After the remarkable success, exceptional scientific interest and domestic and international media coverage given to the first two Belgrade Arbitration Conferences held respectively in 2009 and 2010, the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law decided to host again this year an international conference dedicated to new trends and challenges in international commercial arbitration, under the title International Commercial Arbitration – Trends and Challenges. This event gathered again in Belgrade the most prominent world experts in the field of arbitration law.
The Faculty Conference Hall was again too small to receive over 400 lawyers from Serbia, the region and some 20 other countries, including the professors and practitioners from Brazil, Uruguay, New Zealand, United States of America, Switzerland, Germany and the United Kingdom. Therefore, this year as well, the conference was held in the amphitheater Radomir Lukic. Such a large and diversified audience seems to be one of the best proofs of the importance and relevance of the topic of this year’s Belgrade Arbitration Conference (see the Program of the Conference).
The working part of the conference was preceded by the opening ceremony. The participants were welcomed by Professor Branko Kovacevic, head of the Belgrade University, Mr. Dusan Petrovic, Minister of Agriculture, Trade, Forestry and Water Management in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Professor Gaso Knezevic, president of the Foreign Trade Court of Arbitration attached to the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Dr. Judith Knieper on behalf of the GIZ Open regional Fund for South-east Europe.
The topics of the Conference were divided into four panels. The first panel concentrated on the issues of arbitration agreement and arbitral jurisdiction. This panel was chaired by the renowned British expert for arbitration Law, Dr. Julian Lew, professor at Queen Mary University of London, barrister, arbitrator and author of many prominent publications in the field of arbitration law. The panelists were Ms. Anne Marie Whitesell, attorney in Washington, Dr. Miroslav Paunovic, attorney in Belgrade and member of the Board of the Foreign Trade Court of Arbitration, Mr. John Whittaker from the London-based law firm Clyde & Co. and Mr. John Willems from the Paris-based law firm White & Case. The second panel was focused on contemporary issues of arbitration procedure. The moderator was Dr. Klaus Sachs, attorney and professor at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, and the panelists were Mr. Steven Finizio from Wilmer Hale law firm (London), Ms. Ivana Rackovic from Karanovic-Nikolic law office (Belgrade), Dr. Stavros Brekoulakis, professor at Queen Mary University of London and Jose-Ricardo Feris from the ICC International Court of Arbitration. Under the direction of Mr. Christoph Liebscher, attorney in Schoenherr law firm in Vienna, the third panel discussed the problems of real or perceived defects of arbitral awards and the problems of recognition and enforcement. The panelists were Dr. Herbert Kronke, professor at the Heidelberg University, Dr. Galina Zukova from the ICC International Court of Arbitration and Dr. Stefan Kroell, attorney in Cologne and professor at Bucerius University in Hamburg. Finally, the fourth panel was dedicated to emerging issues in arbitration law (seats, European Union and trends) and chaired by Dr. Jernej Sekolec, former secretary-general of the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and at present the vice president of the London Court of International Arbitration. The speakers were Dr. Loukas Mistelis, professor at Queen Mary University of London, Dr. Gerold Zeiler from Schoenherr (Vienna) and Mr. Luka Kristovic Blazevic from White & Case (Paris). Additionally, as a key note speaker, Mr. Stefano Azzali, the Secretary General of Milan Chamber of Arbitration, was speaking on independence and impartiality pursuant to the Rules of Milan Chamber of Commerce.
The number of participants, the professional competences of the speakers, the quality of the submitted papers and the relevance of the general topic of the conference all show that the Belgrade Arbitration Conference was one of the most interesting scientific events this spring not only in the region but also worldwide. An important sign of the importance of the Belgrade Arbitration Conference is the fact that one of the organizers of this event was the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
Members of the Organizing Committee of the Conference were Professors Mirko Vasiljevic, Gaso Knezevic and Vladimir Pavic, and lecturers Milena Djordjevic and Marko Jovanovic. Alongside the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law and the International Chamber of Commerce, the organizers of the Conference were also the GIZ Open Regional Fund for South-East Europe, Ministry of Science and Technological Development, Foreign Trade Court of Arbitration attached to the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the School of International Arbitration of Queen Mary University of London. The organization of the Conference was generously supported by White & Case (Paris), Wilmer Hale (London), International Financial Corporation, the Royal Dutch Embassy, Karanovic-Nikolic law office, Moravcevic, Vojnovic, Zdravkovic in cooperation with Schoenherr, Bojovic, Dasic Kojovic, the City of Belgrade and the Tourist Organization of Belgrade.