As many of you know, last week was arbitration week in NYC.   FOI Jackie Nolan-Haley was kind enough to write a short post detailing Fordham’s contribution, the annual International Arbitration Conference.

On Friday, November 22, Fordham Law School sponsored its 14th Annual International Arbitration and Mediation Conference.  This year’s conference was held in conjunction with New York Arbitration Week and it attracted more than 240 participants.   Julian D M Lew, Head of the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary University of London delivered the keynote address—“Transparency in International Arbitration: Practical Value or Voyeurism”? Noting that with the ever increased use of arbitration all over the world–this is “boom time” for arbitration. Professor Lew raised more questions than he answered—Are the calls for transparency necessary or helpful in today’s arbitration world?  What is transparency?  What must be transparent? For whose benefit?  Is there a right to transparency?  How does transparency coexist with privacy and confidentiality in arbitration? What is the practical value of the media knowing all the details of an ongoing case –is it a form of voyeurism or this there a genuine interest to justify knowing what is happening.  In response to the question of whether transparency is necessary or helpful to the arbitration process, Professor Lew responded “Maybe.  It depends very much on what the objective is.  Is it to teach, to give practical help, to develop rules?  Then maybe.”   If it is just to collect information for other purposes, then he is not convinced of its value.

Other speakers, global leaders in the field of international arbitration, discussed a wide range of topics including the civil law-common law divide in contract interpretation in international arbitration, the process of “hot tubbing” experts, what global arbitral institutions are focusing on today, ICSID under the new rules, and economic issues in international arbitration. 

Readers can look forward to seeing the papers from the conference published in the American Review of International Arbitration.