CRCICA is internationally known to have “had a string of highly respected directors” and for being “well managed” to quote credible international sources. Today CRCICA is described as “the current class of the field in the Middle East” due to the efforts and professionalism of its past directors Dr. Mohamed Aboulenein, Dr. Nabil El Araby and Dr. Mohamed Abdelraouf. Dr. Abdel Raouf has ended an unrivaled four-year-term on 31 December 2016 but decided not to renew for a second one. Under Dr. Abdel Raouf Directorship, CRCICA witnessed important developments, which originated in many projects that Dr. Abdel Raouf successfully planned and implemented.
During the period from 2012 to 2016, CRCICA Arbitration Rules as amended in 2011 were tested. The procedures set forth by the 2011 amendments to decide on challenge of arbitrators by a tripartite committee composed from amongst the Centre’s Advisory Committee were tested and proved to be a successful mechanism, which was recognized and approved by two decisions of the Cairo Court of Appeal.
To clarify the application of the Rules, the Centre issued in June 2014 its Practice Notes, based on the decisions taken by the Centre’s Advisory Committee (AC). They included eight Practice Notes determining the discretion and role of the Centre as well as its policies regarding decisions to be made under its Rules. Furthermore, CRCICA published the main trends deduced from the decisions of the tripartite ad hoc committees formed from among the members of CRCICA’s Advisory Committee in matters of challenge and removal of arbitrators, outlining the grounds of the requests for challenge and removal as well as the decisions issued by the tripartite ad hoc committees, which led to important conclusions about the salient grounds for the upholding or rejection of the requests.
Since 2012, CRCICA has been the seat of the first in Africa Alternative Hearing Centre (AHC) of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). In 2015, the Executive Committee of the International Handball Federation unanimously agreed to recognize the CRCICAhosted AHC of the CAS to be used in case of any sports dispute, which may arise in the Middle East, after the consent of the Court.
In 2013, the Centre issued its Mediation Rules. This came alongside many efforts and projects implemented in cooperation with the IFC to spread mediation culture and help the parties reaching amicable settlements for their disputes. Dr. Abdel Raouf undertook important renovations in the Centre’s premises. A new hearing center was officially inaugurated on 26 December 2013, which includes hearing rooms containing high-tech equipment and facilities to enable the Centre to manage large and complex cases. In 2016, the Conference Center was renovated to host important events and conferences organized by the Centre.
During Dr. Abdel Raouf’s term, the Centre continued to successfully organize major conferences and events. The Centre held twice, in 2014 and 2016, its Sharm El Sheikh international conference series on “The Role of State Courts in International Commercial Arbitration”. Other conferences were held in cooperation with important institutions, such as the UNCITRAL and the ICCA. The Centre hosted an ICSID course and conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ICSID Convention, as well as the ICCA road show to the New York Convention. In cooperation with the IFC, monthly “mediation breakfasts” were organized to enhance the knowledge and use of mediation in Egypt and the Middle East. The Centre continued to host monthly seminars of the Cairo Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Another important achievement of Dr. Abdel Raouf was to focus on the training of Egyptian and Middle Eastern practitioners. Hence, the Centre was approved as a Recognized Course Provider of the training courses qualifying for the membership of the prestigious Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb). By virtue of this unique stance in the whole Arab region, CRCICA is entitled to hold two CIArb modules for both lawyers and non-lawyers, entitling the successful candidates to apply for the CIArb membership.
In September 2016, the Centre renewed its cooperation with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) to develop and administer a unique continuing legal education program (CLE) program. To encourage future practitioners, Dr. Abdel Raouf encouraged hosting arbitration moots for students. At least four arbitration moots organized by universities and law firms were hosted by the Centre during the last two years.
The Centre continued to issue its most important publications, namely, the collection of its awards in both Arabic and English, and the Arab Journal of Arbitration. Dr. Abdel Raouf drafted many articles and chapters on the Centre and its regional role, as well as chapters on arbitration in Egypt, including, for instance, Kluwer Law’s “Arbitration in Africa: a practitioner’s Guide” and “The Transformation of Arbitration in Africa: The Role of Arbitral Institutions” and chapters in the World Arbitration Reporter (WAR).
On the institutional level, the Centre’s Advisory committee held regularly quarterly meetings and was consulted on various technical and legal issues. The Centre’s Board of Trustees (BOT) held regularly its annual meetings and examined the Centre’s caseload, activities and financial statements. A new website was designed and operated, allowing the users to view the Centre’s Rules, register to its activities and calculate the arbitration costs of their potential claims.
Dr. Abdel Raouf played a pivotal role in developing the Centre’s international dimension and ensuring cooperation with other institutions. He signed a number of cooperation agreements with various regional and international arbitration institutions and chamber of commerce. The Centre is also an active member at the Institute for the Promotion of Arbitration and Mediation in the Mediterranean (ISPRAMED) whose reports resulting from the comparative work of practices and arbitration rules of its members are becoming increasingly important and published widely.
During his term as Director, CRCICA won the prestigious GAR Award for the regional institution of 2013. “in recognition of its great strides in the past year”. In 2014, CRCICA has been recognized by the Assessment Report mandated by the African Development Bank, released in April 2014 as one of “the best arbitration centres across the African Continent and can readily be recommended for use by parties from both the African continent and elsewhere”. CRCICA holds in high regards Dr. Mohamed Abdel Raouf’s achievements and unique contributions and wish him all success in his new phase of professional life.