2020 ICCA President's Report to the ICCA Membership

From ICCA President Lucy Reed, January 2021


On behalf of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration, I wish all a healthy, peaceful and successful new year.  

ICCA enjoyed an eventful year in 2020, as we, like so many others, had to adapt to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Our presence in the international arbitration community continued to grow through digital projects and virtual events, as we both launched new projects and progressed existing initiatives. Among other things, ICCA hosted its first ever online sessions on the application of the 1958 New York Convention (NYC) for the Ghanaian judiciary in July, and co-hosted a webinar in conjunction with the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) to discuss gender diversity in arbitral appointments in September. Young ICCA increased its online activities and engagement, offering some 15 skills training workshops and opportunities to connect with leading international arbitrators. ICCA’s publications remained an unrivalled source of knowledge for practitioners and academics alike. In short, we are carrying forward ICCA’s mission of promoting a greater understanding and knowledge of international dispute settlement and have strong momentum as we look to the decade ahead.



We welcomed over 100 new members of diverse backgrounds and experience into our ranks in 2020, with ICCA membership now standing at just over 1000 members. We also further committed to the principles of diversity and inclusion through the release of the first formal ICCA Diversity and Inclusion Policy and Implementation Plan in May 2020, and the updating of the ICCA Non-Discrimination and Harassment Protocol. In the course of 2021, we will be reporting to the ICCA membership on ICCA’s work on diversity, and will announce the details of ICCA’s newly-established Inclusion Fund, intended to subsidize the costs of participation in ICCA activities.


We are also pleased to report that the 9th edition of the hard copy ICCA Membership Directory is being published and will be distributed in January 2021 to all our members and to 251 arbitral institutes. A complete, fully searchable online version of the Directory is available on our website here.



In 2020, ICCA Members initiated and collaborated on several critical research projects: we launched draft reports for consultation from the ICCA-IBA Joint Task Force on Data Protection in International Arbitration and the ICCA Task Force on Standards of Practice in International Arbitration and continued to hone the innovative damages app with the ICCA-ASIL Task Force on Damages in International Arbitration. 


Elsewhere, we were proud to announce the publication of the eighth volume of the ICCA Report Series from the Cross-Institutional Task Force on Gender Diversity in Arbitral Appointments and Proceedings. The Report discusses barriers to greater gender diversity in arbitral appointments and proceedings and identifies opportunities and best practices to promote women in international arbitration. This Report can be accessed here.


In direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we sponsored a research project on the existence of a right to a physical in-person hearing in international arbitration. The first national reports from four Convention jurisdictions were released in December 2020 and are available on this dedicated page of the ICCA website. This is an adaptive online project, and further national reports will be released in 2021 as they become available.


Young ICCA

In 2020, Young ICCA celebrated its 10th anniversary, increasing its membership base to over 8000 members. With the assistance of the Bureau and many ICCA members, Young ICCA hosted some 15 webinars around the world, facilitated the 7th cycle of the Young ICCA Mentoring Programme and prepared to launch the upcoming 8th mentoring cycle, the details of which have recently been announced. 


ICCA Publications

ICCA’s publications remain a cornerstone of our work in promoting international arbitration worldwide and we continue to make every effort to ensure that they provide relevant high-quality content for the arbitration community. In 2020, the publications team produced the ICCA Yearbook Commercial Arbitration 2020 as well as Supplements 109-113 of the ICCA International Handbook on Commercial Arbitration. A special commemorative volume of the Congress Series was released in memory of Johnny Veeder’s untimely passing in March 2020. The V.V. Veeder Memorial Volume is a collection of the 11 papers Johnny Veeder presented at ICCA Congresses from 1990 to 2014. You can find these publications, as well as their past editions and previous Supplements, on www.kluwerarbitration.com/icca.


All ICCA publications are produced with the assistance of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. For more information about ICCA’s publications, visit www.arbitration-icca.org/icca-publications.


Conferences and Congresses

In 2020, members of the ICCA Executive Body (including Juan Fernandez-Armesto, Eduardo Siqueiros and myself) and Executive Director Lise Bosman represented ICCA virtually at conferences where ICCA was a supporting organization: the 8th CAM-CCBC Arbitration Congress,the 2020 CAAL-CASS China International Arbitration Summit, and the 2020 Shanghai International Arbitration Summit. Highlighting ICCA’s ongoing collaboration with ICCA Edinburgh Congress Hosts, the Scottish Arbitration Centre, I also represented ICCA at the IBA 2020 Virtually Together Conference, and the 2020 Scottish Arbitration Centre Virtual Conference entitled “Arbitration – Flexible and Adaptive in a Changing World”. 

The one great (temporary) disappointment of 2020 was the necessary postponement (twice) of the XXVth biennial ICCA Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The ICCA Bureau and the 2021 Congress Host and Program Committees look forward to welcoming you to Edinburgh from 26 - 29 September 2021. The Congress theme – “Arbitration’s Age of Enlightenment?” – is designed to focus us on critical issues, while also celebrating significant achievements and perseverance of the international arbitration community. 


I extend my gratitude to the ICCA Program Committee (headed by Cavinder Bull, Loretta Malintoppi and Constantine Partasides) and the Scottish Arbitration Centre for investing their time and effort, and patience, into preparing this prestigious event. Over 400 members of the international arbitration community have already registered to attend, and places are filling up fast. Please remember that ICCA Members receive a 10% discount upon registration. For more information and to secure your place at the Congress, visit https://icca2020.scot.


I thank each of you, our ICCA Members, Young ICCA Members, Governing and Advisory Board Members, and last but not least ICCA’s dedicated Bureau and staff, for your support and ongoing commitment to the continued development of ICCA as a dynamic and diverse organisation at the forefront of international arbitration. We look forward to seeing many of you – finally, again in person – in Edinburgh in September 2021.