Young ICCA & CEPANI40 Skills Training Workshop: Cross-examination in International Arbitration

14 September 201809:00 - 18:00(CEST)

Post Event Report

By Flavia Marisi, Ghent University

On 14 September 2018, Young ICCA and CEPANI40 jointly organized a Skills Training Workshop on Cross-examination in International Arbitration, which was hosted by Jones Day at its Brussels offices. The Workshop was organized by a Steering Committee composed of Ms Audrey Goessens, CEPANI, Brussels; Ms Sophie Goldman, Tossens Goldman Gonne, Brussels, and CEPANI40 Co-President; Ms Sigrid Van Rompaey, Matray Matray & Hallet, Brussels, and CEPANI40 Co-President; and Mr Kevin Ongenae, Ghent University, Belgium, under the guidance of Ms Nhu-Hoang Tran Thang, LALIVE, Geneva, and Young ICCA Co-Chair, and Mr Panos Chalkias, Hanotiau & van den Berg, Brussels, and Young ICCA Global Events Director. The Workshop was generously sponsored by Jones Day, Hanotiau & van den Berg, Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick, and Quinz, and was kindly supported by ICCA.

The Workshop was structured in two parts: the morning session hosted experienced practitioners who presented and discussed the essentials of cross-examination in international arbitration, while the afternoon session featured a mock cross-examination exercise, in which participants, divided into eight teams, put their newly-learned skills to the test.

The morning panel on cross-examination of witnesses, moderated by Ms Vanessa Foncke, Jones Day, Brussels, gathered four experts in the field of international arbitration. Mr Matthias Kuscher, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Amsterdam, shared an introduction to the witness hearing process presenting the five Ws of cross-examination; Ms Michelle Glassman Bock, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale, Brussels, listed and commented on the DOs and DON'Ts of cross-examination; Mr Sean Aughey, 11KBW Chambers, London, explained how to conduct a cross-examination; and Ms Lorraine de Germiny, LALIVE, Geneva, advised the audience on the role they could play, as junior lawyers, in preparing a cross-examination.

The presentations shared real-life examples on how the speakers dealt with challenging situations that can potentially arise in a cross-examination context, and were followed by a lively discussion involving the participants. The dialogue touched upon the topics of the fundamental purpose of cross-examination, the importance of questioning whether cross-examining a certain witness would be truly useful in a certain case, the difference in ethical rules between US- and UK-trained lawyers, the use of contradicting or supporting documents, and the role of industry experts as witnesses. Before closing the session, the panellists addressed the order of questions, the value of psychology – both in maintaining a calm attitude when cross-examining, and getting to know the witness’ temperament, the function of flexibility, the emphasis produced by silence, the defences against difficult witnesses, the essence of timing, and the importance of volunteering to gain a more solid experience in cross-examination.

After the coffee break, Mr Panos Chalkias, Hanotiau & van den Berg, Brussels, announced the division of participants into eight teams of 4/5 lawyers each, while both speakers and organizers offered to coach the teams in preparation of the cross-examination exercise.

The mock cross-examination exercise took place in parallel sessions: the first Arbitral Tribunal was composed by Mr Maarten Draye, Hanotiau & van den Berg, Brussels; Ms Katherine Jonckheere, Three Crowns LLP, London; and Mr Alexander G. Leventhal, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, Paris; and the second Arbitral Tribunal was formed by Ms Nadja Al Kanawati, Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd, Zurich; Ms Valentine Chessa, CastaldiPartners, Paris; and Mr Jan Spangenberg, Manner Spangenberg, Hamburg.

The witnesses, masterfully performed by Mr Guillaume Croisant, Linklaters LLP, Brussels and London; Bruno Hardy, Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick, Brussels; Benjamin Jesuran, Hanotiau & van Berg, Brussels; and Marine Koenig, Meyer Fabre Avocats, Paris;, have tested the dexterity and preparedness of the teams before the patient ears of the Arbitral Tribunals.

At the end of each session, the Members of the Arbitral Tribunals carefully analysed the performance of the speakers of each team, assessing their level of preparation and quick thinking, providing personalized advice on how to improve their line of questioning in future occasions, and recalling the crucial points to focus on both while preparing and performing.

The Workshop ended with the closing remarks by the organizers and panellists, and marked the moment to leave for the cocktail reception at Kwint Brussels, on top of the scenic Mont des Arts.

International arbitration workshop in Brussels


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