Biennial IFCAI Conference

October 24, 1997, Geneva, Switzerland


The Relationship between the Courts and the Arbitral Process
Mr. B.W. Vigrass (Chairman)
Consultant Director, London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)
(London, United Kingdom)

This morning we listened to representatives of institutions about their rules and procedures and we heard from users about their requirements. This afternoon we are turning to the national courts and their relationship to the arbitral process. We shall try to define the proper limits of judicial intervention and also the assistance which the courts can give to the arbitral process. One of the subtitles to this session is "How a-national can an international arbitration be?" I am reminded by this subtitle of the Centenary Conference of the London Court of International Arbitration in 1993, whose theme was "The Internationalization of International Arbitration." When we looked back over 100 years of arbitration and also tried to look into the future, one of the key issues identified at that Conference was the future relationship between the national courts and the arbitral process, and this is also our subject today.

We are very fortunate in having two very distinguished speakers to discuss this subject. One is the Honorable Justice Verma, the Chief Justice of India, who came over yesterday to attend this meeting and is going back tomorrow morning, so his sole purpose of being here is to talk to you, for which we are most grateful. The other is Mr. Austin Amissah, who is the President of the Appeal Court of Botswana and from whom we shall certainly hear an excellent presentation.

After a rich and varied judicial career spanning 30 years, our first speaker was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India in March of this year. When sitting as a Judge of the Supreme Court, he was in charge of the inquiry covering the circumstances surrounding the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India, which was called the Verma Commission.

I shall invite both speakers to present their papers and then we will open the session to discussion.


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