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29 November 2023


13 h 20 min - 18 h 20 min

ROAP EMEA 2023 Finals – 29 November 2023

The ROAP EMEA Finals brought to a close our advanced remote oral advocacy and cross-examination courses, by featuring the most persuasive and skilled participants on each course. You can view the recording here.

The outcome of the finals was determined by a panel of world-class arbitrators consisting of Professor Zachary Douglas KC (President), to whom the ROAP EMEA 2023 edition is dedicated, Amani Khalifa and Dr. Monique Sasson.

The winners were: Wihan Meintjes (Allen & Overy, Johannesburg) and expert Eleanor Taylor (Mazars, London) for the cross-examination course, and Adetola Adebesin (Sidley Austin, Geneva) and Puloma Mukherjee (LALIVE, London) for the oral submissions course. The other finalists were: Shyam Balakrishnan (Hanotiau & van den Berg, Brussels) and Julia Heidelbach (Alvarez & Marsal, Zurich) for the cross-examination course, and Sophie Matamoros (Gide Loyrette Nouel, Paris) and Federica Perinetti (BonelliErede, Milan) for the oral submissions course.

You will find short bios of our finalists and tribunal members below.


Professor Zachary Douglas KC has a substantial practice before international courts and tribunals as counsel, arbitrator and expert witness, and also frequently appears before the English courts and the courts of other common law jurisdictions in cases with a public or private international law element. He is a Professor of International Law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and was formerly a member of the Faculty of Law of Cambridge University. Zachary is recognised as a leading specialist in public international law and arbitration by Chambers and Partners and Legal 500 both in the Global and UK editions.

Zachary has been appointed as an arbitrator in more than 150 cases under the ICC, LCIA, SCC, UNCITRAL, Swiss and ICSID Arbitration Rules with an equal split between investment treaty and commercial arbitrators.  He has served as a chairperson and as sole-arbitrator in more than half of those cases.

Zachary has been instructed by States in relation to proceedings in the International Court of Justice and the Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and has acted as counsel in cases before the English courts and other municipal courts relating to state immunity, human rights and humanitarian law, state succession, environmental law, constitutional law, challenges to investment treaty awards, private international law, civil fraud and money laundering. He has represented individuals and companies in proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights and has also acted in dozens of cases before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, having formerly represented the International Olympic Committee.

In addition to contentious matters, Zachary has advised governments on issues of public international law (law of the sea, treaty law, international human rights, sovereign immunity, humanitarian law, state succession), arbitration legislation and constitutional reform. He has also advised multinational companies on issues of corporate social responsibility and international humanitarian law.

Zachary is fluent in Russian and French and has conducted bilingual arbitration proceedings in both languages. He is the author of one of the leading studies on investment treaty arbitration ‘The International Law of Investment Claims’ published by Cambridge University Press as well as a number of other books and articles on a range of topics relating to public and private international law.

Amani Khalifa is part of the Global Projects Disputes Practice of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and an arbitration specialist.

She handles large, complex construction disputes relating to projects in Saudi Arabia and throughout the MENA region with an emphasis on the energy and infrastructure sectors. She has been recognised as a leader in arbitration by Who’s Who Legal.

Amani is a judge of the Bahrain Court of Cassation seconded to the BCDR. Amani is also the Vice President of the LCIA Arab Users’ Council. She is an arbitrator on the basketball arbitral tribunal, an independent tribunal recognised by FIBA and an anticorruption hearing officer of the International Tennis Integrity Agency. Amani also sits frequently as arbitrator in infrastructure disputes throughout the MENA region. 

Dr. Monique Sasson has thirty years of experience in analyzing international disputes. Before earning a Ph.D. in international law from Cambridge University, she worked at two major law firms, in London and in Rome. Monique is qualified as an Italian avvocato, an English solicitor and a New York attorney. Previously Of Counsel at Macchi di Cellere Gangemi, she is one of the founding partners of DeliSasson. Monique’s practice includes advocacy as counsel as well as arbitrator and mediator appointments. Monique served as an expert witness on international law in Central European Aluminium Company (CEAC) v. Montenegro, (ICSID Case No. ARB/14/8) and testified orally before a distinguished investment treaty tribunal. The second edition of her book, Substantive Law in Investment Arbitration, was published in 2017 by Kluwer. She is in Arbitra’s list of arbitrators.


Adetola Adebesin is an international arbitration attorney at Sidley Austin LLP – Geneva, Switzerland. He has over 6 years of experience representing corporates, multi-nationals and governments in several high profile commercial and investment disputes. He regularly acts as counsel under most of the institutional arbitration rules including the ICC, LCIA, SIAC, Swiss Rules and ICSID. He holds a masters from the prestigious Geneva LLM in International Dispute Settlement (MIDS), a diploma in international arbitration from the Africa Arbitration Academy and is the Co-Founder of the Nigeria Very Young Arbitration Practitioners (Nigeria VYAP). Adetola is admitted to practice in Nigeria.

Shyam Balakrishnan joined Hanotiau & van den Berg in 2020. He assists Prof. Bernard Hanotiau in complex, high value, commercial and investment treaty arbitrations in a broad range of sectors (including energy, mining, construction, pharma, infrastructure) under all major arbitration rules. Shyam graduated in 2016 with a Bachelors of Arts and of Laws (B.A.LL.B (Hons.)) from the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences in India. In 2019, he obtained his LL.M in International Dispute Settlement (MIDS) from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and the University of Geneva. He is qualified in India, registered with the Brussels Bar (B-List) and is in the process of registering with the SRA in England & Wales (SQE completed in November 2022).

Julia Heidelbach is a Senior Director with Alvarez & Marsal in Zürich (Switzerland) where she heads the Disputes & Investigations team. She has over 15 years of experience with quantum arising from contentious commercial matters. Her experience includes lost profits and/or damage calculations from breach of contract, post M&A disputes, shareholder disputes and (damage) valuation in Arbitration or Litigation, as well as Expert Determination. She has a record of advising clients (and counsel) on settlement options for quantum. In this role, she has helped parties to reach consensus and common ground in a variety of forums, including commercial settlement negotiations, mediation, and expert determination. Before joining A&M, she worked in the Financial Advisory and Audit teams at a Big 4 company in London (until 2012) and Zürich. Julia holds a BA (HONS) and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales. She is currently enrolled with the University of Zürich for post-degree studies in M&A and Valuation.

Sophie Matamoros is a French-Ecuadorian attorney qualified in Paris and an associate in the International Arbitration Department of the law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel. She is specialized in international arbitration and her practice focuses on international commercial and investment arbitration. Sophie has represented clients in commercial international arbitration proceedings based in New York and London under the ICC Rules concerning post-M&A disputes. Sophie has also advised States and state entities in several ICSID and ad hoc investor-state arbitrations related to a variety of business sectors, notably mining, telecommunications, energy and transportation. She received her LL.B. in International and European law and Master I in international business law from Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne University, her Master II in Business Law from Paris V Descartes University, her Master in Law and International Management from HEC Paris and her LL.M. in International and Comparative Law from UCLA School of Law. Sophie is fluent in Spanish, English and French and works in these three languages. A member of the Club Español del Arbitraje and the CFA-40, she is also a volunteer with the Bus de la Solidarité of the Paris Bar Association and works pro bono with the associations Droits d’urgence and Jesuit Refugee Service.

Wihan Meintjes is a Senior Associate in Allen & Overy LLP’s global disputes practice, based in Johannesburg. Wihan serves domestic and foreign clients across various sectors – predominantly construction, energy, mining and infrastructure. Wihan has experience in matters in South Africa, across the African continent (including Botswana, Mozambique, Nigeria and Ghana) and beyond, including in the Middle East and Europe.  Working on various cross-border mandates at Allen & Overy, Wihan has gained extensive experience in international arbitrations and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards. He has also worked in Allen & Overy’s Dubai office. Domestically and within Africa, Wihan works closely with local counsel in several jurisdictions – both in respect of domestic court mandates across the continent as well as ad hoc / institutional arbitrations.

Puloma Mukherjee is a dual qualified lawyer (in India and England & Wales) and an associate in the Arbitration Practice Group at the London office of LALIVE. Her main area of practice is international arbitration, including commercial and investment treaty arbitration and her experience includes acting as counsel and tribunal secretary in international arbitrations under ICSID, ICC, and UNCITRAL Rules.

Federica Perinetti is a senior associate with the BonelliErede’s international arbitration team based in Milan. She specializes in commercial arbitration, advising and representing private companies in proceedings under the leading institutional rules, including ICC, LCIA and DIAC, as well as in ad-hoc arbitrations. Her practice covers a wide range of sectors, with a particular focus on complex construction, engineering, corporate and post-M&A disputes. Federica graduated in law from the University of Milan, holds an LL.M. degree from UCL, University College London and is admitted to the Italian Bar.

Eleanor Taylor is a Chartered Accountant with over 12 years’ professional experience, primarily as a forensic accountant.  She has managed the production of expert evidence across a range of assignments in both litigation and arbitration proceedings and in the context of expert determinations, including in claims for breach of contract, professional negligence claims and post-acquisition disputes.  Much of Eleanor’s work has a focus on quantification of damages and business valuation, and her sector experience includes leisure and retail, aviation, mining and healthcare.  Eleanor started her career within audit where she gained valuable training in financial reporting and auditing standards.  After qualifying, Eleanor joined Mazars’ Forensic and Valuation Services Team in 2014.




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