Library User in the Spotlight: Raimundo Vives López


“The Peace Palace Library promotes and enhances the true globalism of international law”

Raimundo Vives López  studied Law at University of the Andes in the sunny Andean city of Santiago de Chile, where he worked as a research assistant in Private International Law and graduated with maximum distinction. Before his arrival to The Netherlands for The Hague Academy 2019 Private International Law Session and his Advanced LL.M in International Dispute Settlement and Arbitration at Leiden University, Raimundo interned at United Nations and later qualified as an attorney before the Chilean Supreme Court. Also, he worked as Legal Counsel at one of the biggest airline companies in South America. There, he dealt with complex financial transactions - governed by English and New York law - that carried on multiple private international issues spanning a wide range of South American jurisdictions.

During his last year in The Netherlands, Raimundo has often visited the Peace Palace Library, especially during his time as a Hague Academy student and during his LL.M thesis writing period. For his Master degree, he completely focused on the topic of forum non conveniens and state responsibility in transnational claims and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards.

He emphasizes that his idea as a thesis topic came when reading H. Van Loon on his 2015 Inaugural Lecture for the Private International Law Session. Coincidentally, Raimundo had the surprise (and pleasure) to meet Mr. Van Loon who just was passing by the Hague Academy Building on one of those summer mornings during the 2019 session. He appreciated the opportunity to personally meet one of the many professors he intellectually learned from through his readings. He further says that he enjoyed an interesting conversation about how and why nationality and citizenship played a key role in shaping private international law in the 20th century, how the Italian concept of nationality was eventually distorted as a connecting factor and to what extent this reality continues to be present today, especially within transnational proceedings around the world.

During his studies at Leiden University, besides assisting classes in the Peace Palace for Prof. Brooks Daly´s class and having met the Chilean Ambassador in The Netherlands, H.E. Ms. María Teresa Infante Caffi – who was recently appointed as a judge in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) -  Raimundo worked as a research assistant for Prof. Kees Waaldijk at the Grotius Center for International Legal Studies, focusing on the Inter American system of Human and LGBTI Rights and a few private clients that he “carried” with him to The Netherlands.

In order to comply with his studies and work commitments, Raimundo says that “the spacious premises for studying with proper social distancing measures along with the enormous amount of material that the Peace Palace Library offers, many of it not really available in South America, has truly made my membership to the library a must-have”. Plus, he mentioned that the Peace Palace, in its “stunning premises that serve as a symbol of the globalism of international law today”, also holds a bust and a painting of one his favorite legal personalities: Andrés Bello, the Venezuelan legislator who masterfully crafted the Chilean Civil Code that was later extrapolated throughout Latin-America and still is part of Chile´s basic legal framework today, as common law.

He goes further saying that the relevance of the Chilean Civil Code continues until today even when it is dated – it came into force in 1857 – because it was forward-thinking in many ways: “For example, under its First Book, Article 57 shines on its own merit. It established, in the middle of the 19th century, substantive equality between nationals and foreigners in the acquisition and enjoyment of civil rights, that also applies as basic common law to all other areas of Chilean law, including access to its court system”. In this sense, he argued in his LL.M thesis that, in some common law jurisdictions, the doctrine of forum non conveniens – a merely procedural tool for transnational cases - is often abused by local defendants as a substantive liability shield in detriment of foreign plaintiffs, where they get less deference by local courts due to their alien status.

At the moment, Raimundo is taking a break in Chile after graduating from Leiden University a few weeks ago, which is considered by him as a pivotal experience to kick off his career as a private and public international lawyer and is grateful for the new friendships that were created in his year in The Netherlands. Regarding his future professional endeavors, Raimundo says that “Since I passed my bar exam in 2017 and qualified in 2018, I have not taken a break for a second. In a way, in these pandemic times there is no better time than the present to really take a pause and reflect on what we have done and what we look forward to do in the future, where and why”.

In these times of uncertainty, one thing that he is certain of is that he wishes to become a multi-jurisdictional litigation and arbitration attorney and deal with private and public international law issues. But, before getting back to his career, he is taking a few weeks off to travel within Chile - with his Dutch bike by his side - to Patagonia as soon as the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and continue learning new languages during his trip. Regarding the languages of the future, he believes there will not be a new language replacing English, but believes that Mandarin, Arabic and Spanish are the up and coming in the global legal scene of the future. And that is why Raimundo says “I will never stop bothering my foreign friends with banal language questions!”.