A spotlight on sanctions

A spotlight on sanctions

02 October 2018

A panel at GAR Live New York examined the impact of sanctions on international arbitration, enforcement proceedings and settlement negotiations, considering whether they can have force majeure effect, the need for government licences to represent sanctioned parties and the complications in getting paid when sanctions are in the way.


Catherine Amirfar

Debevoise & Plimpton

Catherine Amirfar is a litigation partner at Debevoise & Plimpton and Co-Chair of the firm’s Public International Law Group. Her practice focuses on public international law, international commercial and treaty arbitration, and international and complex commercial litigation. She recently joined the firm’s Management Committee.

Laura Robertson

Deputy General Counsel, Litigation, Arbitration & Employment, ConocoPhillips

Laura Robertson is deputy general counsel, Litigation, Arbitration & Employment for ConocoPhillips.
Robertson is responsible for the company’s domestic and international litigation, arbitration, and employment matters. Laura joined ConocoPhillips in 2007 as senior counsel of commercial litigation and arbitration. In 2010, she became managing counsel of arbitrations and claims.


Oliver Armas

Hogan Lovells

Yas Banifatemi

Shearman & Sterling

Suzana Blades

Associate General Counsel, Commercial Litigation and Arbitration, ConocoPhillips

Carlos Concepción

Jones Day

Alexandra Dosman

Vannin Capital

Hagit Muriel Elul

Hughes Hubbard & Reed

John Fellas

Hughes Hubbard & Reed

Lauren Friedman

Kirkland & Ellis

Kiera Gans

DLA Piper

Grant Hanessian

Baker McKenzie

Mélida Hodgson

Foley Hoag

Brian King

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Carolyn Lamm

White & Case

Barry Leon

Arbitration Place

Gervase MacGregor


Alexandra Maier

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle

Brandon Malone

Chair, ICCA-NYC Bar-CPR Working Group on Cybersecurity in International Arbitration

Viren Mascarenhas

King & Spalding

John Pierce


Natalie Reid

Debevoise & Plimpton

Aníbal Martín Sabater

Chaffetz Lindsey

Rachel Thorn



9.00: Welcome coffee and registration

9.30: Chairs' opening remarks 

Catherine Amirfar, Debevoise & Plimpton
Laura Robertson, Deputy General Counsel, Litigation, Arbitration & Employment, ConocoPhillips

9.45: Session one: The impact of sanctions on international arbitration, enforcement proceedings and settlement agreements

Sanctions are having an impact on arbitration proceedings, potentially complicating both procedural and substantive aspects of the proceedings themselves, as well as enforcement and even settlement agreements. What do practitioners need to know?  

  • What effect have sanctions levied by the US and EU had on arbitration proceedings? Are there ways to mitigate complications?
  • How do sanctions impact a tribunal’s jurisdiction? At what point does a suit become inarbitrable?
  • How do enforcement proceedings intersect with sanctions?
  • How does the presence of sanctions influence the conduct of arbitration proceedings?

Suzana Blades, Associate General Counsel, Commercial Litigation and Arbitration, ConocoPhillips

Lauren Friedman, Kirkland & Ellis
Mélida Hodgson, Foley Hoag
Brian King, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Aníbal Martín Sabater, Chaffetz Lindsey

11.00: Coffee break

11.30: Session two: The GAR Live Question Time

Our esteemed panel will answer questions from the audience on the hot topics in arbitration.

Catherine Amirfar, Debevoise & Plimpton 
Laura Robertson, Deputy General Counsel, Litigation, Arbitration & Employment, ConocoPhillips 

Yas Banifatemi, Shearman & Sterling
Alexandra Dosman, Vannin Capital
John Fellas, Hughes Hubbard & Reed
Grant Hanessian, Baker McKenzie
Alexandra Maier, Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle

12.45: Networking lunch

14.15: Session three: Arbitration in the cybersecurity era

High-profile companies and government organisations face an ever-increasing threat of data breach by way of cyberattack, and arbitration proceedings, particularly investor-state cases, are no exception.  Since the high profile hack of the website of the Permanent Court of Arbitration during the South China Seas proceedings, the international arbitration community has been sensitised to the need to protect arbitral proceedings themselves, including taking a sophisticated approach to cybersecurity in order to protect parties’ sensitive information to maintain trust in the arbitral system. Arbitral institutions, including ICCA, have now undertaken projects to promote cybersecurity in proceedings and arbitral tribunals are increasingly including cybersecurity protocols in procedural orders. So, what are the key issues for arbitration practitioners?

  • In the arbitral system, who should bear the burden of the costs and risks associated with cybersecurity? Tribunals? Parties involved in disputes? Arbitrators? Should such costs be allocated among all actors?
  • What measures are tribunals putting in place to ensure that parties’ data is secure during and after disputes dealing with sensitive information such as trade secrets?
  • How can we streamline the implementation of cybersecurity measures while maintaining the efficiency and flexibility of the arbitral process? For example, how can parties agree on measures like encryption standards without overburdening parties, tribunals or institutions?
  • What are the best practices in the event of a cybersecurity breach?
  • Assuming a breach, is arbitration appropriately equipped for resolving disputes arising from cybersecurity breaches?

Hagit Muriel Elul, Hughes Hubbard & Reed

Viren Mascarenhas, King & Spalding
Brandon Malone, Chair, ICCA-NYC Bar-CPR Working Group on Cybersecurity in International Arbitration
Gervase MacGregor, BDO
Natalie Reid, Debevoise & Plimpton

15.30: Coffee break

16.00: Session four: The GAR Live Inquisition - This house believes that all awards tainted by corruption should be unenforceable

In a new format for GAR Live, this session will replicate a US senate committee hearing with a succession of witnesses being ‘grilled' by a panel of GAR Live inquisitors, who are seeking to get to the bottom of a problem.

Questions from “senators” seeking to discover the extent of the problem of fraud in arbitration, the legal framework already in place (ex: Inter-American Convention Against, Corruption, OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, UN Convention Against Corruption), the remedies arbitrators have available, the impact of fraud in terms of faith in the arbitral system, etc.  

John Pierce, WilmerHale
Carolyn Lamm, White & Case
Oliver Armas, Hogan Lovells

Carlos Concepción, Jones Day
Kiera Gans, DLA Piper
Barry Leon, Arbitration Place
Rachel Thorn, Cooley

17.15: Chairs' closing remarks

Catherine Amirfar, Debevoise & Plimpton
Laura Robertson, Deputy General Counsel, Litigation, Arbitration & Employment, ConocoPhillips

17.30 onwards: All delegates are invited to a drinks reception kindly hosted by King & Spalding


WilmerHale, 7 World Trade Center, 45th Floor, 250 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10007, USA

Ticket prices

Private Practitioner
Type Price Until
Super Early $650  17 Aug 2018
Early $850 14 Sep 2018
Standard $1,050 26 Sep 2018


Complimentary In-house/governmental registration available