A conference organized by three institutions, namely the Arbitration and Mediation of the American Chamber of Commerce in Brazil (Amcham Brazil), the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Brazil (Swedcham Brazil) and the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) discussed international trade and the Swedish and Brazilian experience in arbitration and mediation.
The mild São Paulo autumn was a conciliating environment for Brazilian and Swedish corporate lawyers and counsel to exchange their almost antipodal views and experiences about the resolution of disputes through arbitration and mediation in an event attended by lawyers, business actors and public authorities.
Although distant, the two nations share much more than the classic yellow and blue colors of their national soccer team uniforms. As explained in the morning by the Swedish ambassador in Brazil, Mr. Per-Arne Hjelmborn the commercial relationship between Brazil and Sweden is not recent, but is certainly on the rise. Mr. Jonas Lindström, from the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Brazil joined in the recognition of the mutual importance not only of trade, but of the on site economic involvement noticeable nowadays between Brazilian and Swedish companies.
Mr. Ulf Franke, chairman of the SCC, and Prof. Weber Barral, who assisted current and former Brazilian administrations, compared and discussed the Swedish cosmopolitan and consensual form of dispute settlement and the contrasting litigation culture that predominates in the Brazilian legal system, where consensual dispute resolution methods such as mediation are still seeing their dawn period. Prof. Weber Barral described the arbitration-friendly legal system of Brazil, but also recognized with interesting detail the headstrong governmental refusal of undertaking binding commitments in the realm of investor-State dispute settlement, as demonstrated in the recently-negotiated Angola and Mozambique bilateral investment treaties, already commented in this blog. Mmes. Nina Berggren from the SCC and Crina Baltag from Amcham Brazil followed with a presentation of their respective institutions, dispute resolution capabilities and vocation to assist in disputes between Brazilian and Swedish parties.
In the afternoon, a dialogue was held between a panel integrated by in-house counsel in the first session and Brazilian and Swedish disputes lawyers in the second session.
A seasoned formation represented the corporate counsel perspective in international dispute resolution dealing with Brazilian and foreign parties, with contributions from Mmes. Carmen Backsman from Volkswagen, Carolina Azevedo from Ericsson, Christy Reckziegel Lopes from Pöyry, Lígia Neves from Camargo Correa as well as Mssrs. Daniel Esteves from Skanska, and Rogério Zacchi da Silva from Sandvik. The discussions involved the challenges faced by in-house counsel and the choices of dispute resolution mechanisms existing to their avail, with a special recount of a particularly successful mediation that ended–on a single journey–a dispute ongoing for three years. The panelists exchanged experiences about the effectiveness of mediation, the criteria for choosing adjudicators and measures for preserving the cost-effectiveness of dispute resolution initiatives in a panel facilitated by Alessandra Machado and Luis Peretti, from Trench Rossi e Watanabe in cooperation with Baker & McKenzie.
The reply from external counsel followed with Brazilian and Swedish attorneys who demonstrated the variety of cultures and approaches to the legal profession perceivable in the two jurisdictions. Mr. Renato Pacheco Neto moderated a debate among peers, namely Mme. Eliana Baraldi, from De Vivo Whitaker e Castro, as well as Messrs. Kristoffer Stråth from Törngren Magnell, Fernando Serec from Tozzini Freire, Rafael Gagliardi from Demarest, and Stefan Bessman from Baker & McKenzie Sweden. The lawyers response to the in-house counsel perception of dispute resolution was rich in technical analyses and practical guidance hardened in their solid practice. They indicated how to sail away from the main reefs that lurk underneath the legal waters of international trade elaborating upon the following topics: the agreement to arbitrate, the choice and application of the law governing the relationship and the enforceability of the interim measures rendered in the course of the proceedings or the decision resulting therefrom.
The evening keynote speech was delivered by Prof. Lauro Gama, who recorded the insightful reflections of the day and discussed the soon to be enacted revision of the Brazilian Arbitration Act as well as the long awaited mediation law, which is expected to quick start a revolution in the handling of disputes between Brazilian parties.