Jurisdictional Choices in Times of Trouble: A conference roadmap

  • 2 April 2014

An ICC conference on choosing jurisdictions for contracts will canvass the pros and cons of different options in the increasingly complex area of jurisdictional choices in international law.

The conference of the ICC Institute of World Business Law, entitled Jurisdictional Choices in Times of Trouble, will help to clarify the uncertainty around the important jurisdiction clause, which determines not just which court or tribunal would hear any dispute but the rules of conflict.

Georges Affaki, Chair of the Legal Committee of the ICC Banking Commission and Co-Chair of the conference said: “Choosing the jurisdiction is a crucial part of formulating a contract but the jurisdiction clause and applicable law face today unprecedented challenges. The parties’ choice of court or of arbitration is being annulled or held to be unenforceable for unprecedented reasons, taking the parties and their counsel by surprise and adding the cost of legal uncertainty to the balance.”

“The conference will be an opportunity for practitioners and academics to participate in a cross-continental dialogue on the challenges to jurisdiction and how to adapt legal strategies to the uncertainty hence generated,” Mr Affaki said. “This is the first conference aiming for an in-depth discussion of the key international implication of jurisdictional choices in the wake of the adoption of the new Brussels Regulation and the new Hague Convention on jurisdiction.”

Conference topics will include the validity of unilateral optional clauses, reviewing which jurisdictions uphold or reject them and potential solutions; the limits to the parties’ choice of jurisdiction, such as the requirement for an objective link between the choice of jurisdiction and the connection of the contract to a specific country; and applicable law, notably the English cases of Sulamerica and Arsanovia. Is there a contrast between the two English cases and national laws opting for a substantive approach (rather than a conflict of law approach) to determine the validity of the arbitration clause?

The conference will also debate the conflict between the EU Brussels regulation and other legislation and the consequences of ratification of The Hague Convention on the choice of court.

Speakers include senior corporate law practitioners and legal academics from a wide range of firms and universities in countries including Belgium, Brazil, France, Switzerland the Netherlands, the Russian Federation, the UK and the US. Moderators will include Co-Chairman Horacio Grigera Naon, an independent arbitrator, ICC Council Member and author of the book Choice of Law Problems in International Commercial Arbitration.

The conference will be held on Friday 23 May 2014 at ICC Global Headquarters in Paris. Sessions will be in English and French with simultaneous interpretation.

The conference will be useful for all professionals involved in international trade and dispute resolution including corporate counsel, academics, lawyers, magistrates and arbitrators from both sides of the Atlantic.

Sign up before the early bird rate expires on 4 April 2014.

For event information visit ICC Events & Trainings