Jurisdictional choices in times of trouble

S1416 Spring Conference button
  • Location: Paris, France
  • Date: 23/05/2014
  • Event Type: Conference
  • Language: English and French with simultaneous interpretation

ICC Institute of World Business Law Conference


The choice of jurisdiction is undoubtedly one of the most important provisions of a contract. Indeed this clause determines the judicial Court, and its rules of conflict, or the arbitral tribunal, whose role will be to give effect to the parties' agreement on the substance and on the applicable law. Yet, the jurisdiction clause is currently in a state! Suffice that it be written in asymmetrical terms or perceived as such by the parties for some Courts to declare it unenforceable or annul it outright on the grounds that it is potestative, contrary to the principle of equal treatment of the parties or to the European law on jurisdiction. Ruling in identical circumstances, other courts have validated it without restriction!

Furthermore, what of the applicable law to the jurisdictional clause? In the Sulamerica decision, English courts operated a noteworthy reversal of their own precedent: the law governing the contract is no longer presumed to apply to the jurisdiction clause therein stipulated; a specific conflict of law approach must be applied. But what occurs in countries where the validity of the jurisdiction clause is determined pursuant to a substantive approach rather than one of conflict of laws? For its part, EU Brussels regulation 1(bis) chooses to revive the debate on the outreach of the clause. But is there not a risk that the ratification by Europe, and most likely the United States, of The Hague Convention on choice of court agreements will create a conflict with the current substantive law and increase ex ante uncertainty?

To examine these questions of major importance for international contracts, corporate counsel, academics, lawyers and arbitrators from both sides of the Atlantic will take part in an unprecedented gathering to address the challenges facing the jurisdiction clause, while comparing syndromes and proposed solutions in both arbitration and court proceedings.

The working languages of this conference will be English and French with simultaneous translation.

The ICC Institute of World Business Law

The ICC Institute of World Business Law acts as a think-tank working closely with the ICC International Court of Arbitration.

The council is composed of 37 members of 21 nationalities, all experienced professionals or academics in international business law or international commercial arbitration.

Created over 30 years ago, the Institute provides research, training and information to the legal professional concerned with the development of international business law.

In line with its philosophy of excellence, it proposes publications, trainings and conferences on different topics related to international business law.

Who should attend?

All professionals involved in international trade and dispute resolution: lawyers, arbitrators, magistrates, academics and corporate counsel.

Morning (09.30-13.00)

Welcoming remarks


Session I – Asymmetrical choices

The validity of unilateral optional clauses

  • The resulting legal uncertainty
  • Study of the causes, implications and solutions
  • Is the situation the same if the option reserves the right to resolve disputes via recourse to an arbitral tribunal rather than courts?

Questions – Discussion

The limits to the parties’ free choice of jurisdiction

  • Connection of the contract to a specific country
  • Other formal requirements for the validity of jurisdictional choices (incorporation by reference, etc)
  • News on the doctrine of forum non conveniens
  • Debate on The Hague Convention on exclusive choice of court agreements: less favourable than the Brussels 1 bis Regulation but tendancy to favor relations with third parties

Questions – Discussion

Disparities in the choice of arbitrators

Questions – Discussion

13.00-14.30 Lunch

Afternoon (14.30-17.45)

Session II - The influence of national laws on jurisdictional choices

Applicable law: Sulamerica and Arsanovia–is there a contrast between these two English cases and national laws opting for a substantive approach (rather than a conflicting approach) to determine the validity of the arbitration clause?

Debate on Article 25 of the Brussels 1 bis Regulation on the validity of the jurisdiction clause in substance (cf recital 20): as in Sulamerica, the DIP of the chosen court is applied, not the law governing the contract.

Questions – Discussion

The law applicable to the arbitrability of the dispute

Questions – Discussion

Choice of a tribunal and lis pendens: the conflict between the EU Brussels Regulation and other legislations – which solutions

What are the consequences of the ratification of The Hague Convention on the choice of court?

Questions – Discussion


Closing remarks

Cocktail reception

Chairman of the ICC Institute of World Business Law

Yves Derains, Founding Partner, Derains & Gharavi, France; Former Secretary General, ICC International Court of Arbitration

Co-Chairmen of the 2014 ICC Institute Spring Conference

Georges Affaki, Chairman of the Legal Committee of the ICC Banking Commission; Associate Professor, University Paris II, France; Council Member, ICC Institute of World Business Law

Horacio Grigera Naón, Independent Arbitrator, United States; Former Secretary General, ICC International Court of Arbitration; Council Member, ICC Institute of World Business Law


Marie-Elodie Ancel, Professor of Law, University Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne (UPEC), France

Anton Asoskov, Lecturer, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russian Federation

Marie Berard, Partner, Clifford Chance LLP, United Kingdom

Carlos Alberto Carmona, Partner, Marques Rosado Toledo Cesar & Carmona - Advogados, Brazil; Professor of Civil Procedure Law, São Paulo University

Gilles Cuniberti, Professor of Private International Law and Comparative Law, University of Luxembourg

Diego Fernández Arroyo, Professor, Sciences Po Law School, France

Julian D. M. Lew, QC, Professor and Head, School of International Arbitration, Queen Mary, University of London; Barrister, 20 Essex Street Chambers, United Kingdom; Council Member, ICC Institute of World Business Law

Eric Loquin, Professor, University of Burgundy, France; Honorary Dean, Law Faculty of Dijon

Pierre Mayer, Partner, Dechert LLP, France; Professor Emeritus, University Paris I; Council Member, ICC Institute of World Business Law

Horacia Muir-Watt, Professor of Law, Law School, Sciences Po Paris, France

Arnaud Nuyts, Partner, Liedekerke, Belgium; Professor, University of Brussels (ULB)

Paolo-Michele Patocchi, Partner, Patocchi & Marzolini, Switzerland

Khawar Qureshi QC, Head of Chambers, McNair Chambers, United Kingdom and Qatar

Alan Rau, Mark G. & Judy G. Yudof Chair in Law, University of Texas at Austin School of Law, United States

Maxi Scherer, Senior Lecturer, School of International Arbitration, Queen Mary, University of London; Special Counsel, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP, United Kingdom

François-Xavier Train, Professor of Law, University Paris 10, France

Laurence Usunier, Professor, University Paris 13, France

Hans van Houtte, President, Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, The Hague; Professor, University of Louvain (KULeuven), Belgium

Logistical notes


Friday 23 May 2014


ICC Headquarters

33-43 avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris, France

Registration fees

The registration fee includes all conference documentation, coffee breaks, lunch and cocktail reception. Travel and hotel expenses are not included.

ICC Members: 625€* (750€ incl. VAT)

Non-Members: 710€* (852€ incl. VAT)

*excl. VAT 20%. As of 2011, ICC Services must set its prices to include the VAT pursuant to Article 53 of the European Directive 2006-112CE.

Please note that you can request a reimbursement of the VAT through your local tax administration. (If you are not a member of the EU, you must obtain a French tax representative in order to receive the VAT reimbursement.)

To request a VAT refund:

- Foreign companies established in another member country of the European Union should consult the VAT Refund Web Portal of the General Directorate of Taxes in their country

- Foreign companies established outside the European Union should fill in form n° 3559 SD from the Direction Générale des Finances Publiques in France

For more information, please consult the following website: http://www2.impots.gouv.fr/dresg/pas-etb-stable/rembt-tva.htm

How to register

Easier and faster: register online(secured payment by credit card)
Or return the registration form indicating method of payment to:
E-mail: events@iccwbo.org
Tel: +33 1 49 53 28 67
Fax: +33 1 49 53 30 30
Post: ICC Services, Training and Conferences, 33-43 Av. du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris

Registration will be confirmed upon receipt of the registration form and registration fees.
To benefit from early bird rates, please note that ICC Services must receive the payment before the deadline.

Travel and accommodation

Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements and hotel reservations. A list of hotels in Paris, with which ICC has negotiated preferential room rates, will be sent to you upon receipt of the registration form.

We are able to dispatch visa invitation letters to support your visa application only after receipt of your registration form and full payment of your registration fees.

Working languages

English and French.

Simultaneous interpretation will be provided.

Credits and hours

ICC Training and Conferences is eligible for CLE credit under New York's approved jurisdiction procedures, is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider and is a Solicitors Regulation Authority and General Council of the Bar of England and Wales External CPD Course Provider. French bars: This conference has been sent for CNB approval. Lawyers practising in France may apply for the reimbursement of this course before the FIFPL (Fonds Interprofessionnel de Formation des Professionnels Libéraux), subject to terms and conditions.

Cancellation policy

50% of the registration fee will be refunded if notice of cancellation is received in writing before 25 April 2014. Cancellations after this date are not refundable. Subject to agreement from ICC Training and Conferences prior to the event, the registration may be transferred to another person from the same company or organization at no extra charge. Updated registration information will be required.

Please note that ICC Services reserves the right to cancel this event or to make minor alterations to the content and timing of the programme or to the identity of the speakers. In the unlikely event of cancellation, delegates will be offered a full refund. ICC Services will not, however, be held responsible for any related expense incurred by the participant.


The photos and audiovisual recordings taken at this meeting/event may be used and published by ICC, its subsidiaries or affiliates, for informational or promotional purposes in printed materials or online, including on ICC websites and in social media. Participation in the meeting/event implies agreement to such use of photos or audiovisual recordings in which the participant may appear unless ICC Services receives written notification to the contrary.

Sponsorship opportunities

This conference offers you an unrivalled opportunity to build worldwide partnerships. Partnering will get you visibility with the major decision makers in global business and/or within the international arbitration network.

For further information, please read our sponsorship opportunities document or contact Ms Rodriguez at: luz.rodriguez@iccwbo.org

Programme and logistics:

Ewa Jablonska, Project Officer, Email Ewa Jablonska, Tel: +33 1 49 53 30 42

Registration issues:

Sylvette Abenzoar, Sales Administrator, Email Sylvette Abenzoar, Tel: + 33 1 49 53 28 67


Luz Rodriguez, Global Partnerships Manager, Email Luz Rodriguez, Tel: + 33 1 49 53 28 42

Download Document(s)

Event registration fees

ICC Members €625

(750€ incl. VAT)

Non-Members €710

(852€ incl. VAT)

Hours and credits

  • CLE credits7

  • MCLE credits6

  • CPD hours, awaiting approval6

  • CNB hours, awaiting approval6

Related photos

Related video

Jurisdictional Choices in Times of Trouble