Branch Updates Q2 & Q3

Catch up below on the following Egypt Branch activities during Q2 2021.

CIArb Egypt Branch Annual General Assembly Meeting

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the CIArb Egypt Branch was held virtually on 6 April 2021. The AGM was attended by 40 members. Prof. Dr. Mohamed Abdel Raouf, the Branch Chairperson, presided the meeting and announced the results of the first contested Committee election to fill three vacancies in the Branch Committee, including the number of votes for each candidates, as well as the names of the new elected Committee members.  Prof. Dr. Abdel Raouf gave a PowerPoint presentation covering the activities of the Branch in 2020 and early 2021, including membership overview, the beginning of the first cycle 2020-2021 of the Branch Mentoring program in March 2021, the launch of the Branch Young Members Group (YMG) and the Branch’s webinars and trainings delivered by renowned experienced speakers. Dr. Ismail Selim, the Branch Honorary Treasurer, presented the financial statement of the Branch. Members discussed interesting future events planned for 2021, including training courses, seminars and webinars.

CIArb Egypt Branch Committee Meeting 

The first Committee Meeting of the CIArb Egypt Branch was conducted virtually, following the AGM, on 6 April 2021. Prof. Dr. Mohamed Abdel Raouf, the Branch Chairperson, welcomed the new three elected Committee Members taking their office starting from the AGM date. The Chairperson presented the report on the Branch’s Activities (2020– early 2021). Dr. Waleed El Nemr, Branch Education and Training Officer, gave an update on Branch current Approved Faculty List. Members shared thoughts about the Branch initiatives for young members, namely; the first cycle of Branch Mentoring Programme and the formation of Branch YMG. Members discussed other topics of the agenda including the cooperation with London Branch, the establishment of the “Chartered Arbitrator” grade, and the update of the Branch Webpage. The next virtual Branch Committee meeting was scheduled on 7 July 2021. 

Good Faith in Construction Contracts in Egypt - What does it mean? 

On May 19, 2021, the CIArb Egypt Branch organized jointly with CRCICA an interactive webinar on "Good Faith in Construction Contracts in Egypt - What does it mean?" The speakers were Dr. Waleed El Nemr, Contracts Director, Hill International (Africa) Ltd and 

Adjunct Assistant Professor at the American University in Cairo, and Dr. Engy Serag, Executive Director, Contracts and Claims at Orascom Construction and Adjunct Faculty at the American University in Cairo. 

The Speakers started with an introduction on the concept of good faith, then proceeded to address scenarios involving issues of good faith, from both contractors and employers perspectives. After each scenario, attendees shared their views on these scenarios through chat and through voice/video. A total of 230 persons attended the event from Belgium, Burkina Faso, Canada, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and USA. The webinar was a great success as demonstrated by the encouraging feedbacks and comments of the participants. 

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First Joint CIArb Egypt - CIArb London Webinar on: Procedural Paranoia in International Arbitration: Is the Vaccine in Sight or Shall We Expect the Disease to Spread Further?” 

On 26 May 2021, CIArb Egypt Branch and CIArb London Branch organized for the first time, in cooperation with CRCICA, their first joint webinar titled “Procedural Paranoia in International Arbitration: Is the Vaccine in Sight or Shall We Expect the Disease to Spread Further?” The panel of speakers included Dr. Sally El Sawah, Founding Partner & Principal of El Sawah Law (Paris) and Dr. Rémy Gerbay, Partner, MoloLamken LLP. The moderators were Dr. Ismail Selim, Director of CRCICA and Vice-Chair of the CIArb Egypt branch, in representation of the Egypt Branch, and Mr. Jean-François Le Gal, Partner at Pinsent Masons LLP, in representation of the London Branch. Dr. Selim delivered an inaugural speech introducing the Egypt Branch, its establishment in 1999 as the first gateway to CIArb education in the region at that time, its services and activities. 

The webinar was a lively debate; the speakers shared their views, forecasts, war stories, and suggestions on ways to cure the ‘due process paranoia’ issue. Some of the views expressed by panel members included “the need for arbitrators to be robust and show courage”. Other views included the idea that further “soft law-type codification of acceptable practices”, similarly to what has been seen recently in relation to virtual hearings. 

The webinar also included polls enabling the audience to express their views. 

At the end of the webinar, Mr. Ben Giaretta, Chair of the CIArb London Branch, concluded that due process paranoia will remain in arbitration and we have to find ways to deal and respond to it as we currently do with covid 19. He also expressed his wish for more future collaboration and joint events organized by both Egypt and London branches of the CIArb. 

The webinar was attended by 116 participants from Egypt, the UK, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Greece, Guyana, India, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, and the USA. 

Webinar on: Top Ten Issues in International Construction and Related Disputes 

On 2 June 2021, the CIArb Egypt Branch jointly with CRCICA organized the webinar on “Top Ten Issues in International Construction and Related Disputes". The moderator was Prof. Dr. Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Founding Partner and Head of International Arbitration, Construction and Energy at Zulficar & Partners Law Firm, Professor of International Arbitration, Private International Law and English Contract Law at Cairo University. The speaker was Dr. Hamish Lal, Partner, AKIN GUMP STRAUSS HAUER & FELD. 

After setting the topography of international construction projects, claims and disputes worked through, Dr. Lal explained a list of ten issues that are fundamental to understanding, managing, quantifying and resolving international construction disputes. He also considered issues that are currently of concern internationally, such as the use of standard form contracts (i.e. FIDIC) and multi-tier dispute resolution clauses. 

Attendees participated actively in the webinar through interesting questions and comments. Their questions and comments focused on notices as a condition precedent to entitlement and the interface with civil code rights on prescription / limitation, the right to payment for variations instructed orally, the failure of an Engineer to timely issue a Determination, the application of civil codes, hot-tubbing of experts in international arbitration, and enforcement of DAB decisions. 

The webinar was attended by 200 participants from Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Barbados, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada Cyprus, Egypt, France Germany, India, Ireland, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Palestinian, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, 

Singapore, Sudan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States. They were from various legal and engineering backgrounds, and included senior judges from the Egyptian Court of Cassation.