05 Jul 2021
July 1st, 2021 saw the annual GAR Awards ceremony take place. Representatives of the arbitration world got together to pay celebrate some of the most prominent highlights of the past year: winners of 10 nominations, including “Best lecture or speech”, “Best innovation by an individual organisation”, “Most important decision”, were announced.
As always, the ceremony was held in support of the Swawou School for Girls (Kenema, Sierra Leone). The school was established in 2009 with a view to give local girls better educational opportunities than in other schools in the country. In particular, its teachers are forbidden to take bribes, while pupils have their own uniform, necessary study materials and free meals.
Despite the virtual setting more than 200 attendees were given an opportunity to engage with each other and enjoy a wonderful show. The team at GAR were able to bring alive the sense of community and built an atmosphere of anticipation, proudness and joy.
The ceremony has always been an indisputable source of inspiration. It reminds us that hard work and persistence will always be recognised and courageous initiatives will be supported and will have a chance to make a difference. Previous examples include the IBA Toolkit on insolvency and arbitration, released in March 2021 (winner of the “The best innovation by an individual or an organisation” award). This two-year project of the IBA Arbitration Committee is a magnificent, thorough analysis of two incredibly complex areas of law, which lets parties and arbitrators be better equipped in case one of the parties to an arbitration proceeding becomes insolvent, especially important in these trying times. Likewise, the Enka v Chubb ruling of the UK Supreme Court, which won “The most important decision” award and is concerned with the governing law of an arbitration agreement, has undoubtedly made an impact on arbitration practice. The “Best development in international arbitration” award, which went to Claudia Salomon, who became the first female president of the ICC International Court of Arbitration, signifies the recognition of the importance of diversity at this moment of change around the world in general and legal world in particular.
The ceremony was finalised after a remarkable speech given by the recipient of the “Lifetime achievement” award Alan Redfern, one of the leading arbitration practitioners and academic authorities, co-author of the famous “Redfern and Hunter on International Arbitration” book, who announced his retirement in late 2020. His colleagues shared inspiring stories about Mr Redfern’s professionalism and his witty, charming personality: “We stand on the shoulders of giants. Allan is one of those giants", said one of them.
Last but not least, it is a great honour and a great achievement for CIArb that its three major lectures given by Amanda Lee FCIArb (keynote speech “Children of the Revolution: boldly going towards new gender diversity frontiers in international arbitration” for CIArb International Women’s Day), Richard Susskind (Alexander Lecture, “The future of dispute resolution”) and Cherie Blair CBE QC (the Roebuck Lecture on how arbitration can better meet the needs of people, parties and planet) were also nominated in the “Best lecture or speech” category.
These unconventional, thought-provoking and forward-looking speeches were attended by hundreds of practitioners and are some of the greatest hallmarks of CIArb’s annual events.
We congratulate GAR on the successful event and look forward to attending the next year’s ceremony.
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