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14 November, 2019

Scottish Arbitration Centre holds annual training day

The Scottish Arbitration Centre held its annual arbitrator training day in Edinburgh on 7 November, which featured Ampersand’s Usman Tariq.

The event, which was sponsored by FTI Consulting, saw delegates from various professions attend, with speakers including Sir David Edward QC, Honorary President of the Centre; Lindy Paterson QC, Chair of Domestic Subcommittee of Centre’s Arbitral Appointment Committee and Barrister at 39 Essex Chambers; Leigh Herd, Honorary Secretary of CIArb Scottish Branch; Craig Tevendale, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills; and Fiona Menzies, Business and Development Manager at the Centre.

The focus for the afternoon workshops was intellectual property disputes, delivered by John Mackenzie, Partner, Shepherd and Wedderburn, and Usman Tariq, Advocate at Ampersand Advocates.  They said:

“We were delighted to deliver a workshop at the Scottish Arbitration Centre’s Annual Arbitrator Training Day to promote the use of arbitration in IP / IT disputes.

While IP disputes have traditionally been litigated in the courts, there is increasing use of arbitration for IP disputes around the world. There are several advantages of arbitrating IP disputes in Scotland which will appeal to both Scottish and international businesses.

Confidentiality and the need for an early decision from an informed decision-maker can be of paramount importance to businesses, particularly in the fast-moving world of technology. Arbitration will appeal to businesses as they can resolve their dispute without fear of putting commercially sensitive material in the public domain which can happen in court proceedings. In contrast to the trend in England, the parties retain absolute anonymity in Scotland even if court proceedings follow the arbitration. Arbitration can offer the parties control over the procedure and an earlier decision than in the court process together with extremely limited rights of appeal which provides the parties more certainty about the duration of the process and finality in the dispute. The parties also have the autonomy to choose their decision-maker and can appoint an arbitrator with the necessary expertise and qualifications for their dispute. If parties choose to arbitrate, most of the remedies that are available in court proceedings will be available to the arbitrator and the parties also retain the right to seek interim orders, such as interim interdict (an interim injunction), by making an application to the court at any time during the arbitration process. All of these factors will appeal to businesses as well as third party funders. In addition, arbitration can be particularly effective for resolving international IP disputes as it can avoid multi-jurisdictional litigation and arbitral awards can be enforced around the world.

Whilst not every IP case will be suitable for arbitration, many disputes are suitable and advisers are encouraged to consider whether arbitration offers their clients the best prospects of an efficient and beneficial outcome to their disputes.”

Andrew Mackenzie, Chief Executive of the Centre, who chaired the event, said:

“We are delighted to have hosted another successful arbitrator training day.  I am particularly pleased that we continue to attract a mix of professionals to our annual event, with advocates, solicitors and surveyors exchanging experiences in best practice.

It was particularly valuable to explore the advantages of arbitrating IP disputes in Scotland, and I am grateful to John and Usman for all their input with the event.  Scotland’s arbitration system has provision for breach of confidence and also anonymity for parties in respect to any reference to our Court, meaning that sensitive disputes that are subject to Scottish arbitration have the benefit of privacy, unlike in many other jurisdictions.  Therefore, I hope our unique system will attract more arbitration to Scotland.”

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