2018 ICCA Congress in Sydney paves the way for ACICA Scholarship Program

At the Welcome Reception of the 11th Australian Arbitration Week (AAW), the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA) announced the launch of the ACICA Pacific Island Practitioner Scholarship.


The Scholarship is supported by the ACICA Education Fundwhich was established by ACICA in 2016 to consist of any profits received from the ICCA Congress hosted by ACICA in Sydney in 2018. 


Donald Donovan, who served as ICCA President from 2016-2018 and presided over the 2018 Sydney Congress, lauded the effort: “I congratulate ACICA on its decision to build on the spectacular success of the Sydney Congress by establishing the Fund, which will ensure that the Congress's success has a permanent impact on international arbitration practice in the South Pacific.  ICCA and ACICA are completely aligned in their goal to build capacity in the region by helping arbitration practitioners from the South Pacific participate in Australian Arbitration Week and thereby gain both the learning and networking opportunities the event offers”


Professor Doug Jones AO, Chair of the ICCA 2018 Congress Host Committee, had this to say: "I am delighted to see the vision we had for the Fund come to life through the establishment of this scholarship. The ICCA Congress in Sydney showcased to the world the strength of Australia's contribution to international arbitration. The Scholarship is one of the lasting and meaningful ways Australia's reach can be used to support the development of arbitration in the region".



ACICA will offer two biennial scholarships to legal practitioners who are admitted in South Pacific Island jurisdictions. The purpose of the Scholarship is to provide recipients with the opportunity to build knowledge and skills in alternative dispute resolution and arbitration, cultivate opportunities, and influence development within their communities. 


Scholarship recipients will be awarded the opportunity to attend AAW including the ACICA & Ciarb Australia International Arbitration Conference, the lead event of AAWIn addition, recipients will be supported by the ACICA Secretariat to obtain an understanding of ACICA’s work, and will be offered the opportunity to be a part of the ADR practitioner network that ACICA seeks to encourage in the South Pacific. Scholarship recipients will also have the opportunity to learn more about and participate in ICCA activities directed at aspiring arbitration practitioners, such as the Young ICCA Mentoring Programme, the ICCA Inclusion Fund and the Johnny Veeder Fellowship Programme.


Applications will open in 2024. Scholarships will be awarded by a selection panel consisting of the Fund Trustees:  The Honourable James Allsop AC (Arbitrator, Sydney Arbitration Chambers & Independent member), Georgia Quick (Partner, Ashurst & ACICA President), Martin Cairns (Managing Director, Sapere Forensic & ACICA Treasurer), Gitanjali Bajaj (Partner, DLA Piper & ACICA Vice President), Nick Longley (Partner, HFW & ACICA Executive Director), and Deborah Tomkinson (ACICA Secretary-General). 


On behalf of ICCA, Stanimir A. Alexandrov, current ICCA President, has expressed enthusiasm about the initiative: “ICCA is proud to have supported ACICA with the establishment of the Fund and is looking forward to the Scholarship assisting aspiring arbitration practitioners in the South Pacific in gaining practical skills and valuable connections. Building on the experience of the Sydney Congress, ICCA wishes to maintain its engagement with the hosting jurisdictions’ arbitration communities and hopes that this is just one of many such initiatives to come”.


Deborah Tomkinson, ACICA Secretary-General, explained the importance of the initiative: “The establishment of the Scholarship is an important part of ACICA’s broader efforts to support and encourage the development of alternative dispute resolution and arbitration in the South Pacific. We are pleased to continue the legacy of the ICCA Congress by using the Fund to work closely with our neighbours in the region”.



ICCA Congresses have historically highlighted their host countries as safe seats for arbitration and stimulated the practice of international arbitration at the host venue. The bidding process for the XXVIIIth ICCA Congress was announced in September 2023.