Annual ICCA President's Report to the ICCA Membership 

from ICCA President Albert Jan van den Berg, May 2015

2014 marked only the third year that ICCA had been open to general membership, and I am delighted to report that our membership stood at more than 950 at the end of the year. We look forward to growing that number and to creating more opportunities for members to engage in ICCA’s work in 2015.

I was accorded the great honour of becoming ICCA President in April 2014. I am enjoying the challenge of following in the footsteps of Jan Paulsson, who, amongst his many achievements, spearheaded the move to make ICCA a general membership organization.

Since ICCA’s 2014 Miami Congress, with the support of ICCA Governing Board Vice-Presidents Adriana Braghetta and Mohamed Abdul Raouf, Treasurer Guillermo Aguilar-Alvarez, the entire Governing Board and the ICCA Bureau, the organization has continued to pursue its primary object, as set out in its Constitution: “to promote knowledge about, and use of, arbitration and other forms of international dispute resolution, to enhance the effectiveness and legitimacy of such processes, and to harmonize best practices in international dispute resolution.”

One of ICCA’s greatest opportunities to promote arbitration is through the biennial Congress, which in April 2014 was held in Miami on the theme of “Legitimacy: Myths, Realities, Challenges”. More than 1000 delegates took part in the highly successful event, which, in addition to an inspiring roster of speakers in the main programme, offered attendees the chance to find out more about ICCA’s projects and the benefits of membership. For the first time, the Congress incorporated an ICCA Members Lounge where members could meet each other, Governing Board members and ICCA Bureau staff.

ICCA’s project groups continued to thrive in 2014. The Judiciary Committee organized New York Convention Roadshows (colloquia for judges) in Italy, Bahrain and Ethiopia, while ICCA’s Guide to the Interpretation of the 1958 New York Convention is now available on ICCA’s website in Burmese, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, Georgian, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish. 

A joint Task Force with the American Society of International Law is investigating the topic of issue conflicts in investor-State arbitration (see the recent discussion paper here), while a joint Task Force with the Centre on Regulation, Ethics and Rule of Law at Queen Mary, University of London, is investigating third-party funding.  The Committee for the ICCA Drafting Sourcebook for Logistical Matters in Procedural Orders concluded the first part of its work, publishing the first edition of the Sourcebook and accompanying Checklist in 2015.

ICCA’s three main academic publications have always been central to its goal of promoting knowledge of international arbitration. In 2014, ICCA published Volume XXXIX (2014) of the Yearbook Commercial Arbitration, a key reference work providing an update on developments over the previous year, including institutional and ad hoc arbitral awards and court decisions on arbitration from around the world.

ICCA’s International Handbook on Commercial Arbitration published five substantial Supplements in 2014, including updates to entries on: Austria, Belgium, British Virgin Islands, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Portugal, Serbia and Singapore.

ICCA Bureau staff were hard at work over the latter part of 2014 preparing the Congress Book (ICCA Congress Series No. 18 (Miami 2014)) for publication in April 2015.

ICCA’s suite of newer publications has given ICCA additional fora in which to communicate with its membership and beyond. The ICCA Bureau distributed 900 copies of the second (2014) edition of the annual Membership Directory. The Directory includes contact details for all registered ICCA members and a listing of arbitral institutes worldwide.

ICCA’s thrice-yearly hard-copy Newsletter continues to share news of ICCA’s activities and other developments in the field of arbitration with membership, and I invite all members to consider contributing to the Newsletter, whether through writing an article or submitting details of their recent publications.  ICCA’s E-Newsletter is emailed to members once a month.

A particularly exciting new addition to ICCA’s publications has been the ICCA Reports Series, launched in April 2014 with Report No. 1, the “Young ICCA Guide on Arbitral Secretaries” (now available on the ICCA website in English, Polish and Portuguese, with other translations to follow).

I end this report by looking to the future, and specifically to the future of the arbitration profession as represented by the activities of Young ICCA. Established in 2010, Young ICCA’s work in “opening the doors of international arbitration” to some 2000 young practitioners and students continues to impress, and I would like to give special recognition to the current co-chairs, Kate Brown de Vejar, Damien Nyer and Sylvia Tonova, as well as to the co-chairs whose terms expired in early 2015, Maria Lokajova and Jim Morrison. Led by a team of dedicated volunteers, Young ICCA focuses on three core activities: its Mentoring Programme (71 mentees in 2013/14), its Skills Training Workshops (11 in 2014, in cities from Prague to Dubai), and the LL.M Scholarship competitions that it administers with the University of Miami and MIDS (University of Geneva).

Young ICCA’s enthusiasm for the subject of international arbitration – the interest that unites us all as members – gives me great confidence in the future for our field, and for ICCA.

Albert Jan van den Berg
ICCA President