Deborah Tomkinson, Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA)
Tell me a little about your background (including, but not limited to: How did you get involved in dispute resolution? Why dispute resolution, and what do you consider the importance of dispute resolution?)
My background is in private practice. As a lawyer I worked in the dispute resolution teams of a number of global firms in Sydney and Dubai, with a primary focus on construction/infrastructure and energy/resources work. Companies in these industries are fairly extensive users of dispute avoidance, claims management and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, and a great deal of my experience as a lawyer was with ADR processes such as mediation and arbitration. I developed a real understanding and appreciation of the advantages that these processes can bring users in providing opportunities for resolution that are not available through the court process.
Tell me about your institution. What types of cases do you manage, what are your institutional priorities, what do you specialize in, etc.?
ACICA is Australia’s international dispute resolution institution, dedicated to the promotion and development of alternative dispute resolution in the region and to advancing Australia’s profile as a premier dispute resolution seat and leading provider of dispute resolution services. Established in 1985, ACICA has 30 years experience assisting parties effectively resolve disputes and provides a wide range of services to support parties, practitioners and neutrals. Our caseload is generated from a variety of sectors, with the greatest proportion of cases arising from the construction and major projects, energy and resources and maritime industries, involving parties from the Asia Pacific region, USA and Europe.
ACICA is delighted to be the host organization of the upcoming International Council of Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) Congress to be held in Sydney from 15 to 18 April 2018, with a follow on event to be hosted by the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ) in Queenstown. At this global conference, we look forward to showcasing the benefits and opportunities for international arbitration in the region and Australia as a neutral venue for international arbitration. Preparations for the ICCA 2018 Sydney Congress are a current key focus.
What is the advantage of being a contributor of DRD data?
ACICA’s objective as an independent, not-for-profit organization is to promote and facilitate the efficient resolution of commercial disputes in Australia and internationally by arbitration and mediation. The availability of reliable data with regard to the use of these processes will advance understanding and improve knowledge in this area. The accessibility of this information to stakeholders improves the sophistication of decision-making around clause-drafting, choice of ADR mechanisms and procedures appropriate to particular disputes. Greater transparency also provides scope for improved, appropriate dispute resolution advice and strategy development. ACICA is pleased to contribute to DRD in furtherance of advancing standards and enhancing trust and confidence in international arbitration and mediation.
How will your institution use aggregated DRD data?
The data provides an important insight into current usage and practice in the region and around the world. DRD will assist ACICA in targeting our educational and promotional efforts, and continue to improve our service provision.
If another institution was thinking about becoming a data contributor, is there anything you want to share with them?
The system is user-friendly, intuitive and DRD’s policy with respect to data collection protects confidentiality. The DRD team approach is team-oriented and data contributors are provided with significant support and an opportunity to contribute to the development of greater knowledge within the arbitration and mediation community. The more data contributors, the greater the potential.
Can you think of any specific example in the past when your institution might have benefited from the data that DRD now offers?
ACICA looks to improve awareness of the options available to parties to effectively resolve disputes including the running of workshops, courses and conferences to explore current issues and develop skills sets. The data provided by DRD will support these efforts, providing a valuable external resource to demonstrate the advantages of ADR and encourage appropriate use amongst the legal and business community.