Francisca Seara Cardoso


Francisca Seara Cardoso is a Portuguese lawyer specialised in arbitration, as well as civil and commercial law.

Experience in Arbitration

Francisca Seara Cardoso is a senior associate at Armesto & Asociados, a boutique of arbitrators with an international and independent profile and a good business sense, founded by Juan Fernández-Armesto.

Francisca joined Armesto & Asociados in 2019, where she acts as secretary and assistant to arbitral tribunals in arbitration proceedings, including international, ad hoc and administered arbitrations involving both commercial and investment disputes. Most of the cases are administered by ICC, ICSID, PCA and Spanish or Latin America arbitral institutions. As to ad hoc arbitrations, most of them are subject to the UNCITRAL Rules.

Before joining Armesto & Asociados, Francisca Seara Cardoso worked for five years as an associate at the Portuguese law firm Morais Leitão, where she gained extensive experience as counsel in domestic and international arbitrations (with a particular focus on Portuguese-speaking countries), in a variety of industry sectors, including energy, construction, M&A, corporate, among others.

Professional Memberships
  • Member of the Portuguese Bar
  • Member of the Portuguese Arbitration Association (Associação Portuguesa de Arbitragem – APA)
  • Member of the Spanish Club of Arbitration (Club Español del Arbitraje – CEA) and Coordinator of the CEA-40 for the 2023-2024 term
  • Member of the ICC Young Arbitrators Forum (ICC YAF)
  • Member of Young ICCA
  • Member of Young International Arbitration Group (YIAG)

Professional Experience

In 2015, Francisca Seara Cardoso joined Morais Leitão, in Lisbon, Portugal, where she worked as counsel not only in domestic and international arbitrations, but also in commercial disputes before the Portuguese courts. She was also a member of Team Genesis – a specialized multi expert team within Morais Leitão, with a particular focus on entrepreneurship and innovation – and of the Social Responsibility Committee of the firm. Previously, Francisca worked in the Banking and Finance practice group of Morais Leitão and in the Mergers & Acquisitions team of the Portuguese law firm Vieira de Almeida & Associados.

Additionally, Francisca Seara Cardoso was a lecturer of Business and Economic Law at Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics.


Francisca Seara Cardoso holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law from the Lisbon School of Law of the Universidade Católica Portuguesa (2009-2013), for which she received four merit scholarships. During her undergrad, Francisca completed an exchange program at Fundação Getúlio Vargas, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Francisca Seara Cardoso also holds a Master’s degree (LL.M.) from the London School of Economics and Political Science (London, United Kingdom), with a specialisation in corporate and commercial law, obtained in 2014.

More recently, in 2018 Francisca Seara Cardoso completed a post-graduate program in Commercial Litigation, at Faculdade de Direito da Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.

  • Portuguese (mother tongue)
  • English (bilingual)
  • Spanish (bilingual)

As Secretary or Assistant to the Arbitral Tribunal

  • Brazilian energy company v. Brazilian energy company, Administrative Secretary to the Arbitral Tribunal, ICC, Brazilian law, Portuguese language (2022).
  • Mexican logistics company v. Mexican distributor of hydrocarbons, petroleum and petrochemical products, Administrative Secretary to the Arbitral Tribunal, ICC, Mexican law, Spanish language (2022).
  • Italian Construction Company and its Chilean Subsidiary v. French Construction Company and its Chilean Subsidiary, Administrative Secretary to the Arbitral Tribunal, ICC, Chilean law, English language (2021).
  • South32 SA Investments Limited v. Republic of Colombia, Assistant to the Arbitral Tribunal, ICSID Case No. ARB/20/9, investment arbitration under BIT between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Colombia, Spanish and English languages (2020).
  • Chinese Company and Brazilian Companies v. Brazilian citizens, Administrative Secretary to the Arbitral Tribunal, ICC, share purchase agreement, Brazilian law, English language (2020).
  • Leopoldo Castillo Bozo v. Republic of Panama, Assistant to the Arbitral Tribunal, PCA Case No. 2019-40, investment arbitration under BIT between Dominican Republic and Panama, Spanish language (2020).
  • Carlyle Group and others v. Kingdom of Morocco, Assistant to the Arbitral Tribunal, ICSID Case No. ARB/18/29, US-Morocco Free-Trade Agreement, English language (2019).
  • US construction company v. Central American office of an international organisation, Administrative Secretary to the Arbitral Tribunal, UNCITRAL, construction contract, lex mercatoria, Spanish language (2019).
  • Chilean Company v. Chilean and Italian Companies, Administrative Secretary to the Arbitral Tribunal, ICC, construction contract, Chilean law, Spanish language (2017).
  • International Construction Company v. Central American Public Agency, Administrative Secretary to the Arbitral Tribunal, ICC, construction contract, law of Central American Republic, Spanish language (2015).
  • Árbitros e impugnações: entre a independência e a imparcialidade” – speaker at the VI Encontro de Arbitralistas Lusófonos, Paris Arbitration Week (2023).
  • Cómo afrontar un arbitraje de construcción?” – speaker in a workshop organized by MAD VYAP (2022);
  • Arbitragem societária” – speaker at the XI Encontro Internacional de Arbitragem de Coimbra, organized by the section under 40 (2022);
  • “How to chart a successful course in arbitration” – speaker in a webinar organized by ICC YAF (2022);
  • Salidas profesionales en el arbitraje” – speaker in a webinar organized by University of Valencia (2022);
  • “Abuse of Process in Investment Arbitration” (co-authored with Adam Jankowski), Revista de Arbitraje Comercial y de Inversiones, Vol. XIII (2021);
  • “Introduction to Arbitral Secretary Appointments” – speaker in a webinar organized by Young ICCA (2021);
  • La diversidad, inclusión y género en el arbitraje” – speaker at the Congress of the Central American Young Arbitrators (2021);
  • “Portugal: charting a path towards a corporate arbitration-friendly jurisdiction” – Young Arbitration Review (2018);
  • “P2P Lending” (co-authored with Luís Roquette Geraldes and João Lima da Silva) – FinTech desafios da tecnologia financeira, Almedina (1st Edition) and 2019 (2nd Edition);
  • Uma revolução chamada crowdfunding” (co-authored with Luís Roquette Geraldes) – IV Congresso de Direito das Sociedades em Revista, Almedina, 2016;
  • “Fifth International Arbitration Meeting of Coimbra” (co-authored with Filipe Vaz Pinto) – Young Arbitration Review, 2015.