International arbitration proceedings involving parties from Latin America are gaining in importance or are at least drawing significant attention. The number of International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”) arbitration proceedings involving parties from Latin America, which are in part conducted in Spanish, has increased accordingly. German parties are also involved in these proceedings. In addition, south of the “Tortilla Curtain,“ national and international arbitration has increasingly established itself as an alternative form of dispute resolution. This is reflected in the legislation of an increasing number of states where new arbitration laws have been, and are being promulgated. A similar upturn appears to be occurring in Spain, where the Club Español de Arbitraje has set itself the task of promoting national, and in particular Latin American, arbitration and has ensured official support for this project.
This development has been taken note of in European centers of arbitration, such as Paris or London, with appropriate reactions, whereas Germany has taken a fairly passive stance. In any case there are no coordinated activities related to the developments described, although German jurisprudence has an excellent reputation in both Spain and Latin America which could also make itself felt in the area of arbitration. Moreover, most of the countries concerned, including Germany, have based their legislation on the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration drafted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and are following a Continental European approach in procedural law, although this is more in the tradition of the French Code de Procedure Civile.
The objective of DIS IberoAmericana is to increase the visibility of Germany as a potential place of international arbitration for Spanish speaking countries. The aim is to further encourage the exchange of expertise and experience between German, Spanish and Latin American arbitration practitioners to make clear what contributions can be made by German experience to the development of arbitration in Latin America based on a transfer of know-how and services in arbitration proceedings. However, the objective is relatively modest, because only a contribution in addition to contributions from others can realistically be sought.
In order to pursue the objective, a network of interested members, initially coordinated by Erik Schäfer and Dr. Patricia Nacimiento, is to be established as part of the statutory purposes of DIS in a continuous and close coordination process with its management and the board of DIS IberoAmericana. This network should be opened to all interested DIS members who wish to play an active role, in particular those who speak Spanish and/or have a strong connection with Latin America. This would specifically extend to Spanish or Mexican members who could be expected to welcome such an initiative.
By creating such a network supported by a large number of active members, concentrated activities could be undertaken which could otherwise not be undertaken given the other important objectives pursued by DIS and which will do justice to the importance of the Spanish speaking market.
The network of DIS IberoAmericana could provide the following:
- a forum or “clearing house“ for German companies through which general information regarding arbitration issues in Spain and Latin American countries could be obtained;
- publications on current arbitration subjects in German, Spanish and Latin American legal journals;
- maintaining contacts with other similar groups, such as the Club Español de Arbitraje or the ICC Latin American Group;
- invite target groups in Spanish speaking countries to DIS events, which could also be organized jointly with other organizations;
- participation by members of DIS IberoAmericana in congresses, seminars, etc. held in Spanish speaking countries aimed at promoting DIS and its events. Whenever members of the DIS network make a speech at such an event, they could do so expressly as a member of DIS.