09 Dec 2021

ICC appoints co-chairs of new disability inclusion and international arbitration task force

King & Spalding associate Simon Maynard and Toronto-based independent arbitrator Todd Weiler are set to take the reins on the 'first-of-its-kind' initiative

The nameplate on the ICC's Paris headquarters

Chrisdorney; Shutterstock

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has appointed a leadership team for its new task force on disability inclusion and international arbitration, which was established last week in a move the ICC claims to be the first of its kind by an arbitral institution to make dispute resolution more inclusive for people with disabilities. 

Simon Maynard, a London-based senior associate at King & Spalding, and Todd Weiler, a veteran independent arbitrator and academic based in Toronto, are set to co-chair the task force, the ICC announced last week. 

By studying and analysing the ways in which the ICC can meet the needs of those in the international arbitration community who may need accommodations or changes for the way they work, the task force intends to draw up recommendations for disability inclusion to be launched in 2022. 

Maynard said: “The launch of the task force has already contributed to overcoming one of the biggest obstacles to disability inclusion: silence. Through the work of the task force, I hope we can not only formulate practical proposals to make the arbitral process more accessible for practitioners and users alike, but also really start to put disability on a level playing field with other protected characteristics.”

Maynard, who has been with King & Spalding for just over two years, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2019 and underwent major surgery to remove his entire colon in early 2020, which resulted in a permanent stoma for which he required an ostomy bag. 

Over the past year, Maynard has actively been trying to raise awareness of disability inclusion issues in the legal industry, an issue he described to Law.com in a 2020 interview as “barely on the radar” for certain firms. 

“Around 20% of the working age population has a disability,” he told Law.com. “We’re not talking about a small minority of people, but we are talking about one that isn’t very well-represented.”

The duo will be supported by two task force awareness ambassadors: Yas Banifatemi, a founding partner of Gaillard Banifatemi Shelbaya Disputes in France, and Albert Jan van den Berg, a partner at Hanotiau & van den Berg in Belgium. 

Squire Patton Boggs partner José Feris will act as a liaison officer between the Commission’s steering committee and the task force, the ICC said. 

Creation of the task force was first suggested by ICC International Court of Arbitration president Claudia Salomon, who issued a call for expressions of interest to lead a task force on disability inclusion and international arbitration just one week into her term earlier this year. 

Salomon, who was elected as the court's first woman president in June, said: “Through the work of this task force, we will be able to provide pioneering services that address the needs of all our clients, while ultimately legitimising international arbitration as a viable method of dispute resolution for the entire global business community.”

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