Scope of the International Jurisdiction Clause in the Bill of Lading

THE COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION RULES THAT SPANISH LAW CANNOT IMPOSE GREATER REQUIREMENTS FOR THE VALIDITY OF INTERNATIONAL JURISDICTION CLAUSES INSERTED IN BILLS OF LADING IN FAVOUR OF EUROPEAN COURTS.

EXTRACT: The recent Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) rules that the Spanish Law requirement of a separate and individual negotiation of jurisdiction clauses in favour of European courts contained in a Bill of Lading contradicts European Regulations and adds that Spanish courts should not apply the Maritime Navigation Act in those cases as it would be in breach of the European Union Regulation 1215/2012, better known as the Brussels Ia Regulation.

CONTENTS:

The validity and application of jurisdiction clauses inserted in bills of lading has always been a subject of controversy in Spanish litigation relating to matters of carriage of goods by sea.

With regard to jurisdiction clauses that confer jurisdiction to courts of European Union member states, to which the European Union Regulation 1215/2012, better known as the Brussels I bis Regulation, applies, jurisdiction clauses were generally accepted by Spanish courts until the Maritime Navigation Act 14/2014 came into force.

Article 468 of the Maritime Navigation Act requires that, without prejudice to the provisions of the international conventions in force in Spain and the rules of the European Union, jurisdiction clauses must always be negotiated individually and separately for them to be considered valid. In addition, Article 251 of the Maritime Navigation Act provides that the acquiring part of a bill of lading acquires the document with all its rights and actions except for the international jurisdiction and arbitration clauses.

Having said that, the Brussels Ia Regulation regulates jurisdiction within the European framework without establishing the requirement of separate and individual negotiation, although it does establish that the effectiveness of the jurisdiction clause depends on the national law of the member state. Furthermore, it adds that jurisdiction clauses must be considered as an independent agreement to other clauses of the contract.

After a certain evolution of case law in Spain, in cases where the dispute was between the original parties to the Bill of Lading contract (generally the shipper and the carrier), the courts granted validity to those clauses in favour of courts in EU member states. The reason? Because the Brussels Ia Regulation prevailed over article 468 of the Maritime Navigation Act and therefore different requirements to those required by the supranational regulation were not required.

However, there have been several Spanish courts that have not given validity to jurisdiction clauses in favour of courts of the European Union member states when the dispute arose between the legal holder of the Bill of Lading, a non-originating party to the contract, and the carrier. The reason? This condition of independent and individual negotiation of jurisdiction clauses is not met when a third party acquires the Bill of Lading, not having been a contractual party to the original contract of carriage, and when acquiring the Bill of Lading does so without international jurisdiction or arbitration clauses as it is provided for by Art.251 Maritime Navigation Act.

These regulations and their provisions taken together have created several doubts for the Spanish courts which have been reflected in repeated lawsuits before the Courts. Consequently, on 16 November 2022, the Appeal Court of Pontevedra referred a question to the Court of Justice of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as CJEU) for a preliminary ruling in order to clarify the following aspects:

1) Whether the enforceability of the jurisdiction clauses to a third party, not party to the original contract, must be analysed in accordance with the law of the Member State to which the parties have conferred jurisdiction.

2) Whether inserting additional validity requirements for the effectiveness of jurisdiction clauses inserted in bills of lading is contrary to the Brussels Ia Regulation.

On 24 April 2024, the CJEU delivered its judgment on the questions referred to it.

As regards to the first question, the CJEU recalls that the Brussels Ia Regulation does not expressly stipulate whether a jurisdiction clause may be transferred to a third party who succeeds, in whole or in part, to one of the contracting parties. In fact, the enforceability of the jurisdiction clauses against the third party does not relate to the substantive validity of the clause, but to its effects. The CJEU concludes that “the enforceability of a jurisdiction clause against the third-party holder of the bill of lading containing that clause is not governed by the law of the Member State of the court or courts designated by that clause. That clause is enforceable against that third party if, on acquiring that bill of lading, it is subrogated to all of the rights and obligations of one of the original parties to the contract, which must be assessed in accordance with national substantive law as established by applying the rules of private international law of the Member State of the court seized of the dispute.”

In other words, as the Court ruled in Coreck Maritime GmbH v Handelsveem BV and others (C-387/98), in order to determine whether the third-party holder of the bill of lading succeeds to the contract, the law of the State which is applicable according to the laws of conflict shall be applied. In Spain, the rules of private international law are set forth in EU Regulation 593/2008, known as Rome I. This determines that the applicable law according to which subrogation (and the rest of the merits of the case) will be assessed will be the law agreed by the parties, or in the absence thereof, by the law of the country where the carrier has its habitual residence, provided that the place of receipt or the place of delivery, or the habitual residence of the sender, is also located in that country. If these requirements are not met, the law of the country where the place of delivery agreed by the parties is situated applies. Therefore, in most cases, where the Bill of Lading contains an applicable law clause, it will be necessary to look to that law to ascertain whether the acquirer of the Bill of Lading acquires it with or without the jurisdiction clause. This applicable law is rarely Spanish law, although the circumstances of each case will have to be considered.

However, even if Spanish law were the applicable law, in the answer to the second question raised regarding the consistency between European law and the national law requiring that jurisdiction clauses must be individually and separately negotiated as a prerequisite for them to be considered valid, the CJEU agreed with the Advocate General’s conclusions. This is, that the Spanish law “has the effect of circumventing Article 25(1) of the Brussels Ia Regulation, as interpreted by the case-law of the Court of Justice”.

Taking this statement into account, the Court inevitably holds that Article 25(1) of the Brussels Ia Regulation is not compatible with the national legislation which declares jurisdiction clauses null and void t when they have not been individually and separately negotiated by the third party legal holder of the Bill of Lading. Therefore, following the principle of primacy and in order to guarantee the effectiveness of the European Union rules, even in the event that Spanish law is the substantive law applicable to the substance of the dispute, when the Brussels Ia Regulation is applicable, the Spanish Courts must refrain from applying the provisions of the Maritime Navigation Act that require individual and separate negotiation of the rules of jurisdiction in order to consider them validly enforceable against third parties legal holder of the Bill of Lading.

In conclusion, when it is agreed that the competent Court to hear the dispute will be a Court of the European Union, this jurisdiction clause will be directly applicable before third party holders of the bill of lading, regardless of whether or not there has been an individual and separate negotiation of these jurisdiction clauses.

It should also be noted that, although the cases which gave rise to the questions referred for a preliminary ruling contained clauses in favour of the London courts, these cases were subject to European law. The fact is that the cases under consideration in the question referred for a preliminary ruling correspond to those in which the plaintiffs brought their actions during the transitional period of Brexit, and prior to the definitive separation of the United Kingdom, before 31 December 2020. Currently, a jurisdiction clause in favour of the courts of the United Kingdom is no longer a clause in favour of the courts of a member state of the European Union, and therefore the Brussels I Regulation does not apply. Consequently, in those cases where Spanish law is applicable to hear the merits of the case, all the provisions of the Maritime Navigation Act would apply and jurisdiction clauses that have not been individually and separately negotiated may be considered null and void.

In short, in order to determine whether jurisdiction clauses in favour of the courts of a member state of the European Union are applicable in Spain, the laws of the state that will rule on the merits of the case must be applied. Therefore, if Spanish law were to be applied to the resolution of the merits of the case, this same rule would also apply to determine the enforceability of the jurisdiction clauses of a bill of lading against third parties. However, this statement must be understood with all due caution since, even if Spanish law were applicable, by prevalence of the Brussels Ia Regulation the requirement that the jurisdiction clauses have to be individually and separately negotiated in order to be enforceable against a third party would not apply and therefore the jurisdiction clauses agreed in the bill of lading would be valid, even if there had been no such negotiation, as long as they comply with the requirements of formal and material validity demanded by the Brussels I bis Regulation.

The Abandonment of Containers in Maritime Traffic

A recurring problem in maritime transport is the abandonment of containers loaded with goods.

When the consignee of the goods does not come to collect them after having been requested to do so as the authorised party, shipping companies are faced with a series of costs such as delays due to the occupation of the container with other people’s goods, the storage of the container or the internal transport costs of the container.

In this situation, there are two possible solutions: to initiate a procedure for abandonment and auction of the cargo by the competent customs office, or to initiate a notarial procedure for the deposit and sale of the goods.

Abandonment proceedings initiated by the Customs Department

In order to initiate this procedure, a declaration of abandonment must first be issued by the competent customs administrator and the following rules must be complied with.

As soon as the goods are in a situation of abandonment, in accordance with the provisions of Article 316 of the Decree of 17 October 1947 approving the revised and amended text of the General Customs Regulations, a file is opened, headed by the written declaration of the interested party or by a statement of the facts justifying the abandonment. Within a maximum of 5 days from the opening of the file, the goods shall be examined and, after hearing the second head of customs, the administrator shall decide whether or not the abandonment is admissible.

This decision shall be notified to the person concerned with the goods, if known, and he shall be given a period of 5 days in which to accept or contest it.

If the person concerned is not known, the decision is published in the BOP and on the notice board of the customs office, and a further period of 5 days is granted for the submission of any objections. At the end of this period, the file is sent to the General Directorate of Customs for a decision.

If abandonment is finally declared, the administrator seizes the goods on behalf of the Treasury, which sells them by public auction.

From the proceeds of the sale, customs duties, fines, storage and warehousing costs and any other costs relating to the goods shall be deducted in order. Freight and the costs of loading and unloading the goods may then be deducted and, after the above deductions have been made, the balance, if any, shall be paid tothe Public Treasury as abandoned goods.

Notarial Deposit and Sale of Goods Procedure, regulated in Law 14/2014 on Maritime Navigation (Article 513 ff.)

This procedure for the deposit and sale of goods, regulated in Law 14/2014 on Maritime Navigation (articles 513 et seq.), may be initiated when the law applicable to the charter party of the vessel authorises the carrier to request the deposit and sale of the goods in cases where the consignee does not pay the freight or does not appear to collect the goods transported (containers and their contents).

In order to initiate the procedure, the interested party must indicate the transport in question and provide a copy of the Bill of Lading (B/L); it is also necessary to identify the consignee, the freight or expenses claimed, the type and quantity of goods and an approximate value of the same.

Once the application has been accepted, the Notary will request payment from the addressee, unless the title is not nominative, in which case payment will only be requested if the applicant so wishes and designates a person to do so.

If the addressee is not found within 48 hours, or if the addressee does not pay, the notary will order the goods to be deposited.

Once the goods have been deposited and the depositee has been appointed,

the notary shall authorise their valuation and sale by a specialised person or body or by public auction; the amount obtained from the sale shall be used first to pay the deposit and the costs of the auction, and the remainder shall be delivered to the applicant to pay the freight, or expenses claimed, and only up to that limit.

However, if the holder of the goods objects to payment at the time of the summons or within 48 hours thereafter, the remainder of the sale proceeds shall be deposited pending the outcome of the case. In this case, the holder must initiate legal or arbitration proceedings before the competent court. If the action is not brought within the time limit set, the Notary will return the balance to the claimant in payment of the freight or expenses claimed and up to that limit.

Finally, if the deposit has been avoided or cancelled by the provision of sufficient security by the addressee, the latter must file an action within the time limit. If he fails to do so, the notary will order payment of the claim from the security provided.

Since the notarial procedure involves costs (notary, expert opinions, etc.), it is not advisable for goods of low value, in which case it is preferable to use the customs abandonment procedure.

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UNIPORTBILBAO highlights in its Newsletter the article by AIYON on the Sanctioning Power of the DGMM

We would like to thank UNIPORTBILBAO – Port Community for including in its April Newsletter our article on the sanctioning power of the Directorate General of the Merchant Navy (DGMM), content that we published last February on our website.

AIYON Abogados, as a member of UNIPORTBILBAO, has been collaborating for several years with this multimodal logistics cluster founded in 1994, which was born from a group of public and private companies in the Basque Country whose objective is to promote, through cooperation, the competitive improvement and promotion of the PORT OF BILBAO and the companies and services related or linked to the port and its daily operations.

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“ESTRATEGIA EMPRESARIAL”, echoes our almost 9 years of experience in the market

As a firm founded in 2015 in Bilbao, the publication highlights our multidisciplinary team of eight expert lawyers, valuing our comprehensive 360º legal advice. 

With a proven impact at national level acting from our four offices located in Bilbao, Cadiz, Madrid and Algeciras, with which we cover strategic areas for the transport and logistics sector, ESTRETAGIA EMPRESARIAL also highlights the fact that we have all kinds of collaborators at national and international level that help us to cover all the demands for advice and assistance that our clients may have anywhere in the world.

Likewise, the publication points out our commitment to disseminate all kinds of legislative and jurisprudential developments related to the logistics sector, both in terms of maritime law, transport law in general, insurance and national and international trade via our conferences, talks to clients or the two corporate websites: www.aiyon.es and shiparrestrelease.com.

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Notes to the Judgments of the CJEU and the High Court KBD of England on the Prestige Case

The English Court does not apply the doctrine of the CJEU which confirmed the possibility of recognising the Spanish conviction in the Prestige case in England.

The environmental tragedy of the M/T Prestige initiated a long-running legal dispute between the insurer of the M/T Prestige (The London Steam-Ship Owners’ Mutual Insurance Association Limited, hereinafter “the Club”) and Spain, through two different proceedings in two Member States at the time, the United Kingdom and Spain.

This article is based on Spain’s application to the UK courts in 2019 under Article 33 of “Regulation 44/2001 on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters” to recognise and enforce the Spanish court’s judgment. This decision was the Enforcement Order of 1 March 2019 of the Provincial Court of A Coruña enforcing its previous judgment, confirmed in cassation by the SC on 19 December 2018. It condemned the Master, the owners of the Prestige and the Club against the Spanish State and more than 200 other parties. As far as the Club was concerned, up to the contractual limit of USD 1 billion on the basis of the insurance policy.

The High Court of Justice Business and Property Courts of England and Wales Commercial Court (hereinafter High Court KBD) granted that application in May 2019, which was ultimately appealed by the Club on the basis of two main arguments under art. 34 of Regulation No 44/2001: (i) argument of incompatibility with the English judgment (ii) recognition of the Spanish judgment would be contrary to English public policy principles for violation of the res judicata rule.

At this procedural stage, the High Court KBD referred a question to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling, in relation to the interpretation of Regulation 44/2001, as to whether the recognition and enforcement in the UK of the sentence imposed in Spain could be refused, due to the existence in the UK of an award and a subsequent judgment upholding it, the effects of which were irreconcilable with the Spanish judgment.

The CJEU ruled on 20 June 2022 that a judgment given by a court of one Member State (UK) on the terms of an arbitral award cannot prevent the recognition, in that Member State, of a decision given by a court of another Member State (Spain), where provisions or objectives of Regulation 44/2001 have been contravened.

Therefore, the English courts had indeed to recognise and enforce the said Order of Enforcement of the AP de A Coruña, since the arbitration award on the terms of which the English judgment was rendered would have infringed certain provisions of Regulation No 44/2001, namely (i) the effect of the arbitration clause inserted in an insurance contract since, according to the CJEU’s own case law, an agreement conferring jurisdiction concluded between an insurer and a policyholder cannot bind the person injured by the insured damage and (ii) the rules of lis pendens since, when the arbitration award was entered into, the insured person cannot be bound by the arbitration award, an agreement conferring jurisdiction concluded between an insurer and a policyholder cannot bind the person injured by the insured damage and (ii) the rules of lis pendens since when the arbitration proceedings were brought in the UK (16 January 2012), proceedings between the Spanish State and the Club were already pending before the Spanish courts. Therefore, in accordance with Article 27 of Regulation 44/2001, the English courts should have suspended the proceedings ex officio until the Spanish courts had declared themselves to have jurisdiction and, if they did so, as was the case, they should have declined jurisdiction in favour of the Spanish courts.

Following the preliminary ruling, the High Court KBD decided on 06 October 2023 on the appeal lodged by the Club:

i). That they were irreconcilable judgments, given that the English judgment declared that under the “pay to be paid” clause, as the shipowners had not paid any amount, the Club was not liable to Spain and the Spanish judgment maintains that the Club is liable to Spain. These positions cannot coexist and therefore, both judgments are irreconcilable and thus, in accordance with art. 34 of Regulation 44/2001, the Spanish judgment can neither be recognised nor enforced in England.

ii). The English judgment in line with the arbitral award is res judicata and as Regulation 44/2001 excludes arbitration from its regulation, the existence of potentially inconsistent decisions and lack of coordination with future arbitral awards is assumed by the Regulation. Furthermore, it understood that since the Regulation does not apply to arbitration, the English court’s decision to ratify the arbitral award did not alter the provisions of the European Regulation.

It also considers that the CJEU, in its ruling on the question referred for a preliminary ruling, exceeded the scope of the questions referred for a preliminary ruling, and purported to apply the law to the facts, which is outside its competence (reserved to the Member States). Considering that the CJEU had exceeded its powers, the High Court KBD considered that it was not bound by its decision.

In conclusion, we must remember that the interpretation issued by the CJEU is binding on the court that asked the question for a preliminary ruling, which may not, under any circumstances, depart from it or ignore it, either on its own initiative or because it is instructed to do so by a hierarchically superior court, and that in the future, this interpretation of the CJEU will be the one that will be applied in the EU. However, the English judgment may be seen as opening a small door to legal uncertainty if it allows a Member State to unilaterally consider that the CJEU has exceeded its powers and that its decision is therefore not binding on it, without prejudice to any liability it may incur for breach of Community law.

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AIYON Abogados Moves to New Office in Algeciras

AIYON Abogados recently gathered in Algeciras part of its team of eight professionals from its offices in Madrid, Bilbao, Cadiz and Algeciras to inaugurate its new location in Algeciras and to share with its customers in the Algeciras enclave the good news that always comes with the opening of new facilities and the incorporation of a new professional to the team, as is the case of Rocío López.

Along with local lawyers Jose Antonio Domínguez and Rocío López, the event was attended by partners Mikel Garteiz-goxeaskoa and Zuberoa Elorriaga, from the Bilbao office; Madrid partner Verónica Meana; and partner and head of Cádiz, Enrique Ortiz, with his colleague Pablo Sánchez.

José Antonio Domínguez, director of the Algeciras office, frames these new developments in the firm’s commitment to improve the service provided to its clients in the area of influence of the Port of Algeciras, among which are shipowners, insurance companies, inland hauliers, forwarding agents, shipping agents, logistics operators, stevedores, shippers and, in general, all types of companies dedicated to international trade and the transport of goods.

“The strategic importance of Algeciras, where our clients have a very important presence, justifies the growth of our team and the improvement of our facilities,” says José Antonio Domínguez, partner in charge of the office.

Algeciras, a strategic location
As one of the most important ports in Spain and located on one of the strategic routes for international trade, the Port of Algeciras is key both for North-South traffic, with an abundant flow of goods to and from Morocco on the various ro-ro shipping lines operating in the Strait of Gibraltar, and for East-West traffic on the major containerised goods traffic routes, being an important hub port.

Algeciras is, on the other hand, a very important bunker or bunkering port in the Mediterranean, with shipyards and an anchorage where ships can make provisions or carry out repairs of all kinds.

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AIJA is held in Athens (Greece) with one of our lawyers as speaker

As planned, the AIJA (International Association of Young Lawyers) Transport Seminar took place in Athens on 14-16 September.

It was a joint event in which the Arbitration Commission and the Public Procedure Commission also participated, bringing together more than 150 young international lawyers. Among them were our colleagues from AIYON Algeciras and AIYON Bilbao, Rocío López and Irantzu Sedano respectively. The latter is an active member of AIJA.

Both lawyers enjoyed six conferences dealing with relevant and topical issues in the transport sector, with the contribution of more than twenty professionals and experts in the field. Among them, the talk on “Blockchain”, “Double Twins” and Autonomous Transport, in which our colleague Irantzu Sedano actively participated as a speaker along with other colleagues from the association, deserves special mention.

In addition to the conferences and the work carried out by the commissions, the participants were also able to enjoy a wide range of leisure and local culture in their free time.

We would like to thank AIJA, and the entire organising committee of the event, for their work and dedication in carrying out this type of international event, which undoubtedly contributes to enriching greatly the transport sector and the professionals that make it up.

The Future of Air Cargo

Until now, the concept of air cargo has been understood as the transfer of goods by air using the different types of aircraft available on the market to transport goods from one point of origin to another destination.

But this vision must now expand and evolve as the imminent entry of UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System), or what we colloquially call drones, into the commercial system becomes a reality.

Leaving aside the use of these systems for weapons and defence purposes, which in itself is a highly specialised world and there is much to analyse, we are interested in the commercial purposes sought by the development of drones and the impact they will have on the future of air cargo.

It is a fact that it is not easy to adapt national and international regulations to the great technological progress that is being experienced, but since 2017 the European Union has already begun to develop the so-called “U-space”, with impact in Spain from 2019 with projects led by ENAIRE, in order to urge a regulatory framework that will allow the management of UAS traffic in an automated and integrated manner with the management of manned aviation. All this to enable operations with unmanned aircraft in an orderly, fluid, safe and affordable manner.

A statement that is easy to make but difficult to execute, given that the “U-space” must be a safe and highly controlled (and certified) space in which the drones themselves, represented by their pilot; the service provider in that space that operates via the pilot; the provider of information services on the aircraft and its safety; the national control authorities; the security forces; and the general public as an interested party and recipient of any type of information will coexist; all of this, in addition to the traditional aviation itself, which we have known up to now as the “U-space”; the national control authorities; law enforcement agencies; and the general public as an interested party and recipient of any type of information; all of this, in addition to traditional passenger and cargo aviation itself, which we have known until now as the only one but which is considered “manned aviation”.

All this requires a “National Action Plan for the Deployment of U-space” (PANDU) in Spain, which is carried out through the coordinated action of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC), the State Aviation Safety Agency (AESA) and ENAIRE, in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence. Thus, by the end of 2023 or early 2024, it is expected to have a controlled space in which to operate drones. This is a very important challenge and, without a doubt, unstoppable.

The evolution in the world of transport is constant and, therefore, this new reality should not surprise us, but there are other factors that help and drive these changes, such as the EU’s goal of minimising emissions from all modes of transport (with very demanding challenges for operators) and optimising the performance of equipment and people.

Thus, the use of UAS is seen as an alternative to transporting certain loads with a positive environmental and resource impact.

A mere example of the new reality that is coming, and in which the world of shipping is affected, is the fact of performing the tasks of shipping consignment and provisioning of a vessel through the use of drones. Let’s say that a ship calls at the port of Vigo, which until now has required the assistance of one or two operations staff from the shipping agent contracted to attend to it, in addition to the rest of the suppliers. If the needs for the delivery of documentation or supplies could be met through the use of drones, it would be feasible to save personnel movements (with their components of contamination and use of resources and equipment), and direct contact would not even be necessary in some cases where there might be necessary isolation situations, such as those experienced during COVID.

This is just one example of a reality that will undoubtedly change the way we understand air cargo transport and, in the not-too-distant future, passenger transport. A small change that only heralds the great change that is coming and to which we will have to adapt.

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Pablo Sánchez joins the Aiyon Cádiz office

After the latest incorporation of the lawyer Rocío López to Aiyon Algeciras, who attends the local office together with the partner in charge of the same José Antonio Domínguez, our office now incorporates a new support member in the office of Aiyon Cádiz.

The specialized publication “El Canal Marítimo y Logístico” outlines that, having completed a prior training phase in collaboration with the rest of the firm’s team, and in full collaboration with the partner in charge of Cádiz, Enrique Ortiz, Pablo Sánchez is now a permanent part of Aiyon Abogados working as a lawyer from the Aiyon Cádiz office.

Cádiz and its port, with a strategic geographical location, reflects the relevance that the maritime and logistics sector in general have in the province. It is a fact that the Port of the Bay of Cádiz, in conjunction with the port of Algeciras, has positioned itself as the southern gate of Europe and the entrance to three continents.

Connected by land through road and rail access, and by air through the local airports of Jerez and Seville, the port infrastructures of the bay of Cádiz offer the best services and have include relevant companies linked to the logistics sector and maritime transport. In fact, Cádiz, together with Puerto Real and Puerto de Santa María, is home to four commercial docks, two fishing ports, as well as shipbuilding, off-shore and aeronautical repair and construction centers, and various nautical-sports complexes with great activity.

The offer is completed with a Customs-Free Zone, a Maritime Station for passengers and constant entry of cruise ships, a Border Inspection Post, a Traffic Control Center and an Integrated Communications Center, among other infrastructures and services.

That is why Cádiz has a large port community of which Aiyon Abogados has been a part for years, with a very active presence in associations such as Cádiz-Port, being part of the board our partner Enrique Ortiz, or Comport-Algeciras Port Community, among other.

The new member of the firm Aiyon Abogados SLP, Pablo Sánchez, is graduated in Law from the University of Cádiz – UCA (2014) and member of the Illustrious Bar Association of Cádiz. In addition, he holds a Master’s Degree in Maritime-Port Business Management and Maritime Law from the University of Deusto (2018) and the Master’s Degree in Access to the Legal Profession from the UCA (2016), being awarded the prize for the best file in the latter.

Pablo Sánchez completed an internship for six months in a law firm in Dublin (Ireland), where he came into contact with European immigration law and its extensive jurisprudence, in a turbulent period such as 2017 due to the uncertainty generated by Brexit. His first professional contact with the world of maritime-port companies was at the beginning of 2018 in Bilbao, where he did an internship in a freight forwarding company well established in that city, specifically in its maritime export department, which would later lead to two fruitful years of experience in it, thus knowing first-hand maritime export/import, with all the vicissitudes that these suppose at an operational level.

At Aiyon, Pablo Sánchez now develops his vocation as a maritime and transport lawyer, specializing in the management of insurance claims, administrative sanctioning procedures against ships, recoveries, labor relations of sea workers (SOLAS Convention) and land transport claims (CMR), among others, since the firm offers a “360º Service” without limiting itself to its areas of specialization (Shipping – Transport- Insurance – Trade), thus providing solutions to its clients in all areas and according to their needs.

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WISTA SPAIN Annual Meeting, Algeciras 2023

Last Friday 12 May, in the Millán Picazo Auditorium located in the Port of Algeciras, the Annual Conference of WISTA Spain took place under the title “Strait of Gibraltar: Bridge of Cooperation”, which was attended by our colleagues from Bilbao and Algeciras, Zuberoa Elorriaga, José Antonio Domínguez and Rocío López.

During the conference, the speakers, first-class professionals, carried out a reflective analysis from an eminently institutional perspective on the bilateral relations and cooperation between Spain and its neighbouring country, Morocco; two countries that cooperate as well as compete in the transport and logistics market. The advantages of the strategic location of the Strait of Gibraltar and the Port of Algeciras were also highlighted.

The presentation on the relevance of the Operation Crossing the Strait from the perspective of passengers and land transport was also quite useful, and somewhat more practical, in which details were given, among other topics, on the management of this operation in the ports of Algeciras, Ceuta and Morocco, as well as on the problems and traffic volumes, among others.

Finally, it is worth highlighting the interventions in relation to global trade and the transformation of freight traffic in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Without a doubt, WISTA Spain provided a great meeting opportunity, as well as fostering the pooling of knowledge and experience between local and national operators and highlighting the importance of women in the maritime and transport industry.

AIYON Abogados, and specifically its partners Zuberoa Elorriaga, José Antonio Domínguez and Rocío López, would like to thank WISTA Spain, and in particular the WISTA colleagues from Algeciras and Cádiz, for the excellent organisation of the event, which was very well attended.