On Thursday, June 19, 2013 I participated in an election meeting of the Russian Arbitration Association (Pоссийская Арбитражная Ассоциация). This newly founded organization aims to develop arbitration in Russia. The meeting took place at the Metropol Hotel in Moscow. The hotel, worth a mention in itself, is located on Theatre Square (next to the Bolshoi Theatre) and is an example of a beautifully restored Art Nouveau building. The meeting was attended primarily by lawyers engaged in arbitration in Russia, but also by foreign lawyers with an interest in the country. A Board, Nominating Committee and Auditing Committee were elected at the meeting.
So why did I attend? Firstly, the Chairman of the Association, Vladimir Khavalei, invited me. Secondly, this invitation correlated well with my thoughts on arbitration in Poland. I have heard complaints from various quarters about Polish lawyers not being appointed as arbitrators in international arbitrations, and that arbitration is not taking place in Poland. This is true. In 2012, 22 parties listed as Polish entities took part in disputes before the ICC Court. In the same period, only seven Poles were arbitrators in the ICC Court. We are not seen at international arbitration events. We do not exist in the global exchange of ideas on arbitration in the form of publications. Perhaps the picture is not so black. After all, significant arbitration events are held in Poland, contacts exist with the arbitration environment in the Ukraine and in the Czech Republic, and in this country quite a lot is published about arbitration. But it is still not enough.
The same is true in many countries of the region. The ICC registered 23 Russian entities as parties to arbitration, while having only five arbitrators from Russia – so even fewer than in our country. Russia is known for disputes amounting to billions (e.g. the Yukos case), but the potential for the development of arbitration is huge and unfulfilled. The same does not necessarily apply to matters where politics are involved. With the rapid economic development of Russia, the country’s participation in international arbitration in relation to the scale of the economy is insignificant. Almost certainly, the problems faced by arbitration in Poland and Russia are different. This does not change the fact that the Polish problem can be better understood and evaluated from the perspective of Moscow, and the Russian problem – from Warsaw. And this does not only apply to arbitration. Mostly it has to do with understanding the problems faced by the clients of arbitration – businesses. Our common history (regardless of how it is judged), cultural similarities (regardless of whether we want to see them) and linguistic proximity (regardless of whether Russian was compulsory at school – or not) can help us. We can actively cooperate in the promotion of our arbitration institutions and our arbitrators in international forums. I am hoping to see Poles in Russian arbitration institutions, and vice versa. Vladimir Khvalei is a member of the Polish Arbitration Association, while I belong to the Russian Arbitration Association. I would like to see similar relationships established with other countries in our region. There is no other way than to start from the ground up. This was the reason why the Russian Arbitration Association was established. Nobody will do the domestic work in Russia for the Russians, and nor for us in Poland, but surely we could help each other.
Autor Maciej Jamka