The ROAP Construction (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.

The outcome of the finals was determined by a panel of world-class arbitrators consisting of Michael E. Schneider (President) to whom the ROAP Construction (EMEA) 2023/4 edition is dedicated, Vera Van Houtte, and Tore Wiwen-Nilsson.

The winners were: Stefan Pislevik (Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Dubai) and Baran Ali Saltik (Secretariat, Dubai) for the cross examination course, Ali Auda (Mayer Brown, London) and Payel Mazumdar (Habib Al Mulla, Dubai) for the oral submissions course, and the best advocate overall: Stefan Pislevik. The other finalists were Daniel Holman (Three Crowns, London) and expert Kalpesh Patel (GB2, London) for the cross-examination course and Kerem Alev (Bait Al Qanoon, Muscat) and Amira Ioana Shaat (Charles Russell Speechlys, Dubai) for the oral submissions course.

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



Michael E. Schneider is a founding partner of LALIVE and now Senior Counsel. He has practised in international arbitration for more than 40 years as counsel in ad hoc proceedings and under various rules, including those of the ICC, ICSID, LCIA, Swiss Rules, Stockholm Institute, the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA), Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC), European Development Fund, UNCITRAL, and before other international bodies, including the WTO Appellate Body and the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC). He has also acted in many cases as arbitrator (chair, sole or co-arbitrator) under the rules of many institutions both in Switzerland and abroad. Mr Schneider’s main areas of practice are disputes involving States and corporations in construction, industrial engineering and infrastructure projects, natural resources (in particular oil and gas), pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and investment disputes. He has specific experience in dealing with technical issues and in managing large and complex disputes, organising and leading teams of specialists from different fields and different legal and cultural backgrounds. Mr Schneider is honorary president of the Swiss Arbitration Association (ASA). At ASA, he developed inter alia the Arbitration Practice Seminar organised annually since 1997 with civil law and common law practitioners. He was appointed to the new Abu Dhabi International Arbitration Centre on 1 February 2024. He was vice-chair of the ICC Commission on Arbitration until 2014 and has been a member of several of its working groups (1998 and 2012 revisions of the ICC rules, construction, pre-arbitral referee). He chaired the UNCITRAL Working Group II (Arbitration) at its sessions in New York and Vienna (2006-2010) on the revision of the Arbitration Rules and on the revision of the Notes on Organizing Arbitral Proceedings (2014-2015) and was vice-chair of the Commission (2015-2017). He is past president of the International Academy of Construction Lawyers (IACL) and was co-chair of the IBA Committee on international Construction Projects.  He is member of the Board of Trustees of the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA) and of the Court of Arbitration of the Singapore Arbitration Centre; he was a member of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of the Dubai International Arbitration Centre. He also was advising as inhouse counsel Universal Engineering and Finance Corporation (UNEFICO) on all contract matters. Mr Schneider lectures at the University of Fribourg LLM Programme and was Director of Studies at the Centre for Studies and Research at the Hague Academy of International Law (Transnational Arbitration and State Contracts). He studied law and history at the universities of Munich, Bonn and Geneva and completed the 1st and 2nd State examination (capacity to hold office as a judge). He completed postgraduate studies at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva and is a former AIESEC trainee with the Shell Company in Sierra Leone.

Vera Van Houtte holds a Dr. Juris degree from the University of Leuven in Belgium and a LL.M. from Harvard Law School. She is specialised in several areas of law: construction and engineering, industrial projects, public procurement, and energy law, as well as arbitration. From 1989 till the end of 2012, she was a partner at the Brussels office of the Benelux law firm Stibbe where she headed the construction and industrial law department. She was involved in major construction and renovation projects in Belgium as well as abroad, acting as counsel and litigator for engineering firms, contractors, developers and their clients, both private enterprises and public authorities. From international construction work, she moved into international arbitration, first as counsel, later as arbitrator. Since retiring from Stibbe, she acts exclusively as an arbitrator (ICC, ICSID, LCIA, DIAC, UNCITRAL, ad hoc).

Tore Wiwen-Nilsson practices as a sole practitioner with focus on arbitration as independent arbitrator as from 1 January 2010. He was a partner of Mannheimer Zetterlof since 1974, and thereafter of Mannheimer Swartling Advokatbyrå until 2010. He was General Counsel of Asea-Atom AB, a nuclear reactor designer and supplier of nuclear power plants and nuclear fuel, in the beginning of the 1970ies. Tore Wiwen-Nilsson has a spent most of his professional life as advisor in international transactions of various kinds in many countries of the world, including construction projects, foreign direct investments, industrial alliances, cross border licensing and technology transfers, business acquisitions, project finance, etc. He advised the Swedish Government in the negotiation with the Danish Government regarding the treaty between the countries for the Oresund Link, and was lead counsel in the preparation, procurement and construction of the Oresund Link Project (an 18 km combined bridge and tunnel project connecting Sweden and Denmark), which opened for traffic in 2000. He was also lead counsel for the Swedish Government in the preparation, procurement and construction of the Arlandabanan project (a railway connecting Stockholm City with the Arlanda Airport, the first substantial PPP in Sweden), which opened for traffic in 1999. For more than 15 years he has advised Volvo Cars Corp. with respect to its strategic alliance with Mitsubishi Motors Corp. He now devotes most of his time to international arbitration as arbitrator. As counsel, he has been engaged in commercial disputes of all kinds. His experience from arbitration as arbitrator includes gas price revisions, review of fees and other terms for the transit of gas, business acquisitions, intellectual property disputes, construction and engineering disputes, and others. He has experience from ad hoc, UNCITRAL, the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, the ICC, the Danish Institute of Arbitration, the Dubai International Arbitration Center and the Netherlands Arbitration Institute. He was lead counsel in the challenge in Stockholm of the arbitral award in the CME v. The Czech Republic investment dispute.


Kerem Alev is a Senior Associate at Bait Al Qanoon. He is dual qualified both as a Barrister and a Solicitor in England & Wales, having first qualified as a Solicitor in 2013. He has comprehensive and all-around experience in both dispute resolution and corporate transactions.  Kerem has been an advocate in cases involving commercial, corporate and construction disputes.  He has regularly attended Court as the advocate for multiple-day trials, applications of all forms, including injunctions, and attendances at mediations and international arbitrations. Before moving to Oman to join Bait Al Qanoon (formerly S & A Law Firm), Kerem lived and worked in London where he worked as a Barrister at a global law firm representing clients in commercial, insolvency and insurance (professional indemnity and public liability) disputes. 

Ali Auda is a senior associate in the Construction & Engineering team and the International Arbitration group of the London office. He has experience working with clients on projects globally, particularly in the energy & infrastructure sectors, focusing on the resolution of construction disputes in international arbitration. Ali is a native Arabic speaker and has an interest in matters connected with the Middle East. He has previously completed a secondment to the Dubai office. Ali joined Mayer Brown in 2017 from a leading US firm where he spent part of his training on secondment to Abu Dhabi focusing on energy, infrastructure, project and asset finance projects. 

Daniel Holman is an associate in the London office of Three Crowns. He has significant experience in international commercial arbitrations under LCIA and ICC rules with particular experience acting for clients in the power generation, oil and gas, automation, logistics, and construction sectors. He has also acted in the English High Court to obtain a pre-action worldwide freezing injunction in support of arbitration proceedings. 

Payel Mazumdar is an associate with the arbitration team at Habib Al Mulla and Partners. She has been involved in disputes arising out of the oil and gas, aviation, construction and infrastructure, energy, commercial and corporate sectors. She advises on arbitrations arising under the rules of leading arbitral institutions such as ICC, HKIAC, UNCITRAL, ADCCAC, CRICICA, KCAB, DIAC, ICSID, LCIA, SIAC, and VIAC. She also provides transactional advice to commercial entities. 

Kalpesh Patel is an associate partner at gb².  He is a Chartered Civil Engineer and a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.  He has over 28 years of experience in the engineering and construction industry, including 15 years practical experience as an engineer in the design, construction and analysis of a wide range of engineering projects worldwide. 

Stefan Pislevik is an associate in the International Arbitration Group and Global Projects Disputes Practice of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. He has experience working on international disputes with a focus on international commercial and investment arbitration. He has experience across a range of sectors including general commercial disputes, construction, energy and real estate disputes under major arbitration rules, including, DIAC, ICC, ICSID and LCIA. Stefan is admitted as a solicitor in the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia. 

Baran Ali Saltik is an Associate Director with Secretariat. He has ten years of experience in the construction industry, specializing in contract management, dispute adjudication, and arbitration for construction and engineering projects. Baran has experience in the infrastructure, power, and oil and gas sectors, including projects in Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia, and Australia. Baran advises clients on matters of contract administration, independent delay analysis, and independent expert report preparation. He has extensive experience with matters involving schedule delays stemming from project impacts and frequently assists lead experts in performance of delay analyses for international arbitration cases. He is proficient in detailed issue analysis as well as complex data analysis. 

Amira Ioana Shaat is an associate in the Litigation and Despite Resolution Team of Charles Russell Speechlys. She has over 8 years’ experience in commercial dispute resolution, international arbitration and UAE onshore and offshore litigation.  Amira advises and represents local and international entities in complex disputes before local and international arbitration centers (DIAC, ICC, LCIA), and local UAE onshore and offshore courts. She is a solicitor Advocate in England & Wales. 



Find out more about the ROAP programme here.

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