Interview with Ms. Lucy Greenwood, Arbitrator and Counsel in Arbitration

We are grateful to Ms. Lucy Greenwood, who agreed to give us this interview. We are delighted that she will be sharing her experiences with us. Having read her Articles and Books during the preparation of our LLM Thesis and on other occasions, this is in every sense a fanboy moment for the Editorial Team at the Arbitration Workshop.


To give our readers a brief introduction of Ms. Lucy Greenwood, she is an independent international arbitrator specializing in commercial and investment disputes. She has over 20 years of experience in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations in a wealth of different industries and has acted as counsel or arbitrator in more than 60 arbitrations. She is highly regarded for her efficient resolution of disputes and active case management of arbitrations and is recognized by Who's Who Arbitration, Legal 500 and Global Arbitration Review. She is a Chartered Arbitrator, a Member of the State Bar of Texas and a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. Her extensive experience includes arbitrations involving fracking and water rights, land disputes, major construction and design issues, transportation of heavy oil, consideration of complex contractual provisions regarding pricing and liquidated damages, emergency proceedings in relation to joint operating agreement disputes, energy exploration and developments and FPSO facilities offshore.


She is listed on the following panel rosters - AAA Panel of Commercial Arbitrators, ICDR Panel, AAA Panel of Arbitrators for Large, Complex Cases, as a renowned energy arbitrator she is listed on the CPR Institute Oil and Gas Panel, she is listed on the AiADR (Asian Alternative Dispute Resolution) arbitrator list, as well as WIPO, ACICA (Australian Centre for International Dispute Resolution) HKIAC (Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre), Asian International Arbitration Centre, Singapore International Arbitration Centre, Arbitrators’ Roster for the American Chamber of Commerce, Jamaica, Arbitrators’ Roster for the Houston Maritime Arbitration Association, Dispute Adjudication Service Presidential Panel, Russian Arbitration Centre, Ukrainian International Commercial Arbitration Court, National Arbitration and Mediation Panel, Neutrals Panel for Federation of Integrated Conflict Management and on the lists of numerous arbitral institutions, as well as on Global Arbitration Review's Arbitrator Research Tool.


She is a Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Chair, International Committee, Dispute Resolution Section, American Bar Association, Past Chair, North America Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a Fellow of the College of Commercial Arbitrators.


Ms. Lucy Greenwood, we welcome you to the Arbitration Workshop Blog and thank you again for agreeing to this interview.


Q.1 How did your interest in arbitration and career as an arbitrator begin? Were there any significant obstacles that you had to overcome when you started your career as an arbitrator?


A.1 I became involved in arbitration early in my career. I studied law (including private and public international law) at the University of Cambridge, then I joined a magic circle firm in London. During my first week as a qualified lawyer in 1998 I was involved in a $1 billion arbitration case, a worldwide freezing injunction in support of an arbitration seated in Switzerland. After six months in the disputes department in London I was seconded to the Paris office of the firm. I spent three years there working on ICC arbitration matters. After I returned to London, I had three children in quick succession whilst continuing to work full time in international arbitration. After four years back in London I joined a major international law firm in Houston, Texas and continued to specialise in international arbitration matters, focusing on energy related work in the investment and commercial arbitration sphere. In terms of obstacles that I faced, like any international arbitration associate I found there were challenges in juggling work issues but these are particularly exacerbated when both parents are working in demanding full time jobs, which was the case for me and my husband. Throughout all the ups and downs of juggling careers and children I always knew I was in the right profession for me, and, when I became a full time independent arbitrator, I knew I was in the right role in that profession. Sitting as arbitrator plays to all my strengths in terms of case and people management, analysing and determining problems and writing, I feel very privileged indeed to have this job!


Q.2 Based on your experience, could you tell us your opinion about the issue of double hatting? Do you believe institutions guidelines could help in addressing this issue and allaying the concerns of litigants?


A.2. I am not in favour of double hatting, as you might expect given the fact that for the past few years I have practised exclusively as an international arbitrator and I do not practise any longer as counsel. My reasons for not being in favour of double hatting are slightly purist in the sense that I feel strongly that my role as an international arbitrator is wholly distinct from my previous role as an arbitration counsel. I think they require different skills and different approaches. I therefore struggle with the notion that it is beneficial to either profession to move between the two, however I appreciate that this is a slightly purist approach. I do not feel that more guidelines could really help addressing this issue it very much comes down to the individual and their reasons for acting as both arbitrator and counsel.


Q3 How did the idea/genesis of the green pledge come about? How do you think arbitrators and counsels today can do more in terms of being environmentally friendly and take the green pledge to another level?


A.3 The “green pledge”, which is my promise to parties and counsel arbitrating before me that I will manage the arbitration in an environmentally friendly manner, came about when I spoke at London International Disputes Week on technology in arbitration in 2019. I concluded that we were not using technology to run arbitrations more efficiently and/or to run them in a more environmentally friendly way. I soon realised that there was a lack of understanding and awareness of the environmental impact of international arbitrations generally. So the green pledge was expanded and became the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations. This is a global initiative to reduce the carbon footprint of international arbitrations. We have conducted detailed empirical research into the environmental impact of a major arbitration and the results are staggering. The Campaign is currently working on ‘green protocols’ - best practice guides to assist participants in the international arbitration process to reduce their carbon footprint. Please visit www.greenerarbitrations.com and sign up to show your support for the green pledge and the campaign.


Q.4 Would you please enlighten our readers about arbitrations in Climate disputes? What are your views on the existing regime for arbitration of climate disputes? Do you feel a new regime, as has been debated by many, is required to effectively arbitrate climate disputes?


A.4 There is no doubt that, as the ICC Commission report on arbitration and change concluded, climate change disputes are likely to grow exponentially. In my practice I have seen a significant increase in arbitrations arising out of climate change issues, particularly those involving renewables technology. Commercial arbitration is well suited to the resolution of certain types of dispute which will arise as a result of climate change, for example those relating to renewables and other new technologies. In relation to broader environmental issues some disputes are more likely to be decided in investor state arbitrations, particularly where regulatory change has resulted from a country's attempts to reduce emissions in accordance with commitments it may have made in relation to the Paris Agreement. Currently I am not of the view that we need a new regime to arbitrate climate change disputes, although I do think we need greater understanding of the complex issues involved.


Q.5. There has been a growing debate about diversity in arbitration. While some argue, that statistically the situation has improved, do you feel the situation has drastically improved? How do you think the arbitration community can contribute more towards enhancing diversity or what essential steps need to be taken?


A.5 I first wrote about the underrepresentation of women on international arbitration tribunals back in 2010 . At that time there was little to no statistical data to monitor the lack of women at the very top of our profession. Since then of course there have been great strides made in relation to the under representation of women, I am thinking particularly of the Equal Representation in Arbitration pledge which was launched in 2015. This has had a dramatic impact, both in raising awareness of the issue and encouraging greater transparency in relation to the data.

Yet in order for international arbitration as an industry to get the benefit of true diversity we need to be focusing on diversity of background, viewpoint, and opinion and not just gender. To achieve this, we need to be building a more inclusive community in international arbitration which attracts entrants from all different sectors of society, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation and of course gender. . I am optimistic that we can continue to change and improve in this regard. Increased engagement on social media can help make the profession more accessible, additionally the switch to webinars throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that practitioners can access content that they would not otherwise have been able to do so and there is a better understanding generally at the senior level of the profession of the value of mentoring.


Q.6. We understand that you have presided as an arbitrator in several energy arbitrations and have also written about energy arbitration and specialized arbitrators. Why do you think energy arbitrations specifically require extra scrutiny while selecting arbitrators? What can parties do to ensure that they have chosen the most suitable arbitrator for the dispute?


A.6 Arbitrators are selected for two main reasons: experience and expertise . Of course, these two things are related. My ten years spent working in Houston Texas meant that I was able to gain a good grounding in energy related issues and this has proved invaluable in determining the wide range of energy related matters that I have been involved in. Energy related work in particular has certain nuances that really do require a deep understanding of the issues.


Q.7 What would be your word of advice to the readers trying to make a name for themselves in the transnational practice of international arbitration?


A.7 There is no substitute for hands on experience arguing international arbitration cases, however, practising international arbitration is also surprisingly (and rewardingly) academic. I recommend that practitioners read numerous scholarly articles on major issues in international arbitration and, where possible, contribute to the discussions on the subject by publishing their own articles. Attending and speaking at conferences is important in terms of profile raising and to build a network. I have been encouraged by the switch from in person conferences to webinars as this has meant that practitioners who would not otherwise have had access to senior members of the profession have been able to interact with them.


The Editorial Team at the Arbitration Workshop would like to thank Ms. Lucy Greenwood for taking out time from her busy schedule and for sharing her perspectives with us!


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