Researcher Tobias Lutzi wins 2019 ICC Institute Prize

  • 19 December 2019

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Institute of World Business Law celebrated its seventh laureate of the ICC Institute Prize in Paris on 17 December 2019, during the think-tank’s 40th anniversary. The prestigious award was received by Tobias Lutzi for his thesis on regulating the Internet through private international law.

Tobias Lutzi (left) and Ercument Erdem (right)

The biennial prize is open to anyone aged 40 or under and honours legal writing excellence that looks to innovate the field of international commercial law, including arbitration. A total of 18 submissions were received, representing authors of eight nationalities from four continents. All entries were carefully reviewed by an international jury comprising eight members of the ICC Institute.

Head of the jury, Ercument Erdem, said:

“Mr Lutzi’s thesis contributes, in an original way, to find a solution to regulate the legal tensions or problems arising from the use of the Internet. He proposes articles for a possible international private law set of rules. I believe his proposals will certainly form a base for possible solutions.”

That’s a wrap for the 2019 edition of the #ICCInstitute Conference on Reasoning in #Arbitration. Now we’re celebrating our 4️⃣0️⃣th anniversary as a think-tank with a #networking cocktail & will award ? the #ICCInstitutePrize winner.

— ICC Arbitration (@ICC_arbitration) December 17, 2019

Mr Lutzi’s work addresses the question of how rules of private international law shape the legal framework for online activities in the European Union and how these rules can contribute to their effective regulation. According to Mr Lutzi, two core challenges of the Internet are its independence from national borders and the prevalence of private ordering.

These matters raise a problem of “horizontal” coordination between different national courts and legislators claiming regulatory authority over Internet cases and a problem of “vertical” coordination between national regulators and private intermediaries, who are exercising an increasing number of functions that have traditionally been fulfilled exclusively by the state.

In light of these issues, the manuscript critically discusses existing legal framework and makes suggestions for its improvement, drawing inspiration from the area of international commercial arbitration.

Commenting on his win, Mr Lutzi said:

I am deeply honoured to have been awarded the ICC Institute Prize for my thesis, which I would not have been able to complete without the unending support of my supervisor; my college and faculty in Oxford; and my family, for which I am deeply grateful. I am equally grateful to the ICC Institute of World Business Law, to the members of the jury for time and consideration, and to the sponsors of the Prize for their generosity. I would be delighted if the Prize helped to highlight the importance of the issues I have addressed in my thesis and furthered their academic discussion.”

Congratulations to @toblu_de of @UniCologne for winning the 7th #ICCInstitutePrize for his thesis (written at @UniofOxford) on regulating the Internet through private international #law.

— ICC Arbitration (@ICC_arbitration) December 17, 2019

A researcher at the University of Cologne, Mr Lutzi was awarded €10,000 in prize money thanks to the support of the Sefrioui Law Firm. The ceremony took place following the 39th Annual Conference of the ICC Institute, during a networking cocktail to commemorate its 40th anniversary.