Article published on, 07 February 2024.

This year’s Paris Arbitration Week will take inspiration from the Olympic Games to be held in Paris this summer, with an opening speech on diversity and inclusion from a leading paralympic athlete-turned businesswoman and a “PAW Games” in which teams from arbitration seats worldwide will compete in sporting events.

PAW 2024 will take place from 18 to 24 March. It will kick off on Monday 18 March with a keynote speech by former wheelchair tennis player Florence Gravellier, a six-time French champion who was for a time ranked first and second in the world for tennis doubles and singles, respectively, and who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. This will be followed by an opening cocktail party at the Paris Hotel de Ville.  

Since retiring from professional sport, Gravellier has held various positions within the Adecco Group, a leading global workforce solutions provider, and at Audencia Business School in Nantes, France. She is currently vice-president of the French Tennis Federation and senior diversity and inclusion consultant at ADDN Conseil, a French organisation that promotes change in the workplace. 

In the first PAW opening keynote by a speaker outside the world of arbitration, Gravellier will share her vision of diversity and inclusion in the worlds of both sport and business. Marily Paralika of Fieldfisher and Benjamin Siino of Gaillard Banifatemi Shelbaya Disputes, co-presidents of Paris Arbitration Week, say they are “honoured” that she has agreed to speak, explaining that “Florence is the ideal person to share her point of view on how diversity and inclusion issues are being accounted for around the world, and to help us open up new avenues for reflection in this area.”

Another Olympic-themed event will be the PAW Games to be held on Thursday 24 March. A new event organised by the PAW board for the first time this year, this will be an inspiring “battle of the seats,” in which teams of all levels from different arbitration seats around the world will compete against each other in a two-hour sports session in the centre of Paris, coached by experienced trainers.

Now in its eighth year, PAW 2024 has a three-word strap line: “Paris, inclusiveness and innovation”. The PAW board expects more visitors and partners than ever before and is especially pleased to announce the first-time partnership of the Paris Court of Appeal.

The event’s website offers three new features: the PAW Network, which will make it possible to access lists of participants at individual events if the organising partner permits; the PAW Pass, a unique QR Code to access the events for which a delegate has registered; and the Digital Library, a free database accessible to all registered users of the website, to which partners of the event will be able to contribute high-level scientific and academic content relating to their events, including videos and articles. The goal is to create the largest-ever digital library dedicated to international arbitration. 

Apart from the opening speech and PAW Games, highlights of the week will include a new event for in-house legal counsel and paying partners of PAW, which will take place on Tuesday 19 March at the Paris Commercial Court. 

On Thursday 21 March, GAR will host GAR Live Construction Disputes at Hotel du Collectioneur, co-chaired by Jane Davies Evans KC of 3 Verulam Buildings and Peter Rosher, head of international arbitration at Reed Smith.

This will be followed that evening by the 2024 GAR Awards, including the launch of the new GAR 30 and Expert Witness Power-Index and the presentation of the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award. Now in its 14th year, the Awards event will also take place at the Hotel du Collectioneur.

Paris is currently gearing up for the Olympic Games from 26 July to 11 August. The names of the arbitrators who will sit on the Court of Arbitration for Sports panels to resolve disputes arising from the games are expected to be announced soon.

Last year’s PAW boasted 143 officially-listed events and 153 partner organisations. 5,000 visitor accounts were created on the website and there were 26,000 event registrations.