The DIS40 Autumn Conference 2023 brought together over 170 participants from 12 countries in the heart of Berlin. The conference, fully conducted in English, centered around the theme “SOS 112: Crisis and emergency management in arbitration”.
The conference day began with an “early-disputes-birds-scenic-run”, starting at the Brandenburger Gate. The participants enjoyed an energizing 5k run along Tiergarten. The run set the tone for a conference day full of activity and lively exchange.
At the outset of the conference, Ramona Schardt welcomed the participants with an inspiring keynote on her path to becoming Secretary General of the DIS and shared some challenges and rewarding moments of the position.
The morning sessions featured two captivating keynote speeches: Shreya Aren (Debevoise & Plimpton, London) gave an overview of the options available for managing emergency situations where an arbitration clause exists, comparing differences and similarities in different jurisdictions and arbitration rules. Piotr Bytnerowicz (ByArb, Warsaw) shared gripping experiences and “war stories” about emergency management in arbitration and provided valuable insights into the relevant criteria for choosing between state courts and (emergency) arbitration for interim relief.
Another highlight of the morning was the panel discussion on the question “Is urgency arbitration’s Achilles’ heel?” with Friederike Schäfer (Zeiler Floyd Zadkovich, Vienna), Sophia von Dewall (Derains & Gharavi, Paris), Bernhard Bell (Tesla, Frankfurt am Main) and Jakob Horn (Humboldt University of Berlin), moderated by Evgenia Peiffer and Christian Steger (DIS40 co-chairs). Their discussions focused on the role of emergency arbitration (EA) provisions in the drafting of an arbitration clause, the impact of EA provisions on the parties’ recourse to state courts for interim relief in various jurisdictions, the management of EA proceedings by arbitral institutions and arbitrators, ex parte decisions in by emergency arbitrators and the challenges to the enforcement of interim relief granted by an emergency arbitrator and an arbitral tribunal across the globe.
The afternoon started with a lively fire debate titled “Are commercial courts the better choice in emergency cases?”, moderated by Nadja Harraschain and Christian Steger (DIS40 co-chairs). Two teams, consisting of Julia Klesse (GLNS, Munich) Jan Frohloff (SRP, Munich), Tanja Stooß (Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Stuttgart) and Alexander Horn (Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Frankfurt am Main) engaged in a thought-provoking and emotional exchange of ideas, exploring the benefits and disadvantages of interim relief before commercial (state) courts and emergency arbitrators.
The conference concluded with an expert talk on “Crisis management and dispute resolution” by Daria Gladkov (Consilium, Berlin) and Christopher Hauss (Volkswagen AG, Duisburg), moderated by Evgenia Peiffer. The talk provided valuable insights into the role and work of dispute resolution PR experts, the key factors for their successful collaboration with inhouse legal teams and attorneys in times of crisis as well as the challenges of their work with the press in Germany and abroad.
Following the discussions and insights of the day, the DIS40 co-chairs shared an outlook on future projects and upcoming events of the DIS40. The most prominent among these is the next Global Co-Chairs’ Circle (CCC) conference, which will be hosted by the DIS40 and take place in Frankfurt on 16-18 May 2024. The Co-Chairs’ Circle is a platform for the exchange among 30 young arbitration practitioner groups from around the globe.
Alessandro Covi, Nadja Harraschain, Christian Steger-von Förster, Evgenia Peiffer, Christoph Gramlich