About the Competition

We congratulate Jay Tseng as the winner of the 2019 CIArb Australia Essay Competition.

Jay Tseng is a solicitor at King & Wood Mallesons. He holds a Bachelor of Laws from QUT and Master of Laws from University College, London. Jay has an interest in cross-jurisdictional matters and international arbitration and a broad practice in domestic and international dispute resolution in the construction, energy and commercial sectors. He is admitted in Australia, the Senior Courts of England & Wales and New Zealand and has experience working in Australia and London.111

Jay's winning essay focussed on interpreting contracts, including an arbitration clause, by reference to its context, and the implications of that for an arbitration clause. In that sense it is particularly responsive to the question that was asked, as opposed to merely discussing Rinehart at large. It makes an interesting and effective attempt to argue that Rinehart does not really detract from, and can be reconciled with, separability and the kompetenz-kompetenz principle.



The topic for the 2019 CIArb Australia Essay Competition is drafted by CIArb Australia Vice President, James Healy and  is as follows:

The High Court’s recent decision in Rinehart & Anor v Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd & Ors emphasised the importance of construing the words of an arbitration clause having regard to its context.  Discuss that decision in the broader context of the:

(A) separability principle, which treats an arbitration agreement as distinct from the underlying agreement and limits attacks upon its validity (eg the application in Australia of Fiona Trust & Holding Corporation v Privalov); and

(B) the related kompetenz-kompetenz principle by which an arbitral tribunal is competent to rule on its jurisdiction, which the High Court found it unnecessary to consider given their primary construction of the arbitration clause.

Entries are invited from students studying a Bachelor, Juris Doctor or Masters level law degree at the date the entry is submitted. The competition is also open to lawyers in their first five years of practice, who may be  members and non members of CIArb.

The winning author will be announced and awarded $1,000 AUD at the CIArb Australia/ACICA  International Arbitration Conference to be held on 18 November in Brisbane.  They  will also be a guest registrant at the conference.

The essay will  be  published on CIArb Australia's website and The CIArb Australia News.

The Closing Date for entries is Friday, 25 October at 5:00 pm (AEDT) and the winner will be announced by 7 November.

All entries should be typed in a Word document and clearly identified, including the author’s name, contact details and university. Each entry should be sent by email to Gianna Totaro, CIArb Australia CEO at info@ciarb.net.au

The winning essay will be chosen by a judging panel of Australian arbitration practitioners headed by James Healy, CIArb Australia Vice President.

Competition stipulations:

  • Entries must not exceed 3,500 words (including footnotes).
  • Entries must be the original and sole work of the entrant.
  • All entries will be acknowledged but will not be returned and the organisers will accept no responsibility for the safekeeping of essays.
  • All entries will be anonymised before submission to the judging panel.
  • CIArb Australia reserves the right to publish any part of any essay submitted for the competition.