What’s on the agenda during ICC’s MENA Conference on International Arbitration?

  • 27 April 2018
ICC MENA Conference on International Arbitration

Since the debut of the ICC MENA Conference on International Arbitration six years ago, we’ve witnessed businesses in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region increasingly turn to arbitration in lieu of legislation to resolve their disputes. As such, the dispute resolution mechanism is making headway in the region and with it comes a community thirsty for expertise addressing more sensitive and challenging matters. That’s why we’ve carefully designed this edition’s conference programme to deliver tailored expertise, multifaceted perspectives and dynamic solutions to those top-line issues that matter most.

With a little more than a week left before the topical two-day event, let’s take a closer look at what’s slated for discussion in Dubai from 7-8 May. Click To Tweet

Launch of Appointing Authority Rules

Kicking off the ICC MENA Conference is a half-hour breakfast panel on the Appointing Authority Rules—which have been in force since January 2018. Participants will grasp the many features and benefits of the Rules, as well as how they address the everyday questions users face when involved in ad hoc arbitrations where there is no institutional involvement.

Zeroing in on arbitrator and counsel ethics

Today, there exists a number of instruments to benchmark arbitrator and counsel ethics, including ICC’s Note to Parties and Arbitral Tribunals on the Conduct of the Arbitration, and Conflict Prevention and Resolution’s (CPR) Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in Commercial Disputes, as well as the International Bar Association’s (IBA) Guidelines on Conflicts and Guidelines of Interest and Party Representation. As “a strong proponent of the transnational regulation of ethics in arbitration,” President of the ICC Court Alexis Mourre—alongside experienced in-house counsel and counsel—will exchange opinions on such standards and touch on the role of all players within an arbitration to monitor and promote ethical behaviour, from arbitrators to counsel to institutions.

Navigating the common and civil law divide

Located at the crossroads of Asia and the MENA region, Dubai is one of the few jurisdictions where both the civil law and common law systems coexist on a day-to-day basis. This interactive panel will bring together experts from these two schools of practice and diverse backgrounds to explore topics where there may be conflict or difference of views, such as contract interpretation, document production and cross-examination. Together, they will talk through the civil and common law dichotomy, whether convergences exist and best practice tips depending on certain issues.

The dos and don’ts of drafting prayers for relief

In a frank discussion between arbitrators and counsel, this panel will delve into the complex world of prayers for relief. On one side, counsel will share successful methods on how different requests for declarations or specific forms of damages and other monetary relief are best drafted; and how they can be amended throughout the life of a case to ensure you receive exactly what is needed from the tribunal. From another perspective, arbitrators will share their first-hand experiences and reveal expert techniques on how to remedy missing information and other problems that may arise. Armed with each side’s points and outlooks, participants will learn how to capably obtain what they require and how to prevent problems at the time of execution of awards.

The many faces of confidentiality

Traditionally, one of the main advantages of arbitration over litigation is that proceedings are confidential and conducted in private, making it ideal for commercial parties. However, how much of arbitration is automatically confidential and when is it necessary to obtain protective orders from a tribunal to protect certain information made available during the proceedings? With a panel of experts on arbitration, legal privilege and business secrets, speakers will debate key areas in the field where confidentiality protection is questioned.

Breaking the gender barrier of expertise

One of the most common types of arbitrations in the MENA region tends to be disputes in the construction industry, a sector traditionally dominated by men. Construction inevitably involves quantum damages. While there are a number of available and qualified women construction lawyers and experts in the market, the pool of female professionals seems to be limited—but is this the case or just unconscious bias? This optional early morning session headed by ArbitralWomen—an international organisation aimed at promoting and uniting women dispute resolution practitioners—and WiAR—an independent networking forum for female arbitration practitioners in the Middle East—will consider the subject of expertise and the lack of female representation in different industry sectors.

ICC’s Expedited Procedure Provisions, a year in review

Originally launched in March 2017, the ICC Court introduced the expedited procedure as part of a series of steps taken to foster the efficiency and transparency of ICC Arbitrations. A year later, the ICC Court is observing a shift in mindset regarding how much time is actually required for cases to be adjudicated fairly and thoroughly versus how much has simply become the norm in granting just one more round of submissions, one more witness to be heard and so on. Combining players from the ICC Secretariat and practitioners with first-hand experience with this procedure, this panel will talk through the results seen thus far, changes in practice and other highlights of the new provision.

The Pandora’s Box of joint ventures

The MENA region is known for its many joint ventures and consortia in both and the various challenges that emerge from such settings in cases ranging from general trade, corporate disputes and construction/infrastructure disputes. From procedural issues seen in practice at the beginning of an arbitration, such as power of attorney and capacity of unincorporated joint ventures to more substantial concerns, such as liability and enforcing awards, participants will gain valuable insight from leading specialists with backgrounds in the construction, corporate and finance sectors.

Proving claims in international arbitration

Wrapping up the conference, this panel will dive into the role of experts, the value of witnesses and other types of evidence. Top experts and counsel from major law firms will present participants with a variety of innovative approaches on how to efficiently and effectively prove claims in large construction or other disputes.

So whether you are an experienced practitioner or just starting out in the field, the ICC MENA Conference is set to deliver a comprehensive and topical overview of the headline subjects affecting the region. Armed with up-to-the-minute developments, insight into the latest trends and clean cut takeaways from a diverse roster of experts, participants will be able to walk away with expert know-how and streamlined solutions to implement in practice straightaway.

The 6th ICC MENA Conference on International Arbitration will take place in Dubai from 7-8 May and is preceded by an advanced-level training on the assessment of damages by arbitrators led by the ICC Institute of World Business Law on 6 May.

To learn more or to register for the event, please visit our dedicated event page.

Panel at the ICC MENA Conference on International Arbitration

View photos from last year’s event.