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Tbilisi: 10 October 2015: Making the most of the hearing


By Tamar Morchiladze 


On 10 October 2015, Young ICCA organized an arbitration skills training workshop in Tbilisi, Georgia with the participation of distinguished arbitrators and practitioners to discuss the critical skills required for effective use of the hearing in international arbitration. More than forty young professionals from the region and abroad were present to learn about the practical considerations related to the conduct of a hearing. 


The workshop was hosted by Young ICCA on the sidelines of the “GIAC Arbitration Days in Tbilisi” organized by the Georgian International Arbitration Centre (GIAC), with the kind support of the GIAC and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Georgia.


The first panel consisted of Professor Pierre Tercier (Emeritus Professor, Fribourg University), Ms. Mariam Gotsiridze (Ministry of Justice of Georgia) and Mr. David Khachvani (Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler), and was moderated by Mr. Beka Injia (GIAC). The second panel consisted of Professor Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler (Professor, Geneva University), Ms. Maria Kostytska (Winston & Strawn LLP) and Ms. Eva Kalnina (Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler), and was moderated by Ms. Olga Troshchenovych (Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP).


After a brief introduction by representatives of Young ICCA and the GIAC, Mr. David Khachvani began with a discussion of the logistical perspectives and the knowledge of the file from the arbitral tribunal’s standpoint. Mr. Khachvani guided the audience through various logistical details that are of relevance for the arbitral tribunal to prepare for the hearing. This presentation was followed by the thoughtful advice of Ms. Mariam Gotsiridze regarding logistical matters and strategy planning from the counsel’s perspective. Having represented the Government of Georgia in international commercial and investment arbitrations, Ms. Gotsiridze discussed the various scenarios she experienced, drawing conclusions that can be generally considered by counsel. Professor Pierre Tercier wrapped up the first session by commenting on various issues pointed out by the speakers and engaged the panel, as well as the audience, in an interesting discussion regarding the preferences of the different players of a hearing.


The second session started with brief comments from Ms. Olga Troshchenovych. Ms. Eva Kalnina followed with an overview of different tools to prepare for the hearing from the perspective of the arbitral tribunal. Ms. Kalnina shared her experience with the audience and provided some tips on how to ensure that the arbitral tribunal fully absorbs the content of the hearing. She concluded her presentation with a discussion of four different types of co-arbitrators that one may encounter in the hearing room. Ms. Maria Kostytska discussed best practices to communicate with the arbitral tribunal. She also dealt with the issue of allocation of tasks, use of documents and opening statement techniques. Professor Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler closed the session, commenting on the panelists’ inputs and sharing her personal experience and opinions on certain practices at hearings.


The workshop was closed after exchange of views and questions between the panel and the participants. In particular, the participants benefited from the presence of two worldwide arbitrators, who shed some light on what truly interests the arbitrators at the hearing.

The workshop was followed by a walk in the old town of Tbilisi with local participants who kindly took the speakers and foreign participants through their lovely city.


Ms. Morchiladze is a junior associate at BGI Legal, member of the Supervisory Board of Arbitration Initiative Georgia and was a member of the Steering Committee organizing Young ICCA workshop within the GIAC Arbitration Days in Tbilisi.

The first panel included Honorary Guest Professor Pierre Tercier, Ms. Mariam Gotsiridze of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, Mr. David Khachvani of Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler, and Mr. Beka Injia of the GIAC. 

The organizers take a break between sessions. From left to right: Nhu-Hoang Tran Thang (Young ICCA), Tamar Morchiladze (Steering Committee), David Edilashvili (GIAC). 

The second panel included Honorary Guest Professor Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler, Ms. Maria Kostytska of Winston & Strawn LLP, Ms. Eva Kalnina of Lévy Kaufmann-Kohler, and Ms. Olga Troshchenovych of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

Some of the participants of the workshop, who came not only from the hosting country Georgia but also from Russia, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Germany and many other countries.