CETA - Where are the Women? Shortlisted for GAR Award

Author: Reporter
In: News Published: Friday 28 February 2020


Dr. Katherine Simpson, a member in our arbitrators group, Arbitrators@33BedfordRow, has been shortlisted for the Global Arbitration Review’s GAR Award 2020 Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge Award (Pledge Award) for her work in response to the under-representation of women on the List of Arbitrators for state-to-state disputes under the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). 

In response to the dearth of women on the CETA List of Arbitrators, Katherine researched every nominee and produced a list of 70 women whose skills and experience are comparable to at least one of the CETA roster nominees.  She provided these indicative lists to Canada and to representatives of the EU in January 2020.

The Honorable Barry Leon, also a member of Arbitrators@33BedfordRow, explained that Katherine’s work is important not just for calling-out the significant under-representation of women on lists for CETA state-to-state dispute settlement (under article 29), but also for securing an acknowledgement and commitment from the European Commission that it is “fully conscious of the need to ensure a better balance in terms of gender, and will be looking at ways to addressing [sic] this issue in the future.”

Katherine’s work is ground-breaking for diversity and gender equality and parity in international dispute resolution generally. Through her research and analysis she identified a fixable systemic cause of the preservation of the ‘same names’ for governmental appointments to lists for arbitral and other tribunals – in effect, those governments just look at their historic appointees and lists of potential appointees rather than, as Katherine did, conducting a wide search for well-qualified candidates.

Her work is particularly important because over the medium and longer term it should lead to the appointment of more well-qualified women and men who may not be household names to treaty rosters and panels. This will improve their profile for appointments to tribunals for international investment, commercial and other disputes.

Voting is open until Saturday 29 February, 23:59 London time for the GAR Awards 2020, and those interested may cast their vote here:  https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GARawards2020

Katherine’s submissions are available here:
26 January 2020, Letter from Dr. Katherine Simpson to Commission President von der Leyen

20 January 2020, Letter from Dr. Katherine Simpson to Commissioner Sabine Weyand
     (Annexes as above)

17 January 2020, Letter from Dr. Katherine Simpson to Council of the EU
     (Annexes as above)
15 January 2020, Letter from Dr. Katherine Simpson to CETA Joint Committee
     (Annexes as above)