The BVI International Arbitration Centre, (BVI IAC) will host a soft launch on 16 November 2016.
A year ago, the Government of the Virgin Islands appointed a Board of Directors to supervise the establishment and subsequent operation of the BVI International Arbitration Centre (BVI IAC).
The Centre, which is located at Ritter House on Wickhams Cay II, will host its soft launch on Wednesday, 16 November and open the premises to the public for the first time, to showcase what the facility has to offer.
The BVI IAC features four brand new hearing rooms and six breakout rooms that can be configured to accommodate any hearing size. All hearing rooms come with state-of-the art technology, including built-in facilities for simultaneous interpretation, court reporting, audio and video conferencing.
Additionally, breakout room space is available upon request on the secretariat floor and the centre offers a comfortable lounge area with business facilities for coffee breaks, food and refreshments.
The BVI IAC will administer arbitrations under its own rules, but also offers users of 'ad hoc' or other institutional arbitration first class premises and support services in a jurisdiction which enjoys a high reputation for the quality of its commercial and appellate courts and for political stability. The aim is to ensure that the BVI IAC becomes the regional centre of choice for the arbitration of disputes arising out of business activity and projects worldwide.
While parties will always be free to nominate arbitrators of their choice, the BVI IAC will maintain a roster which, at its inception, will include some 180+ highly regarded international arbitration and other dispute resolution practitioners, drawn from both common law and civil law jurisdictions, who will be able to conduct arbitrations in a number of languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, French, German and Italian.
The BVI IAC will provide full administrative and concierge services in support of parties and arbitrators conducting arbitral proceedings under its auspices, serving as the official channel of communications and ensuring safe custody of documents. BVI IAC also provides services such as financial administration, logistical and technical support for meetings and hearings, travel arrangements, and general secretarial and linguistic support.
The centre’s Board of Directors is chaired by Mr. John Beechey CBE, former President of the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce. The Deputy Chairman is Mr. Chernow Jallow Q.C., former Attorney General of the BVI and current Director of Policy, Statistics and Research at the BVI Financial Services Commission. The other Board members include Mr. Mark Forte, Head of Litigation & Restructuring at Conyers Dill & Pearman; Mr. Murray Smith, a chartered arbitrator with extensive experience in commercial litigation and arbitration; and Ms. Felice Swapp, Chief Operating Officer at Harneys.
Mr. Francois Lassalle, who has considerable experience as a practice manager of a Magic Circle law firm in London, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the centre. His mandate is to deliver and to run a state of the art Centre. Mr. João Vilhena Valério who also has considerable experience in the field of international arbitration has been appointed as Registrar for the Centre, and Dr. Antonius R. Hippolyte has been appointed as the Centre’s Research Advisor.
The Centre is planning a full Arbitration Week of events in 2017, centered around the annual J.S. Archibald Lecture which will take place on 1 June 2017. The BVI IAC's Rules and its first roster of arbitrators will be published ahead of the launch of the Centre on 16 November 2016.
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