12th Cape Town Convention Academic Project Conference organised in Cambridge

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The 12th Annual Cape Town Convention Academic Project Conference took place at Jesus College, University of Cambridge, and on Zoom on 27-28 September 2023. The Conference was organised by the Cape Town Convention Academic Project, which is a partnership between UNIDROIT and the University of Cambridge Faculty of Law, under the auspices of the Centre for Corporate and Commercial Law (3CL). The Aviation Working Group (AWG) is the founding sponsor of the project.

The Conference was preceded on the 26th of September by a moot involving students from Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The moot, judged by Mr. Justice Zacaroli and Professor Riz Mokal, was one of the first to take place under the Cape Town Convention International Moot Programme, the purpose of which is to familiarise students and judges with the Cape Town Convention in the context of complex hypothetical fact patterns and to provide students with educational exercises involving these instruments in a simulated judicial setting.

The Conference had 153 registered participants, 88 of which attended in person, with the rest participating via Zoom. The Conference’s focus was on Enforcement and Dispute Resolution in relation to the Cape Town Convention. As always, the conference was highly interactive, with each session including ample opportunity for questions and debate.

The first day was started with a discussion by Mr. Justice Zacaroli (Judge of the Chancery Division, High Court of England and Wales), Professor Jeffrey Wool (AWG, Harris Manchester College, Oxford) and Kenneth Gray (Norton Rose Fulbright) on ‘Foreign relief pending determination’, following on from the moot held on 26 September.

The first session was followed by an illustration of ‘Cape Town Convention/Aircraft Protocol case law on interpretation as required by Article 5’ offered by Donald Gray (Holland & Knight), Tom Casey and Keith Mulhern (A&L Goodbody). Following this, participants were invited over the lunch break to provide their input on lessons learnt from the moot.

The lunchtime session was followed by a presentation on ‘Leasing and the Cape Town Convention’ by Professor Donal Hanley (McGill University), with comments from Ravi Nath (RNC Legal), Professor Charles Mooney (University of Pennsylvania) and Nitin Sarin (Sarin & Co.). Thereafter, Professor Richard Fentiman and Professor Louise Merrett (University of Cambridge) delved into the private international law aspects of the Cape Town Convention with a presentation on ‘Article 42: declining jurisdiction’, which was commented upon by Charlotte Winter (Norton Rose Fulbright).

The first day concluded with a reception and a dinner at Jesus College, University of Cambridge, during which Professor Sir Roy Goode was honoured for his contribution to the Cape Town Convention and its jurisprudence.

The Conference was resumed on the second day with a presentation on ‘The Procedural Requirements of Article 14: Bermuda Triangle in the Cape Town Convention or Inconvenient Truth?’ by Professor Campbell McLachlan (University of Wellington, University of Cambridge), with comments from Paul Ng (Rajah and Tann, National University of Singapore). This was followed by a presentation on ‘Enforcement of treaty breaches in the Cape Town Convention context’ by Professor Alex Mills (UCL) and Professor Jeffrey Wool (AWG, Harris Manchester College, Oxford).

The second day of the Conference also featured a lunchtime session by Howard Rosen (Rail Working Group) on ‘The coming into force of the Luxembourg Rail Protocol’, and a presentation on ‘Mechanics and dynamics in practice of enforcement in insolvency’ by Professor Jeffrey Wool (AWG, Harris Manchester College, Oxford), Stephen Parker (Watson Farley Williams), Professor Riz Mokal (South Square Chambers) and the Secretary-General of UNIDROIT, Professor Ignacio Tirado.

The Conference was concluded by a presentation on ‘The Cape Town Convention and project finance’ by Dr. Ole Böger (Judge, Hanseatic Court of Appeal in Bremen, Germany), with comments from Professor Ignacio Tirado (UNIDROIT).

The Programme for the event can be found here. Registered participants can access all the Conference material here with the password that they were provided in advance of the Conference. Learn more about the Cape Town Convention Academic Project and its activities at: www.ctcap.org.