For the second time the DIS Autumn Conference has been the centrepiece of the Berlin Dispute Resolution Days. This year it focussed on arbitration in Germany, a theme that also underlies the entire Berlin Days. The DIS Autumn Conference attracted a new all-time high of 381 delegates from 22 countries. It drew a world map of arbitration in the 21st century and determined what to find in Germany. Efficiency, settlements, the arbitration-friendliness of German courts and the new German arbitration law were discussed from an inside and an outside perspective.
Stefan Kröll opened the conference on behalf of the DIS, highlighting that this was the biggest and most international DIS conference in the history of the DIS. Ramona Schardt and John Beechey jointly discussed arbitration with a view to Germany from an inside and an outside perspective, therewith setting the scene for the conference.
Inka Hanefeld, Nathalie Voser, Raëd Fathallah and James Hosking analysed (German) efficiency from various angles. The panellists discussed Art. 27 of the DIS Rules in detail and the measures for increasing procedural efficiency listed in Annex 3. Likewise, the reasonable ways of applying them in practice were outlined.
In a mock deliberation and discussion, Sabrina Frank, Axel Reeg, Patricia Peterson and Martje Verhoeven-de Vries Lentsch asked whether - and how - settlements should be encouraged under Art. 26 of the DIS Rules. Key points discussed included the interaction between facilitating settlement and providing preliminary assessments, and combining arbitration with ADR methods.
Lisa Reiser, Jens-Daniel Braun (OLG Frankfurt), Bernd Odörfer (BGH), Boris Kasolowsky and Reinmar Wolff had a discussion on and with German courts, evaluating how arbitration-friendly the latter are. Starting off from a recent study lanced and presented by Reinmar Wolff and a brief survey with the audience, the panel illuminated the status quo at German courts as well as the desirable way forward.
The last lively panel discussion analysed the reform of the German arbitration law asking whether it is fit for the (international) future. Robert Hunter, Nadine Lederer, Valéry Denoix de Saint Marc, Jacomijn van Haersolte-van Hof and Kai-Uwe Karl offered multi-dimensional insights ranging from the Federal Ministry of Justice, an in-house perspective and the view from neighbouring countries and institutions including France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the LCIA.
Siegfried H. Elsing completed the day with his closing remarks, encouraging the arbitration community to further engage in the process of making Germany an attractive venue for arbitration.