On 18–19 May, already for the fourth time in Warsaw there will be a “Dispute Resolution in M&A Transactions” Conference. What is the conference about and who is it addressed to?

It is already the fourth edition of the Conference, which over time evolved into a biennale. The Conference is the flagship event of the Lewiatan Court of Arbitration, devoted to the subject of arbitration, and more specifically the arbitration in mergers and acquisitions. Is addressed to the arbitrators, lawyers (both law firms and company counsels), but also to business advisors dealing with M&A transactions.

Where did the idea to organise a Conference about such a subject come from?

The idea was really the result of my professional interests. For me – a lawyer with experience in M&A transactions and at the same time an arbitrator and the President of Lewiatan Court of Arbitration, such subject was in the natural cause of deliberation. At the same time, I had a feeling that the subject is not sufficiently dealt with and it would be worthwhile to give it a thought. An additional objective which contributed to the idea of the Conference was to promote the Court itself but also Poland as an important centre for arbitration in the region. The original idea did not foresee that the Conference will turn into a recurring event. It turned out, however, that the idea had been very good and the Conference was very well received not only in Poland but also in an international environment.

Where does the success of the Conference, which in its history has also a nomination for OGEMID award in the category of “Diversity”, lie?

First of all, we were able to hit the niche spot. There is no such other Conference in the region. In addition to this, we have dared to organise an international conference, conducted in English. With the support of international institutions, such as the ArbitralWomen or the International Arbitration Court of ICC, we managed to blaze a trail and invite to Warsaw many prominent specialists, experts in the field of arbitration and M&A.

Throughout these few years we have hosted, I am not afraid to say so, international celebrities, such as Gary Born, Mark Kantor, Marc Blessing, Penny Madden or Wendy Miles, as well as representatives of the largest arbitration institutions like the ICC, SIAC, VIAC, DIS, ASA, the ICDR or SCC.

We make every effort so that the speakers represent different jurisdictions, and session topics include the most current issues. So far this strategy works, as evidenced by the popularity of the Conference, and even the nomination for OGEMID awards, in justification of which the Conference was referred to as ground-breaking. Every year, the Conference brings together approximately 250 participants, for example the last one was attended by representatives from 20 different countries.

How do you assess, from the perspective of the President of the Lewiatan Court of Arbitration, the development of arbitration in Poland over the last few years?

Arbitration in Poland is gaining more and more followers. This can be seen even in the amount of cases that are brought before the Lewiatan Court. However, lack of knowledge is still overwhelming. Users of arbitration appreciate its efficiency, speed, flexibility and the fact that the dispute is resolved by arbitrators who are familiar with the industry, which the dispute relates to. The costs relating to the arbitration are thought to be the biggest disadvantage. And here becomes visible the important role of arbitration institutions, which is to meet expectations. An example of this may be the expedited procedure, that in accordance with the Rules of the Court has been developed for cases of lower dispute value.

Coming back to the Conference, can you reveal the most interesting, according to you, topics that will be discussed during this year’s Conference?

From a purely personal point of view, the subject closest to me will be about the declaratory relief. But this results from my current academic interests. However, I hope that everyone will find something for themselves. As always, we have prepared some case study suggestions, so there will be a review of practical interesting cases from the area of arbitration and M&A. You will also hear about the latest trends and relevant events. The second day of the Conference will be dedicated to resolution of arbitration disputes concerning public companies.

And of course the proverbial “cherry on top”, meaning the Conference gala dinner, which this time will take place in the wonderful interior of the Old Orangery – a perfect opportunity for the direct exchange of experiences with speakers and peers.

Please read the Conference agenda at the Lewiatan Court website ( www.sadarbitrazowy.org.pl ) and participate in the Conference itself.

Interview with Dr Beata Gessel-Kalinowska a.k.a. Kalisz , the President of the Lewiatan Court of Arbitration, senior partner and founder of GESSEL Law Firm.