Angelina Gomez FCIArb

Formerly of the New South Wales Bar, now a lawyer in Perth, Australia with Clifford Chance, Angelina has extensive experience advising on a range of large and complex commercial and equity Court proceedings and arbitrations throughout Australia and Asia for a wide variety of ASX listed companies and high net worth families.

She is a co-founder of the Digital Law Association, an all-volunteer organisation established to promote diversity at the intersection of technology, law and policy. She is a member of the Law Society of Western Australia's Courts Committee and Education Committee and is a member of techUK's Quantum Committee and Justice and Emergency Services Committee. She also sits on the editorial board of the Australian Law Journal (a national legal journal) as an Assistant General Editor and the Book Review Editor.

Are there any developments in the field of ADR in which you are particularly interested in?

Technology – and the potential to use it to make ADR more accessible and to reduce costs. The Covid-19 pandemic made travel near impossible and it has in my opinion, accelerated exponentially the use by everyone of technology, whether it be to work with clients, e-meet experts or attend virtual hearings. In a short span of time, everyone had to develop an expertise in running virtual hearings and in cross-examining witnesses and submitting to a Tribunal via Zoom. Arbitral bodies had to put in place protocols to deal with these issues, for example, the ICC is developing its Virtual Hearing Solution to adapt to any hearing, fully virtual or a hybrid.  

An interesting example, is the Tashkent International Arbitration Centre, established by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan. In December 2021, 100% of the Centre's caseload (24 Requests for Arbitration, including 1 sports arbitration case), was administered virtually (see article by Kevin Cheung of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP; Darya Kot and Dilnora Mirabdullaeva of Tashkent International Arbitration Centre, "Technology and 2021 Rules of Arbitration of the Tashkent International Arbitration Centre (TIAC) at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan", The authors further noted that:

[while] initially virtual case administration was introduced by the centre as a tool to dramatically reduce operational costs (TIAC does not charge an administrative fee – it’s 0%) and engage top talent particularly for its TIAC Court of Arbitration (“Court”) to remove the need to travel, the COVID-19 pandemic has further reinforced the TIAC’s drive to move most of the operational and case administration matters online. All of the Court sessions have been and will remain virtual, and TIAC is also actively promulgating the use of technology for its future arbitral hearings.

What is the best thing about being a Member/Fellow of the CIArb?

The best thing is the collegiality – the connections you make, and the exchange of knowledge, especially as everyone is very generous with their time. Also, to become a Fellow, I went through CIArb's training programme which I found incredibly informative, not just as a refresher but it also allowed me to spend time getting into the details of the history, commentaries and background as to why we do what we do in an arbitration, which you often do not have the time to do while managing your practice.

Following the rise in awareness of human rights and environmental issues, do you see any other potential new avenues opening in international arbitration?

Absolutely. Climate change and sustainability actions – the potential for environmental disputes are on the rise including not only investment disputes but also challenges brought by people who have been affected by climate change, or by NGOs or even governments against companies to force them to comply with environmental regulations.

As ESG dominates Corporate Boards, failures in managing those risks or by not actively protecting human rights will likely be fertile ground for arbitrations. Add to that the increasing use of emerging technology, for example, Artificial Intelligence in autonomous machines or in decision-making, smart contracts and IoT used in supply chain management and the trade in digital assets, and you have a proliferation of potential issues that would readily lend itself to ADR, for example, for breaches of contract, regulations or good corporate governance.

Would you encourage a young legal professional to develop skills in the ADR field? What advice would you have for them?

Read as much as you can about the area you are working in or want to work in, and write. As much as possible, try to publish articles, reviews, updates etc. as nothing focusses the mind more than writing in a particular area, and the more you do it, the more you become an expert in that area.

As a member of CIArb, what can you say about the importance of CIArb’s engagements via their flagship and branches events?

Always beneficial to hear from industry and practice leaders – keeps us up to date, encourages debate and discussion on current and important issues facing ADR practitioners, for example, issues around global sustainability.

If you could meet for dinner a famous person, dead or alive, who would that be?

William Shakespeare. Reason: Hamlet is my favourite play and I would like to ask W. Shakespeare one question about it (with a few follow-ups): How did you intend Hamlet to appear to an audience? (Mad or tortured? Was young Fortinbras the leader you thought Hamlet should be, had he not been so utterly indecisive?) Curiosity would also prompt me to ask a few more general questions:

1. Which was your favourite play?
2. Would you change the ending of any of your plays?
3. What plays were you thinking of writing, but never got a chance to put pen to paper?

If you could experience first-hand one historical event what would it be and why?

1969. The moon landing. Putting aside the politics of the Cold War, it was an inspirational and hopeful moment in history where anything seemed possible. The world was captivated by one person's footsteps. Science captured the imagination and it truly was as Neil Armstrong said, "one giant leap for mankind". The dream to travel beyond our planet led to the age of invention, everything from freeze-dry food to small lightweight computers that could fit into a spacecraft, which then led to the digital revolution in the 1970s. In the years after the moon landing, images of the Earth, or 'The Blue Marble Shot', showed us the beauty and fragility of our planet and why we need to protect it.