Highlights Of Mauritius Arbitration Week 2019.

Legal News & Analysis - Asia Pacific - Dispute Resolution

1 August, 2019

 

The Mauritius Arbitration Week 2019

 

For a second consecutive year, the Mauritius Arbitration Week (MAW) gathered local and international practitioners, investors and financiers for a series of conferences, seminars and networking events. The MAW is an annual event organised by MARC. Over the last couple of years, MARC has spared no effort in its determination to become the region’s top dispute resolution centre with the endorsement of several reputed international practitioners, many of which are members of the MARC Court (presided by Neil Kaplan QC) or the MARC Advisory Board. MARC also completely revamped its arbitration rules in May 2018, which are available in English (officially launched during the first edition of the MAW on 21 May 2018), French (officially launched during the Paris Arbitration Week on 2 April 2019) and Chinese (officially launched on 10 June 2019), and incorporate a series of sophisticated features.


The MAW took place between 10 and 14 June 2019. The central theme to this year’s event was "Mauritius: a bridge between Africa and Asia".


The panellists focused to a large extent on the surge in the Africa-Asia trade, which is already giving rise to a significant volume of disputes in the region. While London, Paris and Geneva remain for now the top 3 jurisdictions used for the resolution of those disputes, there is an increasing trend towards their regionalisation and a preference for more-cost efficient jurisdictions and arbitral institutions. Singapore and Hong Kong have already experienced this trend: according to the Queen Mary University Survey, the aggregated preference for these jurisdictions is greater than for London or Paris, which is a significant shift in the mindsets of investors from two decades ago.


The consensus among panellists was that Africa is catching up with this trend. Further, there is a wrong perception from the investment community that there are not enough competent arbitrators of African nationality with experience in cross-border disputes; the aim of another initiative, the African Arbitration Association, is to dispel that perception by increasing the visibility of African arbitrators on international platforms. In addition, the entry into force of the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on 30 May 2019 is expected to increase intra-Africa trade, particularly among SMEs, as well as the resolution of their disputes in accordance with the protocol that has been negotiated as part of the CFTA framework.


Panellists also agreed that Mauritius is recognised as the largest contender for being selected as an African seat due to its ease of doing business, cultural diversity, pro-arbitration judiciary, and its credible financial and administrative institutions. The geographical proximity of Mauritius with Africa and India, together with its strong ties with China, make it the perfect neutral seat. Mauritius also continues to attract significant foreign investment, partly due to the sophisticated Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPAs) and Double Taxation Avoidance Treaties (DTAs) that it has concluded with several countries, and it has become the natural forum for the resolution of disputes arising from those investments. For example, at a seminar hosted by the Mining and Energy Club during the MAW, panellists discussed the significant role that Mauritius plays in the African mining industry: more than half of the investment into mining in Africa is held in or through funds incorporated in Mauritius. Arbitration becomes an important tool in limiting or mitigating the risks that arise in those investments, and the availability of a pro-arbitration framework in Mauritius is an important factor for investors and their financiers.


However, the conclusion of the discussions held during the MAW was that the regionalisation of disputes in Africa is expected to take time, but Mauritius has made a head start with the implementation of its International Arbitration Act a decade ago, and the emergence of MARC as an arbitral institution that administers disputes in English and French, two languages that are widely used on the African continent. The development of the jurisdiction and its caselaw is also being closely watched by fellow practitioners in neighbouring countries that have recently brought amendments to their own arbitration legislation: for example, South Africa introduced its international arbitration legislation a year ago, and India brought important changes to its legislation in 2015 to include certain features that make arbitration more appealing.


A number of seminars during the MAW were hosted by local and international law firms. Panellists discussed inter alia the significance of nationality and gender diversity in the selection of arbitrators, the challenges in the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards in Africa, the development of third-party funding on the continent, and the changes brought to Sino-African bilateral investment treaties over time. The MAW also consisted of industry-specific seminars. Panellists on the seminar on construction arbitration in Africa and Asia agreed that the familiarity of the Mauritian jurisdiction with both civil and common law systems and cultures gives it an edge over its competitors to become the ideal place to arbitrate construction disputes, although the country needs more specialist arbitrators and experts. Another seminar considered the mining industry in Africa; the seminar was preceded by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between MARC and the Mining & Energy Club for greater cooperation between the two organisations.

 

Day 1: MARC Conference - "Mauritius: a bridge between Africa and Asia"

 

Keynote speech: Mrs Aisha Abdallah, Member, MARC Court; Head of Disputes, Anjarwalla & Khanna, Kenya

On 10 June 2019 at The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Balaclava

 

Part 1 of the conference: Mauritius as a bridge: the current state of affairs

 

Panel 1: Efficiency, stability, neutrality and good governance

 

Speakers:

 

Mr Duncan Bagshaw, Member, MARC Advisory Board; Partner, Howard Kennedy LLP, United Kingdom

Ms Ah Foon Cheong, Former Designated Judge of the Supreme Court, Mauritius

Mr Hervé Duval, Senior Counsel, Ahnee Duval Law Firm, Mauritius

Ms Anne-Sophie Jullienne, Managing Partner, PwC Legal, Mauritius

Ms Cheng Yee Khong, Member, MARC Court; Associate Investment Manager, IMF Bentham, Hong Kong

Moderator: Ms Marily Paralika, Partner, Fieldfisher LLP, France

 

Panel 2: Structuring investment through Mauritius: treaties and regulatory incentives

 

Speakers:

 

Ms Johanne Hague, Partner, Juristconsult Chambers, Mauritius

Prof. Malik Laazouzi, Professor of Law, University of Paris II Panthéon-Assas, France

Dr Emilia Onyema, FCIArb, Reader International Commercial Law, SOAS, University of London, United Kingdom

Dr Jamsheed Peeroo, Vice-President, MARC Advisory Board; Head of Arbitration, Peeroo Chambers, Mauritius & United Kingdom

Mr Faraz Rojid, Head, Financial Services, Economic Development Board, Mauritius

Moderator: Mr Neil Kaplan QC, President, MARC Court; International Arbitrator, Arbitration Chambers, Hong Kong & United Kingdom

 

Part 2 of the conference: Conversations between Africa and Asia

 

Panel 1: Commercial relations and arbitration involving Africa and India

 

Speakers:

 

Mr Priyesh Daya, Partner, Webber Wentzel, South Africa

Ms Elodie Dulac, Partner, King & Spalding, Singapore

Mr Sahil Kanuga, Co-Head, International Dispute Resolution & Investigations Practice, Nishith Desai Associates, India

Mr Aloke Ray, QC, Partner, White & Case LLP, United Kingdom & Singapore

Ms Leyou Tameru, Member, MARC Advisory Board; Director, I-Arb Africa, Ethiopia

Moderator: Mr Niels Schiersing, International Arbitrator, Arbitration Chambers, Hong Kong & United Kingdom

 

Panel 2: Commercial relations and arbitration involving Africa and China

 

Speakers:

 

Mr Pierre Burger, Director, Werksmans Attorneys, South Africa

Ms Maryan Hassan, Member, MARC Advisory Board; Chief Negotiator to the WTO, Office of the President, Somalia

Mr Emmanuel Jacomy, Partner, Shearman & Sterling, China & Singapore

Mr Arthur Ma, Member, MARC Court; Partner, DaHui Lawyers, China

Mr John Miles, Managing Director, Miles & Co., Kenya

Moderator: Mr Richard Wilson QC, Head, The 36 Group, United Kingdom

 

Users’ perspectives: insights from in-house counsel

 

Speakers:

 

Ms Virginie Corneillet, Group Head of Corporate Services, ENL Corporate Services Ltd, Mauritius

Ms Carolyn Desvaux de Marigny, Senior Legal Advisor, IBL Ltd, Mauritius

Ms Laksheeta Bikoo Ellayah, Senior Legal Manager, AfrAsia Bank Limited, Mauritius

Mr Sebastian La Hausse de Lalouvière, Group Legal Counsel, Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels, Mauritius

 

Moderator: Ms Dipna Gunnoo, Head, MARC, Mauritius

 

Closing remarks: Dr Jalal El Ahdab, Vice-President, MARC Advisory Board; Head of Arbitration, Partner, Bird&Bird, France

 

Day 1: Opening Cocktail  

 

Day 2: MARC Conference - “Maurice : un pont entre l’Afrique et l’Asie”

 

On 11 June 2019 at InterContinental Mauritius Resort, Balaclava Fort

 

Panel 1: Les spécificités de l’arbitrage international en Afrique et dans les îles de l’Océan Indien

 

Speakers:

 

Dr Guillaume Aréou, Senior Associate, Reed Smith LLP, France

Mr Eric Bodo, President of the Bar association, Partner, Actio Defendi, Réunion Island

Dr Sylvie Bebohi Ebongo, Chargée de recherches, Association pour la promotion de l’Arbitrage en Afrique, Cameroon

Mr Cédric Fischer, Partner, FTMS Avocats, France

Ms Mathilde Parent Lagesse, Founder and Managing Director, PLCJ Ltd, Mauritius

Moderator: Ms Marianne Cohet, Juriste internationale, Mauritius, Former in-house counsel, Natixis Paris, France

 

Panel 2: Maurice comme trait d’union entre l’Afrique et l’Asie

 

Speakers:

 

Mr Vinay Guddye, Head of Logistics and Africa Desk, Economic Development Board, Mauritius

Dr Gregory Travaini, Avocat, Herbert Smith Freehills, Founding member, AfricArb, France & Hong Kong

Prof. Denis Mouralis, Professor of Law, Aix-Marseille University, France

Mr Dick Ng Sui Wa, Barrister, Mauritius

Mr Mathieu Mandeng, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, Mauritius & Cameroon

Moderator: Ms Manisha Meetarbhan, Associate, BLC Robert & Associates, Mauritius

 

Panel 3: L'arbitrage pour régler les différends issus des secteurs financiers et bancaires à Maurice

 

Speakers:

 

Ms Nirupa Narayen, General Counsel, Financial Services Commission, Mauritius

Mr Daniel Essoo, Chief Executive Officer, Mauritius Bankers Association Limited, Mauritius

Mr Mathieu Mandeng, Board Member, Global Finance, Mauritius

Moderator: Dr Jalal El Ahdab, Vice-President, MARC Advisory Board; Partner, Bird&Bird, France

 

Day 2: I-Arb Round Table Discussion hosted by Peeroo Chambers

 

Theme: Appointment rules based on the nationality of arbitrators: are they fit for purpose? 

 

Speakers:

 

Ms Elodie Dulac, Partner, King & Spalding, Singapore

Mr Sahil Kanuga, Co-Head, International Dispute Resolution & Investigations Practice, Nishith Desai Associates, India

Ms Cheng-Yee Khong, Member, MARC Court; Associate Investment Manager, IMF Bentham, Hong Kong

Mr Arthur Ma, Partner, DaHui Lawyers, China

Mr Jamsheed Peeroo, Vice-President, MARC Advisory Board; Barrister, Peeroo Chambers, Mauritius & London, United Kingdom

Ms Leyou Tameru, Director, I-Arb Africa, Ethiopia

 

Day 2: ArbitralWomen Seminar

 

Theme: Diversity in international arbitration: the current state of play

 

Speakers:

 

Mrs Aisha Abdallah, Member, MARC Court; Head of Disputes, Anjarwalla & Khanna, Kenya

Ms Elodie Dulac, Partner, King & Spalding, Singapore

Mr Sebastian La Hausse de Lalouvière, Group Legal Counsel, Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels, Mauritius

Ms Cheng-Yee Khong, Member, MARC Court; Associate Investment Manager, IMF Bentham, Hong Kong

Moderator: Ms Marily Paralika, Partner, Fieldfisher LLP, France

 

Day 2: Charity Gala Dinner (in favour of AfrAsia Foundation) at The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Balaclava  

 

Day 2: MARC45 Beach Gathering  

 

Day 3: Breakfast Session hosted by BLC Robert & Associates

 

On 12 June 2019 at The Westin Turtle Bay  Resort & Spa, Balaclava

 

Challenges in recognition and enforcement of international awards

 

Speakers:

 

Mrs Aisha Abdallah, Member, MARC Court; Head of Disputes, Anjarwalla & Khanna, Kenya

Mr Priyesh Daya, Partner, Webber Wentzel, South Africa

Mr John Miles, Managing Director, Miles & Co., Kenya

Mr Mustaq Namdarkhan, Partner, BLC Robert & Associates, Mauritius

 

Day 3: AfricArb Lunch and Seminar hosted by Reed Smith LLP

 

Theme: Chinese-African BITs: facing new challenges 

 

Speakers:

 

Mrs Aisha Abdallah, Member, MARC Court; Head of Disputes, Anjarwalla & Khanna, Kenya

Mr Emmanuel Jacomy, Partner, Shearman & Sterling, China & Singapore

Ms Cheng-Yee Khong, Member, MARC Court; Associate Investment Manager, IMF Bentham, Hong Kong

Dr Jamsheed Peeroo, Vice-President, MARC Advisory Board; Head of Arbitration, Peeroo Chambers, Mauritius & United Kingdom

 

Moderators:

 

Dr Guillaume Aréou, Senior Associate, Reed Smith LLP, France

Dr Gregory Travaini, Avocat, Herbert Smith Freehills, Founding member, AfricArb, France & Hong Kong

Day 3: Afternoon Seminar hosted by PwC Legal 

 

Theme: Bilateral and Multilateral Investment Treaties: are the fit for purpose?

 

Speakers:

 

Mr PJ Hope, Partner/Director, PwC Legal, South Africa

Mr Emmanuel Jacomy, Partner, Shearman & Sterling, China & Singapore

Ms Anne-Sophie Jullienne, Managing Partner, PwC Legal, Mauritius

Mr Neil Kaplan QC, President, MARC Court; International Arbitrator, Arbitration Chambers, Hong Kong & United Kingdom

Mr Mahen Rawoteea, Lead Analyst, Ministry of Finance & Economic Development

Mr Nicholas Zervos, Founder Partner, Velma Law, Tanzania

 

MARC45 Pub Quiz, at Kas Poz, Ebène  

 

Day 4: Breakfast Session hosted by Keating Chambers 

 

On 13 June 2019 at Audi Centre/Laflor Anglo-Mauritius House, Port-Louis

 

Seminar on construction arbitration in Africa and Asia

 

Panel 1: Local and international issues in the construction industry: hot topics

 

Speakers:

 

Mr Ram Bahadoor, Executive Director, Construction Industry Development Board, Mauritius 

Mr Johan Beyers, International Member Keating Chambers, London, United Kingdom, Advocate, Cape and Johannesburg Bar, South Africa 

Ms Eunice Lumallas, Partner (Dispute Resolution & Strategy), Lumallas Achieng & Kavere Advocates, Kenya

 

Moderator: Mr Anand Juddoo, Chartered Arbitrator & Immediate Past Chairman CIArb Mauritius, Mauritius

 

Panel 2: Is there a common law/ civil law divide in construction arbitration? 

 

Speakers:

 

Dr Jalal El Ahdab, Vice-President, MARC Advisory Board; Partner, Bird & Bird, France, Chairman, CIArb - European Branch 

Mr Kailash Dabeesingh, FRICS, FCIARC, Kailash Dabeesingh Arbitration Chambers, Mauritius

Mr Johan Beyers, International Member Keating Chambers, London, United Kingdom, Advocate, Cape and Johannesburg Bar, South Africa

Moderator: Ms Anjana Khemraz-Chikhuri, Deputy-Registrar, MARC, Mauritius

 

Day 4: MCCI Business Club sponsored by Nespresso  

 

Day 5: Breakfast Session hosted by Mining and Energy Club

 

On 14 June 2019 at The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Balaclava 

 

Signature of MoU between MEC, MCCI and MARC followed by seminar on investment & dispute resolution in the african mining industry 

 

Speakers:

 

Mr Sanjiv Bhasin, Chief Executive Officer, AfrAsia Bank Limited, Mauritius

Mr Vinay Guddye, Head of Logistics and Africa Desk, Economic Development Board, Mauritius 

Mr Graeme Robertson, Chairman, Intrasia Group, Director, Mining and Energy Club (Mauritius) Limited, Mauritius

Dr Jamsheed Peeroo, Vice-President, MARC Advisory Board; Barrister, Peeroo Chambers, Mauritius & United Kingdom

Mr Richard Wilson QC, LL.D, Head, The 36 Group, London, United Kingdom 

 

Moderator: Ms Kareena Neisius, Board Director of the Mining and Energy Club, Mauritius