Improvements and Innovations in International Arbitration

The 2015 Owen Mary University of London International Survey with the support of the White and Case was recently released detailing data on recent trends in International Arbitration.

The survey topics covered ranged from preferred dispute resolution methods, best and worst characteristics of arbitration and ways in which different stakeholders in arbitration can contribute to the improvement of international arbitration processes.

Key Views

The survey was conducted over a six month period involving online questionnaires completed by 763 respondents (quantitative phase) and 105 personal interviews (qualitative phase).

Some of the key views identified by this survey included the following:

  • 90% of respondents indicated that international arbitration is preferred dispute resolution mechanism, either as standalone (56%) or together with other forums of ADR (34%).
  • The most valuable characteristic of arbitration was the enforceability of awards followed by “avoiding specific legal systems”, “flexibility” and “selection of arbitrators”.
  • The worst feature of arbitration is “costs” followed by “lack of effective arbitral process”, “lack of insight into arbitration efficiency” and “lack of speed”.

What was observed to be common to these characteristics is that they relate to the internal working of the arbitral system and able to be influenced by its stakeholders.

Some suggested improvements and innovations

Some costs saving procedural innovations suggested by the survey included:

  • A requirement for Arbitral Tribunals to commit to a schedule for deliberations and delivering of final awards.
  • Inclusion of simplified procedures for smaller claims.
  • Arbitration counsel working better together to narrow issues and limit document production and encouraging settlement and not “over lawyering”.

Some other key findings

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • That the five most preferred arbitral institutions were the ICC, LCIA, HKIAC, SIAC and SCC.
  • The Respondents were generally positive about guidelines and soft law instruments being used to supplement existing rules and laws and to provide guidance where little or none existed.
  • That a majority of respondents were of the view that Tribunal Secretaries and third party funding are areas that require regulations.

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