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  • Writer's pictureILA Canada

New Frontiers in International Commercial and Investor-State Arbitration: Definitely “Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile”

Updated: Apr 28

This November 30 2023, webinar brought together Canadian experts on international commercial arbitration and investor-state arbitration to discuss similar evolutions and developments in, and common challenges facing, both regimes. They focused on current and likely developments that affect or may affect both forms of arbitration, and on developments in one that are likely to impact the other, such as transparency, credibility and acceptability, party satisfaction, party representative conduct, arbitrator conflicts and performance standards, means of reducing time and cost, etc. Crystal ball gazing was part of the conversation.


Innovatively, this panel took a combined look at two forms of arbitration that are often examined separately. Despite developing divergences panelists found lessons to be learned for each by discussing both together.


With Louise Barrington, Andrea Bjorklund, Matthew Kronby, Laurence Marquis, Janet Walker, Barry Leon and Charles-Emmanuel Côté. Thank you to the many supporting organizations for this ILA Canada webinar!



Louise Barrington has been teaching and arbitrating international commercial disputes for over 25 years, in Hong Kong, Europe and North America. She founded and directs the Vis East Moot which was the first virtual competition, and the precursor to many virtual arbitration hearings. She recently judged a virtual moot that pitted a star student team for Claimant against Chat GPT for Respondent. Louise and her colleague Mireze Philippe founded ArbitralWomen, dedicated to supporting and promoting women in dispute resolution.


Andrea K. Bjorklund (rapporteur) is a Full Professor and the L. Yves Fortier Chair in International Arbitration and International Commercial Law at McGill University Faculty of Law. She acts as arbitrator and expert in both investment and commercial arbitrations. She has been appointed to the ICSID roster of arbitrators by the Government of Canada and is on the panel of arbitrators of several leading institutions. She has lectured around the world, on six continents, and in 2022 gave the Freshfields lecture in London. Before entering the academy she was an attorney-adviser on the NAFTA arbitration team in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State.


Charles-Emmanuel Côté (moderator) is Full Professor at the Faculty of Law of Université Laval in Quebec City and member of the École supérieure d’études internationales (ESEI), where he teaches Public International Law, International Economic Law and Constitutional Law. He is a member of the board of directors of the Canadian Branch of the International Law Association (ILA), of the Canadian Council on International Law (CCIL), and Vice-President of the Société québécoise de droit international (SQDI). He is a member of the ILA Committee on the Rule of Law and International Investment Law, and a Member of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) Academic Forum collaborating with the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on ISDS reform. Professor Côté is a member of NAFTA Chapter 19 and CUSMA Chapter 10 panel roster for Canada, as well as of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) panel roster for Quebec. He is also a member of the arbitrators and trade and sustainable development experts roster for bilateral disputes concerning trade agreements of the European Union. His book on the participation of private persons to the settlement of international economic disputes received an award from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).


Matthew Kronby is a partner in the Competition, International Trade and Foreign Investment Group of our Toronto office. He specializes in cross-border compliance and dispute resolution under trade agreements, investment treaties and Canadian law. He was previously Director-General of the Government of Canada’s Trade Law Bureau (from 2009-2012) and was Canada’s chief legal counsel in the negotiation of the CETA with the European Union and various other trade and investment treaty negotiations. Matthew teaches international trade and investment arbitration as an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law.


The Honourable Barry Leon (moderator) is an independent arbitrator and mediator specializing in commercial disputes. He was Presiding Judge, British Virgin Islands Commercial Court (2015 – 2018). He is a Chartered Institute of Arbitrators’ Fellow (FCIArb), International Mediation Institute (IMI) Certified Mediator, and International Academy of Trial Lawyers’ Fellow. In addition to a law degree, he has an MBA. Barry’s accolades include Award for Distinguished Service in Canadian Arbitration, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators’ Canadian Branch; Global Arbitration Review “best prepared arbitrator” award short-list; and CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Diversity in ADR. Barry is a director of ILA Canada. His other professional involvements include as chair or co-chair of ICC Canada Arbitration, Ciarb Caribbean Branch, ITA’s Caribbean Task Force, and Canadian Arbitration Report; and as a member of the BVI Arbitration Group’s Governing Committee, Organizing Committee of Canadian Arbitration Week, International Trust Arbitration Organisation’s Research Council, and North America Sub-Committee of the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations. He is co-executive editor of the Canadian Journal of Commercial Arbitration, and a co-moderator of OGEMID.


Laurence Marquis is an assistant professor at the Université de Sherbrooke's Faculty of Law, specializing in dispute prevention and resolution. Her research focuses on national and international dispute prevention and resolution, international commercial arbitration, ISDS reform and international trade agreement negotiations. She has over fifteen years' experience in investor-state, international commercial and sports arbitration. She notably worked at Jones Day, the ICC in Paris and the Trade Law Bureau in Ottawa (Foreign Affairs Canada) before becoming professor of law.


Janet Walker is an independent arbitrator with chambers in Toronto, London and Sydney. She has served as sole arbitrator, co-arbitrator and chair in ad hoc arbitrations and ICC, ICDR, DIAC, HKIAC, KCAB, PCA and SIAC-administered arbitrations in a variety of seats. Her matters include construction and M&A and many other kinds of disputes in seats around the world. Janet is a Distinguished Research Professor (past associate dean) at Osgoode Hall Law School, where she teaches private international law and international arbitration. She authors Canada’s main text on conflict of laws, cited in more than 400 judgments.

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