Melissa Brown is a Senior Associate and Solicitor Advocate. She specialises in international arbitration, particularly in the construction and energy sectors.
She has acted on LCIA, ICC, LMAA, AAA arbitrations, as well as ad-hoc arbitrations under UNCITRAL Rules. She has represented clients in arbitrations seated in London, Paris, Geneva and Dubai.
Melissa has also advised on investment treaty arbitrations under the ICSID Rules.
Melissa joined Clifford Chance in 2012, having completed her masters at the University of Cambridge where her focus was on dispute settlement and international law.
Unilateral option clauses provide for disputes to be referred to arbitration, but give one party the exclusive right to elect to refer a dispute to litigation before the courts; the clauses also provide for disputes to be referred to a court, but give one party the exclusive right to elect to refer the dispute to arbitration instead. Parties should exercise caution when considering whether to include unilateral option clauses in their agreements.
It is relatively rare for the English courts to overturn awards of arbitral tribunals. However, a recent decision of the Commercial Court did just that, setting aside a London Court of International Arbitration partial award made by a panel of three queen's counsel. The partial award was challenged on the basis that the arbitral tribunal had lacked substantive jurisdiction and the application had been made pursuant to Section 67 of the Arbitration Act 1996.