Tina Cicchetti, a partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP and member of the firm’s litigation and dispute resolution group, will serve two years as the committee’s vice chairwoman, before becoming the committee’s chairwoman.
Cicchetti says the mission of the committee is to expand the use of international arbitration by Canadian business and to ensure practitioners are knowledgeable and can provide good service to Canadian companies.
“Canada, for being a small arbitration market and a small economy, relatively speaking, has a number of practitioners who are really highly regarded internationally,” she says.
Cicchetti says the focus of work done by Canadian members is commercial arbitration between parties, although it does do a fair amount of work related to administering investor state disputes, especially when it comes to contractual disputes involving state-owned entities with investors or contractual parties.
Current issues facing the committee include the importance of cybersecurity and proposed solutions, such as the use of secure sites for transferring materials.
“I think it’s a hot issue because it’s become an issue more widely,” says Cicchetti.
“One of the perceived benefits of arbitration is the fact that it’s private and often confidential, so you’re going to the extent of choosing a dispute resolution procedure that is confidential and then you are managing it in a way that potentially exposes it to hacking, for example, because a lot of the stuff is high value [and] often would be of interest to business rivals, state entities, other things.
“You can imagine a situation where that information would be targeted.”
The committee is also waiting on provincial governments across Canada to update international arbitration statutes.
“That’s one of the things we’re working on, is making sure that those statutes get updated, because those statutes affect any arbitration seated within the various jurisdictions,” she says.
Cicchetti was elected to the role in October and assumed the position Oct. 15.
The committee’s current chairman is Stephen Drymer at Woods LLP in Montreal.
Cicchetti says one of her goals in this role will be to expand membership of the committee in Western Canada.
“I think this committee, it’s fair to say, represents the most active international arbitration practitioners in Canada, so we have a good cross-section of academics, practitioners, counsel and arbitrators and some good young members that have come up through YCAP, which is the Young Canadian Arbitration Practitioners,” says Cicchetti.
She says there are a few core firms with active international arbitration practices in Canada, and a number of other firms “that just have them crop up because they have clients who happen to have an international arbitration.”
In 2015, 40 Canadians were arbitrators with ICC International Court of Arbitration.
Most of the committee’s members are litigators, says Cicchetti, who have an interest or some experience in international arbitration. There are also members who are solicitors who do international deals and cross-border transactions, she says, or former in-house counsel who are current or past users of arbitration.
“Our goal is to make sure that everybody [who] is doing this work understands the full advantages of it and does a good job for their client,” she says.