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Training on International Arbitration Law

September 5, 2012
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On 14 July 2012, the Institute of Law (IoL) at Birzeit University (BZU) held a training workshop on “International Arbitration Law and Procedures and Skills for Participating in other International Arbitrations.” The training is part of a Specialized Professional Diploma Program in Legal Skills that seeks to qualify and train legal advisors at the Ministry of Justice, develop their professional capacities, and help them carry out assigned functions effectively and efficiently.


The training covered a range of subjects, including overview of the structure of international arbitration, choice-of-law and conflict-of-laws issues as well as arbitration agreements, arbitral jurisdiction, and the doctrine of competence-competence. It further considered the role of an arbitral institution and comparison to local and international arbitral rules, standards and procedures applicable to selecting and challenging arbitrators as well as seeking interim relief and procedures in arbitral hearings.

The trainers used mock case studies, mock recorded scenes, and hands-on role playing to focus on a range of skills including: professional language training for non-native English speakers (including specialized international arbitration terminology), developing a case strategy, research and written advocacy skills, pre-hearing case strategy and arguing procedural issues, preparing witness statements, the use and development of expert witness testimony, counsel ethics, oral advocacy and opening statements, cross-examination of witnesses, responding to special advocacy challenges—such as aggressive opposing counsel, client misconduct, a hostile arbitrator, travel obstacles, and preparing closing statements and post-hearing submissions.




The training was conducted by an eminent panel of local and international experts. The panel included Prof. Catherine Rogers, from the Faculty of Penn State Law and Associate Reporter for the American Law Institute’s new Restatement of the Law (Third) of International Commercial Arbitration along with Yousef Aftab, a principal at Dan Tan Law, an International Arbitration and Litigation Boutique based in New York, who has extensive international arbitration and commercial litigation experience, acquired at prominent firms in New York and Toronto. Also on the panel was Lubnah Katbeh, co-founder and managing partner of Equity Group, a leading Palestinian law firm. Katbeh has been working as a practicing lawyer in Palestine for 15 years, particularly in areas of litigation, contracts and in the field of business, financial and commercial law.

It should be noted that as part of the IoL’s strategic partnership with the Ministry of Justice, the Institute seeks to implement a number of training programs, including the Specialized Diploma Program in Legislative Drafting and the Specialized Diploma in Legal Skills. Both programs target legal advisors and civil servants who provide professional legal services.

The Specialized Professional Diploma in Legal Skills is carried out by the IoL at BZU in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, and funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).


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