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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance
Expertise & Experience

Expertise & Experience

In this section

Clifford Chance has been active across the full spectrum of work in the Sovereign debt management field for more than thirty years. We advise on a wide range of applicable transactions and legal elements, including sovereign debt restructuring, liability management, debt buybacks, sovereign loans, bonds and applicable partial credit enhancement, derivatives and related regulatory and sanctions considerations. We are often called upon to provide policy advice in this field.


We have a highly-experienced practice in this field, having dealt successfully with a number of the most high profile and innovative sovereign debt restructurings, often during financial crises.

Our Sovereign Debt Management proposition is a combination of a number of key elements:

  • Extensive sovereign debt restructuring expertise and liability management;
  • Extensive expertise in sovereign CDs and related settlement issues;
  • Extensive and recent experience of advising on capital and exchange control limitations affecting financial obligations;
  • Significant sanctions expertise;
  • The experience of a wide variety of sovereign financing transactions, including an extensive capital and loan markets;
  • A highly-experienced financial regulation team;
  • EU and public policy expertise;
  • Arbitration and litigation expertise.

Global reach

We have also been the lead law firm advising on all aspects of the euro zone debt crisis including managing its rescue financings.

Sovereign debt restructuring

We have acted for, and advised on sovereign debt restructuring arrangements in, more than thirty countries over a period exceeding thirty years. We are the expert international legal advisors in this area, acting as lead counsel in the majority of our instructions. These include transactions which were brought to market in the absence of any sovereign default.

Country cases in which we have acted include: Republic of Albania, Argentine Republic, Bulgaria, Dominican Republic, Republic of Ecuador, Greece, Republic of the Gambia, Republic of Indonesia, Republic of Iraq, The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Republic of Malawi, Kingdom of Morocco, Republic of Mozambique, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Republic of Niger (1991), Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, The Republic of Serbia, Sao Tome e Principe, Seychelles, Republic of South Africa, Federation of St Kitts and Nevis, Republic of Sudan, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Ukraine, Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Republic of Zambia.

We have extensive experience in advising both Sovereign debtors and creditors, and the rescue ambitions in the euro zone debt crisis. Our clients also include major international commercial and investment banks, sovereigns, insurance companies and industry bodies.

Our policy advice is provided both literally and through participation in focused working groups, including:

  • US Treasury Staff Expert Group on Sovereign Bond Contracts;
  • The International Capital Market Association Sovereign Bond Working Group;
  • The Legal Expert Group advising IMF Staff on the need for an international resolution regime for cross border financial institutions;
  • The Advisory Group of experts established by the Netherlands Government and the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the resolution of disputes involving sovereign debts;
  • The Expert Group on Sovereign Debt Restructuring established in May 2012 by the Financing for Development Office of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Centre for International Governance Innovation;
  • The International Law Association Sovereign Insolvency Study Group;
  • The Institute of International Finance's Sovereign Risk Management Committee (and previously the Institute of International Finance's Special Committee on Financial Crisis Prevention and Resolution);
  • The Bretton Woods Committee; and
  • The UK's Bank of England, Financial Markets Law Committee Working Groups on collective action clauses, pari passu provisions and the Sovereign Bond Scoping Forum.

Awards and recognition

  • Financial Regulation Team of the Year
    IFLR Europe Awards 2017
  • Best Law Firm 2016
    SRP Europe Structured Products & Derivatives
  • ECM Team of the Year
    Global Capital Equity Awards 2016
  • Banking Firm of the Year 2016
    Who's Who Legal Awards 2016
  • European Law Firm of the Year –Transactions
    Global Capital Derivatives Awards for 2016
  • Finance Team of the Year
    Legal Business Awards 2015
  • #1 Law firm in the Chambers Global Top 30, Chambers Global 2016