Manuel Olivencia receives Premio Pelayo para Juristas de Reconocido Prestigio award

November 14, 2014

Vice Chairman of Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira strongly defends law, justice and constitutional harmony
Vice Chairman of Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira strongly defends law, justice and constitutional harmony


“I am alarmed by the wave of populism harming our society and converting democracy into demagogy, the main threat to democracy”

Madrid, November 13, 2014

Last night, Manuel Olivencia Ruiz, Vice Chairman of Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira, received the award XX Premio Pelayo para Juristas de Reconocido Prestigio (Twentieth Pelayo Award for Prestigious Jurists). The award recognizes his outstanding national and international career, and contribution to commercial law.

Before an audience including the chair of the General Council of the Spanish Judiciary, Carlos Lesmes; the minister for justice, Rafael Catalá; and leading figures from the legal, political and business worlds, Mr. Olivencia thanked the judges for their decision and all those that shared experiences with him throughout his long career and personal life. He gave particular mention to his son and lawyer, Luis Olivencia, “who worked hard to promote my nomination because, as a good soon, he believed his father deserved it.”

The lawyer, academic and professor with over 50 years of exceptional experience expressed pride at being a jurist “that applies an active and dynamic law, adheres to reality, and has expert knowledge of the regulations, and of how to apply them and comply with them to reach his objective: justice.”

Working with the lawmaker and judges, and defending organized structures in the legal field and society were some of the tasks Mr. Olivencia mentioned as part of his work as a jurist, expressing pride and giving a short account of his time at university and the academy, where he taught and carried out research, and created a school of commercial law experts “that see me as a schoolteacher,” he said proudly.

The new Premio Pelayo winner took advantage of the moment to strongly defend the law, constitutional order and social harmony. He expressed “alarm” because “the democratic state is being interpreted as one with rights but without obligations, duties or limits. I am alarmed by the wave of populism harming our society and converting democracy into demagogy.”  

Regarding the model of the state, Mr. Olivencia said he was “shocked” by the politicians that do not comply with the Constitution and breach it by questioning the state, its symbols, the common language, sovereignty and the nation as a unit.” He also referred to corruption, which he described as “a dangerous virus for rule of law,” and condemned all those that use public power “for private ends, personal gain by abusing public funds or the illegal deviation of funds for strange purposes.”


Despite all these “issues, the Vice Chairman of Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira ended on a positive note, believing that democracy itself is the only guarantee of its defense: “Its immune system grants it resources to react to and counteract these issues. What are needed are improved laws, improved justice and even reforms of the Constitution in line with its very rules. But these are legal solutions in which jurists must have faith, just as I have faith.”

About Manuel Olivencia Ruiz

Born in Ronda (Málaga, Spain) in 1929, Mr. Manuel Olivencia Ruiz has a PhD from the University of Bologna, Italy, and became a professor emeritus of corporate law of the University of Seville in 1960. He has participated in drafting committees on legislative projects, including the Insurance Contract Act, the Bankruptcy Act and the Arbitration Act.

Mr. Olivencia has led a life of intense public activity, with several administrative posts, including being a member of the board of directors of the Bank of Spain (1982-1991); a member of the plenary meetings of the High Council of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Navigation of Spain; and Ambassador Extraordinary of the Kingdom of Spain.

He is a lawyer and member of the Jerez, Madrid and Seville bar associations. He founded the law firm Olivencia-Ballester, which was incorporated into Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira in 1997. Mr. Olivencia is Vice Chairman of the Iberian firm and president of the Academic Committee.



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