New Zealand’s place as an arbitration centre is increasing, helped by its hosting of the world’s major arbitration conference in 2018 and its increasing reputation for top quality arbitrators operating in a largely neutral, non-corrupt country with a sophisticated legal system.
The decision by the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) will further elevate New Zealand’s reputation as a high profile arbitration centre, as well as lifting the awareness of the country as a venue for – and a provider of – quality arbitration decisions and arbitrators.
But who are the “Arb Stars” – the arbitrators who have helped develop this reputation?
LawFuel has identified some of the major protagonists in an increasingly competitive environment. Arbitrations are becoming increasingly important in international commerce with a doubling in arbitrations in a little over a decade, according to figures provided by the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary University, London.
It has also grown markedly in New Zealand. Executive Director of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand, Deborah Hart told LawFuel that the number of arbitrations occurring in New Zealand was unknown given the confidentiality of the process. However, with the rise in investment treatys requiring arbitration, international commercial deals which, with few exceptions, requise arbitration and the rise in the use of arbitration domestically, the role of arbitrators is on an upwards trajectory.
She also said the country had produced some top quality, internationally-ranked arbitrators.
“ With highly respected arbitrators and arbitration specialists, together with New Zealand’s exceptional reputation for fairness, New Zealand is well-placed to take a slice of the lucrative arbitration market.”
And with each international commercial arbitration bringing the host seat approximately US$1M, it’s work worth having.
She also said the country had produced some top quality, internationally-ranked arbitrators.
The Arb-Stars: The Top 12 / 15
1. Prof. David Williams QC – David Williams is New Zealand’s leading international arbitrator. He has been involved in arbitrating over 120 disputes. These comprise either large commercial disputes or claims by investors against States under Bilateral Investment Treaties. He has sat as an arbitrator in numerous overseas jurisdictions including London, Paris, New York, Geneva Dubai, Washington D.C., Singapore and Hong Kong. His recent arbitration cases which have been publicly notified include, Deutsche Bank v. Sri Lanka, where the Tribunal issued an award against Sri Lanka for US65M and Occidental Petroleum Corporation v. Republic of Ecuador where the Tribunal issued an award in favour of Occidental of US$1.9B, the largest sum ever awarded in an ICSID arbitration. Who’s Who Legal has listed David Williams as one of the world’s outstanding commercial arbitrators. His work in London, according to the Global Arbitration Review, marks him as one of the world’s “super arbitrators”. Mr Williams is a past president and fellow of the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand
2. Sir Ian Barker – Another AMINZ past president, Sir Ian Barker, QC, has, as an arbitrator and mediator, dealt with many international cases in the construction, energy, insurance and reinsurance, oil and gas, intellectual property and banking fields. He is a NZ nominee on the ICSID Panel of arbitrators at the World Bank, Washington DC.
3. Derek Firth. Yet another AMINZ past president, Derek Firth serves as the New Zealand alternate member on the ICC Court of International Arbitration, Paris which supervises ICC arbitrations. The amount involved in such cases can be in excess of US$500M. Mr Firth has had a number of appointments as arbitrator under the ICC Paris arbitration rules. He is one of the leading dispute resolution practitioners in New Zealand, particularly in construction, property and commercial disputes.
4. David Kreider. Until recently, David Kreider was the chief legal counsel for Vodafone. He is the New Zealand representative to the ICC Taskforce on the role of in-house counsel in dispute resolution and he is a director of the American Arbitration Association in New York and the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration. He has sat in international arbitrations in New Zealand, Hong Kong and elsewhere.
5. Daniel Kalderimis. He specialises in arbitration as a partner at Chapman Tripp, Wellington. He was employed for some years in London in the international arbitration department of the major law firm Freshfields. Daniel Kalderimis is recognised in the Legal 500 and Benchmark Asia Pacific as a leading individual in dispute resolution, and is the only practitioner from a New Zealand firm listed in the International Who’s Who of Commercial Arbitration and the Euromoney Guide to the World’s Leading Experts in Commercial Arbitration. He’s also New Zealand’s national correspondent to the United Nations for the two international instruments on which the country’s arbitration law is based. He has been recently nominated as the New Zealand member of the ICC Commission on Arbitration.
6. Prof Campbell McLachlan. Since returning to the law faculty at Victoria University, Prof Campbell McLachlan, QC has combined his research and teaching with the practice in international arbitration. He has conducted numerous international arbitrations under ICC, UNCITRAL and LME rules and has represented or advised a number of sovereign states including the Armenia, Chile, Malawi, Cuba, New Zealand, South Africa, Tuvalu and the US.
7. Audley Sheppard. A former NZ Member on the ICC International Court of Arbitration and Arbitration Commission and a graduate of Victoria University Law School, Audley Sheppard, is a London-based partner in the global law firm, Clifford Chance. He is currently Vice President of London Court of International Arbitration. In 2013, Who’s Who Legal noted Audley Sheppard as, “one of the top 20 highly regarded individuals worldwide in international arbitration”.
8. Jason Fry. Former Secretary General of the ICC International Court of Arbitration (Paris) and Director of ICC Dispute Resolution Services, Jason Fry is the co-head of the International Arbitration Group at Clifford Chance, Paris. He graduated from the University of Canterbury and is a highly respected international arbitrator.
9. Wendy Miles. She holds an LLM from Canterbury University and is a partner in the London office of the US law firm, WilmerCutler. She has acted as advisor and advocate for a number of international companies and states or state parties in arbitration proceedings in various jurisdictions. Ms. Miles regularly acts as counsel in international arbitration proceedings administered under various international arbitral rules, including the ICC, LCIA, HKIAC, PCA and UNCITRAL. Ms. Miles also sits as arbitrator in international commercial disputes.
10. Peter Thorp. Now based in Paris, Peter Thorp first qualified in New Zealand. He has substantial experience acting as counsel and arbitrator in international arbitrations in Asia and Europe under the rules of most of the major international arbitration institutions. He was formerly a partner of Alan and Overy. He is fluent in French and Chinese, and has special expertise in disputes between multinationals and Chinese parties. He is listed on all the panels of the major Asian arbitral bodies.
11. James Hosking. A graduate of the University of Auckland as well as Harvard, New York-based James Hosking was a partner in Clifford Chance’s New York litigation department, focusing primarily on international arbitration, before forming Chaffetz Lindsey. He has handled arbitrations under the rules of all the leading arbitral institutions. In the past year alone, he has represented clients in cases involving more than a dozen countries and claims totaling several billion dollars. He also sits as an arbitrator and regularly writes and speaks on international arbitration issues. He has taught at law schools in the U.S. and New Zealand and is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. He is frequently quoted in the media on matters relating to international arbitration. James’s expertise in international arbitration and cross-border litigation has been recognized in Who’s Who of International Arbitration, Chambers Global, Chambers USA, Chambers Latin America and PLC Which Lawyer. In 2011, he was selected in Global Arbitration Review’s ranking of the “top 45 under 45” arbitration lawyers worldwide.
12. Robert Fisher QC. Former High Court judge, and an Appellate Judge in several Pacific Island jurisdictions, Robert Fisher QC has an extensive domestic arbitration practice, augmenting his wide-ranging mediation practice focused on commercial cases.
13. Phillip Green. Also on the domestic front, such is the demand for his mediation and arbitration services, that Chartered arbitrator and another AMINZ past president, Phillip Green has recently given up his litigation practice. His caseload has included international cases, forestry disputes, engineering and construction and rural disputes.
14. John Larmer. He also a past president of AMINZ is probably New Zealand’s most senior and most trusted rural arbitrator.