The Italian’s job

When Bonelli Erede Pappalardo partner Andrea Carlevaris becomes the secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Court of Arbitration in September, he will be the first Italian to take up the role.

Carlevaris is following (16 May 2012) in the footsteps of Jason Fry, who has spent five years as secretary general and is returning (30 January 2012) to Clifford Chance and private practice.

Fry’s five years in the job have been busy, with reform of the ICC rules of arbitration top of his list of achievements. Carlevaris’s first job will be to make sure that the implementation of the rules runs smoothly (5 December 2011).

“I’d expect the next few years will be a period of consolidation,” says Carlevaris.

Although new to the court’s top job, Carlevaris is no stranger to the ICC, having begun his career there. His involvement has continued since he left for private practice, as he sits as alternate member for Italy at the court alongside fellow Bonelli partner Luca Radicati di Brozolo.

As secretary general, Carlevaris will be, as he points out, at the “core” of the international arbitration community. He thinks it is key for the ICC to maintain its position as a leading arbitral centre worldwide, against the rising competition from other institutions both in Europe and further afield.

In order to do this, Carlevaris suggests, the ICC needs to look at areas of improvement, particularly the handling of cases and the interaction between the secretariat and the court.

In Asia, where the court opened an office in Singapore last year, much has already been done.

“I think the more continuous presence of the ICC would certainly be beneficial for the support of ICC arbitration in the region,” Carlevaris says.

He sees his own appointment as evidence of the growing importance of Italy and of civil law countries more generally on the arbitration scene. Many secretaries general have been Anglophone and also from common law jurisdictions – Fry is from New Zealand and his predecessor, Anne Marie Whitesell, now at Dechert, is American.

“The intention was this time to appoint a lawyer from a civil law country,” Carlevaris reveals, adding it “strikes a balance” at the ICC. The court’s newly appointed deputy secretary general, Jose Ricardo Feris, is from the Dominican Republic, also a civil law jurisdiction, replacing Australian and English-qualified Simon Greenberg, who like Fry left the ICC for Clifford Chance.

However Carlevaris admits that arbitration, by its nature, draws much less of a distinction than other practice areas between civil and common law, and points out that arbitrators are used to working in countries and systems other than their own.

Like Fry and Whitesell before him, Carlevaris expects to be in the job for four to six years before, in all likelihood, returning to private practice. He will certainly be overseeing the court at a crucial time, with arbitration becoming increasingly common worldwide as a form of dispute resolution.