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In 2012, ICCA launched a series of workshops for judges on the New York Convention known as the “New York Convention Roadshow”. This initiative recognizes the dependence of international arbitration practice on the critical role of national court judges in applying the New York Convention. With 157 contracting States and more than 2000 court decisions interpreting and applying the Convention published in ICCA's Yearbook Commercial Arbitration, the New York Convention is rightly considered to be the legal cornerstone of international commercial arbitration.

ICCA's workshops are led by the ICCA Judicial Committee and organised with the assistance of Young ICCA. Each event is tailored to take account of national and regional legal practice, taking note of the specific challenges national judges face in resolving requests by parties to apply the Convention.

Officially launched in Mauritius in May 2012, the workshops make extensive use of ICCA’s “Guide to the Interpretation of the 1958 New York Convention” (now available in multiple languages, complimentary copies of which are provided to participating judges) and of the New York Convention website (an initiative of Professor Albert Jan van den Berg and Marike Paulsson to accompany classes at the University of Miami).



 
Past Judicial Workshops 2012


Malaysia New York Convention Roadshow

Fresh from ICCA’s Congress in Singapore, ICCA’s Judicial Committee travelled to neighbouring Malaysia on 16 June 2012 for a judges’ seminar on the New York Convention. Speaking in Putrajaya, ICCA Governing Board Members Michael Hwang, Teresa Cheng and Albert Jan van den Berg addressed some 80 Malaysian Judges, from the Federal Court (Malaysia’s highest court), the Court of Appeal, the High Court, joined by a few Sessions Court Judges.  The seminar was the initiative of Malaysian Governing Board member Cecil Abraham.

The seminar opened with introductory remarks by the Chief Judge of Malaya, Tan Sri Zulkefli Makinudin, who thanked ICCA for making the seminar feasible, and commenced with a talk by Professor Albert Jan van den Berg on the New York Convention.  Prof. van den Berg compared the New York Convention and the Malaysian Arbitration Act 2005, as amended by the Arbitration (Amendment) Act 2011, which gives effect to the New York Convention, making certain recommendations for possible amendment by the Malaysian authorities.  Extensive use was made of the New York Convention website (www.newyorkconvention.org) and the ICCA website (www.arbitration-icca.org), both of which include resources on the New York Convention.

Singapore-based barrister Michael Hwang then spoke of the Singapore experience, namely, how the Singapore courts deal with issues such as interim measures, stay and other applications that are made to the court.  He emphasised the arbitration-friendly attitude of the Singapore courts, with little or no curial interference, and recommended that Malaysian Judges take a similar attitude towards arbitration.  In the course of his presentation, he highlighted the position taken by the Malaysian courts in a number of cases, which conflicted with the provisions of the New York Convention, especially in the area of public policy.

Hong Kong-based barrister Teresa Cheng (one of ICCA’s Vice-Presidents) then spoke about how the Hong Kong courts dealt with arbitration issues, also dealing briefly with the position of arbitration in China.

After the interactive and successful seminar, Judges noted that the seminar had given them a new perspective on arbitration and the New York Convention, and that there should be less or little curial intervention in Malaysian courts.


Mauritius New York Convention Roadshow

“The national judge cannot stay stuck in his national grooves. His judicial mind needs to become part of the transition [to effective resolution of international disputes]”. With these words, the Chief Justice of Mauritius, the Honourable Y.K.J. Sik Yuen, welcomed 35 delegates from the Southern African region and further afield for the launch of ICCA and Young ICCA’s first “New York Convention Roadshow” in Mauritius – a two-day workshop specially designed for judicial officers from Mauritius and neighbouring countries.

Chief Justices and Judges from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia joined about twenty Mauritian Supreme Court judges for an expansive workshop by ICCA member and expert on the New York Convention Albert Jan van den Berg, together with his colleague and co-author Marike Paulsson. Hosted by the Mauritian Chief Justice and organized by the PCA’s outgoing representative in Mauritius Judith Levine, with Young ICCA co-chairs Lise Bosman and Ms. Paulsson, the workshop was held at the Trou au Biches resort on the Northern Mauritian coast, following a successful joint Young ICCA-PCA Practitioners’ Training Day in the capital Port Louis, attended by over 60 local lawyers and visitors.

Sessions at the Trou au Biches on the New York Convention kicked off with an overview of the cornerstones of international arbitration before moving to the tools for interpreting the Convention and an article-by-article analysis punctuated by “war stories” and designed to promote best practices in interpreting and applying the Convention. The workshop closed with a lively Q&A session, for which the panelists were joined by ICCA President Jan Paulsson, who characterized the enforcement power of the Convention as “a way of giving power to our citizens to make meaningful promises” and thus promoting economic development through international trade.

After a final dinner hosted by the Chief Justice and a last chance to enjoy the famed Mauritian seafood, judges departed to their own jurisdictions (clutching copies of ICCA's Guide to the Interpretation of the NYC" in English, French and Portuguese) saying in the case of South African High Court judges Pakade and Sishi that it was an “eye-opening exercise”, which they “hope sincerely will be repeated."

Over 25 Chief Justices and Senior Judges from Southern African countries join around 20 Mauritian Supreme Court Justices in the launch of ICCA's New York Convention Roadshow programme in Mauritius in May 2012.

 


Brasilia New York Convention Roadshow

The ICCA Judicial Committee held a workshop on 20 March 2012 for Brazilian judges tasked with applying the New York Convention. Judges of the Superior Court of Justice in Brasilia attended a session led by Professor Albert Jan van den Berg, which made use of the newly-published Portuguese translation of ICCA's "Guide to the Interpretation of the 1958 New York Convention" (freely downloadable from this site). The translation is the work of five Young ICCA members: Flavia Foz Mange, Gustavo Santos Kulesza, Leandro Tripodi, Rafael Bittencourt Silva, and Rafael Vicente Soares. The workshop was followed by a meeting of members of the CBAr (Brazilian Arbitration Committee) on 22 March.