The law firm of Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek signed the "Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge" ("Pledge") to improve the profile of women in international arbitration and to promote equal opportunities at the appointment of arbitration courts. Women, are still underrepresented in arbitration courts at the national and international level. The share of women in arbitrator appointments at arbitration proceedings managed by the German Institution of Arbitration totaled only 12.9% in 2015.
Numerous legal disputes, in particular those related to major business transactions, are decided by private arbitrators, with rules of procedure and appointment determined by the parties themselves. While the share of women judges in state courts is fairly high, arbitral tribunals are heavily dominated by men.
By signing the Pledge, the firm undertakes to take appropriate measures to work towards improving the representation of women in arbitration. In compliance with the principles of equal opportunity and equal treatment, the goal of the Pledge is to establish full gender parity in the long term and to ensure that the best arbitrators are appointed to arbitral courts.
The Pledge is a voluntary commitment for lawyers, arbitral institutions, and companies initiated by members of the international arbitration community. The Pledge was negotiated and drafted in Europe, including in London, Berlin, and Amsterdam. Ulrike Gantenberg, Partner at Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek, was involved in drafting the Pledge in Berlin: "We welcome this initiative and are pleased that the Pledge has already gathered so much attention throughout the world. The Pledge will assist in breaking with old ways of thinking when finding the arbitrator who is best qualified for a particular case. It invites to select on a basis of merit: improving diversity in arbitration at its best!”