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Juan Felipe Merizalde Urdaneta


Bogota, Colombia
Carrera 9 #80-45, Office 802
+57 60 1 691 5616
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Juan Felipe Merizalde is a civil and common law lawyer with more than 16 years of experience in international arbitration.  His practice focuses on international commercial and investment arbitration, particularly disputes involving Latin American parties.  He has considerable experience as counsel and arbitrator in over 80 cases, representing States, State-owned entities, and private parties before the most renowned institutions.  


He has acted in arbitrations under all the major arbitral rules such as the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) and the Madrid International Arbitration Center (CIAM) securing many landmark victories for his clients. 


Currently, he acts as counsel and arbitrator in commercial and investment cases that involve over 10 jurisdictions before institutions like ICSID, ICC, CIAM and several local and regional chambers of commerce, including representing a Latin American State in an investment arbitration and advising two investors in investment claims against two States. Also, he currently represents two Latin American companies in international commercial arbitrations.



His recent victories include successfully representing the owner of the largest solar energy facility in Central America in an ICC arbitration against an energy distribution company due to the breach of two power purchase agreements (PPAs), as well as a Central American State and two companies of the region in the negotiation of commercial and investment disputes. 


He also represented the Republic of Guatemala in the IC Power and Iberdrola cases, where all claims were dismissed, as well as his home country, Colombia, in an ICSID case initiated by America Móvil, dismissing claims exceeding US$ 1 billion.  He also successfully represented a Swiss pharmaceutical company in an ICDR arbitration against his distributor in 2 Latin American countries. 


Juan Felipe is an adjunct lecturer of International Contracts and Investment Arbitration at Universidad de los Andes and Universidad del Rosario.  He is also frequently invited to teach at American University and Georgetown University. 


Before founding Adell & Merizalde, Juan Felipe worked for 12 years at Dechert LLP in its Paris and Washington D.C. offices.  At Dechert, he gained vast experience with one of the most renowned international arbitration practices in the world. 


Juan Felipe is consistently recognized by Who’s Who Legal, Global Arbitration Review, the Legal 500, Chambers Latin America, Leaders League, and Latin Lawyer.  

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Bar Admissions

  • Colombia

  • New York

  • District of Columbia (Special Legal Consultant)

  • Sat for and approved the Paris Bar Exam (Art. 100)


  • ICC Advanced Arbitration Academy for Latin America

  • New York University, LL.M., International Business Regulation, Litigation and Arbitration

  • Université Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas, Master 2, Private Law

  • Université Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas, Master 1, International Law

  • Universidad del Rosario, Law Degree


  • Spanish

  • English

  • French

  • Portuguese (intermediate)

Relevant Matters

  • Represented the Republic of Guatemala in the negotiation of an ICSID award with an investor from the US in a case worth over US$ 240 million concerning measures in the energy sector.

  • Represented South American investors in an ICSID case against a State from the region relating to a public transportation concession contract.  Over US$ 340 million in dispute. 

  • Represented Central American solar and hydropower generation companies in 2 ICC arbitrations against a State-owned power distribution company for breach of power purchase agreements.  

  • Represented a Swiss pharmaceutical company in a New York-based ICDR arbitration against its distributor in 2 Latin American countries relating to the termination of their distribution contracts.  

  • Represented the Republic of Guatemala in 2 PCA arbitrations under UNCITRAL rules initiated by Spanish and Israeli investors for regulatory changes in the electric power distribution sector and tax issues.  Over US$ 305 million in dispute. 

  • ​Represented the Plurinational State of Bolivia in 4 ICSID and UNCITRAL cases concerning measures over mining operations such as the revocation of permits, regulatory takeovers, and the sale of assets.  Over US$ 890 million in dispute. 

  • Represented the Republic of Ecuador in 3 ICSID disputes brought by investors from the US and France due to regulatory measures applied to foreign revenues on oil exploration and exploitation contracts.  Over US$ 6,5 billion in dispute. 

  • ​Represented a Caribbean State in a Miami-based ICC arbitration initiated by a US company relating to the installation and operation of a wind farm.  Over US$ 228 million in dispute. 

  • Represented South American investors in an ICSID case against the Republic of Peru for the expropriation of a concession for the construction, maintenance, and operation of a highway.  Over US$ 105 million in dispute. 

  • Represented the Republic of Colombia in 2 ICSID cases initiated by investors from Mexico and Spain arising from regulatory measures for the reversion of telecommunications assets.  Over US$ 1,6 billion in dispute. 

  • Represented a Scandinavian petroleum company in an ICC arbitration against a Latin American State-owned entity arising from the performance of 2 oil contracts.  

  • Represented the Republic of Colombia in an ICSID arbitration initiated by a European investor concerning the building and maintenance of a public port.

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