We are delighted to share with you Issue 16 of Inside Arbitration from Herbert Smith Freehills’ Global Arbitration Practice.

This edition highlights the vast global and industry span of arbitration as we explore the big-picture trends and regional developments defining the world of high-stakes dispute resolution. In addition to looking at recent arbitration news and developments, this issue features articles and interview spotlights from new partners across our global team.

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ICC UK Annual Arbitration & ADR Conference: Promoting the Rule of Law

Our Global Head of Arbitration Paula Hodges KC will be speaking at the ICC UK Annual Arbitration & ADR Conference: Promoting the Rule of Law on 5 October 2023, the second day of the conference. Paula will be joining the panel discussing “The Future of International Arbitration”.



Date and Time: Thursday, 5 October 2023, 2.45pm – 3.45pm

Venue: EY, 1 More London Place, London, SE1 2AF

For more information, please visit: #arbitration #internationalarbitration

For further information, please contact Paula Hodges KC, Partner, and Head of global arbitration practice or your usual Herbert Smith Freehills contact.

Paula Hodges KC
Paula Hodges KC
Partner, Head of global arbitration practice
+44 20 7466 2027


Law Commission publishes Final Report and draft Bill for amendments to the English Arbitration Act

The Law Commission today published its much anticipated Final Report on the English Arbitration Act (the Act), accompanied by a draft Bill. Although the Law Commission has emphasised that “root and branch reform is not needed or wanted“, the report nonetheless makes several significant recommendations for change and proposes other more minor amendments. The main recommendations are as follows:

  • Codifying an arbitrator’s duty of disclosure
  • Strengthening arbitrator immunity around resignation and removal
  • Introducing a power of summary disposal
  • Improving the framework and procedure for challenges under section 67
  • Introducing a new rule regarding the governing law of an arbitration agreement
  • Clarifying court powers in support of arbitral proceedings and in support of emergency arbitrators

These are discussed and summarised below. It is also noteworthy that the Law Commission has decided not to make any recommendation for reform in certain other areas, including appeals on a point of law, confidentiality and discrimination. This Final Report follows a rigorous and extensive consultation process, which we reported on here and here.

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Diversity in arbitration – the Equal Representation for Expert Witnesses pledge issues Report highlighting the challenges of moving the dial on female appointments

Promoting gender diversity has become a key focus for the international arbitration community and beyond. Within the arbitration community, the launch of the Equal Representation in Arbitration (ERA) pledge in 2015 placed the focus on ensuring the fair representation of women as arbitrators. The ERA pledge seeks to increase, on an equal opportunity basis, the number of women appointed as arbitrators in order to achieve a fair representation as soon practically possible, with the ultimate goal of full parity.

The Equal Representation for Expert Witnesses (ERE) pledge was launched in May 2022 to drive a similar commitment to improve the visibility and representation of women as expert witnesses across the wider dispute resolution community, not just in arbitration. The goals of the ERE pledge are to:

  • increase, on an equal opportunity basis, the number of women appearing as experts, in order to achieve proportional representation and eventually full parity;
  • support the hiring, mentoring, and promotion of female experts;
  • create a coalition of supporters and advocates in the world of dispute resolution;
  • encourage women to aspire to be expert witnesses in their chosen professions; and
  • widen the pool of expert witnesses available and help to enhance the reputation of expert witnesses.

This month, the Equal Representation for Expert Witnesses has published a report setting out the results of their survey looking at the critical challenges in increasing female expert witness representation and the potential solutions to drive change.

Key findings of the Survey

Over 620 lawyers and experts (male and female) responded to the survey from across 32 different countries.

The report makes challenging reading in terms of diversity. The survey highlights that, in 2022, women were appointed as the sole expert witness in just 10% of disputes worldwide. It also indicates that 64% of the lawyers responding to the survey had not seen a single female expert witness in action in 2022.

The report seeks to explain these findings by inviting survey respondents to identify why fewer women were being appointed as expert witnesses than men. The responses show a complex and connected sets of reasons, with the top four being:

  • Lawyers’ preference to use experts they know or have used previously;
  • A lack of women reaching sufficiently senior levels in their own professions;
  • A lack of experience for female experts in an expert witness role; and
  • Lack of encouragement or promotion by their own colleagues.

The survey seeks to explore these reasons in more detail, recognising that a time lag will be playing its part in the results due to the preference for experienced experts and opportunities to testify having been historically skewed towards men. However, it offers a more positive outlook for the future, revealing a pipeline of aspiring expert witnesses under the age of 40 of both genders who are eager to be given opportunities as expert witnesses. The survey concludes by identifying a number of possible actions that can be taken across the dispute resolution community to increase the number of female expert witnesses most effectively, including the adoption of gender diverse expert witness shortlists, giving opportunities to women to co-testify with their male colleagues and hosting “meet the expert” events to showcase female talent to potential users.

Herbert Smith Freehills is a proud signatory of both the ERA and ERE pledges. Justin D’Agostino, CEO of HSF, is currently Co-Chair of the ERA Pledge, while senior associate, Louise Barber, and associate, Caitlin Eaton, are members of the Young Practitioners Subcommittee.

To find out more about the actions that you can take as a practitioner or a client to drive greater diversity, read our article in Issue 13 of our publication, Inside Arbitration.

For more information please contact Paula Hodges KC, Partner, head of global arbitration practice, Louise Barber, Senior Associate, Vanessa Naish, Arbitration Practice Manager and Professional Support Consultant, Elizabeth Kantor, Professional Support Lawyer.

Paula Hodges KC
Paula Hodges KC
Partner, head of global arbitration practice
+44 20 7466 2027
Louise Barber
Louise Barber
Senior Associate
+44 20 7466 2140
Vanessa Naish
Vanessa Naish
Arbitration Practice Manager and Professional Support Consultant
+44 20 7466 2112
Elizabeth Kantor
Elizabeth Kantor
Professional Support Lawyer
+44 20 7466 2406


On 15 May 2023, Herbert Smith Freehills co-hosted London International Disputes Week’s inaugural International Arbitration Day, welcoming over 350 external guests to our London office. International Arbitration Day was a flagship arbitration event, showcasing the importance of London as a global arbitration centre. Herbert Smith Freehills was chosen as one of three LIDW member firms (alongside Allen & Overy and Mayer Brown) to host panel events throughout the day.

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Register to attend London International Disputes Week 2023: International Arbitration Day (15 May 2023)

This year’s London International Disputes Week (LIDW)’s International Arbitration Day will ‘follow the arbitration sun’ across key regions and jurisdictions, featuring keynote speeches and panels from some of the leading global figures from across the dispute resolution community. Herbert Smith Freehills are delighted to be a co-host of LIDW’s inaugural International Arbitration Day,  hosting a number of panels and networking events at our offices. This event is free to attend and offers both in person and virtual attendance for some sessions. Click here to find out more about all of the events on offer at LIDW’s International Arbitration Day or here for more information about the full programme for LIDW.


Our speakers from Herbert Smith Freehills across the day include:

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The Law Commission’s Second Consultation Paper – an evolving approach

This week the Law Commission published a second Consultation Paper as part of its review of the English Arbitration Act (the Act).

The Paper raises three issues for consultation: (1) how the proper law of the arbitration agreement should be determined under English law; (2) the procedure for jurisdictional challenges before the English court under section 67 of the Act; and (3) tackling discrimination in arbitral appointments and procedure.

Issue (1) was not addressed by the Law Commission in its first Consultation Paper. However, thirty-one responses raised this as something that was in need of review and potential reform.  Although issues (2) and (3) were addressed in the first Consultation Paper, the Law Commission’s thinking on these topics has developed following the initial round of responses. As a consequence, it has taken the opportunity to tweak its original proposals and, in the case of issue (3) on discrimination, identify new topics of potential reform.  We set out below a summary of the new proposals and questions raised by the Law Commission.

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