Sierra Leone’s inaugural Commercial Law Summit was held this March (2017) on the theme of facilitating responsible private sector development through improvements in commercial law justice (Hebert Smith Freehill and UK-Sierra Leone Pro-Bono Network, ‘Conference Pack’, 2017). The summit provided a distinctive opportunity for the main stakeholders in commercial law and justice to map out…

In his 2014 Assenting Opinion on a security for costs motion in RSM v. Saint-Lucia, arbitrator Dr. Gavin Griffith Q.C. described third-party funders as “mercantile adventurers” and associated their activities with “gambling” and the “gambler’s Nirvana: Heads I win and Tails I do not lose.” This was no voice in the wilderness. The increasingly prevalent…

The use of tribunal secretaries in arbitration is a hotly debated topic. For some time now, the use of a secretary has been increasing in the interests of cost and time efficiency. For some however, there is a fear that arbitrators delegate their duties and for a ‘second’ or ‘fourth’ arbitrator to be involved in…

Over the past few decades, alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) has become the preferred method of conflict management in the commercial world. Contemporary trends in dispute resolution aim at consolidating ADR in this position by finding an appropriate way to enforce settlement agreements resulting from mediation/conciliation or in the course of judicial or arbitral proceedings. A…

Three decades, two wars, one occupation, and multiple democratic elections later, I found myself back in my country of birth, Iraq, in April 2017. I was invited to Baghdad by the Iraq Energy Institute (IEI) as a speaker at the 2017 Iraq Energy Forum (IEF), under the patronage of the Iraq government and the Iraq…

It is well known that Greek public finances have been in a precarious state since the country’s debt crisis erupted in 2010. In an environment of tough fiscal consolidation, compensation awards running in millions present a significant economic and political challenge. This post discusses a case before the Greek Supreme Court that resulted in a…

The long-standing dispute over the territory of Western Sahara has been the subject of a treaty, an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, an armed conflict, a United Nations-brokered ceasefire, and several General Assembly and Security Council resolutions. It has also recently come to the fore in several cases before the EU and…

The answer to this question might seem simple, but consider an instance of a commercial arbitration between a Chinese company and an African state arising out of a failed railway project in Africa. Assume that all three arbitrators are European and from the civil law legal tradition. Assume further that they are experienced arbitrators of…

Since 1 January 2017, national and international media companies can initiate arbitration proceedings with the German Media Arbitral Tribunal (Deutsches Medienschiedsgericht – “DMS”). The DMS, which was established in 2016 in Leipzig, is a specialized arbitral institution that exclusively deals with media law disputes. In addition to arbitration proceedings, the DMS offers conciliation proceedings and…

With the upcoming 2017 edition of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition (the “Vis Moot”), the eyes of the international arbitral community are turned – maybe more than ever before – to Brazil. That is because the arbitration rules that will apply as the basis for the competition’s fictional dispute will…

Coincidentally, at the same time last year, the world witnessed two historical developments. First, Donald J. Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States. Second, in an attempt to curb black money (a move, the result of which is still to be evaluated), the Modi-led Government demonetised 500 and 1000 currency notes in India. Even…

The international arbitration community has lately been occupied with various proposals to reform investor-state disputes. On the interstate level, a consensus seems to be building that several aspects of the current system need to be modified in order for the system to safeguard its own legitimacy. In this context, there are various reform proposals floated…

The FIDIC forms of contracts (FIDIC forms) constitute a comprehensive set of rules applied worldwide in complicated construction projects. The FIDIC forms contain a multi-tier dispute resolution mechanism – depending on the type of a Book, they provide for consideration of disputes (1) by an Engineer (an Employer’s agent managing the construction project), (2) by…

Not so long ago, I reported on the recent documented discovery that anti-ISDS groups have been making and continue to make a handsome profit from the anti-ISDS/anti-trade/anti-globalization campaign, which they have unleashed over Europe with the active financial support of the European Commission and several EU Member States. This time I would like to draw…

On 23 February 2017, three prominent international arbitrators shared their views and experience on the controversial question of the influence of legal traditions on arbitrators and arbitral proceedings. Juliet Blanch, Bernard Hanotiau and Pedro J. Martinez-Fraga were interviewed by Oliver Caprasse and Claire Morel de Westgaver at an event jointly organised by Belgian arbitration institution…

Last week GAR released the shortlist for its 2017 award for “best innovation by an individual or organization”. What is notable about this year’s shortlist is that of the ten innovations on the list, six directly address transparency and/or diversity in international arbitration. From an online directory of African arbitration practitioners, to the launch of “Dispute…

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…

The 4th Annual Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration, co-hosted by the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA), the Institute for Energy Law (IEL), and the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), took place on January 12-13, 2017, in Houston, Texas. Under the guidance of conference co-chairs Suzana Blades (ConocoPhillips, Houston),…

The tug-of-war between transparency and confidentiality was a subject of lively discussions at the 2017 Vienna Arbitration Days. Vienna Arbitration Days is Austria’s leading arbitration conference. Every year, it brings together arbitration practitioners and academics from around the world to discuss ADR developments. The presentations and panel discussions are followed by the “World Café”, which…

Recent developments in the international investment scene have also impacted the Asian region. Notably, China and Southeast Asia have emerged not just as growing foreign direct investment (FDI) recipients but also as major sources of outbound FDI. In parallel, the Asian region experienced a proliferation in international investment agreements (IIAs). Asian countries were initially hesitant…

The Arbitrator Intelligence Questionnaire (AIQ) is a feedback questionnaire that will be used by Arbitrator Intelligence (AI) to collect information on case management and decision making practices of international arbitrators. After pilot testing and extensively vetting the AIQ, we are now asking for public comments to help us further refine it. A demonstration version of…

The terms ‘Privacy’ and ‘Confidentiality’ had been used in arbitration interchangeably until the latter half of 20th century. While ‘Privacy’ means that no third party can attend arbitral conferences and hearings, ‘Confidentiality’ refers to non-disclosure of specific information in public. Private hearings do not necessarily attach confidentiality obligations to the parties to arbitration. The general…

2016 was an important year for international arbitration. Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales challenged the legitimacy of international arbitration, while supporters such as former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia (Robert French AC) came forward to defend its coexistence with commercial courts. Several institutions such as ACICA, SIAC and KCAB updated…