An inside perspective of the ICAL Program

The Master of International Commercial Arbitration Law program (ICAL) at Stockholm University is one of the leading specialized LLM programs. The program attracts students with a very diverse an international background. Two of the students admitted to the ICAL program this year are Wang Hui (Michael) and Evelyn Kachaje.

As many other students in the program, they both have experience studying and working in different countries. Evelyn Kachaje grew up in Malawi, and later started college in Toronto, Canada, before she completed her J.D. at Harvard Law School. After this she proceeded to the law firm Clifford Chance in New York where she worked as an associate for one year. Wang Hui (Michael) is originally from Shanghai, China but have studied in Hong Kong, Prague and the US, before he started his PhD candidate doctoral studies at the East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai.

Why they chose Stockholm and the ICAL

They both received scholarship for the program; Evelyn the Stockholm University scholarship, administered by the university itself, while Michael got a Stockholm Arbitration Scholarship for China, which is supported by the three Swedish law firms Mannheimer Swartling, Vinge and Gernandt & Danielsson.

Michael’s research and ambition is to explore arbitration, and its possible scope of application more in depth, were some of the reasons for him applying for the program: “In China, arbitration is becoming increasingly important. Meanwhile, the legal environment of China is becoming more and more pro-arbitration.”// “More Chinese companies now want to invest outside the county, and one of the practical problems they may face is if disputes arise…and I strongly believe arbitration will be a good choice.”

For Evelyn, her interest in international law was the main reason for choosing the ICAL program in Stockholm. She, as well as Michael, emphasize the reputation of Stockholm being a well-recognized and famous seat of modern arbitration as another reason.

 “I think one of the few areas where you can do international law when you are dealing with different countries at the same time is international arbitration.” // “…I was looking to specialise and started doing research in international arbitration programs, and the Stockholm program came up as one of the more respected and well known.”

The program and the future

A typical week at the ICAL program holds lectures, but also discussions about some of the leading and hot cases. Each week tends to focus on a particular area, on its concrete and practical details, as well as the wider perspective of it. Evelyn and Michael express how the diversity among the students in terms of backgrounds and jurisdictions is very valuable to the discussions and brainstorming sessions. Michael: “I think this is really valuable”… “Arbitration is a global dispute resolution method, and it is not enough if we only focus on our own jurisdictions.”

After finishing the ICAL-program, Michael will most likely return to Shanghai and finish his PhD, and he believes his future career will be related to arbitration. Evelyn on the other hand is open to going back to work in a law firm, but would also be interested in working for an institution.

Since their arrival in Stockholm they have focused on getting to know their classmates, but also travelled extensively, much because of the short distance from Stockholm to northern and central Europe. Stockholm is seen by both of them as very neatly arranged, beautiful and international. Evelyn: “I live in Lidingö, I have to cross the bridge every day to get home and it’s just gorgeous with water everywhere, buildings and boats.” …” She continues “...Also, Stockholm is very international. Everywhere I have gone I’ve heard people from Africa and the US. Being here, you never feel like you are the only international person. I think that’s cool

Short facts – ICAL Program Stockholm University 2016:

Read more about the ICAL Program