Arbitration received some much-deserved attention last week as Paris Arbitration Week got underway on April 24th. The highly-anticipated event was co-organised by Paris, the Home of International Arbitration, ICC and the Comité Français de l’Arbitrage. José Ricardo Feris, Deputy Secretary General of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, gives us a few insights on its implementation.
Leaders League. What prompted ICC to get involved in the organisation of the Paris Arbitration Week?
José Ricardo Feris. Paris has traditionally been home to international arbitration, having always had a very favourable approach to this particular dispute resolution process, with more than 300 practitioners from all over the world based here.
In recent years, other jurisdictions, such as Singapore or Hong Kong, have started to rival Paris. The latter, for example, had already launched Hong Kong Arbitration Week.
In the company of Yasmin Mohammad, senior counsel at Vannin Capital, we were travelling in Asia when it occurred to us that this type of event was lacking in Paris, even though it should be its natural home, what with all the practitioners based here. It totally made sense.
Indeed, the ICC Miami Conference continues to be a great success and its 15th edition will be held in early November. The same kind of event has been repeated in Dubai and other popular locations around the world.
Marie Danis, partner at August Debouzy, also participated in this thought process, when we started to consider establishing Paris Arbitration Week as the event that would be representative of Paris’ arbitration standing.
Leaders League. What are the current challenges faced by arbitration in Europe you wanted to focus on?
The issue of investment arbitration was a particularly interesting development to address during the event.
It is a sensitive issue on a political level, which has taken the arbitration community by surprise.
Europe is the birthplace of arbitration, and a concerted effort is underway on the part of the community at large to give a better understanding of just what international arbitration is.
Refocusing attention on international arbitration is both timely and necessary, and we also want to insist on the fact that international arbitration is crucial to international trade, and pursuant, to growth.
Paris Arbitration Week is also a unique opportunity to bring some important topics to light.