Training on International Arbitration Law
14 July 2012, the Institute of Law (IoL) at Birzeit University (BZU) held a
training workshop on “International
Arbitration Law and Procedures and Skills for Participating in other
International Arbitrations.” The training is part of a Specialized Professional
Diploma Program in Legal Skills that seeks to qualify and train legal advisors
at the Ministry of Justice, develop their professional capacities, and help
them carry out assigned functions effectively and efficiently.
The training covered a
range of subjects, including overview of the structure of international
arbitration, choice-of-law and conflict-of-laws issues as well as arbitration
agreements, arbitral jurisdiction, and the doctrine of competence-competence.
It further considered the role of an arbitral institution and comparison to
local and international arbitral rules, standards and procedures applicable to
selecting and challenging arbitrators as well as seeking interim relief and
procedures in arbitral hearings.
The trainers used mock
case studies, mock recorded scenes, and hands-on role playing to focus on a
range of skills including: professional language training for non-native
English speakers (including specialized international arbitration terminology),
developing a case strategy, research and written advocacy skills, pre-hearing
case strategy and arguing procedural issues, preparing witness statements, the
use and development of expert witness testimony, counsel ethics, oral advocacy
and opening statements, cross-examination of witnesses, responding to special
advocacy challenges—such as aggressive opposing counsel, client misconduct, a
hostile arbitrator, travel obstacles, and preparing closing statements and
The training was
conducted by an eminent panel of local and international experts. The panel
included Prof. Catherine Rogers, from the Faculty of Penn State Law and
Associate Reporter for the American Law Institute’s new Restatement of the Law
(Third) of International Commercial Arbitration along with Yousef Aftab, a
principal at Dan Tan Law, an International Arbitration and Litigation Boutique
based in New York, who has extensive international arbitration and commercial
litigation experience, acquired at prominent firms in New York and Toronto.
Also on the panel was Lubnah Katbeh, co-founder and managing partner of Equity
Group, a leading Palestinian law firm. Katbeh has been working as a practicing
lawyer in Palestine for 15 years, particularly in areas of litigation,
contracts and in the field of business, financial and commercial law.
It should be noted
that as part of the IoL’s strategic partnership with the Ministry of Justice,
the Institute seeks to implement a number of training programs, including the Specialized
Diploma Program in Legislative Drafting and the Specialized Diploma in Legal
Skills. Both programs target legal advisors and civil servants who provide
professional legal services.
Professional Diploma in Legal Skills is carried out by the IoL at BZU in
cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, and funded by the United Nations
Development Program (UNDP).