IBA Annual Conference Sydney 2017

8 Oct - 13 Oct 2017

Parkside Ballroom 1, Convention Centre, Level 2

Session information

Dispute resolution showcase: culture clashes – systemic pitfalls in international dispute resolution
Parkside Ballroom 1, Convention Centre, Level 2


Dispute Resolution Section (Lead)
Arbitration Committee
Class Actions Committee
Litigation Committee
Mediation Committee
Negligence and Damages Committee


‘I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien, I’m an Englishman in New York…’ Sting’s famous song captures the surface of what must be regarded as an iceberg. Separated by the same language, even citizens from the US and UK feel like and are strangers when solving their disputes in the foreign venue. As the cultural differences increase, the challenges for international dispute resolution lawyers grow. Religion, gender and geographic background are just a few examples of the massive differences that dispute resolution lawyers are facing when dealing with their clients and opponents, some might be conspicuous and some might be so implicit that only insiders may observe them. Those differences may impose – implicitly or visibly – tremendous hurdles and need to be taken into account when trying to resolve a matter effectively and successfully. Dispute resolution lawyers, judges, arbitrators, mediators and enforcement mechanisms implicating multiple countries find complications from: • national and international politics; • real culture (including the role of women); • national interests and security issues, particularly in cybersecurity; • investment adventurism; • judicial philosophy; • selection of judges; • mass, inconsistent psychology of peoples; • involvement of ‘rogue’ regimes (Russia ‘expelling’ Apple; North Korea arresting ‘spies’); • changes in one or more political underpinnings (eg, Brexit, Philippines’ ‘divorce’ from the US, Russia’s appetite for expansion, China’s relationship with Hong Kong and the Arab spring, fall and winter); and • corruption inconsistently applied. The panel assembled for this workshop represents senior, experienced practitioners, cutting-edge academics and forward-thinking internationalists and protectionists. They promise to bring an array of views, cultures, biases, successes, failures and forecasts to the workshop, with the goal of sharpening our awareness of cultural clashes and making practitioners around the world more adept at coping with the challenges arising out of handling cross-border disputes.

Session / Workshop Chair(s)

Bettina Knoetzl KNOETZL, Vienna, Austria; Co-Chair, Litigation Committee
Jawad Sarwana Abraham & Sarwana, Karachi, Pakistan; Co-Chair, Mediation Committee
Melanie van Leeuwen Derains & Gharavi, Paris, France; Vice Chair, Arbitration Committee


Tara Archer-Glasgow Higgs & Johnson, Nassau, Bahamas; Secretary-Treasurer, Poverty and Social Development Committee
Judith Gill Allen & Overy LLP, Singapore, Singapore; Member, Arbitration Committee Advisory Board
Josephine Hadikusumo Texas Instruments, Singapore, Singapore
Joanna Kalowski Joanna Kalowski and Associates, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Alvaro Lopez de Argumedo Uria Menendez, Madrid, Spain
Christopher Tahbaz Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, New York, New York, USA
Joseph Tirado Garrigues, London, England