France: Michael Polkinghorne Appointed to the ICC International Court of Arbitration
Last Updated: 26 November 2002

In its session of 20 November 2002, the ICC International Court of Arbitration appointed Michael A. Polkinghorne, Australian partner in the Paris Office of Coudert Brothers, as a member of the Court, as of 1 January 2003.

For most of the past century, the International Chamber of Commerce has been the world's leading organisation in the field of international commercial dispute resolution. Since its creation in 1923, the Court has administered some 11,000 international arbitration cases involving parties from more than 170 countries and territories. The ICC's Rules of Arbitration facilitate arbitrations in numerous global centres, whilst the Secretariat for the Court resides in Paris.

Mr Polkinghorne is the second member of the Court to come from Coudert, the other being Jingzhou Tao, managing partner of the firm's Beijing office, who was appointed as China representative to the ICC Court in 2001. Court members are appointed for 3 years.

"I am pleased and honoured to be asked on to the Court, whose role extends to the review of the awards of ICC tribunals around the world. The ICC remains particularly relevant as our world shrinks and international disputes become an unfortunate commonplace. I look forward to a closer involvement in the whole process" says the former head of the Coudert Brothers' Bangkok and Vietnam offices, now partner in the Arbitration Department at Coudert Frères.

Mr. Polkinghorne is presently working on cases in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, including an expropriation claim against a state of the former Yugoslavia, and an international corruption case with claims valued at over USD 500 million.

Handling a variety of cases, notably in proceedings before the International Chamber of Commerce, althgouh also before ICSID, LCIA, the Thai Ministry of Justice and ad-hoc tribunals, Mr Polkinghorne has in addition worked extensively on foreign investment, particularly in South and South-East Asia. For the past ten years, his practice has concentrated on the state-contracts and energy fields.

He generally acts as counsel, as on the Pyramids Plateau case, one of the leading authorities on international expropriation; he was principal advisor to Mozambique on its arbitration legislation in the early 1990s (and has advised the Vietnamese government in this regard as well). Mr. Polkinghorne has also acted as arbitrator in a number of proceedings and had been selected by the Australian government as nominee to the UN Claims Commission established to hear claims arising out of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1992.

In addition, Mr. Polkinghorne works on matters relating to the removal and control of anti-personnel landmines. Prior to joining Coudert Frères in 1988, he had practised in London and in South Australia.

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