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16th Cologne Academy on International Commercial Arbitration

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The participants, who came from around 18 different countries from around the world, first met at a Welcome Reception, which was held on Sunday evening. After a welcome speech by Professor Berger the participants got to know each other over fingerfood and drinks.

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Classes for the 43 participants of the Arbitration course started on Monday morning. 

Professor Berger, the head of the Cologne Academies, started with an introduction to arbitration. Since the participants came from different backgrounds and had varying degrees of knowledge and experience regarding arbitration, this was welcomed especially by those new to the subject. In the first lecture, Professor Berger presented the case that was going to serve as a basis for all the practical tasks and role-plays in the following four days. Afterwards Professor Berger and Chun-Kyung Paulus Suh, a counsel from the German Arbitration Institute (DIS), taught us about the proceedings. Mr. Suh gave an interesting presentation about the procedure and the rules of the DIS.

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 After lunch in the university cafeteria, Professor Berger was joined by Stefan Hoffmann, a partner from Watson Farley & Williams in Hamburg. They presented insights about case management, case analysis and strategies. We were divided into two teams – one representing the claimant and the other one representing the respondent. After some work within each group, we conducted plenary sessions.

The workshop leaders helped throughout the group work and gave feedback after the plenary sessions. This was a great opportunity for us to interact with experienced arbitrators and to receive professional advice.
DSC00023.JPGThe first day of the academy was followed by a guided tour through the city of Cologne and dinner in a typical brewhouse called “Malzmühle”.

 

On Tuesday, the workshop continued to be well balanced between theory and practical application: Professor Berger and Oliver Marsden, a principal associate a Freshfields, tackled the oral pleading. In order to improve our own abilities, we were divided into claimants and respondents once again and discussed in the respective groups. I particularly enjoyed the mock hearings, where volunteers could deliver their opening statements. During and after the mock hearing, we received helpful feedback and suggestions for improvement from our workshop leaders.

DSC00093.JPGIn the evening one of the highlights of the Academy took place: a boat trip on the river Rhine, where we participants – students and practitioners from diverse backgrounds – enjoyed delicious food and a great time with a beautiful view of cologne while we got to know each other better.


On Wednesday, Professor Berger and Duncan Speller, a partner at Wilmer Hale, introduced us to the taking of evidence in international arbitration proceedings. We were given numerous tips and tricks for the successful analysis and processing of evidence. Subsequently, some participants had the opportunity to take part in a cross-examination. This cross-examination was especially exciting as the witnesses were played by Professor Berger himself.

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On the last day of the 16th Cologne Arbitration Academy, we had the pleasure to hear a presentation about the procedural orders and awards of an arbitration by Dr. Torsten Lörcher, a partner at CMS Hasche Sigle. Thereby we had the chance to get to know the last steps of an arbitration and learned how an arbitrator comes to his or her decision. Afterwards we met up with the Mediation-group in a huge joint session. In this joint session, Professor Berger explained the differences and similarities of Arbitration and Mediation. In the end, Professor Berger closed the Cologne Academies by handing out our certificates.


After this week we can only say that it was an amazing time. We had the chance to get to know a lot of interesting people from all over the world, learned much about the international side of the law and could even directly apply our knowledge in the interactive sessions.


Isabell Schicha, Janic M. Salcedas, Yannick Dabie