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The World’s First Global Tribunal Secretary Platform: Unlocking New Collaboration Opportunities between Arbitrators and Tribunal Secretaries

A. Petti & D.Schramm

Through a joint initiative carried out by the Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA) and Jus Mundi’s Jus Connect, in March 2024, the global arbitration community received the world’s first Tribunal Secretary Platform. This innovative tool aids arbitrators in sourcing external tribunal secretaries for case-specific collaborations and provides a range of related resources for practitioners. The non-profit platform has quickly and uniquely garnered support from numerous arbitral organizations across all continents (twenty-one and counting!) and many esteemed senior arbitration practitioners worldwide.

As evidenced in recent years, the landscape of international arbitration practice is evolving. Traditionally dominated by arbitration teams in large law firms, there has been a substantial shift towards smaller arbitration boutiques and independent arbitrators. This is further compounded by the fact that many skilled practitioners are choosing to join smaller firms or go independent early in their careers. While smaller practices typically offer freedom from conflicts of interest, they frequently lack the necessary infrastructure or networking opportunities to facilitate collaborations between arbitrators and tribunal secretaries.

Responding to this changing environment, ASA sought to provide a better way for arbitrators and tribunal secretaries globally to connect and cooperate independently. ASA has a strong focus on thought leadership and the promotion of talent, and keeps working hard to offer new flexible solutions in a changing business and arbitration environment, for the benefit of users and the international arbitration community worldwide (for example: as recently shown by the Arbitration Toolbox by ASA). The Tribunal Secretary Platform continues this tradition and aligns directly with ASA’s mission by aiding arbitrators, promoting diversity and transparency, and creating visibility and opportunities for younger practitioners.

Led on behalf of ASA by Dorothee Schramm (Geneva), the Project Team comprised of Lindsay Gastrell (New York), Angelina Petti (Zurich), Andrew Pullen (Singapore), Peter Thorp (Paris), and Baiju Vasani (London). ASA elected to partner with Jus Mundi for the technical implementation of the Tribunal Secretary Platform, merging the Project Team’s global arbitration expertise with Jus Mundi’s data-driven people platform, Jus Connect. Through said partnership, the free content on the Tribunal Secretary Platform is enriched by direct access to AI-powered information, such as awards or publications in which a tribunal secretary was involved.

In its application, the Tribunal Secretary Platform facilitates the search for suitable tribunal secretaries by allowing arbitrators to choose the criteria the tribunal secretary needs to fulfil, such as bar admission, location, and languages, leading to a tailored list of candidates. This advanced filter and search functionality – which is free for both arbitrators and tribunal secretaries – ensures that tribunal secretary profiles are easily visible, searchable, and accessible to arbitrators. To be listed as a tribunal secretary on the Tribunal Secretary Platform, candidates must provide reference letters demonstrating fulfillment of the platform’s experience requirements and confirm their ability to work with external arbitrators.

Additionally, mindful of ongoing debates surrounding the use of tribunal secretaries and their assigned tasks, the Tribunal Secretary Platform also offers templates and notes sourced from various authorities, including arbitral institutions. These ASA templates – covering topics such as remuneration, tasks, independence and impartiality, template agreements and procedural orders – aid in organizing discussions and appointment procedures, promoting clarity, transparency, and efficiency throughout the arbitration process.

The successful launch of the Tribunal Secretary Platform is a welcome addition to the practice and has the potential to transform how arbitrators discover candidates for tribunal secretary roles, opening up new possibilities and opportunities for a diverse pool of talented practitioners worldwide.

Our Project Advisors:

Our Supporting Organisations:

  • Mohamed Abdel Wahab
  • Funke Adekoya
  • Stanimir Alexandrov
  • Chiann Bao
  • John Fellas
  • Karl Hennessee
  • Marc Henry
  • Michael Hwang
  • Doug Jones
  • Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler
  • Christoph Liebscher
  • Steven Lim
  • Yoshimi Ohara
  • Emilia Onyema
  • Michael Schneider
  • Edna Sussman
  • Annet van Hooft
  • Georg von Segesser
  • Anish Wadia
  • Eduardo Zuleta
  • ACICA (Australia)
  • CBAr (Brazil)
  • CAM-CCBC (Brazil)
  • CAM-Milan (Italy)
  • CEPANI (Belgium)
  • CEIA (Spain)
  • CIArb (UK)
  • CRCICA (Egypt)
  • DIAC (Dubai)
  • HKIAC (Hong Kong)
  • JAMS (US)
  • KCAB International (Korea)
  • KIAC (Rwanda)
  • MCIA (India)
  • NAI (Netherlands)
  • SCC (Sweden)
  • SVAMC (US)
  • Swiss Arbitration Centre (Switzerland)
  • VIAC (Austria)
  • WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre (Switzerland)