CAW 2022

“Colombo Arbitration Week featured experts in Arbitration and Mediation to discuss the use of Mediation in Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Multi-tiered Dispute Resolution Clauses in Construction Disputes, The inaugural Colombo Arbitration Week was held in 2022 in an attempt to bring together local and international stakeholders involved in Alternative Dispute Resolution to meet, discuss, and share perspective and knowledge on what the future of ADR in Sri Lanka would look like. the proposed Arbitration Act for Sri Lanka, a policy level discussion on Arbitrating IP, and a dedicated session for NextGen practitioners, highlighting opportunities for training and experience. The week-long event was hosted in partnership with the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and the Colombo International Dispute Resolution Centre (CIDRC), and was supported by Afridi & Angell, UAE; Fangda Partners, Hong Kong, the Asian Institute of Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre (AIADR) and Arbitration Chambers, Singapore, along with several other firms and corporates.”









Day 01

Opening Remarks

04.00 PM to 04.20 PM

Panel Discussion

04.20 PM to 07.00 PM

“Proposed Arbitration Act: A Fresh Start for Sri Lanka?”

A breakdown of the key features of the proposed Arbitration Act, proposed infrastructure reforms, and what Sri Lanka would need, to make her a leading jurisdiction for ADR in Asia.

Hon. Justice Saleem Marsoof
Presidents Counsel,
Judge of the Supreme Court, Fiji
Hon. Justice Arjuna Obeyesekere
Judge of the Supreme Court,
Sri Lanka
Dr. Asanga Gunawansa
Lead Counsel, Colombo Law Alliance
Dr. Romesh Weeramantry
Senior Consultant, Clifford Chance
Judith Knieper
Legal Officer, UNCITRAL
Shanaka Cooray

Day 02

Panel Discussion

05.30 PM to 07.30 PM

“Multi-tiered Dispute Resolution Clauses in Construction Disputes”

Multi-tiered dispute resolution clauses are a common feature of construction contracts. The typical pre-arbitration (or pre-litigation) steps include a period of amicable settlement, referral to a committee comprising the senior management of both parties, and adjudication before independent third parties which may be binding or non -binding. Recent developments in Sri Lanka, where only engineers may be allowed to sit as adjudicators, have warranted a discussion to evaluate the impact of such a policy decision on contractors, developers, and homeowners alike

Datuk Prof. Sundra Rajoo
Former Director AIAC
and President AIADR
Mr. Avindra Rodrigo
President's Counsel
Dr. Asanga Gunawansa
Lead Counsel, Colombo Law Alliance
Mohammed Talib
Partner, Pinsent Masons, Hong Kong
Suren De Silva
Counsel, D.L.&F De Saram

Day 03

Panel Discussion

05.30 PM to 07.30 PM

“Navigating Interim and Emergency Relief in Arbitration”

The availability and handling of interim measures in international commercial arbitration has become one of the main issues in developing a legal setup for arbitration. Countries have taken varied approaches in answering the question of how much power is too much power in the context of interim measures. Certain jurisdictions have accorded only to courts the authority to grant interim measures, while others have favored the tribunal instead. Some jurisdictions have attempted to strike a balance, and Sri Lanka too has followed suit as evidenced in the proposed Arbitration Act, the provisions of which have been inspired by that of Hong Kong and Singapore, both being jurisdictions that have been repeatedly ranked as preferred arbitral seats.

Mr. Romesh de Silva
President's Counsel
Dr. Harsha Cabral
President's Counsel
Ms. Olga Boltenko
Partner, Fangda Partners
Mr. Harprabdeep Singh
Alan Leong SC’s Chambers
Mr. Aruna de Silva
Counsel, F J & G De Saram

Day 04

Panel Discussion

03.30 PM to 05.30 PM

“Real scope for investor-state mediation in our BIT’s?”

Sri Lanka is priming itself to boost investor confidence and attract more FDI in upcoming years to accelerate economic growth. One of the key pillars in making that pursuit a reality is ensuring the existence of robust frameworks for investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). Equally important is building up a talent pool that possesses world-class expertise on this area of law. To make the most of opportunities and overcome challenges, Sri Lanka could look to other jurisdictions and organizations with international impact, such as the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). What are the takeaways from their experience, and how can Sri Lanka set itself apart from fierce competitors?

Prof. Lawrence Boo
Head, The Arbitration Chambers
James Claxton
Mediator, Arbitrator, and
Associate Professor of Waseda University
Mr. Nirmalan Wigneswaran
Deputy Solicitor General of Sri Lanka
Mr. Mahdev Mohan
Consultant, Simha Law
Ms. Dilumi de Alwis

Panel Discussion

05.30 PM to 07.30 PM

“Is Sri Lanka falling behind on arbitrating IP?”

Traditionally, disputes concerning IP rights are mainly heard before national courts. Nevertheless, in recent years there has been a significant shift towards arbitration. For example, the number of cases decided under the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Rules is constantly increasing and the number of specific IP-related arbitral institutions is rising as well. This can be partially attributed to the territorially limited scope of state court proceedings that no longer meet the requirements of current international economic processes. The move towards arbitration is a logical shift because, arbitration is especially suitable as a more effective process in resolving IP disputes. Arbitration is a confidential proceeding, which is particularly advantageous for IP cases owing to the sensitive nature of the data involved. In addition, specialist knowledge is often required to resolve technical disputes efficiently, a difficulty that can be addressed by appointing suitably qualified arbitrators. There are crucial questions we must ask with regards to the future of arbitration and its role in IP dispute resolution. What do trends show and where are arbitration professionals focusing their efforts? Can arbitration keep pace with innovation and technological advancements? What advantages will we see in arbitration compared to other methods of dispute resolution? What does the future hold for IP arbitration?

Mr. Chandaka Jayasundera
President's Counsel
Mr. Kartikey Mahajan
Partner, Khaitan & Co, Singapore
Mr. Shanaka Cooray
Attorney-At-Law, MCIArb
Dr. Milhan Ikram Mohamed

Day 05

Panel Discussion

02.30 PM to 04.30 PM

“ADR Infrastructure and the Role of NextGen in ADR:Do We Have What It Takes?”

For Sri Lanka to emerge as a competitive and desired arbitral seat, two key areas of focus would be – its infrastructure and people. For parties to actively pick Sri Lanka as a seat, and for it to keep pace with rapid developments in this sphere, not only would its infrastructure (both physical and virtual) have to be on par with other seats, but it must also have a large pool of legal practitioners well-trained in ADR, who could be picked as arbitrators, counsel, or expert witnesses. With an eye to the future, this panel discussion focuses on the development of ADR infrastructure and the role of up-and-coming, next-generation practitioners, and the opportunities that await them in ADR.

Prof. Rajesh Sharma
Senior Lecturer, RMIT University
Ms. Shehara Varia
Partner, F J & G De Saram,
Director, ADR Centre Sri Lanka
Mr. Chathura Randeniya
Partner, Afridi & Angell
Ms. Nirusha Rantnatunga
Partner, Nithya Partners
Mr. Shamir Zavahir


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