experience.



David has more than 30 years of experience in dispute resolution. He has served as counsel and arbitrator in more than 150 cases in venues across Europe, America and Africa under a variety of applicable laws. David regularly participates in proceedings administered by the main arbitration institutions (ICC, PCA, LCIA, ICDR and SCC, among others). He also has extensive experience as counsel in complex commercial litigation.

David was Chair of the IBA Arbitration Committee between 2016 and 2017. Previously, he also chaired its Subcommittee on Conflicts of Interest, which published the 2014 IBA Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest in International Arbitration. Additionally, he helped draft the 2010 IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration. From 2013 to 2017, he was President of the Club Español del Arbitraje, of which he is currently Honorary President.

David is regularly recognised as a Tier-1 litigation and arbitration lawyer and most-in-demand arbitrator in leading international legal publications and directories including the Chambers and Partners publications, Chambers Global and Chambers Europe, and the Legal 500. He is also recognized as a Thought Leader in arbitration by Who's Who Legal.

David is a Professor of Procedural Law and Arbitration. He speaks Spanish, English and French. He also reads and understands Italian and Portuguese.

David's experience includes:

  • representing an Italian group in a USD1.2 billion multi-party arbitration concerning a contract for the construction of a power plant (ICC, Santiago de Chile, Chilean law, Spanish)*
  • co-arbitrator in a USD3.5 billion dispute involving several African and European companies arising from the alleged breach of a shareholders agreement (ICC, Paris, law of an African State, English)*
  • representing a Spanish company in an arbitration against a Qatari company in a dispute related to the construction of infrastructure projects in Qatar (ICC, Geneva, Swiss law, English)*
  • chairman in a dispute involving companies from Europe and Latin America in relation to the construction of two wind farms in a Latin American country (ICC, Paris, Spanish law, Spanish)*
  • representing a Spanish company in an arbitration against a French company in a dispute arising from the sale of the stakes in a joint venture (ICC, Geneva, Spanish law, English)*

*Experience prior to joining Herbert Smith Freehills


David obtained his BA in Law, with Honours, and his PhD, also with Honours, from Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He was admitted to the Madrid Bar in 1991.


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