ICCA Celebrates 40 Years of the Yearbook Commercial Arbitration

Kluwer Arbitration Blog
March 11, 2017


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In 1976, ICCA published the first ICCA Yearbook Commercial Arbitration, compiled and edited by Professor Pieter Sanders, assisted by Professor Albert Jan van den Berg. In the introduction to this first edition, Prof. Sanders wrote, “This Yearbook is the first of a series of at least five… .” Forty years later, the Yearbook is 41 editions strong and has opened the way to other ICCA publications, notably the International Handbook on Commercial Arbitration (first published in 1984), as well as the ICCA Congress series (from 1982) and the ICCA Guide to the 1958 New York Convention (launched in 2010).

“I started the idea of ICCA Publications and the first publication was the ICCA Yearbook,” said Prof. Sanders in a 2011 interview with the current General Editor of the Yearbook and founding partner of Hanotiau & van den Berg, Albert Jan van den Berg. Prof. Sanders was appointed editor of the Yearbook during the 1975 ICCA Congress in New Delhi, or as he explained in the same interview, “I was not appointed to be the General Editor, I appointed myself!”

During its infancy, the ICCA Yearbook was a project developed almost solely by Sanders and van den Berg. In an interview published in the April 2016 ICCA Newsletter, van den Berg fondly recalls his role in shaping the Yearbook: “I became Piet Sanders’ assistant… when he returned from the ICCA Congress in New Delhi [in 1975] he told me he’d made a proposal that ICCA should produce a yearbook on commercial arbitration to report on developments in arbitration worldwide and that I should assist him.”

By 1977, van den Berg had been working on the Yearbook in the attic of Sanders’ home in Schiedam, a suburb of Rotterdam, for two years. He went on to get his doctorate at Aix-en-Provence and in 1980 went into law firm practice. Through all this, he continued to work on the Yearbook (albeit not from Sanders’ attic) and in 1986, took over the position of General Editor of ICCA Publications from Sanders.

During its 40-year lifespan, the Yearbook has grown from a series of reports on developments in commercial arbitration to a prestigious periodical that includes more than 2,000 reported decisions on the 1958 New York Convention. “The Yearbook has a wide network of loyal correspondents and contributors, which allows for the publication of court decisions from a continually increasing number of jurisdictions, some of which are applying the New York Convention for the first time,” explains Ms Silvia Borelli, Managing Editor of ICCA Publications. While many can proudly claim to have contributed to the Yearbook, few can claim a hand in the editorship of the publication. In its 40-year history, the Yearbook has had only two General Editors, Sanders, who passed away at the age of 100 in 2012, and van den Berg, and two Managing Editors, Judy Freedberg followed by Borelli, who has held the position since 2007.

When prompted for comment on the Yearbook’s 40-year anniversary, both van den Berg and Lise Bosman, ICCA Executive Director, commented on the enduring uniqueness of the Yearbook. “Quality, detail and an ever-expanding reach are its trademark,” added Borelli. Whether its unique nature or high-quality content are to thank for the Yearbook’s graceful ascent into middle age, we look forward to the next 40 years of its journey through commercial arbitration.

Are you an ICCA Member? ICCA Members are entitled to a 10% on the Yearbook Commercial Arbitration. Head to KluwerArbitration.com to order your copy.

This article was originally published on arbitration-icca.org. ICCA is a worldwide non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to promoting and developing arbitration, conciliation and other forms of international dispute resolution.