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International Commercial Arbitration - October 2014

Fourth High Level Meeting on the Role of the Judiciary in International Commercial Arbitration

The Fourth High Level Meeting on the Role of the Judiciary in International Commercial Arbitration, organized by the OAS Department of International Law and the Judicial Education Institute (JEI) of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC), took place on October 23 and 24 in Castries, St. Lucia, bringing together more than 65 participants including high – level judges, national and international experts from the judiciary, private sector and academia, in order to discuss and analyze the role of domestic courts in international commercial arbitration under the New York and Panama Conventions on the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards, and the Model Law of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).

Fourth High Level Meeting on the Role of the Judiciary in International Commercial Arbitration

The meeting was opened by Her Ladyship Dame Pearlette Louisy, Governor General of St. Lucia; Her Ladyship the Honorable Janice Pereira, DBE and Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court; Her Ladyship Honorable Justice of Appeal Louise Blenman and Chair of the JEI; Ambassador Sonia Johnny, Permanent Representative of St. Lucia to the OAS; Ms. Anne Gaudet, First Secretary at the High Commission of Canada in Barbados and Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) countries; The Honorable Mrs. Kim St. Rose, Attorney General of St. Lucia; the Honorable Peter Foster, Speaker of the House of Assembly of St. Lucia; and the Honorable Mr. Claudius Francis, President of the Senate of St. Lucia.

During the opening ceremony, Her Ladyship the Hon. Janice Pereira expressed the interest of the Eastern Caribbean States in hosting and participating in more activities that allow for exchanges and cooperation between judiciaries. Participating judges from OAS and OECS Member States had a very rare opportunity to attend panel presentations from experts from the participating countries as well as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Great Britain, Panama, the United States of America, and Venezuela. Minister Gilson Dipp, from Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice expressed his delight at having the first opportunity (after 20 years on the bench) to have a substantive interaction with his counterparts from the Caribbean States, a feeling shared by all participants who welcomed this unique chance to experience true face-to-face judicial cooperation across regional, cultural and language boundaries.

The High-level Meeting also included a space for dialogue and sharing experiences that aimed to develop a framework for opportunities to strengthen international commercial arbitration in the region and identify ways to address challenges faced by the judiciary in the Caribbean when dealing with the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Dante Negro, Director of the OAS Department of International Law highlighted the importance of fostering an environment where predictable and reliable arbitration may thrive in order to make the Latin America and the Caribbean region a more attractive market for investment.

This meeting was a part of a cooperation project, sponsored by the OAS with funding from the Canadian government. To date, the Department of International Law of the OAS Secretariat for Legal Affairs has organized similar high-level meetings in the United States, Costa Rica, Chile, Uruguay, and Peru.

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