The IBA Annual Conference continues to be one of the largest gatherings of the international legal community, attracting over 6,000 delegates and guests from over 3,000 law firms, organisations, businesses and legal service providers from over 135 international jurisdictions.

2015 was no exception and the event began with a thought provoking address by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during Sunday’s Annual Conference Opening Ceremony, together with the Emperor and Empress of Japan on the issue of the rule of law.

The first day was marked by an inspiring roundtable discussion concerning the role of cultural differences in negotiations and arbitration.

On Tuesday the IBA took to the stage to update delegates on recent amendments to its Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest in International Arbitration, including provisions to address the role of third-party funders in arbitration.

I took the opportunity to ask the committee how they balanced the interest of claimants and adverse consequences of a blanket disclosure, with the fact that the funders ensure the absence of conflicts to secure their investment in their decision making process. To which José Astigarraga stated that the committee had reacted to a pressing demand for a rule and, whilst recognising the complexity of the issue, the guidelines were intended merely as a starting point.

After a series of discussions during the session on the amended rules, the committee noted that it would be helpful to invite funders to an open conversation about disclosure at a special event on funding in the coming months. I certainly look forward to an opportunity to answer all questions openly and to maybe clarify certain misconceptions.

Perhaps the highlight of the conference social calendar came on Wednesday night, when Vannin Capital were pleased to sponsor the sold-out Arbitration Committee Reception & Dinner, which took place at the impressive Hotel Chinzanso, a luxury garden oasis in the heart of Tokyo. The evening was a huge success hosted by the Arbitration Committee co-chairmen Paul Friedland and Eduardo Zuleta with engaging dance act that energised the audience!

Highlights of the week can be found at the IBA website together with key speech transcripts and video interviews of speakers. On behalf of Vannin Capital I would like to thank the IBA for another informative and enjoyable conference and I look forward to meeting in Vienna for the 2015 event.

Notes to Editors:

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