Can Paris be the new London?

Can Paris be the new London?

James Clanchy of the Lexis PSL Arbitration team will be in Paris on 22 May to take part in a roundtable in the Café des Arbitres (LCDA) series, ‘Bregrets and bremorses? Potential impacts on the London arbitration market after Brexit and new opportunities for the Paris market’. 

When candidate Macron was campaigning amongst French expatriates in London in February this year, he called on ‘banks, talents, researchers, academics and so on’ to return to Paris.  He didn’t mention arbitration practitioners but the combination of Brexit and of new prospects across the Channel might entice not only French but also other international practitioners currently based in London to transfer to Paris.

Emmanuel Macron’s election as President of the French Republic followed hard upon Paris Arbitration Week.  The message from one of its organisers, ‘Paris, the Home of International Arbitration’ is clear: Paris sees itself as the historic centre of international arbitration and would like to see more commercial parties choose it as the seat of their arbitrations.

In the wake of the Brexit vote, does Paris have a realistic chance of replacing London as the world’s most popular arbitral seat? (See, for example, the White & Case Queen Mary international arbitration survey 2015).  Or will London’s strengths as a seat and its attractiveness to commercial parties, in Europe and in the wider world, ensure that it retains the top spot?

There can be no doubting the recent efforts and developments that support arbitration in Paris, for example:

  • the relatively new French arbitration law of 2011
  • on the substantive law side, the modernised French contract law introduced in 2016
  • new headquarters for the ICC in Paris and a dynamic French President of the ICC Court
  • upgraded hearing rooms for ICSID arbitrations at the World Bank Conference Centre

Meanwhile London has in its favour a number of well-established advantages, some of which might become m ore significant post-Brexit, for example:

The LCDA roundtable in Paris on 22 May 2017 will look at how commercial and investment arbitration stand in both cities and what might be expected to happen post-Brexit.  It will ask why London has become such a successful seat and it will consider how Paris could benefit after it becomes the leading seat in the EU.

At the event, which is to be held at the headquarters of the University of London in Paris, each of the two cities will have two representatives:

  • for London, Ania Farren, partner of BLP, and James Clanchy of the Lexis PSL Arbitration team and former Registrar of the LCIA
  • for Paris, Marie Stoyanov, partner of Allen & Overy, and Jean-Georges Betto, partner of Betto Seraglini

The moderator will be Professor Loukas Mistelis of Queen Mary University of London (a member of the Lexis PSL Arbitration Consulting Editorial Board).

For more details and to register for the event, click here: You can read the flyer here:  LCDA 22 May 2017 (Final programme)

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About the author:

James is an arbitration specialist. He has more than 25 years’ experience of ad hoc, trade association, institutional and investment arbitrations as a solicitor in London and Paris, as a former Registrar of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), and as a case assessor for legal costs insurers and third party funders. His background as a lawyer is in international trade, commodities, shipping and insurance.

He trained at Withers in London and then spent four years in the firm’s Paris office. He was admitted as an avocat at the Paris bar (1994 – 2008). Returning to London, he spent more than 13 years at Holman Fenwick Willan in its Trade & Energy group. As Registrar and Deputy Director General of the LCIA in 2008 – 2012, he oversaw the administration of more than a thousand commercial arbitrations and assisted with a review of its Arbitration Rules. He subsequently spent two years at Thomas Miller Legal, assessing and managing a wide range of commercial and investment claims on behalf of insurers and funders. Returning to private practice in 2015, he spent a year in Stephenson Harwood’s International Arbitration group where he assisted on ICC and LCIA arbitrations, principally oil and gas disputes.

James is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. At LexisNexis, James works on the Lexis®PSL Arbitration module.