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This document is part of the ICC Dispute Resolution Library.
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Publisher: Image of Publisher which is The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC DRL)
Type: Books
Publication Date: 24 October 2022
Language: English
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Diversity and inclusion: the long road ahead

1. Diversity in arbitration is not just an asset. It is inevitable


Diversity is inevitable. Thinking otherwise would amount to accepting that white Western men in their 60s are inherently more intelligent, capable, and more valuable to international arbitration than everyone else.

Being a no-brainer that this is not the case, we need to acknowledge a structural injustice built into the system. One that is annually reflected in the statistics that—albeit all efforts made—still show an apparent underrepresentation of women, non-whites, under 50s, and non-westerns in most of the roles in international arbitration: counsels, experts, and of course, arbitrators.

We find, however, a notable exception in arbitral institutions, which are spearheading the efforts to increase diversity and have significantly broadened it among their ranks. A clear example of this is the professional, cultural, and gender diversity of the ICC Court members and its Secretariat staff achieved during the Mourre Presidency. As phrased on the ICC webpage, this diversity reflects ‘the world-class standard and international reach of ICC arbitration'.

But institutions' efforts have proven to fall short. The big picture of international arbitration remains overwhelmingly pale, male, and stale, evolving towards equality far too slowly, with no reason to believe that the simple passing of time will do the trick. And this is something with which the arbitration community will not put up with for much longer. That is why, if we look at the road ahead, diversity in international arbitration is, indeed, inevitable.

Increasing diversity is not only an issue of fairness. It is about international practitioners and arbitrators reflecting the globalised, gender, and ethnically diverse community of arbitration users which, let us not forget, we serve.

Diversity stands at the heart of the legitimacy of arbitration as a valid dispute resolution method. And hence, the very survival of international arbitration is inevitably li

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