Courts and International Commercial Arbitration: Is the United States Becoming an Outlier?

September 26, 2013 | 1:30–7 pm
The George Washington University Law School
Jacob Burns Moot Court Room
20th & H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052

The relationship between domestic courts and the international arbitral process varies around the world and is subject to much debate.  This symposium examines broadly how courts in leading arbitral jurisdictions approach this relationship and the growing criticism that United States courts are moving further away from the global mainstream in the way they approach certain critical aspects of international commercial arbitration, including (1) competence-competence–the willingness to defer to jurisdictional determinations made by arbitration tribunals; (ii) parallel litigation involving non-signatory affiliates of signatories to an arbitration agreement; (iii) enforcement of arbitral awards; and (iv) judicial assistance to commercial arbitration tribunals.

The symposium starts with a key note address followed by two panels. The first panel will address the role that courts play in international arbitration related disputes on a theoretical basis, taking into account the relevant laws, practices, and philosophies present in those jurisdictions. The second panel will analyze  fact patterns that commonly arise, or have arisen, in some high-profile cases. The panelists will then address how courts in those jurisdictions would approach and likely decide the dispute based on those fact patterns.

Ms. Silena Davis
(202) 994.6588

1:30 pm: Introductory Remarks

  • Susan L. Karamanian, Associate Dean for International and Comparative Legal Studies, George Washington University Law School 
  • Josefa Sicard-Mirabal, Director, Arbitration & ADR, North America, International Court of Arbitration 

1:45 pm: Key Note Address

Professor William W. “Rusty” Park, Boston University School of Law

2 pm: The Interrelationship between Courts and International Arbitration in Leading Arbitral Jurisdictions


Professor S.I. Strong, University of Missouri Law School


  • United States: Professor Christopher R. Drahozal, University of Kansas School of Law 
  • Switzerland: Anne Veronique Schlaepfer, Partner, Schellenberg Wittmer, Geneva  
  • Brazil: Mauricio Gomm Santos, Gomm & Smith, Miami

3:30 pm: Break

4 pm: A Practical Examination of How Courts Might React to Different Fact Patterns


Jonathan Greenblatt, Partner, Shearman and Sterling LLP, Washington, D.C. 


  • United States:  Christopher M. Ryan, Shearman & Sterling LLP, Washington, D.C.
  • France:  Professor Dr. Guido Carducci, Université Paris-Est 
  • Canada: R. Aaron Rubinoff, Partner, Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP/s.r.l., Ottawa 
  • Brazil: Marcelo Muriel, Mattos Muriel Kestener Advogados, Sao Paulo

5:30 pm: Closing Remarks

Jonathan Greenblatt, Partner, Shearman & Sterling LLP, Washington D.C. 

5:45 pm: Cocktail Reception

Transnational Dispute Management (TDM, ISSN 1875-4120) is a comprehensive and innovative information service on the management of international disputes, with a focus on the rapidly evolving area of investment arbitration, but also in other significant areas of international investment (such as oil, gas, energy, infrastructure, mining, utilities etc). It deals both with formal adjudicatory procedures (mainly investment and commercial arbitration), but also mediation/ADR methods, negotiation and managerial ways to manage transnational disputes efficiently. See for more information.

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