Court Working Group Recommends Proposal for International Commercial Arbitration
SAN FRANCISCO—The Supreme Court of California’s International Commercial Arbitration Working Group has submitted its final report to the court outlining regulatory proposals that would permit foreign and out-of-state attorneys to represent businesses in contractually agreed upon arbitrations of their transnational commercial disputes in California.
“The Supreme Court reviewed the report and is pleased with the Working Group’s thoughtfulness and expeditiousness in delivering this comprehensive report,” said Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye. “We see merit in their preferred recommendation—identified as Proposal 1—which proposes legislation based largely on the ABA Model Rule for Temporary Practice by Foreign Lawyers.”
Proposal 1 contains safeguards ensuring that disputes involving unsophisticated parties are excluded from its scope, that the foreign and out-of-state attorneys appearing in these arbitrations are subject to the laws and disciplinary authority of this state, and that the State Bar reports to the court any complaints received against these attorneys.
The Supreme Court oversees the licensing and disciplining of attorneys within California and requested that the report ensure the integrity of any potential California-based international commercial arbitrations involving foreign and out-of-state attorneys. The Supreme Court asked the group in February to study and recommend one or more regulatory options.
The chair of the Working Group Daniel Kolkey said that, “Our group is gratified that the Supreme Court called for a study of this matter, and we look forward to working with the Legislature on a bill that aligns with the court’s views and provides a path forward for international commercial arbitration in California.”
The working group consisted of practitioners and academics with international commercial arbitration expertise, including Fred Bennett, Cedric Chao, Maria Chedid, Professor Jeffrey Dasteel, Sally Harpole, Professor Robert Lutz, Steven Smith, and Professor Abraham Sofaer. Saul Bercovitch served as the State Bar liaison to the group, and Carin Fujisaki served as the Supreme Court liaison.