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A look back on an exciting year 2018 and an outlook for 2019

The past year has been very exciting and successful regarding all my various activities. In this blog I highlight some of the most important developments and achievements and will provide an outlook for 2019.

NL-Investmentconsulting’s growing portfolio
My legal advisory has been significantly growing over the past work, focusing mainly on intra-EU BIT and intra-EU ECT disputes, both under ICSID and UNCITRAL arbitration rules. As external legal advisor for NautaDutilh I have been closed involved in several cases, including setting-aside procedures before Dutch courts.
Besides, I also continue to advise on the interaction between EU law and intra-EU BITs in a several pending proceedings.
In addition, I have been acting as Of Counsel for Wöss & Partners in Vienna and as Consultant for Billiet & Co Lawyers in Brussels.
This year I also received a request to act as Mediator for the Energy Community.
Moreover, based on my experience as former Chief Negotiator for BITs, I have provided negotiation trainings for Trade Impact.
Finally, with Brexit coming closer, advisory work on Brexit has been picking up and will certainly continue into 2019 and beyond.

Publishing and teaching activities
This year has also been a busy year in terms of publishing and teaching activities. Numerous blogs have been published on Achmea, the Multilateral Investment Court (MIC) and Brexit in the Kluwer Arbitration blog, Practical Arbitration blog, EFILA blog and Borderlex.
Academic articles include an in-depth analysis of the renewable energy disputes against Spain and Italy as well as more generally on the Energy Charter Treaty as well as on the consequences of Achmea.
As in the past year, I also taught the course “International Investment Law” at the Free University Brussels, Brussels Diplomatic Academy. Similarly, I delivered by annual guest Lecture at the University of Amsterdam on the current developments of EU investment law.

Speeches and conference attendances
As always, traveling to speak at conference or attend them has been a prominent activity.
Speaking at the BCDR-AAA/SCC Joint Conference on Salient Issues in Investment Arbitration in September has certainly been one of the most specular events. Also, delivering the Keynote Speech for the Energy Community in Vienna has been a great honour. Other events included, the Warsaw Arbitration Days, a BIICL ITF event in London, the Frankfurter Gesprächskreis, at the ECT Secretariat in Brussels, at the AIA in Brussels, at the College d’Europe in Bruges, at the OECD in Paris.

EFILA continues to build up its reputation as a unique think tank
In February the 3rd EFILA Annual Conference took place in London bringing together more than 100 arbitration specialists from around the world. The Keynote Speaker was the Honourable Charles Brower. By now the EFILA Annual Conferences have established themselves as a key investment law and arbitration event at the start of each year. The 4th EFILA Annual Conference will take place on 31 January 2019 in London. The stellar line up of speakers, featuring Colin Brown from DG Trade as the Keynote Speaker, promises to be yet another excellent event.
Similarly, the 4th EFILA Annual Lecture delivered – as always in October in Brussels– this time by Prof. George Berman of Columbia University New York was again an outstanding Lecture.
These events have solidified EFILA’s reputation as the unique think tank, which tracks the EU’s investment law and arbitration policy from a practitioner’s perspective.
The high quality of EFILA’s work has also been recognized by UNCITRAL by granting EFILA Observer Status to attend the negotiations regarding reforming the ISDS system. EFILA also continues to publish its papers and participate in public consultations organized by various organizations.
As Secretary General of EFILA, I am pleased and honoured to see that our relentless efforts are being recognized.

European Investment Law and Arbitration Review (EILA Rev)
The 3rd issue of the European Investment Law and Arbitration Review has just successfully been published. This Review, which is unique in that it focuses exclusively on the various issues connected with European Investment Law and Arbitration, is co-edited by Prof. Loukas Mistelis of Queen Mary University of London and EFILA. The 350 pages of this issue provide in-depth analysis and new perspectives from authors around the world. Also, the Essay Competition, which was introduced this year for the first time, has attracted huge interest from around the globe.
Work on the 4th issue has already started and we will continue to strive to publish thoughtful articles, which contribute to the debate.

Dutch Arbitration Association Investment Committee
As in the past years, the Investment Committee of the Dutch Arbitration Association (DAA) organized an interesting event. This year we had an Oxford Style debate on the following motion:
“This house believes that investor-state arbitration must remain available within the EU.”
The debaters were:
• Prof. Dr. Stephan Schill (University of Amsterdam)
• Prof. Dr. Nikos Lavranos (Secretary General of EFILA)
• Dr. Wojciech Sadowski (KL Gates, Warsaw)
• Albert Marsman (De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Amsterdam)

and the Arbitral Tribunal was composed of:
• Dr. Veronika Korom (ESSEC Business School, Paris; Bredin Prat, Paris)
• Lucia Raimanova (Allen & Overy, Bratislava)
• Sophia von Dewall (Derains & Gharavi, Paris)

An outlook for 2019
2019 promises to be at least as busy as this year. In addition, to the activities and events mentioned above, which will also take place in 2019, some new initiatives will be developed.
A recently created legaltech start-up will see the light in 2019.
Also, work is under way to create a Maastricht Dispute Resolution Centre for the resolution of commercial disputes between companies with a focus on the Euregio.
Moreover, the workload on disputes as well as on Brexit issues is expected to increase.
Finally, some additional unexpected opportunities might arise as well.

In sum, a lot has been achieved thanks to the trust of all my clients, colleagues and friends.
I am very much indebted to you and I am looking forward working with you in 2019 again.

Happy New Year!
Nikos