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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

Deborah Zandstra


Deborah Zandstra

Deborah Zandstra heads the firm's sovereign debt advisory and restructuring practice. Deborah specialises in sovereign debt restructuring (with a balanced debtor and creditor practice) and in sovereign debt financings of all types and works on sovereign/sub-sovereign/SOE bonds and loans, with and without guarantees from multilateral development banks (including blue and social bonds and loans and debt for nature swaps).

Deborah's work includes advising on repackaging of sovereign claims and on structured products with sovereigns/sub-sovereigns/SOEs as well as on the regulatory capital treatment of sovereign exposures and de-risking transactions. Deborah regularly advises in the policy space, supporting market innovations (enhanced collective action and pari passu clauses, MVPs for sovereign loans, Climate Resilient Debt Clauses, debt transparency principles, among others, relating to sovereign debt) and has participated in a number of Expert Groups to improve the international architecture for resolving sovereign debt. 

Deborah regularly leads educational seminars on sovereign debt restructuring issues, ISDA documentation and EU matters including financial stability for clients and internally.

Deborah is the Africa Practice Leader for Sovereigns.

  • Clifford Chance recognized as Latin Lawyer International Elite 2024 firm
    Clifford Chance has been recognized by legal industry publication Latin Lawyer as one of eight International Elite 2024 firms.
    29 August 2023
  • ICMA on its Sovereign Bond Consultation Papers published in November 2010, December 2013 and June 2014
  • The European Financial Stability Facility and European Stability Mechanism on sovereign debt rescheduling matters (including the second phase of the Greek PSI Transaction and on Greece's EUR€10 billion debt buy back)
  • A number of financial institutions, insurance and corporates on advisory mandates related to the Eurozone crisis and related euro area financial stability measures including contingency planning
  • The IIF on its private sector Task Force on Greece (June-July 2011)
  • ICMA on its response to the initiative by the euro area Member States to introduce collective action clauses in all euro area debt securities from Jan 2013
  • The Republic of Ecuador on its cash tender offer in respect of its sovereign bonds (conducted by way of a Modified Dutch Auction)
  • The Republic of Ecuador on its fixed price cash buy back offer to investors in Italy in respect of its sovereign bonds
  • The Dominican Republic on the restructuring of bank held external debt of the Republic
  • The financial advisor to ABRA in relation to the retail sector holdings of Argentina defaulted bonds
  • On repackaging of sovereign claims
  • On debt capital market issues for a variety of entities including emerging market, state-owned and first time issuers in Europe and Latin America including on public deals and private placements
  • On consent solicitation processes including through bondholders’ meetings (Standard Life, Pearl Group) and tender offers
  • On all aspects of listing debt instruments on the London/Luxembourg stock exchanges and interacting with clearing systems, the UK Listing Authority and more generally with the Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom
  • On all aspects of due diligence on sovereigns, state-owned entities, financial institutions and corporates
  • On corporate and sovereign debt rearrangements (including conversion of debt techniques)
  • On a full range of financial market products including OTC fixed income derivatives (including for sovereigns), equity derivatives, credit default swaps and total return swaps
  • On insurance risk transfer products including derivative and collateral components

News and client work

View all news and client work featuring Deborah Zandstra

Contact details

Career and qualifications

  • Cambridge University (MA, History/Law) 1987
  • Joined Clifford Chance 1992
  • Admitted as a solicitor in England & Wales 1994
  • Partner since 2009

Professional bodies

  • Member of Law Society
  • Member of International Law Association
  • Member of Chatham House
  • Member of the International Law Association Study Group on Sovereign Insolvency
  • Member of the Experts Group on Sovereign Debt Restructuring established in May 2012 by the Financing for Development Office of the United Nation Department of Economic and Social Affairs
  • Member of ICMA's Sovereign Bond ad-hoc Working Group
  • Member of the IIF's Committee on Sovereign Risk Management
  • UK's Bank of England, Financial Markets Law Committee Working Groups on collective action clauses , pari passu provisions
  • The Sovereign Bond Scoping Forum
  • Bretton Woods Committee
  • US Treasury Staff Expert Group on Sovereign Bond Contracts (2013-2014)
  • 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