RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Georgia Antonopoulou and her work on international commercial dispute resolution

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This month’s Research Spotlight is on Georgia Antonopoulou and her work in international commercial dispute resolution


As a PhD researcher, my research focused on international commercial courts in Europe and in Asia. International commercial courts are national courts specializing in cross-border commercial dispute and have multiple innovative features. For example, some of these courts use English as the court language or appoint foreign nationality judges to their bench, mostly drawn from England and Wales. Initially, my research focused on the distinctive, innovative features of international commercial courts and their implications with regard to commercial dispute resolution. This research led to the publication of two articles (see here and here) and two chapters in co-edited books (here and here), and has been disseminated through blogposts (here, here, and here), and conference presentations in Europe, the USA, Singapore, and China.

As my research progressed, I developed an interest in the reasons behind the establishment of international commercial courts. While the European courts were established in the wake of Brexit with the aim of attracting litigation away from London, their Asian counterparts were mainly established as part of broader policies to attract and boost dispute resolution. This shifted my focus to the broader topics of the competition of civil justice systems and forum selling. Based on interviews with international commercial courts’ judges and lawyers that have appeared before these courts, my thesis argues that international commercial courts compete for cases by marketing their procedural advantages to prospective litigants, by adopting expansive jurisdictional approaches, and by emulating some of international commercial arbitration’s most popular features. I conclude that while the competition for cases brings about improvements in international commercial dispute resolution, some of the courts’ practices undermine procedural justice and the role of courts as public institutions in the service of broader interests.

In my current research, I am additionally interested in the growing economic thinking in civil justice and its increasing commercialization. How do these trends alter civil procedure rules and how do they influence judicial behaviour and academic discourse? First, I study the court and civil procedure reforms undertaken in countries facing a financial crisis and austerity measures, including my own country Greece. Second, I am interested in the marketing practices of civil justice systems and private dispute resolution methods. Lastly, I recently received a grant from the Socio-Legal Studies Association for a research project entitled ‘Between the Law and the Market: Foreign Judges in the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts’. I explore how foreign judges perceive their roles in the DIFC Courts and how they are perceived by the local bar in Dubai as well as in England and Wales. Based on interviews both with judges and practitioners, I aim to provide a nuanced account of the role of foreign judges in national courts abroad and their relationship to professional groups in their home and host jurisdictions.




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