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Baghdad Workshop on International Arbitration

As part of the USG effort to build the capacities of Iraqi judges in the area of commercial law, Attorney Advisor Mohamed Badissy and International Program Specialist Adam Al-Sarraf conducted a workshop for 20 Iraqi judges at the Judicial Development Institute (JDI) in Baghdad from February 20 to 23, 2011. The workshop was led by the Hon. Delissa Ridgway of the US Court of International Trade and was designed to enhance the judges’ understanding of the role of courts in enforcing arbitration agreements and arbitral awards. Some of Iraq’s most senior judges participated in the workshop including two judges from the Iraqi Court of Cassation (Iraq’s Highest Civil Court). Judge Ridgway led discussions and case studies requiring the Iraqi participants to analyze arbitral awards and arbitration clauses to determine enforceability under current Iraqi law and the NY convention.  The workshop also featured presentations by Dr. Sabah Al-Saidi of the Ministry of Oil on the importance of arbitration for foreign investment and the Iraqi Arbitration Drafting Committee on the status of the draft national law on international arbitration. The Iraqi judges participated actively in the discussions and openly debated traditional interpretations of Iraqi law on international arbitration.

Judge Ridgway was interviewed by several media outlets for her role in the workshop including Radio Free Iraq, Al-Sabah Newspaper and Al-Rasheed TV.  The Chief Justice of Iraq attended the closing ceremony and emphasized the judiciary’s crucial role in supporting the development of arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism for institutions in Iraq.