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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - International Dispute Resolution

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Faculty of Law | International Dispute Resolution | Events | 2018/2019 academic year | Tour de Arbitration Conference in Paris, 1-5 February 2019

Tour de Arbitration Conference in Paris, 1-5 February 2019


A representation of this year’s IDR LL.M. class at Humboldt University of Berlin had the opportunity to take part in the Tour de Arbitration Conference in Paris from 1 February until 5 February 2019.
The first day of this exciting event started with a vivid discussion concerning the art of advocacy hosted by the ICC Court of Arbitration. Experienced lawyers shared their knowledge of how to prepare written statements, oral pleadings as well as the fundamentals of cross-examination of witnesses and experts. The second panel addressed the problems that arbitral institutions, and the ICC in particular, are facing nowadays and suggested solutions to make their work more efficient. After a highly intriguing session concerning the European perspective on the peculiarities of arbitration procedures in Hong Kong, mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and the UAE, we had the opportunity to engage in further discussions with the panelists during a cocktail reception in the Paris office of Eversheds Sutherland.

The second day of the conference was dedicated to the role of domestic courts and arbitral tribunals, emergency arbitration and interim measures. On the topic of the interface between courts and arbitral tribunals, Maria Fanou of the European University Institute elaborated on the Achmea decision. Dany Khayat of Mayer Brown presented his experience with domestic courts through his broad practice in commercial arbitration. Théobald Naud of DLA Piper gave his insight on the interface between criminal proceedings and arbitration. The final session on this day dealt with the interesting topic of Emergency Arbitration. Ravi Aswani of 36 Stone Chambers approached the topic with a comparative analysis of English, Singaporean and Hong Kong rules. Lastly, Darshendev Singh of Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill gave a persuasive summary on interim measures from a Malaysian perspective.

The topics of the third day of the conference consisted of the art of cross- examination, use of expert witnesses and current trends in international arbitration. Of interest, a common theme for the panel during the cross- examination session involved comparison between US and English-styled cross- examination together with the approach taken by civil law practitioners, including a discussion of adequate preparation and the skill in short, succinct questioning during cross-examination.

The last day of the Tour de Arbitration Conference was held in the offices of the law firms Cleary Gottlieb and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. As one would expect, the topic of the last day of this conference was a view to the future of investment arbitration, more specifically the question “World Investment Courts: Would It Work?”. Since the CJEU decision in Achmea, there seems to be growing concern in the arbitration community that the fate of investment arbitration is much bleaker than expected, at least in continental Europe. Nonetheless, all panelists agreed that it was too early to lose hope and that world investment courts could be a possible answer to the current problems surrounding investment disputes. After two highly interesting sessions dealing with the topics “Party-Appointed Arbitrators: Has the Time Come to Rethink?” and “The Host State’s Regulatory Freedom and Investors’ Legitimate Expectations”, the conference ended with a discussion on “Investment Arbitration: What Can We Expect In The Next 10 Years?”. The discussion between the panelists, including Professor George Bermann from Columbia Law School and Noah Rubins of Freshfields, certainly gave everyone a lot of food for thought. The majority of speakers were of the view that investment arbitration will survive despite recent anti-globalization trends in the world.

All in all, the Tour de Arbitration Conference was very rewarding and can be recommended to anyone who is interested in the latest issues in the field of international arbitration. And apart from new ideas and meeting the leading academics and practitioners in the field, it is of course an amazing opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Paris, which is one of the most important arbitration hubs in the world.


Alexey Ponomarev, Jacky Lui and Kanwar Vivswan, IDR LL.M. Candidates