Finance Monthly - May 2023

Special Feature 20 Finance Monthly. What significant challenges did you overcome to get to where you are today? As a young lawyer from a visible minority, who had to start from scratch in a very competitive and highly selective environment, without having graduated from a top-tier law school and lacking experience from a “big law firm”... I have had to overcome these and many more challenges. What development have you observed in your jurisdiction during your time working in the arbitration and ADR sector? France, with the ICC Arbitration Court in Paris and its arbitration legislation and court system, is highly regarded as a great place for ADR. I have been struck by the way some recent arbitrationrelated court rulings of the Paris Court of Appeal and sometimes the French “Cour de cassation” (France’s highest court handling arbitration-related disputes) on the limitation of the CompetenceCompetence principle by the public policy, in cases such as Indrago and Belokon, seem to confuse some seasoned arbitration specialists. This is notable, as such limits were set from the very beginning by one of the first landmark cases on the limitation of the CompetenceCompetence principle by public policy in arbitration, dating back to 1963 (see Cass. 1° civ.7-5-1963: Bull. civ. I n°246). What pitfalls should parties preparing to arbitrate watch out for? There are many such pitfalls. At an early stage, even before disputes arise – such as while contracts are being drafted – it is important to avoid “pathological clauses”, i.e. dispute resolution clauses so poorly drafted that they can lead to a dispute on their own or make the resolution of a dispute they are designed to help solve more complicated, if not impossible. Parties (counsel in most cases) should also avoid choosing a centre they do not know well, and take basic precautions such as ensuring that every party to a contract is clearly designated in the contract by specifying the address and the corporate registration number for a corporation or legal entities. While there is already a dispute, some pitfalls to watch out for include poor counsel and arbitrator selection, not waiving the appropriate provisions of the Rules of the chosen centre (where applicable) and untimely objection-raising, whether on jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal or on admissibility of evidence or a witness statement. What would you suggest to a party undergoing this process to be careful with in order to ensure the best result? I would insist again on careful selection of counsel; it is also important to adopt a proper strategy regarding costs because at the end, most tribunals would consider the general “behaviour” of parties during the proceedings while allocating costs. So, any party that attempted to use dilatory tactics during the proceedings may end up having to bear the costs of the opposing party or a substantial part of them. Do you have any other advice to offer for counsel regarding arbitration? In addition to the advice above, I would suggest a careful selection of the seat of the arbitration – keeping in mind, to the greatest extent possible, the jurisdiction under which a potential award would be enforced. Many practitioners tend to care only about the venue (seat of the arbitration) and the applicable rules, but the most important thing is the ease with which the prevailing party will or will not be able to enforce the arbitral award. In many cases, the jurisdiction in which an award is being enforced (usually

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