On 31 August 2016, Noerr LLP hosted an event in Frankfurt am Main where DIS Members below 40 discussed ways to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the reform process and promote young arbitrators through the new DIS Rules. The DIS40 is one of the stakeholders that the DIS has asked for input to the reform of the DIS Rules. The lively debate centered around innovative ideas for parties and counsel in DIS arbitrations how to better utilize a resource which many times is overlooked – young arbitrators who are highly qualified, have years of arbitration experience and are extremely motivated.

The first idea presented by Melanie Eckardt, Lukas Schultze-Moderow (both Gleiss Lutz) and Sebastian Müller (King & Spalding) was to incentivize appointing arbitrators from among the DIS40 Members through costs. The approaches under consideration were either offering parties the opportunity to arbitrate with lower arbitrator fees for young arbitrators. A graduation of fees depending on the arbitrator’s seniority in parallel to lawyers’ fees with different rates for associates, senior associates and partners was also debated. Especially for small claims, the DIS could open a new market by offering arbitration at lower costs and thus attracting medium-sized companies as first time arbitration users.

The second discussion of the evening, led by Philipp Egler und Daniel Schnabl (both Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP), suggested that the DIS Secretariat could make a contribution to promoting young arbitrators through administrative measures. These could be either shaped as hard rules like a quota or a maximum age limit for arbitral tribunals or as soft rules furthering transparency like a registry showing appointing statistics or additional disclosure requirements for arbitrators. This level of transparency can be seen in other arbitration institutions. For example, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) publishes a monthly chart listing information about arbitrations registered as from 1 January 2016 such as the names of the arbitrators, their nationality and the method of their appointment. With a step towards more transparency, the DIS could further develop this commendable approach and include additional information for publication like the law firm representing the appointing party.

The final presentation was given by Ruth Mosch (Mosch Legal) and focused on the incorporation of the position of administrative/arbitral secretaries into the new DIS Rules. Especially in complex cases with an abundance of documents and very lengthy written submissions, it is in the interest of the parties that the arbitral tribunal has a secretary. In practice it is very often the case that arbitral tribunals are assisted by secretaries whose role is fulfilled by more junior lawyers who accumulate significant experience over time. In contrast to simply regulating the issue on a case-by-case basis or in notes, the incorporation in the DIS Rules would not only establish clarity and transparency for the parties and encourage a more open handling of the involvement of secretaries. Additionally, this would have the advantage of increasing the recognition of the position of the secretary who would benefit from the exposure.

Post written by Lucie Gerhardt, Noerr LLP, Frankfurt

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