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SCC in London: Brexit, diversity, and selection of arbitrators

On November 30, SCC Legal Counsel Anja Håvedal Ipp participated as a panelist at the ICC UK Annual Arbitration Conference in London. The conference, which gathered more than 100 attendees investigated the various challenges and opportunities for international arbitration in 2017 – including the implications of Brexit on London as an arbitral seat.

Ms. Håvedal Ipp participated in a panel on "Arbitrator Selection, Transparency and Diversity", moderated by Paula Hodges QC of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. Approaching the topic from the institutional, practitioner, and user perspectives, the panel members discussed how arbitrators are identified, what users and institutions look for in an arbitrator, access to information about potential arbitrators, and retrospective and prospective evaluation of arbitrators. The topic that generated most debate, however, was that of arbitrator diversity. Panelists discussed the ERA Pledge and its role in encouraging gender diversity in arbitrator appointments, as well as the challenges in tackling other aspects of diversity – ethnic, geographic, age and experience.

The panelists and audience members agreed that increased diversity was desirable, but opinions varied as to the role of clients, counsel and institutions in achieving this increase. Ms. Håvedal Ipp noted that because institutional appointments are primarily chairpersons and sole arbitrators, institutions cannot be as bold as parties in appointing less established arbitrators. Nonetheless, statistics on arbitrator appointments in SCC arbitrations show that women are more frequently appointed by the SCC Board than by parties.

Speakers at the ICC UK Annual Arbitration Conference included: 

John Beechey, former president, ICC Court of Arbitration

James Bacchus, former chief judge, WTO

Iain Quirk, Essex Court Chambers

Jeremy Sharpe, Shearman Sterling

Domitille Baizeau, Lalive

Andrea Carlevaris, ICC Secretary General

Judith Knieper, UNCITRAL

 

See more pictures from the event here

Photo above: All rights reserved the ICC UK