The afternoon session at ICCA Sydney Conference 2018 on “Party Autonomy in Choosing Decision-Makers” was moderated by Prof. Dr. Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler and had the insightful contributions of Alfonso Gómez-Acebo, Audley Sheppard QC, Natalie Y. Morris-Sharma and Ruth Stackpool-Moore. The session commenced with Prof. Dr. Kaufmann-Kohler underscoring the importance of maintaining party autonomy in international arbitration….

If you are a counsel in an ongoing arbitration, you have two obligations: 1) navigate your ways through provisions of the applicable law so that you can litigate as a professional; 2) satisfy your client with your service and make sure that all his questions are answered properly. Especially, if an arbitrator (whether or not…

Before answering the titular question, let’s start with the more basic question: What is a race to the top? The phrase seems self-explanatory. It is a compelling and vivid metaphor that has by now entered to the public lexicon. But the phrase “race to the top” originated as a counterpart to the more ominous phrase:…

2017 was yet another significant year for international arbitration. Many arbitral institutions amended their arbitration rules, including: – the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) Arbitration Rules and Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) Investment Arbitration Rules which both came into effect on 1 January 2017, – the Thai Arbitration Institute (TAI) Arbitration Rules on 31 January…

Today, most arbitration practitioners have heard about Arbitrator Intelligence. They have seen it referenced in this blog space, heard it mentioned at a conference, or noticed that it has been identified as an important new innovation. But as often as people say they have heard of Arbitrator Intelligence, they also still have basic questions about…

Arbitrators have an overarching duty to act fairly and impartially. This is a fundamental aspect of arbitration that arises out of one of the key advantages of the arbitration process, that is, the parties’ abilities to select the tribunal or arbitrator. This duty is commonly enshrined in arbitration laws and institution rules. For example, Article…

Please do not stop talking about gender and racial diversity as it pertains to the arbitrator diversity problem.  Of course I know my learned friend penned his proposal (and I think it is a good one) to be a call to action, but I think it is essential to not only continue the conversation regarding…

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if 2018 was the year we stopped talking about the problem of diversity in international arbitration? That is, what if we solved the problem today – and no longer needed to discuss it? We can. Today – by recognizing it’s not the problem. I propose a new standard for addressing the…

A strange paradox marks the debate about international arbitrator diversity. Public consensus increasingly reflects a pervasive concern about the lack of diversity among international arbitrators. ArbitralWomen can claim much credit for focusing attention on the lack of gender diversity, as evidenced by now more than 2500 signatures on The Pledge. Meanwhile, many corporate users now…

On 30 December 2016, the Supreme People’s Court of China (“SPC”) released Opinion on Providing Judicial Protection for the Development of the Pilot Free-Trade Zones (“Opinion”), which was regarded as allowing ad hoc arbitration in China. On 23 March 2017, the Management Committee of Hengqin New Zone and Zhuhai Arbitration Commission (“ZAC”) jointly published the…

The IBA Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest focus on when an arbitrator should disclose potential conflicts, as well as when he or she should simply not accept appointment. For the most part, they do not specifically address the potential disqualification of an arbitrator. Nonetheless, the Guidelines, even though non-binding, have become quite influential in the…

In 2012, the Permanent Court of Arbitration [“PCA”] in the  Chagos Decision entertained a challenge to an arbitrator’s impartiality in an inter-state arbitration between Mauritius and the United Kingdom (“UK”) (analyzed here) . The PCA had to decide the appropriate standard for impartiality of arbitrators, and in the process, deal with the novel question of…

The 29th Annual Workshop of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (“ITA”), which took place on 14-15 June 2017 in Dallas, focused on a timely subject of much importance to the future of international arbitration, namely, the “Challenges to the Legitimacy of International Arbitration.” The event was co-chaired by Caline Mouawad (King & Spalding), Jeremy K….

(a.k.a why is it always Bill?) To those unfamiliar with this popular Hasbro™ family game, each team has a board with 24 faces on it – the faces vary in colour, shape, gender, facial hair and attire. In the conventional game each side ‘picks their person’ and the other player has to whittle down the…

Mark Twain once wrote that a person with a new idea “is a crank until the idea succeeds.”1)Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar, in Following the Equator (1897). The Merriam Webster dictionary defines “crank” as “an annoyingly eccentric person.” Innovations and new ideas on the verge of implementation seem to arrive almost weekly in international arbitration. They…

Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S. today announced its collaboration with Arbitrator Intelligence (AI) to improve resources available to the arbitration community and bring more transparency to the arbitration process. Through this collaboration, Wolters Kluwer will provide AI’s Arbitrator Intelligence reports on Kluwer Arbitration, making highly valuable data widely available and providing users with important…

The numbers are in, and they are encouraging. In the past decade, female arbitrator appointments have more than tripled. Last year alone, arbitral institutions appointed a third more female arbitrators than the year before. Driving this trend is the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge (the “Pledge”), a global initiative addressing the gender imbalance in arbitration….

In many ways, Portugal is a remarkable arbitration-friendly jurisdiction. Not only a new UNICTRAL Model based law has been enacted a few years back now, but also its courts have proved to be very supportive of arbitration. The deference that they have been showing to the validity of the arbitration clause inserted in derivatives master…

On 11 January 2017, the Swiss Federal Council proposed a revised version of the Swiss International Private Law Act (“SPILA”) relating to international arbitration (art. 176 et seq.) with a view to increasing the attractiveness of Switzerland as a place of arbitration while preserving the concise, liberal and flexible traits of the SPILA. More precisely,…

A group of lawyers has been coveted in recent years by the most prestigious law firms. They are supposed to predict results more accurately than Gary Born, create more persuasive stories than Stanimir Alexandrov and even issue better awards than Gabrielle Kauffman-Kohler. Their names are Watson, Ross, Lex Machina and Compas – they are Machine…

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…

Newspapers, cable television shows, and Twitter are abuzz with claims of “fake news.” Within the past two weeks alone, the U.S. President accused his predecessor of wiretapping his office building, apparently in reliance upon reporting in online news media. More traditional news outlets have responded with innuendo that the Director of the U.S. Federal Bureau…

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…

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…