Miami, Florida 31 October 2015

While the rest of the country was out at Halloween parades, trick-or-treating or crashing parties, approximately fifty young arbitration practitioners gathered at The Jewel Box in downtown Miami on Halloween 2015 for an event titled, “Close Friends or Forbidden Friends”, co-organized by ICC YAF and the University of Miami’s International Arbitration Institute.  Deputy Secretary General of the ICC, Jóse Ricardo Feris, welcomed the guests by introducing himself as Marie-Antoinette’s husband (with the appropriate wig in place), and joked that he did not know whether he would remain alive as he shared two panels with Marie-Antoinette (a.k.a. Julieta Ovalle Piedra). In his capacity as Global Co-Chair of the ICC YAF, he thanked the International Arbitration Institute and Lady Justice of Arabia (a.k.a. Marike Paulsson) for joining forces with ICC YAF and hoped it would set the stage for future collaborations. Marike Paulsson also stressed the importance of institutions collaborating, working towards a cure for arbitration, and searching for transparency and a system of checks and balances when arbitrator bias perverts the system.

“the panel took a look into the future on the role of technology for arbitration, which led to a debate about drones, online dating and video-conference enabled lying”


Julieta Ovalle Piedra and Quinn Smith moderated the first roundtable discussion on “Close Friends or Forbidden Friends,” joined by André Chateaubriand Martins, Rocío Digón, Elina Mereminskaya, Mélanie Riofrío Piché, and Ignacio Zapiola.  The panel addressed circumstances under which experts in arbitral proceedings could be excluded, arbitrator misconduct and morally questionable behavior, and the close and forbidden friends in arbitration, specifically mentioning existing relationships between arbitrators and counsel, Facebook friend status and the angst for disclosure. Finally, the panel took a look into the future on the role of technology for arbitration, which led to a debate about drones, online dating and video-conference enabled lying.

The second roundtable discussion focused on bias of judges and arbitrators, featuring the Honorable Joseph P. Farina, Retired Chief Judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit,the Honorable Judge Adalberto Jordan of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the Honorable Judge Lisa S. Walsh of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Jóse Ricardo Feris, and Julieta Ovalle Piedra, and was moderated by Marike Paulsson.  The panel discussed the views from the bench on who should cure or protect the system of arbitration: the institutions, the judiciary or both.  In the end, the conclusion was clear: all of the players in arbitration as a community were responsible.  Even without Halloween candy, the conclusion was sweet.

–  Contributed by Marike Paulson



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