Access to Arbitral Justice for Local Communities: Mitigating the cost of corruption and providing access to justice for local communities

The Roebuck Lecture will be delivered by Professor (Dr) Emilia Onyema PhD, FCIArb.

Corruption is a persistent, global challenge. It is present in all countries, no matter the income level or development status, and it is widespread in both the public and private sector. Corruption directly and indirectly impacts all citizens, and it often disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable people in society. For the public at large, the wider impacts of corruption can include lower trust and confidence in public authorities and institutions, reduced job opportunities, lack of private and foreign investment, inequality, and stifled economic growth and development. For local communities, the consequences are direct and stark, as access to basic services, such as healthcare, education, and justice, all suffer in the wake of corruption.  

International economic law provides some tools for us to address corruption. For governments, investors, and the business community, treaties and contracts can provide a framework to hold wrong-doers accountable. These agreements provide dispute settlement mechanisms, such as arbitration, mediation, or litigation, and offer potential avenues for damages and compensation arising out of corrupt transactions. But what about local communities, who are also victims? How can they seek redress for the high costs of corruption? To date, there are few actionable avenues for citizens to pursue such remedies. 

This year’s Roebuck Lecture will focus on those who are most impacted by corruption and discuss why arbitration and national courts should be made available to victims (and activists) as tools of access to and the delivery of justice.  

The Roebuck Lecture will be delivered in-person at Ciarb Headquarters in London and streamed live for our global audience. Register here: virtual registration is FREE!

For any questions or issues, please contact

This event is sponsored by Jus Mundi.


6:00pm Doors open for in-person

6:30pm Introduction from Catherine Dixon, Ciarb CEO. Lecture delivered by Professor Emilia Onyema

7:30pm Q&A moderated by Jonathan Wood, Ciarb President.

8:00pm Networking reception for in-person

This event will be streamed live online at 6.30pm GMT+1, please check your local time zone. Questions will be taken in person and via livestream chat. 


VIRTUAL access to the live stream is free of charge for all attendees, pre-registration is required.

IN-PERSON event will take place at Ciarb Headquarters in London. Tickets are strictly limited, book now to secure your place. Purchasing a ticket to the in-person event will provide automatic access to the live stream.


History of the Roebuck Lecture

The Roebuck Lecture, now in its 14th year, is named after Professor Derek Roebuck MCIArb and celebrates the very significant contribution he has made to the Institute over the years, principally as Editor of Arbitration: The International Journal of Arbitration, Mediation and Dispute Management.

This lecture takes place each summer and is one of the highlights of Ciarb's events calendar. This event is open to practicing lawyers, arbitrators, mediators, barristers, corporate counsel, business professionals, students with interest in ADR and academics from around the world. Ciarb extends the virtual live viewing of this year’s Roebuck Lecture to the whole ADR community worldwide, complimentary.

Event Speakers

Professor (Dr) Emilia Onyema Phd, FCIArb

Professor of International Commercial Law & Independent arbitrator, SOAS University of London/Onyema Arbitration Services (UK) Limited

Emilia Onyema is an independent arbitrator and a Professor of International Commercial Law at SOAS University of London where she teaches international commercial arbitration, international investment law and commercial law in a global context. She is qualified to practice law in Nigeria, as a Solicitor in England & Wales, and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. She is a Vice President of the BVI- IAC, court member of the Dubai IAC, Lagos Court of Arbitration, LACIAC, Casablanca International Mediation and Arbitration centre, among others.

She convenes the SOAS Arbitration in Africa conference series and leads the SOAS Arbitration in Africa biennial survey research project; she co-authored the African Promise and founded the Arbitration Fund for African Students (AFAS) a registered charitable organisation in England to support students with interest in arbitration and ADR. She is the Director of the SOAS Arbitration and Dispute Resolution Centre. Her research interests focus on the development of international arbitration in Africa and the engagement of Africans in international arbitration. She has experience as presiding, co and sole arbitrator, and acts as legal expert witness in international arbitration.

She actively publishes and speaks on topics relevant to her research interests. Some of her publications include, International Commercial Arbitration and the Arbitrator’s Contract (Routledge, 2010); Rethinking the Role of African National Courts in Arbitration (Kluwer, 2018), “African Participation in the ICSID System: Appointment and Disqualification of Arbitrators”, ICSID Review – Foreign Investment Law Journal (2020), “Reimagining the Framework for resolving Intra-African Commercial Disputes in the Context of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement”, World Trade Review (2019); and “African Practitioners, International Arbitration, and Inclusivity” (ICCA Congress Series No 21, 2022).

Catherine Dixon MCIArb LLB MBA

Catherine Dixon is the Chief Executive Officer of Ciarb. Catherine joined Ciarb in May 2020 having set the world record for circumnavigating the world on a tandem bicycle.

Before setting her world record, Catherine held Chief Executive Officer roles at NHS Resolution (the indemnifier for the NHS), a University College and at the Law Society of England and Wales.

Catherine also held Senior Executive Director, Legal Director and General Counsel roles at the NSPCC, BUPA and in Canada, at Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

Catherine started her professional career as a commercial litigator solicitor in private practice including at Eversheds Sutherland.

Catherine has been involved in effective dispute resolution throughout her career including as an adviser, mediator, and client. Catherine formally introduced mediation into the NHS in England which has resulted in ADR being used effectively to resolve claims across the NHS.

She has served as a trustee and non-executive director on numerous boards, including the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), LawWorks, Queens (King) Counsels Appointments, Chamber of Commerce, Judicial Appointments, and other large charities. Catherine was the deputy chair of the LGBTQAI+ Committee of the IBA and has campaigned on human rights, rule of law and access to justice issues for most of her career. Catherine served as an officer on the British Army and has the Freedom of the City of London.

Catherine is the Chair of Stonewall, Europe’s largest human rights LGBTQ+ human rights charity.

Catherine has an MBA, is a solicitor and accredited mediator.


Jonathan Wood FCIArb

Jonathan Wood is an independent arbitrator with over 40 years' experience in the field. He is ranked in band 1 Chamber's arbitrators category and as a "leading individual" by the Legal 500. He is recommended as a Global Leader for Litigation in Who's Who Legal. As well as acting for a wide range of commercial clients in insurance, financial services, energy and maritime, cultural property, Jonathan has been counsel for the British Government's Export Credit Agency (UKEF), for 30 years advising on all aspects of international trade and public international law, handling disputes and arbitrations around the world as well as government to government negotiations. He was co-chair of the IBA's committee on International Sales and related Financial Transactions. He practiced in Singapore where he was admitted as a registered foreign lawyer and has experience in many jurisdictions around the world. He started his career as a criminal defence and civil liberties lawyer, notably obtaining an acquittal of a mother charged with murder of her baby on the basis it was a "cot death" and advising on European Convention of Human Rights cases, appearing in Strasbourg as advocate. He now mainly sits as arbitrator.

Jonathan is the current President of Ciarb, and previous Chair of the Board of Trustees. He is the Director of the London Chamber of Arbitration and Mediation and the Chair of International Arbitration at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC). He is a founding member of LegalUK and also the Virtual Arbitrations forum. 



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