Recent years have witnessed an increase of interest in amicable dispute resolution – or arbitration – in the legal and business communities. Beata Gessel-Kalinowska vel Kalisz, attorney, founder and senior partner of GESSEL, has been very active in promoting arbitration at the domestic and European levels. Her arbitration practice goes back to 1995; in 2005, she became a member of the Arbitration Court of the Polish Confederation of Private Employers Lewiatan, and in May 2011, following a stint as vice-president, she was appointed as this tribunal’s president.
Dr Beata Gessel has been vigorously popularising arbitration in Poland and promoting Polish arbitration in other countries, taking part – also as an organiser – in numerous conferences, debates, workshops, and seminars as well as authoring publications on the subject. These various efforts are aimed at:
- Popularising ADR in business circles;
- Cultivating a legal environment better suited for business activity;
- Building trust, encouraging international investment in Poland;
- Initiating dialogue and cooperation between various parties to the economic process;
- Integrating the legal community around the concept of arbitration;
- Implementing European best practices in the arbitration field in Poland.
The Arbitration Court of the Polish Confederation of Private Employers Lewiatan provided the impetus and organisational input for a number of conferences, meetings, and training workshops (also in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Arbitration) as well as publishing a book about arbitration in Poland and launching an on-line newsletter devoted to arbitration issues.
Beata Gessel-Kalinowska vel Kalisz has personally stood behind projects such as:
- The European arbitration institutions summit held as part of the European New Ideas Forum in September 2011 in Sopot under the motto Arbitration – symbol of civil society with the participation of representatives of some of the continent’s most important arbitration organisations, including Adrian Winstanley –general director of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), Jason Fry –general secretary of the ICC Court of International Arbitration, Jacek Krawczyk – vice-president of the European Economic and Social Committee, Philippe de Buck – general director of Business Europe, and many others. The meeting had the goal of debating the future of arbitration in Europe and the implications of the Lisbon Treaty. The participants were in agreement as to the need for closer cooperation and dialogue between the arbitration community and the institutions of the European Union. In the wake of the debate, Beata Gessel was invited to join in its continuation in Brussels, and the proceedings were reported in detail in the Global Arbitration Review;
- The “Arbitration in the EU in the 21st century” debate organised by ArbitralWomen (an international non-governmental organisation in which Beata Gessel sits on the Directors Council for programme matters);
- Implementation over the years 2010-2011 of the project entitled Promotion of amicable means for commercial dispute settlement, a unique programme dedicated to promoting arbitration in Poland. The specific initiatives pursued under this programme included the first international conference devoted to arbitration to be held in Poland, Dispute Resolution in M&A Transactions;
- The “Women in arbitration” cycle – mainly workshops and training sessions for female arbitrators;
- Introduction of a fast track procedure to the Lewiatan Arbitration Court, offering simplified, expedited resolution of disputes turning on minor claims;
- Drawing up new rules of the Lewiatan Arbitration Court (drafted between June and December 2011, adopted in early 2012), which implement a number of state-of-the-art solutions such as ad hoc arbitrators, elimination of the mandatory arbitrators list, and six-month timeframes for case resolution.