On 29 August 2016, ACICA presented a mock arbitration case, hosted by the Melbourne Commercial Arbitration and Mediation Centre, which was designed to familiarise practitioners with the new 2016 ACICA Rules. Audience participation was encouraged both during and after the case with a number of practical questions being asked of the panellists.

The panel was comprised of some of Australia’s leading international commercial arbitration practitioners; Bronwyn Lincoln, Partner at Corrs Chambers Westgarth (representing the Tribunal), Robert Heath, Barrister at the Victorian Bar (acting as counsel for the Claimant, Tai Ping Corporation of China), Chad Catterwell, Senior Associate at Herbert Smith Freehills (acting as counsel for the Respondent, Pacific Energy Group of Australia), Monique Carroll, Special Counsel at King & Wood Mallesons (acting as counsel for the third party defendant), Deborah Tomkinson, ACICA Secretary General (representing ACICA). The mock case was moderated by Caroline Swartz‐Zern, an overseas practitioner at Allens, who led the audience through the hypothetical case by asking targeted questions of the panel members and building suspense as new facts and Rules were introduced.

The case centred upon a contract between the Claimant and the Respondent for the construction of two nuclear power plants in in Sichuan Province in China. The contract contained an arbitration clause for “any and all of the disputes arising out of or in connection with the Contract to be referred to arbitration in Sydney under the ACICA Rules”. With this background, the case focused on a number of the new provisions of the Rules with which the audience may not have been familiar, including provisions concerning an application to have the matter expedited (Article 7 and the Expedited Arbitration Rules), an application for joinder (Article 15) and challenges to an arbitrator (Article 17). The case also involved a discussion of the way in which procedural hearings are conducted and procedural orders are drafted.

The event was a great success, with the interactive mode of presentation proving to be very popular with the audience, who gained a valuable insight into the way in which an arbitration might be conducted under the new Rules and a greater understanding of the role of ACICA in such an arbitration.

Author: Catherine O’Keefe, Herbert Smith Freehills