Pro Bono

BREAKING: This Project has been nominated for the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge Award (GAR Award)

Interview with ArbitralWomen has been published on their news page! 

Dr. Katherine Simpson made submissions to Canada and the EU regarding the under-appointment of women to the List of Arbitrators (trade dispute settlement roster) under Article 29 of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada, the EU and its Member States. 

The current CETA Article 29 roster includes no women among the proposed chairpersons and only one woman among five EU panelists.  Meanwhile, half of Canada's CETA panelists are women. 

This is not an isolated accident:  A review of the EU's treaty practice shows that, for trade dispute settlement rosters under EU bilateral trade agreements, only 12.9% of all EU designations since 2011 have been women (10.6% since 2015).  In two-thirds of the bilateral trade dispute settlement rosters established since 2011, the EU designated no women at all.

Every treaty-based roster of arbitrators serves as public verification of the listed persons’ credentials, backed by public accountability.  The credence paid to these listings is enormous:  disputing parties, academic institutions, governments, and even the EU itself rely on these lists when making appointments.  Achieving gender parity in treaty-based lists of arbitrators could be the quickest and most effective step toward achieving gender parity in international dispute resolution

The CETA Joint Committee can correct this by appointing women until parity is achieved.  They and the Council of the EU have received a list of 70 women with “specialized knowledge of international trade law”, and summaries of their skills and experience that make each an approximate match to one or more arbitrators on the List.  Below, please find the letters submitted to the CETA Joint Committee and additionally to the relevant actors in the EU, along with the updated Annexes to those filings:

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

17 January 2020, Letter from Dr. Katherine Simpson to Council of the EU

15 January 2020, Letter from Dr. Katherine Simpson to CETA Joint Committee

Every gender imbalance created in a treaty-based list of arbitrators can be corrected, and the CETA List is no exception.  The CETA gender imbalance can be rectified by appointing more women until parity is achieved – and without removing any current arbitrator!