California Supreme Court announces formation of International Commercial Arbitration Working Group

By John Severance | Mar 28, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court recently announced the creation of a International Commercial Arbitration Working Group.

Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye made the announcement in a news release in February.

With the new group, the court wants “to study the possibility of allowing foreign and out-of-state attorneys to represent parties in international commercial arbitrations situated in California,” according to the news release.

One of the tasks for the working group will be to submit a report that would help the court in assessing whether to allow foreign and out-of-state attorneys to take part in such arbitrations. The report would include analysis of the relevant state laws and regulations that have an effect on the issue.

In addition, the court wants the report to identify issues and make recommendations for one or more regulatory options that might be appropriate on the topic, and that the report identify the benefits and drawbacks of each recommended option.

Serving as chair of the group is Daniel Kolkey, a partner of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher since 2003 who has served as an associate justice on the California Court of Appeal, 3rd Appellate District, and as a counsel to the governor, according to his bio page on his firm's website.

Kolkey is also the chair of his firm's California Appellate Law Practice Group, as well as a member both of the firm's national appellate and constitutional-law practice group and the litigation department.

Members of the group include Fred Bennett, Cedric Chao, Maria Chedid, Professor Jeffrey Dasteel, Sally Harpole, Professor Robert Lutz, Steve Smith, and Professor Abraham Sofaer. Saul Bercovitch will be the group's State Bar of California liaison, while Carin Fujisaki will be the Supreme Court liaison, according to the news release.

According to a Georgetown legal guide, international commercial arbitration is “an alternative method of resolving disputes arising out of commercial transactions between private parties across national borders that allows the parties to avoid litigation in national courts.”

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