The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the world’s leading arbitral institution and the institutional representative of more than 45 million businesses worldwide, has elected Claudia Salomon as the first ever woman president of the ICC International Court of Arbitration (ICC Court). The Global Arbitration Review presented the ICC Court with its “Best Development in International Arbitration” award for electing Salomon to the post. Previous Global Arbitration Review awards for Best Development in International Arbitration went to the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations in 2020 and the African Arbitration Association in 2019.
Salomon’s election as president of the ICC Court follows on several other women attaining prominent positions in international organizations over the past few years. In September 2019, Kristalina Georgieva was appointed managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and in March 2021, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala became the first female (and African) director-general of the World Trade Organization. The online dashboard of the New York University Center on International Cooperation, which has tracked diversity in United Nations senior leadership appointments since 1995, shows a marked increase in women holding senior positions in the United Nations since Secretary-General António Guterres instituted his Gender Parity Strategy in 2017.
To become president, Salomon was formally elected in June 2021 by the 195-member ICC World Council, which is similar to a general assembly of an international organization but composed of business executives. In addition to Salomon’s election, the newly elected vice-presidents, members, and alternate members of the ICC Court make it the most gender and geographically diverse in the court’s history.
The ICC’s Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Services
While the 2020 ICC Dispute Resolution Statistics are yet to be published, preliminary figures indicate a record number of cases being brought under the ICC Rules of Arbitration, as well as requests for mediation, expert appraisal, dispute boards, and dispute resolution involving trade-finance-related instruments. The ICC also recently updated its Rules of Arbitration, effective January 1, 2021.
The ICC, Diversity, and the COVID-19 Pandemic
In her acceptance speech, Salomon noted that “[d]iversity is fundamental to the legitimacy of international arbitration. It ensures we reflect the entire global business community and their values. From SMEs to multinationals, we want people to see ICC as an essential partner – an institution that can help get them get out of a crisis and back to business.”
The ICC’s secretary general, John Denton, has also recently underlined the potential role of the ICC as an essential partner in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the business case for investing in a major collaborative effort to vaccinate the world—and get back to business.