Search for:


A.1       Legislation

International arbitration in Venezuela continues to be governed by the Commercial Arbitration Law, published in the Official Gazette of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela No. 36.430 on 7 April 1998, to which no legislative amendment has been made since.

In addition, Venezuela is a contracting state to a number of arbitration treaties, such as the 1911 Caracas Convention, the New York Convention, the 1975 Panama Arbitration Convention, and the 1979 Montevideo Arbitration Convention.  It has likewise entered into more than 20 bilateral investment treaties (BIT), which in some cases set forth alternative dispute resolution mechanisms whereby a foreign investor whose rights under the BIT have been violated by Venezuela could have recourse to international arbitration, often under the auspices of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) or by an ad hoc arbitral tribunal under the Arbitration Rules of the United Nations Commission International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), rather than suing before Venezuelan courts.

The Business Center for Conciliation and Arbitration (CEDCA), the Arbitration Center of the Caracas Chamber (CACC) and the Arbitration and Mediation Center of the Maracaibo Chamber of Commerce (CACCM) offer users the possibility to solve their controversies through electronic means — allowing them to present their requests and briefs, as well as carry out the hearings, through electronic means. A dispute board for construction projects is also available at  CEDCA.

A.2       Institutions, rules and infrastructure

In Venezuela, there are three main arbitration centers. Two of them are in Caracas, namely the Caracas Chamber of Commerce Arbitration Center and the CEDCA, and the third one is the CACCM in the city of Maracibo.

The current Arbitration Rules of the CACC came into force on 26 May 2022. To a significant extent, they follow the Rules of Arbitration of the ICC. In their preparation, the Lima Chamber of Commerce, the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce, and the Madrid International Arbitration Center, as well as the Procedural Rules of the InterAmerican Commercial Arbitration Commission, were taken into consideration.

The current CEDCA Arbitration Rules came into effect on 19 February 2020, amending the previous rules so as to facilitate online proceedings. The rules provide for a simplified and abbreviated procedure.

The current CACCM Arbitration Rules were approved on 9 July 2020 and have been operative since 15 July 2021. Notably, in several aspects (third-party intervention, third-party financing, etc.), they took into consideration the Code of Best Practices in Arbitration of the Spanish Arbitration Club.

Venezuela denounced the ICSID Convention on 24 January 2012, effective on 25 July 2012, which may now render ICSID unavailable to foreign investors. However, the ICSID Additional Facility and ad-hoc arbitral tribunals under the Arbitration Rules of UNCITRAL remain as alternative dispute resolution mechanisms under the Venezuelan BITs.

B.         CASES

A decision recently rendered by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court reiterated the constitutional hierarchy of arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, which by an express constitutional provision forms part of the national system of justice (Inmobiliaria Yerevan S.A. v. Lorenzo Mario Paolino Novello, Decision No. 0971, 27 July 2023).  In the Inmobiliaria Yerevan decision, the Constitutional Chamber confirmed the unconstitutionality of a provision contained in a domestic law excluding arbitration for commercial lease agreement disputes.


Eugenio Hernández-Bretón is an of-counsel in Baker McKenzie’s Caracas office. His practice areas are energy and natural resources, international and domestic arbitration, and litigation. He has acted as arbitrator and appeared as counsel and expert witness on issues in international law, private international, and Venezuelan law.


Maria Eugenia Salazar is a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Caracas office. She advises on international arbitration and regulatory matters, with a focus on telecommunication and mining, and oil and gas. She has experience with local regulatory bodies, state-owned companies, and litigating before the Venezuelan Supreme Court and tax courts. She has also been recognized by Chambers Latin America as a leading lawyer in her field.


Gabriel De Jesús is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Caracas office. He focuses on dispute resolution and commercial litigation and has been recognized by Chambers Latin America as a leading lawyer in the field. He is an associate litigation professor at the Universidad Monteávila and Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas.


Héctor Martínez is a senior associate in Baker McKenzie´s Caracas office. He focuses on investment protection and investment arbitration procedures under the CIADI and CNUDMI Rules. He has participated in arbitration procedures representing foreign companies before CIADI and CNUDMI tribunals.