HSF partner becomes first female president of ACICA

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A Herbert Smith Freehills partner has taken the helm at the country’s international dispute resolution institution.

Brenda Horrigan, who is the head of international arbitration in Australia at HSF, commenced as the first female president of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA) on Monday.

The appointment came less than a year after she was elected as an executive director of the centre’s board. She succeeded Alex Baykitch AM, who is a partner at King & Wood Mallesons.

HSF’s global arbitration practice head, Paula Hodges QC, said that the appointment recognises Horrigan’s expertise in arbitration, which is on an upward trend in Australia.

“Arbitration in Australia is growing apace to support the increasing number of cross-border transactions taking place,” Hodges said. “At this thriving time, we are therefore particularly proud that Brenda has been elected as president of ACICA. Brenda has extensive international experience from her time spent in the US, Paris, Russia and China, so is perfectly placed to help develop ACICA’s position in the world of international arbitration.”

Horrigan said that she is delighted to have been chosen as president of ACICA after serving as an executive director for the past year.

“I would like to thank the current president, Alex Baykitch AM, for his service to ACICA, and look forward to helping steer ACICA as it moves from strength to strength,” she said.

A US-qualified lawyer with nearly two decades of experience in international arbitration, Sydney-based Horrigan has practiced in the US, as well as in Paris, Moscow, and Shanghai. She is internationally recognised as a leading lawyer in arbitration.

The experience and expertise will be invaluable to ACICA, said Deborah Tomkinson, the centre’s secretary general.

“ACICA is growing as an institution and is increasingly involved in highly complex matters. The depth of expertise and international experience that Brenda brings to this leadership role is very important to the institution.” Tomkinson said. “Brenda’s appointment as president of ACICA reflects the incredible female talent we have amongst arbitrators and arbitration practitioners in this country, and is a demonstration of our commitment to achieving gender parity in our field.”

Brenda Horrigan