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Arbitrating Competition Law Issues: A European and US Perspective

On the 12 June 2006 BIICL, in conjunction with SJ Berwin, held a conference focusing on the interrelation between international arbitration and competition law in the widest sense of the word. This conference, entitled 'Arbitrating Competition Law Issues: A European and US Perspective', was held at Gray's Inn and gathered academics and professionals with an international arbitration and/or competition law background (as well as corporate lawyers) for a detailed discussion of the challenges of arbitrating competition and merger-control-related issues at the dawn of the 21st century.

This seminar covered both the continental and the transatlantic approach to arbitrating competition law as well as merger control issues. Specific attention was given to the nascence of the so-called ex officio duty on part of the international arbitrator to raise competition law issues in order to secure the enforceability of his award within the European Union and its development since the ECJ's seminal ruling in Eco Swiss. The use and utility of the European Commission's recent practice to use international arbitration in remedy-related arbitrations within the framework of Articles 81/82 of EC Treaty and EC merger control also received particular attention.

Within this context, the role of the European Commission as amicus curiae in international arbitration proceedings and the resulting tension between private proceedings and the common role of the European Commission as the Community public prosecutor was discussed in greater depth. Consequently, the gradual transformation of international commercial arbitration and the emergence of the supranational arbitrator within the framework of Community-related arbitrations was highlighted.

Keynote speeches at his event were provided by: Dr Marc Blessing (Bär & Karrer); Professor Luca Radicati di Brozolo (Università di Milano; Studio Bonelli Erede Pappalardo); Gordon Blanke (Intenational Arbitration Group, SJ Berwin LLP); Peter E Greene (Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP); Dr Johannes Lübking (Directorate-General for Competition, European Commission); Professor Dr Hans van Houtte (Université de Louvain); Michael Bowsher (Monckton Chambers); and Dr Renato Nazzini (Office of Fair Trading).

A discussion panel consisting of Sir David Edward KCMG (former Judge of the CFI and the ECJ and Vice-President of BIICL); Dr Phillip Landolt (Tavernier Tschanz); Dr Christoph Liebscher (Wolf Theiss); William Rowley QC (McMillan Binch Mendelsohn LLP and 20 Essex Street) followed these speeches and offered a critical reflection on the keynote speeches by reporting on their own experience and the (likely) approach taken by the respective institution they represent.

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