On May 27 and 28, 2016 over 160 young arbitration practitioners from 18 countries gathered in Helsinki to take part in the Second Global Conference of the Co-Chairs’ Circle* that YACF hosted this year.
This year’s Global Conference was co-organized by 19 of the Co-Chair Circle sister organizations under the theme of “Controversy in International Arbitration”. After YACF’s welcoming remarks, the day kicked off with a double keynote delivered by Wendy Miles (Boies, Schiller & Flexner) and Simon Greenberg (Clifford Chance). Among other topics, the speakers touched upon the fundamental principles of international arbitration with Mr. Greenberg giving his “ten commandments” in international arbitration. Ms. Miles reminded the participants about the strength and value of the global community surrounding international arbitration, thus highlighting the collegial nature of our practice.
In the course of the day, two panels composed of renowned speakers discussed the topics of “Arbitration, National Courts and Access to Justice” and “Informal Powers of Arbitral Institutions”. The panel discussions generated a vivid conversation among the participants via both oral and written contributions, as a virtual chat message wall was projected behind the speakers, enabling the participants to share comments and questions at any time.
The panel discussions were followed by table sessions, in which the participants rotated from one small group discussion to another, addressing themes such as “Third Party Funding”, “Optimal Tribunal Selection Process” and “La loi c’est moi. – Do megalomaniac arbitrators pose a threat to the practice of arbitration?” 20 moderators from different jurisdictions led the table sessions.
Thanks to the generosity of the events’ sponsors, in addition to the formal programme, YACF was able to organize informal entertainment in the course of the day and the day ended with a conference dinner with live music at Suomenlinna, a sea fortress on a nearby island, where the participants were taken by boats. For many, the night continued until late after the dinner.
On Saturday, Borenius, a local law firm, hosted the participants for a brunch, after which the conference ended with a tram tour around Helsinki.
Before departing, the co-chairs of the member organizations gathered to discuss the next conference, ongoing and upcoming activities of the organizations, and to share ideas about forms of future cooperation.
* Co-Chairs’ Circle is an association that gathers 25 young arbitration associations from all around the world (https://arbitration.fi/yacf/ccc2016/). Under this umbrella, the organizations share thoughts and ideas and co-organize events.
White & Case, Helsinki