Claudia Santos Cruz


Claudia Santos Cruz joined the firm in 2015, assisting clients on the international and cross border aspects of their investments in Portugal and Lusophone Africa, including Angola; Mozambique and Cape Verde. She is co-head of the Lusophone Africa practice team at Morais Leitão which is dedicated to deals; transactions and advising international clients investing in these markets. Claudia and her team work on a daily basis with ML Legal Circle integrated law firms in Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde and she is herself a member of the MDR Advogados team in Mozambique. Claudia coordinates the international Oil & Gas team (including mining) and Shipping practice at ML and is also a member of the international Banking & Finance department.

Claudia has close ties to both Africa and England. She was born in Mozambique; grew up in South Africa and holds dual Portuguese and Mozambican nationality. 
She trained and practiced as an English solicitor from 1994 to 2005 at DLA Piper and Watson Farley & Williams in the City of London. From 2005 to date Claudia has been based in Lisbon and is registered with the Portuguese Bar Association. Before joining Morais Leitão she was a partner at a Lisbon based law firm with integrated offices in Mozambique and Angola. In 2018 Claudia registered with the Mozambique Bar Association.

Claudia has written articles for international publications as well as participating as a speaker at international conferences in the areas of investment in emerging markets; oil & gas, corporate, banking & finance and shipping related matters. 
Winner of the first "40 under Forty Award" organised by Iberian Lawyer which distinguished the best 40 lawyers under the age of 40 in Iberia. Ranked as a leading lawyer by the most prestigious international legal Directories such as Chambers & Partners and IFLR.

Specialist in areas such as Energy and Mineral Resources (Oil & Gas / Mining), international aspects of foreign investment into Lusophone Africa jurisdictions, Banking & Finance, Corporate and Shipping.

She was also nominated a Maritime Arbitrator / Expert by the CONCÒRDIA Maritime Arbitration, Conciliation and Conflict Mediation Centre.

"Outstanding, not only in terms of quality of service and responsiveness but also because of the valuable insight she brings."

Chambers Europe



Lawyer of the Year - Women in Business Law Awards 2022 EMEA, in the category of Shipping & Maritime.


Law Degree (University of Southampton, England, 1993). Legal Practice Course – LPC (College of Law Guildford, England, 1994). Post graduate training courses in Banking & Finance; Corporate / Commercial law, Restructuring & Insolvency (Central Law Training, London, England). Oil & Gas Specialisation (Central Law Training, London, England, 2013 & 2014). International Petroleum Transactions module of the LLM (Católica Lisbon School of Law, 2017).


Portuguese and English.


Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England & Wales (since 1996) (non-practicing). Portuguese Bar Association (2005). Mozambique Bar Association (2018). Commonwealth Lawyers Association. International Distribution Institute (IDI) – Country Expert for Portugal – Franchising/Agency and Distribution. Member of Association of International Energy Negotiators. IBA African Regional Forum. International Bar Association positions held: Officer European Regional Forum 2009; Vice Chair European Regional Forum; 2010 and 2011; Senior Vice Chair European Regional Forum 2012 and 2013; IBA Oil & Gas Committee Officer, 2021; African Regional Forum Officer, 2024. Women's International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA), 2023.

Claudia Santos Cruz