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The Hague Court of Arbitration for Aviation’s Inaugural Conference 2024

The Hague Court of Arbitration for Aviation (The Hague CAA) successfully marked its official debut conference with the support of partners, which include Leiden University's International Institute of Air and Space Law (IIASL), the Netherlands Arbitration Institute (NAI), and the Municipality of The Hague.

The conference exceeded expectations, attracting over 120 delegates from across the globe and surpassing the initial cap of 100 attendees. The inaugural conference was held at two distinguished venues on Friday 26 January 2024. Leiden University's campus in The Hague hosted the morning session and The Hague City Hall hosted the afternoon session. Speakers from around the world engaged in discussions and shared pioneering insights across the two venues, exploring the complexities of topics such as contractual dispute resolution within the global aviation industry, critical examinations of aviation case law, the role of investor-state arbitration in aviation and the evolving roles in specialised arbitration and mediation.

The conference opened with welcoming remarks from Steven Truxal (Professor of Air and Space Law, Director of Leiden University's IIASL), Gerard Meijer (President of the Netherlands Arbitration Institute, Professor at Erasmus University, Partner of Linklaters), David Power (Co-Chair of The Hague CAA's Advisory Board; Special Advisor at AERGO Capital; Board Director at Avi Lease; Principal at Solus Capital Partners) and Philip Hughes (Head of European Aviation Plans, Cooperation & Stakeholder Support, at EUROCONTROL). Following presentations and discussions from all speakers invited to contribute, the event concluded with remarks from Paul Jebely (Founder and Chair of The Hague CAA), a word of thanks from Alderman Saskia Bruines on behalf of the Municipality of The Hague and a reception with champagne and canapés.

The Hague CAA: mission and conference

The Hague CAA is a specialised, neutral, independent arbitration institution designed to serve the global aviation industry. Its mission is to offer an effective, efficient and industry-tailored alternative to traditional court litigation with the aim of resolving aviation-related contractual disputes through arbitration and mediation. The Hague CAA was founded in consultation with many of the world’s leading aviation experts in order to guarantee its focus on the specific needs of the aviation industry. It is known for its ‘tribunal composition,’ ‘broad expertise,’ ‘accelerated procedures’, and ‘cost effectiveness’.

The Hague CAA’s successful inaugural conference highlights industry recognition of the need for specialised arbitration within the aviation sector. Through insightful discussions and international collaboration, the event has contributed to the future of dispute resolution within the global aviation landscape. The Hague CAA endeavours to better inform stakeholders of the use of arbitration and mediation in resolving contractual disputes across the aviation industry and thereby tackle misconceptions.

Arbitration is a transformative force in reshaping contractual settlements within the aviation sector. Arbitration can be used in a wide range of aviation scenarios, encompasses a broad spectrum of contract areas and predominantly addresses contractual issues such as the industry’s specialised segments. It has proven instrumental in handling high-stakes transactions such as aircraft sales and purchases with significant financial implications in order to ensure the smooth functioning of daily operations at airports, heliports and even future vertiports.

Municipality of The Hague: default seat and conference venue

The Hague CAA's inaugural conference was held in The Hague, which reflects its significance and relevance. Over the past century, The Hague has earned its reputation as the international city of peace and justice. Due to its unique position as an international centre of decision-making and influence, it is home to over 200 international organisations including the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ). It is now the default seat of The Hague CAA as well.

Another link lies in the fact that The Hague CAA is administered by the NAI, which is one of the world's leading and oldest international arbitration institutions. Established in 1949, the NAI has successfully administered over 5,000 arbitration cases and is one of the world's most respected international arbitration institutions. In 2022 alone, the NAI administered a caseload representing more than $2 billion in disputes worldwide.

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