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Young ICCA Skills Training Workshop
"International arbitration : realistic expectations for young practitioners"

Date: 1 March 2018

Venue: Karibe Hotel, Port-au-Prince, HAITI


The first YOUNG ICCA International Arbitration Skills Training Workshop took place on Thursday, March 1st, 2018 at the KARIBE Hotel (Juvénat 7, Pétion-Ville, Haiti) in the presence of more than 70 participants who were predominantly young practitioners and law students. The theme of this workshop was INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION: REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS FOR YOUNG PRACTIONNERS.

The event was organized by a Steering Committee compose by Christine TOUSSAINT, Christelle VAVAL, Hazel LEVENT, Rose-Berthe AUGUSTIN, Christelle VAVAL and Daphné Vanessa PIERRE under the leadership of Bruno GUANDALINI (Young ICCA Events Coordinator) and the close supervision of Tolu OBAMUROH (Young ICCA Co-Chair).

The event began with the welcoming remarks of Attorney Rose-Berthe AUGUSTIN (Partner at Le Cabinet Augustin, Haiti). She took the opportunity to present the YOUNG ICCA organization and briefly contextualize the presentations to follow.

The workshop consisted of two panels of three speakers each. The first panel, moderated by Christine TOUSSAINT (Associate at Cabinet Brown, Haiti), dealt with the “Distinction between arbitration and litigation: the role of soft law”. The second panel, moderated by Christelle VAVAL (Associate at Cabinet SALÈS, Haiti), was about “Transition from litigation to arbitration: what attitude to bring or to forget in arbitration”.    

SESSION I: DISTINCTION BETWEEN ARBITRATION AND LITIGATION: THE ROLE OF SOFT LAW

 The main subject of Mrs. Nancy THEVENIN’s (Partner at Thevenin Arbitration & ADR, LLC, USA) speech was "Soft Law", which refers to the method used to solve legal problems in a concrete way, without binding effect. The rules of the International Bar Association (IBA) for international arbitration, like its guidelines on conflict of interest, are part of the "Soft Law" because they are non-binding standards. They do not take precedence over applicable national laws.

Mr. Fritz FREDERIC (Partner Cabinet Frederic,Guillaume et Associés, Haiti) spoke about the importance of good faith, recalling that it manifested itself in all areas of law. He then stated that in matters of arbitration, good faith had an interpretative function in that it contributed to the interpretation of the stipulations of the contract. It also has a limiting function and a completive function.

Last speaker of the first panel, Mr. Jacques S. DARCHE (Partner at Borden Ladner Gervais, Canada) introduced the concept of amiable compositeur. He developed his presentation through a number of questions, which he takes care to elucidate in the light of Canadian jurisprudence. From this intervention, it was held that the arbitral tribunal shall decide ex aequo et bono, if and only if the parties give it the power to do so, and in accordance with the law and arbitration rules applicable to the dispute.

SESSION II: TRANSITION FROM LITIGATION TO ARBITRATION: WHAT ATTITUDE TO BRING OR TO FORGET IN ARBITRATION

 During the second panel, which started after a short coffee break, Mrs. Sophie NAPPERT (Arbitrator, 3 Verulam Buildings, UK) provided advices on how to start and become competitive in domestic and international arbitration. First of all, she recommended remaining always humble, since both the arbitrator and the counsel are at the service of the will of the parties. Then, she emphasized the importance of continuous self-improvement. Also, she highlighted the vitality of setting up a strong professional network by making friends in the sphere and advised to be a pioneer in new sectors as a way to boost one’s competitiveness.

Dr. Bernard H. GOUSSE (Partner at Pasquet, Gousse et Associés, Haiti) dealt with the role of counsel in domestic and international arbitration. During his very practical and interactive presentation, he outlined five principles that should be followed by counsel working in the ​​arbitration field. Firstly, he emphasized the interest of writing clear and precise contractual clauses so as not to ruin the effectiveness of the contract. Secondly, he warned against bad translation of legal and technical terms of the contract. Moreover, he urged to avoid putting the contractual stipulations in conflict with the applicable law. Then, it is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of the arbitration clause. Last but not least, he stressed the need for an informed determination of the seat of the arbitration, for instance taking into account the ease of access to its location.

Finally, through a speech inspired by his own experience, Mr. Calvin HAMILTON (Partner at Hamilton Abogados, Spain), provided to young practitioners and students, five tips that he expects to be able to help them succeed in the field of arbitration. First, he advised them to take full advantage of all the opportunities available to them, by forging good relations with their professors who are linked to the arbitration industry, for example. Second, he recommended them to be creative. Mr. HAMILTON also emphasized the need for them to be flexible. Then, he urged them to become experts in an innovative field.   His last recommendation was to get involved by joining arbitration institutions such as ICCA, among others.  

This is how the various interventions of the panelists ended. They gave rise to lively exchanges with the audience. The workshop concluded with the thanks of Mr. Georges HENRY, General Secretary of the CCAH, who assured his satisfaction of the event and expressed his deep gratitude to the panelists, the organizing committee and Young ICCA.

This report was drafted by the event participants Ansley Leov Direny and Gerdy Ithamar Pierre-Louis


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