ICCA Announces the Recipient of the 2024 ICCA-Guillermo Aguilar-Alvarez Memorial Prize

ICCA is pleased to announce that Bálint Kovács is the recipient of the second edition of the ICCA-Guillermo Aguilar-Alvarez Memorial Prize. The announcement took place during the Opening Ceremony of the 26th ICCA Congress in Hong Kong on 5 May 2024. 


Mr. Kovács's winning paper, titled ‘Watch for the Ripples, Not Just the Splash: How the EU Position on Investment Arbitration Has Affected the Enforcement of Awards,’ was published in the Central European Journal of Comparative Law in 2022. 


The second edition of the Prize, which was launched in early 2023, invited entries from individuals under 40 for the best work on international arbitration, conciliation, or other forms of dispute settlement published between January 2020 and December 2022. The selection process involved a total of 37 entries, out of which a Young ICCA Special Committee shortlisted 7 entries. The shortlist was then reviewed by an Advisory Board consisting of representatives from ICCA, as well as friends and colleagues of Guillermo Aguilar Alvarez, including Stefano Azzali, Lise Bosman, Donald Donovan, Louie Llamzon, Silvia Marchili, and Caline Mouawad.


In making its decision, the Advisory Board observed the following: “While there has been no shortage of publications on the EU’s decisions and recent developments, Mr. Kovács’s essay focuses on their broader implications and ripple effects, in particular on the jurisdiction of arbitral tribunals as well as on the recognition and enforcement of investment arbitration awards.  With respect to the jurisdictional ‘ripples,’ Mr. Kovács explains the potential impact that the position of the EU Member States and other EU institutions may have, even if arbitral tribunals decide to retain jurisdiction.  Mr. Kovács also analyzes in further detail the implications of intra-EU treaty, decisions like Achmea, and related developments on enforcement proceedings within and outside the EU, under the New York Convention, and under the ICSID Convention, and the potential impact these developments may have on investors seeking to enforcement awards.  The Advisory Committee unanimously concluded that Mr. Kovács’s essay strikes an original balance between the in-depth analysis of recent decisions as well as practical observations on their potential systemic consequences.”


In addition to Kovács's work, the Advisory Board also recognized an essay titled ‘What is Wrong with Investment Arbitration? Evidence from a Set of Behavioral Experiments’ by Maria Laura Marceddu and Pietro Ortolani with an honourable mention. The Advisory Board noted that “the authors make a valuable and timely contribution to the study of investor-State arbitration by identifying the real and imagined criticisms of that system by the general public, and by making conclusions about the institutional and substantive design of the system that the committee may not have unanimously agreed with, but nonetheless appreciated for their empirical rigor and originality.”


The third edition of the ICCA-Guillermo Aguilar Alvarez Memorial Prize will open for entries next year, with the winner set to be announced at the 2026 ICCA Congress in Madrid. Watch this space for more information. 


For more details about the Prize, click here