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15th Cologne Academy on International Commercial Arbitration
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The Cologne Academies 2017 started on Sunday evening, September 3rd. The participants of the 12th Cologne Academy on Business Negotiation and Mediation and the participants of the 15th Cologne Academy on International Commercial Arbitration attended the Welcome Reception at the seminar building at the University of Cologne. This was a great opportunity to meet all 63 participants from 16 countries, including for example people from Egypt, Canada, Puerto Rico, India, Dubai. Professor Dr. Klaus Peter Berger gave the opening speech. He even presented the legendary AX-100 Special Surveying Instrument, the item around which the parties’ dispute in the case study of the Academies revolves.

Arb1.JPGOn the first day of the Cologne Arbitration Academy, Professor Berger, Katia Rener and Stefan Hoffmann taught us what arbitration is. We started with the basics so that every participant was on the same level of knowledge in order to develop a deeper understanding in the process. Prior knowledge wasn’t required, on the contrary, we learned everything from the beginning. Moreover the workshop leaders gave us an impression of the practice of arbitration. A tribunal was constituted, the case was handed out and the group was divided into  claimants and respondents. In these separated, smaller groups Professor Berger and Stefan Hoffmann taught us about case analysis, strategies and tactics.

Afterwards we were guided through the old city center of Cologne and visited a typical brewery (Malzmühle). Beer and nice conversations rounded off the day.


On Tuesday, the second day of the Arbitration Academy, Professor Berger and Dr. Boris Kasolowsky gave us a profound insight into oral pleading. This included the important and interesting subjects: “Advocacy Skill” and “The Art of Persuasion”. Again divided into two groups – claimants and respondents – we focused on these topics and put them to the test. With the active support of the workshop leaders, two participants of each group held their opening statements. The interaction with the tribunal and the opposing counsel prepared us for the “real deal”. During the entire workshop, the workshop leaders gave us detailed suggestions and feedback to improve our performance.

The highlight of Tuesday evening was a boat trip on the river Rhine. We got to know lawyers of prestigious law firms and enjoyed the nice view with good food and drinks.

Arb2.JPGOn Wednesday the workshop leaders, Professor Berger and Steven Finizio, pointed out the significance and means of evidence. We dealt with witness statements and in order to do so were once again separated into the two groups. In the end, we got the chance to do a cross-examination which was quite entertaining, especially since Professor Berger played the witness in a challenging and funny way.

On the last day Professor Stefan Kröll was the workshop leader and the main topic was procedural orders which included information about the costs, settlements and interim, partial and final awards. In a joint session with participants of both Academies Professor Berger explained the differences and similarities between Arbitration and Mediation.

The well-organized program and expertise of the workshop leaders allowed us to gain a vast knowledge of the theory and practice of International Commercial Arbitration in just a few days.


Jaqueline Neiazy, David Neldner