DRD is pleased to have the Chamber of Arbitration of Milan as a data contributor. For this interview, we spoke with Stefano Azzali, Secretary General to hear his thoughts on his institution and being a data contributor.
Can you give us a brief description of The Chamber of Arbitration of Milan?
The Chamber of Arbitration of Milan was created in 1987 by the Milan Chamber of Commerce—which is, in Italy, a public entity. We administer arbitration and mediation proceedings, and the majority of our cases are construction disputes and financial matters. 2015 data reveals the increasingly international nature of our caseload: the percentage of cases involving a non-Italian party grew to 23 percent, up from 12.4 percent between 2010 and 2014. Parties from the European Union featured in 9 percent of cases; parties from outside the EU, 6 percent. Last year, the average value of disputes also increased to €3.8 million from €2.7 million the year before; the combined value of all cases handled by the chamber was €494.8 million.
Tell me about the scope of your organization.
Our scope is very closely related to the public nature of our institution; not only to provide companies with dispute resolution services, but also to contribute to the development of ADR culture and practice. We have a very intense training activity and we promote a “good” use of arbitration and mediation among practitioners.
What is your role within the institution?
I am the Secretary General, which means that I am in charge of the institution’s day-to-day functioning.
Do you have any specific examples of how and when data--or data visualization--has been useful for your institution?
Because of our mission, we have for many years been committed to explore and make visible our data. By reclassifying our cases with the DRD categories, we have been able to see even more new opportunities in the data.
You’re able to show this with your internal data. Do you have any specific goals for how you will use the aggregated data you can pull from DRD?
Promotion and improvement of our services. There are many business fields waiting for an effective ADR solution. Currently we have a project on ADR for art disputes and for environmental issues, they have just started but we are having good responses for them both.
Can you talk a little bit about how you became aware of DRD, and the process of deciding to become a data contributor?
I sat for many years in the Council of IFCAI (International Federation of Commercial Arbitration Institutions) together with my friend Bill Slate and he started to talk about this project before its launch. I found the goals very useful to the development and promotion of commercial arbitration worldwide. Furthermore, The Chamber of Arbitration of Milan is very active in the process to render arbitration more transparent and its data available. So, we accepted with enthusiasm Bill’s offer to become one of the DRD data contributors. I believe that the Milan Chamber has been one of the very first institutions to join the project and we are very honored and proud of it!
If an institution was hesitant about becoming a contributor, is there anything that you would want them to know, having gone through this process yourself?
Arbitration is very often analyzed from a theoretical perspective but there are few empirical figures and data… We do believe that more data, more information, and higher level of transparency lead to a positive development of arbitration. So, simply do it!