On 11 September 2018 the London Branch held a panel debate on “The Complexity of Diversity in International Arbitration”.
L to R: Professor Kate Malleson, the Hon. Dame Linda Dobbs, Jonathan Wood QC, Paul Rose, Dr Jacomijn van Haersolte-van Hof, Irvinder Bakshi.
The event was kindly hosted by Mishcon de Reya LLP, and chaired by Irvinder Bakshi, immediate past president of the London branch. The eminent panel comprised the Hon. Dame Linda Dobbs, Professor Kate Malleson, Dr Jackie van Haersolte-van Hof, Director General of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and Jonathan Wood QC.
The panel agreed that considerable progress had been made on gender diversity in the professions, but that there were still few female international arbitrators. Neither did the body of regular international arbitrators display diversity in ethnicity and social background.
The panel discussed possible causes of the lack of diversity, which included party preferences, barriers to entry that apply to the professions as a whole, and the dominance of London as an arbitral seat. Means by which arbitral institutions such as the CIArb and the LCIA could improve diversity in international arbitration were considered.
There followed a very active brainstorming between the audience and the panel, including a possible role for general counsel in large corporates, which may be keen to promote diversity in their choice of arbitrators.
A drinks reception was kindly hosted by Mishcon de Reya LLP.