From 14 to 18 May 2019, the 9th St. Petersburg International Legal Forum (SPILF) took place. More than 5000 delegates from 95 countries participated in the Forum. More than 110 discussion sessions and events took place in the course of the Forum. The team of the Russian Arbitration Center (RAC) took part in the organization of arbitration discussion sessions and satellite events during the SPILF.
The first discussion session addressed the role of arbitral institutions in the development of international commercial arbitration.
Participants of the session discussed why it is important for arbitral institutions to become more open for the cooperation, what are the prospects of arbitral institutions in the light of new technologies and how to assure high efficiency of the case-management procedure.
Among the participants of the discussion were: Philippe Baertsch (Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution), Jacomijn van Haersolte van Hof (London Court of International Arbitration), Brad Wang (China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, Hong Kong), Sarah Grimmer (Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre), Aleksey Kostin (International Commercial Arbitration Court at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation), Annette Magnusson (Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce), Kevin Nash (Singapore International Arbitration Centre), Viktor von Essen (German Arbitration Institute), Alice Fremuth-Wolf (Vienna International Arbitral Centre).
Andrey Gorlenko (Russian Arbitration Centre) and Andrey Panov (Norton Rose Fulbright) moderated the session.
During the SPILF, YIMA, in cooperation with RАА40 and ICDR Y&I organized an interactive discussion in the format of “speed-conferencing”. . Three parallel roundtables with three moderatos discussed the following topics:
The following practicing Russian and foreign lawyers moderated the roundtable discussions: Denis Almakaev (Hogan Lovells), Artem Doudko (Osborne Clarke), Alexander Zablotskis (A1), Colin Cohen – (Boase Cohen & Collins), Evgeny Raschevsky (EPAM), Vadim Tsvetkov (OST Legal). Participants of the discussion shared their practical experience relating to the Russian disputes abroad and made interesting conclusions on the discussed topics.
The main idea behind the 2019 SPILF, as the moderator of the plenary session Olga Sviblova (Moscow House of Photography) noted – reflections on the mission of law in times of technological and rapidly changing society. The pace of art development is a fairly clear indicator of the human development. In law, just like in art, precedents play a key role and they can change the course, go beyond the existing standards.
Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, supported the moderator – law should go beyond the established frames, preserving traditions and continuity.
As Dmitry Medvedev highlighted, legal profession currently lies at the intersection of law, technologies, economics and art. Moreover, legal services become more automatized and intellectually challenging, leaving for lawyers the opportunities to create the law. Nevertheless, while creating new law, it is important not to forget about universal and basic approaches that assure the transparency of new legal regulation and the security of digital technologies.
Dmitry Medvedev also noted the demand for the efficient mechanisms of commercial and investment dispute resolution. For instance, current questions include reform of investment arbitration system, adoption of the convention on the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.
Law is the limit to our freedom and the tool to overcome the fear of the future, law defines conditions to create new and useful developments for everybody, to pursue happiness without prejudice to others, as it the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation summarized..
Neil Kaplan (City University of Hong Kong, one of the founders of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre) compared the mechanisms of artificial intelligence and human decision-making. According to Mr. Kaplan, human relationships always contain many factors and details of interpersonal communication that should be taken into account to render a balanced decision. The importance of individual approach and personal communication make it impossible to fully automatize the sphere of dispute resolution.
With this regard, Mr. Kaplan wonders how mediation can be automatized since in essence a mediator needs to look at the dispute from the positions of both parties to find possible resolution of the conflict. Neil Kaplan underlines that law has emotional power and this instrument allows to identify peculiarities in different cases, determine precedents and improve social institutions.
Neil Kaplan concluded his speech with the rhetorical question – at the end of the day, how many of you came here to listen to the computer?
RAC supported the discussion session that related to the factors to take into account while appointing arbitrators. Speakers of the session also considered the methods and techniques that assure the efficiency of arbitral proceedings.
The first speaker Roman Khodykin (Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP) addressed the issue of arbitrators’ nationality. Further, Marat Khasanov (Paradigma) analyzed the parties’ main expectations for arbitrators and for arbitral proceedings. Nayla Comair-Obeid (Obeid Law Firm) noted the importance of education, understanding of legal concepts. Nevertheless, as Nayla highlighted, this does not preclude the appointment of experts in the sphere of business.
Stefan Kröll (Center for International Dispute Resolution at Bucerius Law School) also raised the issues regarding the importance of appointment of an arbitrator who is a native speaker of the witnesses’ language. As Professor Kröll noted, there are practical examples where arbitrators made mistakes in the interpretation while communicating with witnesses in different languages.
Dominic Pellew (Dentons UK & Middle East) and Elizabeth Gloster (One Essex Court) analyzed the criteria to consider by arbitral institutions during the arbitrators’ appointment.
The speakers also discussed the methodology of arbitrators’ preparation for arbitral proceedings. Elizabeth Gloster noted the importance of active preparation of an arbitrator for a hearing. Neil Kaplan (City University of Hong Kong, one of the founders of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre) examined possible models of arbitrators’ preparation for a hearing, including interaction with experts.
Nayla Comair-Obeid compared the role of an arbitrator with the role of an administrator and effective manager in the frames of the case at hand.
Moderator of the session – Anna Grishchenkova (Partner, Attorneys at Law KIAP, Member of the RAC Board).
Lecture by Neil Kaplan (City University of Hong Kong, one of the founders of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre) focused on the main goals of arbitration, the role of the parties in achieving effective and fair procedure, as well as the prospects for the development of arbitration .
Neil Kaplan drew attention to the fact that the success of commercial dispute resolution largely depends on the moment of the contract signing.
It is at that moment, as Mr. Kaplan pointed out, one can say for sure which procedural protection the parties receive in their legal relationships.
Further, the consultants and counsels of the disputing parties also play an important role. Results that the parties and the arbitrators achieve directly depend on the legal position and professionalism of applying the techniques that are effective and, most importantly, winning. Finally, there is a crucial role for the arbitrators who should effectively interact with the parties, examining the facts of a case and giving necessary legal qualification.
Neil Kaplan believes that the critics of arbitration as being an expensive and prolonged mechanism are unfounded. The speaker also explained the reasons why arbitration still remains the preferred and highly demanded mechanism of dispute resolution.
Team of the RAC created a classical rock atmosphere flavored with aromatic grill and craft beer. Guests enjoyed good music and discussed the main rock stars: the Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, Dire Straits, Uriah Heep, Metallica and Queen.
Photo is available on the SPILF website.
The satellite event «International Arbitration in Russia and Germany» and the presentation of the Master program «International Commercial Arbitration» took place in St. Petersburg University, as a satellite event of the Forum, with the support by the RAC.
Members of the faculty talked about еру peculiarities and uniqueness of the Master program. Moreover, Andrey Gorlenko noted high interest of the legal market in young arbitration specialists.
Presentation of the Program also included a special session devoted to the questions of international arbitration perspectives in Russia and Germany. The speakers shared the prospects for the development of commercial, maritime and investment arbitration.
Among the participants of the discussion were Stefan Kröll (Center for International Dispute Resolution at Bucerius Law School), Andrey Panov (Norton Rose Fulbright), Richard Happ (Luther), Axel Boës (Koch Duken Boës), Sergey Alekhin (Willkie Farr & Gallagher).