ICCA President attends ICCA Evening in Brazil hosted by CAM-CCBC

By Mariana Conti Craveiro, practitioner in São Paulo (ContiCraveiro Advogados) and coordinator of the CBAr working Group on Arbitration and Corporate Law

On Thursday 18 May the Centre for Arbitration and Mediation supported by the Brazil Canada Chamber of Commerce (CAM-CCBC) welcomed ICCA President Donald Donovan to a conversation with Brazilian practitioners about the development of international arbitration in Brazil and recent ICCA initiatives. The event took place at CAM-CCBC’s new auditorium in São Paulo.

The interactive panel was moderated by Carlos Forbes (President of CAM-CCBC) and included ICCA Governing Board Member and former ICCA Vice-President Adriana Braghetta (L. O. Baptista Advogados), André Abbud (BM&A Advogados), Eleonora Coelho (CAM-CCBC General Secretary) and Eduardo Damião Gonçalves (Mattos Filho Advogados).

Panelists addressed four main issues: the interaction between courts and arbitral tribunals and how the principle of kompetenz-kompetenz has been applied in recent Brazilian court decisions; application of the New York Convention in Brazil; recent Brazilian Superior Court (STJ) decisions regarding conflicts of interest and non-recognition of awards; and conduct of arbitration proceedings so as to avoid unnecessary cost and delays.

A major focus of the discussions was the attitude of Brazilian courts towards arbitration, which was reported to be increasingly positive. This part of the discussion drew on national research conducted by CBAr (the Brazilian Arbitration Committee) on Brazilian Court decisions in arbitration-related matters, as presented by André Abbud and Adriana Braghetta. Commenting on the recent STJ decision not to recognize a foreign award based on alleged lack of impartiality on the part of an arbitrator, Eleonora Coelho noted changes to the Civil Procedure Code on assessment of impartiality and independence of arbitrators in Brazilian law, leading the audience to debate the new, broader approach when compared to internationally accepted soft law (such as the IBA Guidelines).

Addressing the conduct of arbitration, Eduardo Damião Gonçalves and Carlos Forbes exchanged views on the time and costs incurred when assessing damages, as well as the current approach in Brazil. Donald Donovan concluded this discussion with a reference to the recent presentation by the ICCA-ASIL Task Force on Damages in International Arbitration in Washington DC in April this year, acknowledging that the peculiarities of damages in Brazilian law encourage the contribution of Brazilian practitioners to this Task Force, as well as other ICCA initiatives. Other ongoing ICCA projects include a joint ICCA-Queen Mary Task Force on Third Party Funding, judicial colloquia on the application of the New York Convention, and Working Groups on Chinese and African Arbitral Practice.

The discussions rounded off with a lively cocktail reception.