New York Convention Roadshow in Port Louis, Mauritius
Report written by Lise Bosman
“The national judge cannot stay stuck in his national grooves. His judicial mind needs to become part of the transition [to effective resolution of international disputes]”. With these words, the Chief Justice of Mauritius, the Honourable Y.K.J. Sik Yuen, welcomed 35 delegates from the Southern African region and further afield for the launch of ICCA and Young ICCA’s first “New York Convention Roadshow” in Mauritius – a two-day workshop specially designed for judicial officers from Mauritius and neighbouring countries.
Chief Justices and Judges from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia joined about twenty Mauritian Supreme Court judges for an expansive workshop by ICCA member and expert on the New York Convention Albert Jan van den Berg, together with his colleague and co-author Marike Paulsson. Hosted by the Mauritian Chief Justice and organized by the PCA’s outgoing representative in Mauritius Judith Levine, with Young ICCA co-chairs Lise Bosman and Ms. Paulsson, the workshop was held at the Trou au Biches resort on the Northern Mauritian coast, following a successful joint Young ICCA-PCA Practitioners’ Training Day in the capital Port Louis, attended by over 60 local lawyers and visitors.
Sessions at the Trou au Biches on the New York Convention kicked off with an overview of the cornerstones of international arbitration before moving to the tools for interpreting the Convention and an article-by-article analysis punctuated by “war stories” and designed to promote best practices in interpreting and applying the Convention. The workshop closed with a lively Q&A session, for which the panelists were joined by ICCA President Jan Paulsson, who characterized the enforcement power of the Convention as “a way of giving power to our citizens to make meaningful promises” and thus promoting economic development through international trade.
After a final dinner hosted by the Chief Justice and a last chance to enjoy the famed Mauritian seafood, judges departed to their own jurisdictions (clutching copies of ICCA's Guide to the Interpretation of the NYC" in English, French and Portuguese) saying in the case of South African High Court judges Pakade and Sishi that it was an “eye-opening exercise”, which they “hope sincerely will be repeated."
Over 25 Chief Justices and Senior Judges from Southern African countries join around 20 Mauritian Supreme Court Justices in the launch of ICCA's New York Convention Roadshow programme in Mauritius in May 2012.