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Women flood arbitration board

A record number of women have been elected to the board of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) in Australia.

The five female board members, which include silks and global firm partners, were acknowledged at the annual CIArb dinner held in Sydney last Thursday (24 July).

Caroline Kenny QC from the Victorian Bar; Beth Cubitt, a partner at Clyde & Co in Perth; Sydney-based barristers Julie Soars and Sandrah Foda, and special counsel Jo Delaney from Baker & McKenzie’s Sydney office are among 14 newly-elected councillors, the highest ratio of women to men in CIArb’s history.

Speaking at the dinner, Melbourne barrister and CIArb Australia president Albert Monichino QC (pictured) said the milestone “helps put paid to the myth that the arbitration profession is made up by those who are male, pale and stale”.

He also acknowledged Kenny, who is also CIArb’s chair of education, for doing “much of the heavy lifting” along with Soars, the Institute’s company secretary.

Kenny commented that unprecedented growth in international arbitrations in Australia and Asia had made it “an exciting time to be involved in commercial arbitration”.

Former NSW Supreme Court judge Andrew Rogers QC also delivered a keynote on the night. He revealed that he is a strong advocate for the involvement of business leaders in commercial dispute resolution.

However, he admitted that his attempts to affect change in this area have so far been unsuccessful.

“This notion that you leave the resolution of commercial disputes to commercial people is a wonderful pipedream,” he told attendees.

Rogers said the legal profession needs champions of change to bring more commercial minds to the arbitration table.

“I’m absolutely convinced there is a better way, but whether we have a number of heroic leaders who would advocate following that path is a debatable point,” he added.

The CIArb celebrates its centenary in 2015.

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(l-r) Jo Delaney from Baker & McKenzie, barrister Julie Soars, Caroline Kenny QC, Albert Monichino QC, CIArb Global Academic Advisor Janet Walker and barrister Sandrah Foda.

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