Paris, the Home of International Arbitration held its annual conference on 14 October 2015.
Not far from the Paris Hôtel de Ville, 200 friends of the Paris, the Home of International Arbitration Association gathered at 16:00 in the Mairie du 4ème arrondissement’s sumptuous neo-classical ballroom, counting amongst the guests numerous representatives of prestigious corporate legal departments. The speakers and guests debated on the theme “TTIP – ISDS: International arbitration and investment dispute resolution at a crossroads”.
In line with established custom between the Association Paris, the Home of International Arbitration and the City of Paris, Mr Patrick Klugman, the Deputy Mayor of Paris – responsible for international and francophone relations – made a welcoming speech. He took the opportunity to reiterate Paris’ true international character and the City’s support for international arbitration. An invitation was extended for next year’s annual conference to be held in the Salon de l’Hôtel de Ville.
A panel of experts comprised James Castello, Jean-André Diaz, Diego Fernandez-Arroyo and Pierre Mayer analysed the European Union Commission’s attempt to introduce ISDS provisions in the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement currently under negotiation between the European Union and the United States of America. The ISDS provisions would give jurisdiction to a tribunal of first instance and a court of appeal comprising State appointed judges.
Is all of this wishful thinking considering the USA is not ready to give up on arbitration as a dispute settlement mechanism which is at the core of the BIT model? Or is it the demise of investment arbitration? The panel of experts addressed questions raised by the EU Commission’s proposition, answering comments from the audience, and addressing four topics: the proposed institutions; the legitimacy of arbitration; sovereignty and public interest, and finally transparency. The lively debate incited many interventions and questions from the audience.
After two hours of debate, Pierre-Olivier Sur, Head of the Paris Bar, made a closing speech, which was met by loud applause. A cocktail followed, during which some of the participants continued the debate – more informally – and others simply enjoyed a drink with the Paris arbitration community. The conference was a real success, judging from the enthusiastic feedback from its many attendees.
Elie Kleiman, Charles Nairac et Peter Rosher