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The Paris Meetings with Arbitration – News from the Arbitration Academy

Hubert_Wysoczanski Posted in Investment Arbitration

From 1st to 19th July 2013, the French capital hosted key individuals from the world of international arbitration – the leading representatives of science, arbitrators and other practitioners whose names are associated with landmark arbitration cases and awards. They took part in the International Academy for Arbitration Law program.

This three-week, intensive series of lectures, conferences, debates and workshops was devoted mostly to international investment arbitration, which has flourished in recent years due to the number of bilateral investment treaties (so-called BITs), entered into by the majority of countries, including Poland.

The list of honorary speakers included famous persons from the world of international arbitration, including Prof. Emmanuel Gaillard (Sciences Po Law School, President of the International Academy for Arbitration Law), Yves Derains (former Secretary General of the ICC) and Gilbert Guillaume (judge and former president of the International Court of Justice).

The main series of lectures was conducted by Prof. David Caron (Dean of the King’s College law school in London). He presented international investment arbitration from the perspective of an arbitrator. Prof. Caron, highly experienced in cases arbitrated under the auspices of ICSID, raised many important issues, such as the style of presenting a dispute by the representatives of the parties, sensitive aspects related to the exclusion of an arbitrator, and the role of an investment disputes arbitrator in the light of the public interest.

Prof. Brigitte Stern (Université Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne), one of the two most frequently nominated arbitrators in international investment disputes, discussed the question of the application of international public law in investment arbitration, paying special attention to the issues of the sovereign position and powers of the state to legislate for the public good.

A special mention should go to the lectures of Prof. Susan Franck (Washington and Lee University), who presented results of her empirical studies in the field of international investment arbitration. The results of her analyses shed new light on many clichés about investment arbitration, and reject some of the common stereotypes. These include: the number of cases won by investors, the average amount of awarded damages, the average value of investors’ claims, the standing of typical claimants (contrary to popular belief, these are rarely large, transnational corporations).

José Ricardo Feris, the Deputy Secretary General of the ICC, facilitated a very well-received series of workshops simulating the internal meetings of the ICC Court of Arbitration. The workshops were held at the headquarters of the International Chamber of Commerce and addressed issues of multi-party and multi-contract arbitration under the new ICC Rules of Arbitration (in force from 1 January 2012). Mr. Feris’s team also presented the procedure for discussing and voting on challenges of arbitrators, and the scrutiny of the tribunal’s award by the Court.

The list of other speakers included: Prof. Andrea Bjorklund (McGill University, Montreal), Horacio Grigera Naon (former Secretary General of the ICC), Prof. Alain Prujiner (Université Laval), Nassib Ziad (Director of DIAC – the Dubai International Arbitration Centre, and former Deputy Secretary General of ICSID), Brooks Daly (Deputy Secretary General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague) and Paul Jean Le Cannu (Counsel at ICSID).

The locations where the lectures and debates were held deserve a special mention. They included the premises of the University of Paris II – Panthéon- Assas, Sciences Po, the ICC, Paris headquarters of the World Bank, the Palace of Justice (Palais de Justice) and the prestigious Cercle de l’Union interalliée.

The participants of the Academy came from all over the world, including most European countries, Australia, China, Singapore, Korea, India, Pakistan , Kazakhstan, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Iran, Egypt, Uganda, Sudan, Nigeria, and many more.

Most of the participants were practitioners with a few years of experience in international litigation and arbitration, Ph.D. students, and representatives of the legal departments of ministries and international organizations.

Thanks to the commitment of the organizers, speakers and participants, the Arbitration Academy turned out to be an organizational, scientific, and social success. Intensive days of lectures and discussions smoothly turned into evening events such as banquets, cocktail parties, picnics, or ordinary dinners, but always in the great company of well-known representatives of arbitration science and practice.

Taking part in the Arbitration Academy in Paris is a great way to broaden one’s knowledge of arbitration and international law. The high level of the program, the time, the place, and the exceptional people are factors that make the Academy an experience to be definitely recommended to those interested in arbitration. As this year’s edition was the third in a row, the next session of the Arbitration Academy is expected in July 2014.