ICCA Task Force Report on Gender Diversity in Arbitration

30 Jul 2020

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30 Jul 2020

Cross-Institutional Task Force Report on Gender Diversity in Arbitral Appointments and Proceedings

The Cross-Institutional Task Force on Gender Diversity in Arbitral Appointments and Proceedings (Task Force) is pleased to announce the release of its Report on Gender Diversity in Arbitral Appointments and Proceedings (Report), the eighth volume of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) Reports Series.

HKIAC is pleased to be part of the Task Force, assembled in 2019, which brings together representatives of 18 leading international arbitration institutions, gender diversity initiatives and law firms to publish and analyse recent statistics on the appointment of female arbitrators, as well as to identify opportunities and best practices to promote gender diversity in international arbitration.

Key outcomes:

  • Gender diversity in arbitral tribunals is increasing and has doubled over the past four years, mostly as a result of the efforts of arbitral institutions to appoint more female arbitrators. However, in 2019 women still comprise just over 21% of all arbitrator appointees. There is room for improvement. 
  • The greatest opportunity for improvement lies with parties and the counsel that represent them. In 2019, 34% of institutional appointments were female and 21.5% of appointments by co-arbitrators were female, whereas only 13.9% of party-appointments were female.
  • The tools available for arbitration users to address gender diversity in arbitral tribunals already exist and more are being developed. They include:
    • Databases of qualified female candidates for counsel to choose from
    • Tips for addressing unconscious bias
    • Ways in which clients and funders can require diversity in international arbitration
    • Opportunities for qualified women to promote and market their credentials
    • Advice for less experienced female lawyers who wish to progress their careers
    • Advice for employers on how to grow and promote their female talent

HKIAC Secretary-General, Sarah Grimmer, states: “At HKIAC, we realise that there is a lot we can do towards the better representation of women in arbitration - from implementing internal processes so that we actively identify qualified women for arbitrator appointments to providing platforms on which we regularly showcase female talent. Contributing to the important work of this ICCA Taskforce is a further expression of our commitment in this area.

Chair of the Task Force, Carolyn Lamm, states: “I applaud the outstanding work of the Task Force including the leading arbitral institutions worldwide, the Pledge, ArbitralWomen, Three Crowns, White & Case, Freshfields, ICCA and so many others who collaborated to prepare what is a first comprehensive Report of its kind on the progress of women in international arbitration, and which shares a vision for how we move forward. I am tremendously grateful for everyone’s efforts and am confident the Report will make a difference on this issue of importance.

The Task Force includes representatives of the following organisations: ArbitralWomen; the American Bar Association (ABA); Burford Capital; the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge (ERA); Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP; the German Arbitration Institute (DIS); the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC); the International Bar Association (IBA); the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID); the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration (ICC); the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA); the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR); the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA); the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC); Three Crowns LLP; the University of Sydney; the Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC); and White & Case LLP.

The Task Force extends its thanks to its members listed above, the female arbitrators who agreed to be interviewed by the Task Force to provide their insights and perspectives, as well as independent arbitrator Lucy Greenwood and the PluriCourts Investment Arbitration Database (PITAD), who contributed data on arbitral appointments in recent years to the Report.

To access the Report on Kluwer Arbitration, please click here.

To access the Report on the ICCA website, please click here.

Media Contact
Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre
Kiran Sanghera
Tel: +852 2525 2381
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