In a report recently published by the International Financial Services London (IFSL), over 10,000 disputes in 2007 were resolved in the UK through arbitration and mediation. The majority of these disputes involved international parties, who were located in London.
Resolution of most of these disputes is administered by a few, but world renowned, prestigious organizations. The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators handled the largest number of referrals at 2,882, closely followed by the London Maritime Arbitrators’ Association with 2,751. Disputes referred to the London Court of International Arbitration have grown from 87 in 2004 to a record 137 in 2007, of which 90% were international. The LCIA expects to set a new record, as it has already processed 134 disputes during the first eight months of 2008. The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution is reported to have handled 669 mediations in 2007. These are the major players in the UK as of today in international mediation and arbitration.
The numbers do not add up to 10.000 disputes as the reader can see. As the report highlights, other highly specialized institutions and professionals add to the UK’s attractiveness as a venue from which to resolve international disputes.
The Panel of Independent Mediators (PIM) handled 669 mediations in 2007. PIM is a group of 19 expert commercial and environmental mediators each of whom operates independently of the others. It was formed in 1999 in response to growing demand for direct access to skilled mediators.
The ADR Group (ADRg) is also a leading player and a national and international authority in the use of mediation and other alternative dispute resolution techniques spanning commercial, public sector and family disputes.
Awards are also rendered under the Lloyd’s Form of Salvage Agreement, the oldest and most widely used standard salvage contract. Referrals have been in the range of 80 to 110 a year since 2001, with 107 in 2007.
The Insurance & Reinsurance Arbitration Society, ARIAS(UK), was established in 1991, to provide for a strong practitioner based-arbitration for the insurance and reinsurance industry. The City Disputes Panel (CDP) was founded in 1994, to provide the wider financial services industry with a practical means of resolving disputes through arbitration, mediation or other forms of ADR.
All of these institutions combined place the UK in general, and London in particular, as the brightest spot in the international ADR map.
Rarely reported, with a touch of mystery, and subject to innumerable cabalas regarding its impact, ad hoc ADR speaks of party sophistication; parties so well versed in ADR that they choose to go at it alone, without much, if any, institutional administrative support. However, keen, bright, pragmatic and aware, some institutions in the UK offer ad hoc panels for those interested in this modality.
According to the IFSL, the most widely used and best known rules used in ad hoc arbitrations are the UNCITRAL Rules adopted in 1976 by the UN Commission on International Trade Law. Naturally, because of the private nature of such ad hoc arbitrations it is difficult to estimate their number. Information provided by international law firms in an IFSL survey indicated that they were involved in over 300 ad hoc arbitrations in 2002. The IFSL suggests that there is a large but unknown number of other ad hoc arbitrations and mediations held in London in which all the parties and the counsel are foreign.
Regarding the nature of the disputes under study, the visitor may read the detailed report in pages 6 and 7 of the attached IFSL report.
One fact remains: of all years we have followed empirical reports on the usage of ADR worldwide, London remains the most attractive venue anywhere in the world, ahead of New York or Paris. Respecting Paris, its attractiveness as a first class ADR venue would seriously diminish –if not vanish just about altogether—if the ICC and its arbitration court relocated to another city in another country, because France does not have a home-grown, domestic ADR culture or institutions comparable to those in the US or UK.