The Cross-Institutional Task Force on Gender Diversity in Arbitral Appointments and Proceedings is pleased to announce the release of its Report, the eighth volume of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) Reports Series.
This Cross-Institutional Task Force, assembled in 2019, brings together representatives of 18 leading international arbitration institutions, law firms and gender diversity initiatives to publish and analyze recent statistics on the appointment of female arbitrators, as well as to identify opportunities and best practices to promote gender diversity in international arbitration.
Gender diversity in arbitral tribunals is increasing, with the number of female arbitrators appointed to tribunals doubling in the past four years. This increase is largely the result of the efforts of arbitral institutions to appoint more female arbitrators. However, in 2019 women only comprised just over 21% of arbitrator appointees, underlining the need for improvement in the field. This Report argues that the greatest opportunity for such improvement lies with parties and the counsel that represent them, noting that while 34% of institutional appointments and 21.5% of co-arbitrator appointments were female in 2019, only 13.9% of party-appointments were female. In addition to the social and moral obligation to address gender discrimination as part of the dispute resolution field’s broader commitment to sustainable development, gender diversity in arbitral tribunals can enhance the legitimacy of arbitration, as well as improve its procedures and outcomes.
Importantly, the Report highlights potential barriers to diversity, as well as tools available to arbitration users to improve gender diversity in arbitral tribunals. These tools include: databases of qualified female candidates for counsel to choose from; advice on 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; and advice for employers on how to grow and promote their female talent.
Speaking to the collaboration of the Task Force, Chair 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 Cross-Institutional 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 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 this Report.