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Asia Pacific – An Introduction To International Arbitration.

20 April, 2015


Legal News & Analysis – Asia Pacific


1. Introduction

Although arbitration is often referred to as part of the new wave of ‘alternative’ dispute resolution techniques, such as mediation, it is one of the oldest forms of dispute resolution. Arbitration was practised in ancient Greece and Rome. The first English Arbitration Act was passed in 1697.

International arbitration has recently grown in importance, in tandem with the spread of globalisation. Most importantly, arbitration works. According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of major global corporations, arbitration is the most favoured dispute resolution mechanism (ahead of court litigation, mediation, adjudication and expert determination), whether as claimants or respondents.

As this guide demonstrates, there are several forms of arbitration, many adapted to the circumstances of particular types of dispute. Yet, whatever form it takes, arbitration always offers the opportunity for parties to bypass the traditional court route and, in the right circumstances, it offers many advantages.

Arbitration is particularly well-suited to international cases because it applies a single set of rules to multi-jurisdictional disputes, but still relies on the powers held by national courts to enforce awards.

Arbitration is already well-established in the insurance, construction, energy and shipping industries and is taking root in other areas too, notably in financial services (in 2013, for the first time, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) published a guide to arbitration for its members). Nevertheless, there remains a degree of misunderstanding and confusion about arbitration.

Perhaps the least understood difference between arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution is that the decision to use arbitration is overwhelmingly made when contracts are entered into – long before the dispute arises. To reap the benefits of arbitration, the right decisions must therefore be made at an early stage.
This guide will explain how arbitration works, how it should be used and its benefits and drawbacks.


2. Quick Reference Guide


What Ts Arbitration?

Arbitration is an alternative to litigation. It is primarily used to resolve disputes arising from commercial contracts, especially contracts with an international element. Arbitration is also the designated default dispute resolution process in disputes between governments and companies under international trade or investment treaties.

By agreement between the parties (usually contained in a clause of the contract in dispute), an independent arbitrator, or a panel of three arbitrators (the tribunal), is appointed to hear the dispute and to produce a ruling (the award) on the merits.
The tribunal may award damages against the losing party. Awards can be enforced in the 152 signatory countries to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 (see http://www.uncitral.org/uncitral/en/uncitral_texts/arbitration/NYConvention_status.html).
How Does Arbitration Differ From Other Methods Of Dispute Resolution?

Arbitration shares some of the traits of litigation and mediation but has features which are distinct from both. Similar to litigation, the award made by the tribunal in an arbitration is binding on the parties. However, unlike going to court, the process is usually less formal but is confidential. Although mediation is informal, it requires both parties to reach an agreed settlement rather than having a decision imposed on them by a tribunal; this means that, subject to an award being challenged in court, there is greater finality to the arbitration process.


How Do I Commence Arbitration Proceedings?

How and where to arbitrate is determined by the parties’ arbitration agreement, usually contained in the contract in dispute, which sets out how many arbitrators are to be appointed, how they are to be appointed, where the arbitration will be held, in what language it will be conducted and under which rules. It is also possible for both sides to agree to go to arbitration after the dispute has arisen, but this is much less common because the agreement of both parties is necessary. This is often not possible when a commercial relationship has already broken down.

Who Runs Arbitrations?

There are a number of well-established organisations that administer international arbitrations and each has its own set of rules. Some well-known institutions include the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).

There is also a range of organisations specific to particular industries (shipping or commodities, for example) which administer arbitrations. Other administering bodies include the dispute resolution mechanisms attached to international trade and investment treaties such as the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Although these organisations have fixed geographical bases (the ICC, for example, is based in Paris), many of these bodies will run arbitrations in any country chosen by the parties.

It is far from compulsory, however, for arbitrations to be administered by one of these
organisations. Ad hoc arbitrations can be established by agreement between the parties
and these arbitrations are often run using the United Nations Commission on International
Trade Law (UNCITRAL) rules.

Arbitrations are also subject to the laws of the country which is the ‘seat’ of the arbitration, regardless of the governing law of the original contract. Although many countries’ laws complement the UNCITRAL Model Law (which provides an arbitration – friendly legislative framework), significant differences can occur.


What Are The Advantages Of Arbitration?


  • ƒƒIt is confidential (unless the parties agree otherwise).
  • ƒƒIt can be quicker and cheaper than litigation, especially for smaller and mid-sized cases.
  • ƒƒThe procedure is flexible and can be altered to suit the specific circumstances of each case.
  • ƒƒFor technically complex disputes, parties can select arbitrators with the relevant experience or background to hear the dispute, rather than having to rely on a judge (or jury) who will likely have no relevant technical experience.
  • ƒƒIn most countries, enforcing awards is usually more straightforward than enforcing court judgments thanks to the 1958 New York Convention, to which 152 countries are currently signatories.
  • ƒƒIt avoids national courts which may be considered to be corrupt and/or inefficient.
  • ƒƒFor international disputes, it can prevent different countries’ laws coming into conflict by settling on one governing law and one set of rules at the outset. The arbitration can also be held in a pre-determined neutral venue, reducing the possibility of ‘forum shopping’ delaying the proceedings and removing accusations of deliberate or cultural bias in the outcome.


What Are The Disadvantages Of Arbitration?


  • ƒƒUnlike judges, arbitrators’ fees must be paid by the parties. This is expensive compared to conventional court fees.
  • ƒArbitration can be more expensive and time consuming than court proceedings for larger, more complex disputes.
  • ƒƒArbitration can be more time consuming because of problems with the availability of arbitrators, especially if they are based abroad. In court proceedings, any available judge can hear a case.
  • ƒƒAvenues for appealing and/or challenging awards are limited if you lose.
  • ƒƒArbitrators sometimes lack the power to make certain interim orders against the parties before publishing the final award.
  • ƒƒUnlike mediation, arbitration is an adversarial process. It is less likely that a commercial relationship will survive after the process has ended.
  • ƒƒIn disputes involving more than two parties, arbitration can be difficult to manage, particularly where some aspects of the dispute are subject to arbitration and others to litigation.

3 Arbitration Or Litigation?


It is a fundamental principle of almost all countries’ arbitration law that there must be an agreement between the parties to refer a dispute to arbitration. If this is not the case, then arbitration will not be available as a means of dispute resolution.
Otherwise, the main factors to consider include:


  • ƒƒCost and time
  • ƒƒSelection of arbitrators
  • ƒƒProcedure
  • ƒƒConfidentiality
  • ƒƒNeutrality
  • ƒƒAppeals process
  • ƒƒEnforcement


Cost And Time

Arbitration is sometimes said to be quicker and cheaper than litigation. This may be true, but is normally only the case in respect of small to medium-sized disputes. For larger, more complex disputes, arbitration can be more expensive and time-consuming than litigation. There are several reasons for this.

First, a judge in court proceedings is not paid by the parties. Arbitrators’ fees are borne by the parties. This can be expensive, particularly where there are three arbitrators. Their fees are usually paid (in part at least) in advance, may be proportionate to the value of the dispute and may be non-refundable in the event of settlement.

Second, arbitration may take longer than litigation because there is no system to regiment the availability of arbitrators. Especially with a three-person tribunal, it can be difficult to book hearing times which all the arbitrators can attend. In addition, a lenient tribunal may permit the parties more extensions of time to meet deadlines than would be permitted by the courts.

Finally, in arbitration, the parties have to find and pay for a hearing venue, whereas the use of a court is free.

A factor which may affect the parties’ decision to arbitrate is the level of court fees in the relevant jurisdiction. In many jurisdictions, court fees are modest, but in others, court fees can be expensive.


Selection Of Arbitrators

The fact that the parties can select their arbitrators, or at least choose an appropriate arbitration centre which will select the arbitrator(s), often makes arbitration a more attractive option than litigation, where judges are selected without reference to the parties’ wishes. The obvious advantage of selecting your own arbitrator is that you can either choose someone with expertise relevant to the subject matter of the dispute or, if the matter turns on a point of law, you can select a lawyer or a judge. Once selected, the tribunal will be in charge of the case for its duration. With litigation, a number of judges may deal with a case during its lifetime.

Finally, contrary to common belief, it is not true that an arbitrator will be sympathetic to the party who appointed him or her.


The arbitration process is more flexible than court proceedings. The parties can choose a procedure which is suitable to the dispute; this takes precedence over the views of the tribunal. Therefore a dispute could be resolved solely by reference to documents or written submissions, without the need for a hearing.


One of the most attractive aspects of arbitration is that all the proceedings are held in private and are confidential. Hearings in court proceedings are heard in public. The principle attraction of arbitration is that oral evidence given by a party’s employees, directors or senior executives will not be heard by the public, and competitors and others will not know about the dispute.


Where parties come from different countries they can choose a neutral forum for the resolution of their dispute. For example, contracting parties from two different countries could choose England as the place of arbitration: a neutral forum that would avoid either party having to submit to the jurisdiction of the other party’s national courts.


Appeals Process

In many jurisdictions, the ability to appeal awards to the court is limited. This preserves the principle that the parties are free to agree how their disputes are resolved with minimum court intervention. From a commercial point of view, it means that the rendering of an award by the arbitrators will normally mark the end of proceedings. In order to avoid any uncertainty, parties can exclude the right of appeal in their arbitration agreement. Under a number of institutional arbitration rules, there is no right of appeal.


The enforcement of judgements or awards is an important factor to take into account when choosing an appropriate forum for the resolution of disputes. Due to a number of conventions (the most well-known being the 1958 New York Convention), arbitration awards are recognised and can be enforced in most countries. It provides, in theory, for a relatively simple and effective method of obtaining recognition and enforcement of awards across the globe. However, in reality, even in some countries which are parties to the New York Convention, enforcement can still be relatively difficult.

The Decision-Making Process

There are clearly a number of important considerations to be taken into account when
deciding whether to resolve disputes by arbitration or litigation. Often commercial
agreements between parties include a provision that disputes will be referred to arbitration
in a stated country. It is important, therefore, to weigh up the advantages of arbitration
before agreeing to such a provision. It is also important to carefully choose the jurisdiction
for settling disputes, whether arbitration or litigation is chosen.

Some contracting parties prefer to choose a country with which the parties are most
closely connected or where the performance of the contract is most likely to take place.
Others choose to select a country that is totally unconnected with the parties, to introduce
an element of neutrality. It must be remembered that, whichever country is chosen, the
arbitration process itself will be subject to the laws of the country of the arbitration’s ‘seat’,
even if the governing law of the contract in dispute is different.


4. Drafting An Arbitration Agreement


The first step in any arbitration is the drafting of an appropriate arbitration agreement. This begins when the underlying contract is negotiated. Careful thought needs to be given to the arbitration clause. Unfortunately, in many cases the parties’ corporate counsel usually incorporate boilerplate arbitration clauses which do not take into account the particular circumstances of the contract.

It is important to carefully consider what is included in the arbitration agreement because getting it wrong can be extremely costly.

Some of the main factors to consider are listed overleaf. Some will be more relevant to individual circumstances than others and there may be additional factors that are relevant to the particular circumstances of each contract.

It is always advisable to seek legal advice when drafting arbitration agreements.




  • ƒƒIs arbitration the most suitable form of dispute resolution, bearing in mind the nature of the contract?
  • ƒƒDo the parties want to refer all disputes arising out of the contract to arbitration or only certain types of dispute?
  • ƒƒWhere do the parties want the ‘seat’ of the arbitration to be? This is important because the seat of the arbitration will also mean that the laws of that jurisdiction will apply to the arbitration’s procedure. Some jurisdictions do not have laws which adequately support effective arbitration.
  • ƒƒDo the parties want the arbitration to be ad hoc, conducted under institutional rules or run in accordance with the arbitration laws of the seat?
  • ƒƒHow many arbitrators do the parties want to appoint (one or three)? Three will increase the cost and usually mean that diaries are harder to coordinate.
  • ƒWho will appoint the arbitrators? The parties or an independent body? What happens if the parties cannot agree? There must be a fallback position.
  • ƒƒIn what language do the parties want the arbitration proceedings to be conducted?
  • ƒƒHow many parties are likely to be involved? If there are more than two, then a multi-party arbitration clause may be necessary.
  • ƒƒIn multi-party scenarios, consideration must be given to whether the tribunal should be provided with a specific power to consolidate connected arbitrations.


5. Investment Treaty Arbitration


One type of international arbitration which has seen a significant increase in popularity in the last decade is investment treaty arbitration.

Most investment treaty arbitrations are conducted under the auspices of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). ICSID was created by the 1965 Washington Convention, which has been ratified by 158 states as of date. It is a division of the World Bank, which administers arbitrations under its own rules. ICSID was created to promote international trade and investment, by providing a neutral and specialised forum for the settlement of disputes between a host state and an investor from another state, which has arisen out of an investment made in the host state.

ICSID arbitration has a number of distinguishing features. First, unlike other international arbitrations, arbitrations conducted under its rules are delocalised; the arbitration has no seat. Second, ICSID awards are directly enforceable in contracting states as if they were judgments of the courts of the state of enforcement. Third, enforcement of ICSID arbitration awards is governed by the Washington Convention, not the New York Convention.

As with other types of arbitration, there must be an agreement to arbitrate. This may be a specific contractual agreement to resolve disputes by ICSID arbitration. However, more commonly, the agreement is contained elsewhere, as the investor is generally not suing its contractual counterparty but the state in which the investment was made. The arbitration agreement is therefore usually found in the host state’s national investment legislation or in a bilateral investment treaty (BIT).

BITs provide a framework agreement between two states for the protection and fair treatment of investments made by nationals of one state in the other state. There are currently more than 2,800 BITs in force globally.

Investment treaty arbitration may provide an aggrieved party with an additional or alternative means of recovering its losses. Investment treaty arbitration is therefore a useful and significant type of arbitration in an increasingly globalised world.


6. An Overview Of The Major Arbitration Centres


Choosing the right arbitration venue is important. In this section, we provide a brief overview of the major centres.


American Arbitration Association (AAA)


Established in 1926, the AAA is a well-recognised provider of administered arbitration proceedings. In 1991, it formally adopted a set of rules to govern its increasing load of international cases. The AAA International Arbitration Rules, which are based on the UNCITRAL rules, were revised in 2008. Long a leader in domestic arbitration services in the United States, the AAA is becoming increasingly prominent in international arbitration.

The AAA also has expedited procedures that apply when no claim or counterclaim exceeds a specified amount. Parties can agree to use these procedures even if their claims and counterclaims are of greater value. The Stockholm Chamber of Commerce is the only other major arbitration institution with a set of rules specifically designed for expedited proceedings. Other institutions are considering whether to introduce such rules.


China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC)


Arbitration in mainland China is dominated by CIETAC which was established (as the Foreign Trade Arbitration Commission of the International Trade Promotion Commission) in April 1956. CIETAC is an independent non-governmental arbitration institution. It maintains a panel of over 1,000 arbitrators from more than 30 countries who possess extensive professional knowledge in various industries.

Originally it only had jurisdiction to deal with disputes involving a foreign party. Subsequently, its jurisdiction has expanded to both domestic and international arbitrations. CIETAC is now the most important arbitration institution in China. It has administered more than 10,000 international disputes since its establishment. On average, around 1,000 new disputes are filed each year.

In 2012 a dispute arose between CIETAC’s Beijing headquarters and its Shanghai and Shenzhen sub-commissions, leading to the latter two declaring their independence from CIETAC and intention to operate as independent institutions. In response, CIETAC established new sub-commissions in both cities. The dispute has created uncertainty and it remains to be seen whether CIETAC’s popularity will suffer as a consequence.

Geneva Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIG)


The CCIG is a private association which brings together more than 1,800 businesses from all sectors. The CCIG’s Rules of Arbitration have been in force since January 1992 and were amended in May 2000.

Where one of the parties is not domiciled in Switzerland and does not have its habitual residence there, the arbitration will be subject to the Swiss Federal Statute on Private International Law. If the parties wish, they can refer their arbitration to the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration. These rules came into force in January 2004 and are based on the UNCITRAL rules. However, certain changes were made in order to adapt the UNCITRAL rules to institutional arbitration and to reflect modern practice and comparative law.


Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC)


The premier arbitration body in Hong Kong is HKIAC. It was established in Hong Kong in 1985 to provide a broad range of arbitration services. It is an independent and non-profit making company.

HKIAC has administered over 4,000 international and domestic disputes, primarily in the areas of construction, commercial disputes, joint ventures and shipping. HKIAC also manages the Hong Kong office of the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre, which is the only domain name provider in Asia and provides dispute resolution services for generic top-level domain names (for example, .com, .org and .net). HKIAC has also been appointed as the domain name dispute resolution service provider for .hk, .cn, .pw and .ph domain names.

HKIAC maintains a panel of highly experienced arbitrators. There are approximately 300 international and local arbitrators on the panel, consisting of judges, senior counsel and leading individuals from international commerce. As the only statutory appointing authority for arbitrators in Hong Kong, HKIAC is empowered to determine the number of arbitrators and/or to appoint arbitrators if the parties cannot agree.

International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)


The ICC and its International Court of Arbitration is one of the most prominent and wellregarded institutions for international arbitration. Since its inception in 1923, the ICC has administered over 10,000 arbitrations involving parties and arbitrators from over 170 countries and territories.

The Court of Arbitration does not determine disputes. However, it plays an important role in administering arbitrations under the ICC rules.

Two procedural aspects of ICC arbitrations are noteworthy. First, within two months (or such additional time as the tribunal may allow) after the tribunal receives the file, the tribunal prepares ‘terms of reference’ and submits them to the Court of Arbitration for approval. The terms of reference are intended to define the claims and defences of the parties at an early stage, to crystallise the issues for determination by the tribunal and to address procedural issues. Once the terms of reference have been approved by the Court of Arbitration, new claims can only be made with the permission of the tribunal.


Second, before an award is published by the tribunal, the Court of Arbitration reviews the draft award for its form. The Court of Arbitration may also make suggestions concerning the substance of the draft award. This review process is intended to promote the publication of consistently high quality awards by ICC tribunals.

Kigali International Abitration Centre (KIAC)


KIAC was established in 2013. It aims to take advantage of Rwanda’s increasingly businessfriendly reputation to establish itself as the leading arbitral institution for the resolution of African disputes.

Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA)


Founded in November 2012, the LCA aims to become West Africa’s premier arbitral institution, offering a credible local alternative to the LCIA and ICC, which currently administer the majority of arbitrations relating to Africa’s largest country.
London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)
The LCIA is one of the oldest major international arbitration centres. Although based in London, it is an international institution and a large proportion of the members of the LCIA Court are not from the United Kingdom. In 2009, the LCIA launched its first independent subsidiary, LCIA India, in New Delhi. LCIA India adopted its own set of arbitration rules in 2010. In 2011, the LCIA and Mauritius government jointly established a new arbitration centre in Mauritius, LCIA-MIAC, with its own set of rules.
The LCIA offers international arbitration anywhere in the world. However, if the parties have not stipulated a venue in their arbitration agreement (and unless the LCIA determines there is some reason why another venue should be chosen), London will be the seat of the arbitration.

The LCIA deals with a variety of commercial disputes, including those relating to energy, foreign trade, transport, distribution, technology, construction and engineering.


In order to provide and to maintain its services and to meet the needs of the international business community, the LCIA has formed Users’ Councils which cover the major trading areas of the world. Each Users’ Council has its own officers and devises its own programme of activities appropriate to the needs of the region.
The LICA has adopted new rules which will come in to effect in October 2014. Notable changes include provisions on the conduct of parties and legal representatives, as well as greater scope for emergency relief (including the appointment of emergency arbitrators).
Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC)


Many significant commercial arbitrations in Singapore take place under the auspices of SIAC. Created in 1991, SIAC is recognised as one of the leading arbitration institutions in Asia. Having been initially funded by the Singapore government, SIAC is now entirely selfsufficient and is affiliated with the Singapore Business Federation, the apex organisation of the business community in Singapore. Since its inception, SIAC has administered over 1,000 disputes involving parties from the Americas, Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. Over 80% of these disputes were international.
Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC)


The Arbitration Institute of the SCC is a prominent national arbitration institution that has become increasingly significant in international arbitration circles, particularly for east-west commercial disputes.

The SCC administers arbitrations under its own rules and also under the UNCITRAL rules. The Arbitration Rules of the SCC requires the tribunal to render an award within six months of the date the matter is referred to the tribunal (although this period can be extended).


 Unlike most of the other major arbitration institutions whose standard rules can be modified to accommodate requests for expedited decisions, the SCC has designed a separate set of rules specifically for expedited arbitrations, which can be modified by the parties. The use of the Expedited Rules of the SCC is recommended to resolve relatively minor disputes in a speedy and cost-effective manner.


United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)


UNCITRAL, established in 1966, is the central legal body at the United Nations devoted to international trade law. In 1976, the Commission promulgated a set of arbitration rules to govern international arbitration proceedings outside the framework of an established administering body. The UNCITRAL rules, last revised in 2010, are the rules of choice for ad-hoc arbitrations.

Several arbitration institutions will serve as an appointing authority for UNCITRAL arbitrations, and will administer arbitrations under the UNCITRAL rules. The AAA, LCIA, SCC and HKIAC, among others, will serve both functions. Resorting to the UNCITRAL rules in an institutional arbitration may be appropriate where the parties desire an institutional arbitration in a particular venue, but do not wish to use the rules of the particular institution.

In addition to its Arbitration Rules, in 1996 UNCITRAL promulgated its “Notes on Organising Arbitral Proceedings”. The Notes provide a useful procedural checklist of matters to consider when organising and conducting an international arbitration, whether ad hoc or institutional.


7. Specialist Centres


In addition to the generalist arbitration centres, there are a number of important specialist centres. In this section, we provide an overview of some of these.


The majority of international trade in soft commodities (rice, sugar, wheat, grain, cocoa, coffee, animal feed and edible oils) is carried out under standard form contracts drafted by trade associations which specialise in particular commodities. A number of trade associations in London provide standard form contracts and arbitration facilities for the settlement of disputes which arise out of sales incorporating those contracts. Even if the parties have not stipulated the relevant association in their contract, they can later agree to settle any dispute which might arise via the facilities of these associations.

Most of the associations listed below have their own arbitration rules, codes of conduct and panels of qualified arbitrators. They are all based in London and although arbitrations under the associations’ rules can be held anywhere in the world, most are heard in London.

Federation of Cocoa Commerce Ltd (FCC)


The Federation represents the interests of cocoa growers in countries in South America, Africa and Asia; of traders and brokers in Europe; and of chocolate producers. It handles arbitrations in relation to the quality of goods and other disputes.

Federation of Oils, Seeds & Fats Associations (FOSFA)


The Federation, which represents over 1,000 members in 84 countries deals with edible oils, including oil seeds such as soya beans and oilseed rape. It overlaps with the Dutch association, NOFTA, and has a similar set of rules.


Grain & Feed Trade Association (GAFTA)


GAFTA is an international organisation with more than 1,400 members in 86 countries. Members of the association are involved in trading grain, animal feed, pulses and rice at all stages of the supply chain from production to final consumption. The members are made up of trading companies and brokers. GAFTA is recognised worldwide for its expertise in contracts and arbitration relating to these commodities. Contractual disputes are heard by experienced, qualified arbitrators.

London Metal Exchange (LME)


The LME is the world’s leading futures market for base metals. It provides an arbitration service for the settlement of all types of dispute relating to the trade of base metals.


London Rice Brokers’ Association (LRBA)


This is an association of firms of rice brokers in London, Paris and Antwerp which provides a standard form contract requiring arbitration under the LRBA Rules. The LRBA maintains a panel of persons qualified to act as arbitrators. Since August 1997, its rules have been developed in accordance with the GAFTA rules.

Sugar Trade Associations (SAL & RSA)




There are two sugar trade associations, run by the same personnel from the same office. One deals with raw sugar from origin and is called the Sugar Association of London (SAL). The other deals with refined sugar and is called the Refined Sugar Association (RSA). They have identical arbitration rules. Members of the associations, together with other experienced sugar traders nominated by members, act as arbitrators. They use their trading experience and knowledge of the rules to settle disputes referred to the associations. Companies throughout the world use the associations’ rules and arbitration services.


Intellectual Property

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)


The WIPO was established in 1967 as a specialised agency of the United Nations. It was established by the WIPO Convention as a means of promoting the protection of intellectual property worldwide. The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre was formed in 1994 to offer arbitration and mediation services in the resolution of international commercial disputes between private parties. The procedures offered by the Centre are specifically aimed at disputes involving intellectual property. An increasing number of disputes are being filed with the Centre, including a mixture of contractual disputes (such as patent and software licences and trademark agreements) and non-contractual disputes (such as patent infringement).

The Centre holds a database of over 1,000 arbitrators and experts with experience and specialised knowledge of intellectual property disputes. After appointment, the Centre monitors its cases to ensure that they are being progressed in a timely and cost-effective manner. The parties can opt to use the WIPO Electronic Case Facility (WIPO ECAF), which allows parties to store files and submissions on an electronic database, which can then be accessed anywhere in the world. This also facilitates case management by providing case overview, time tracking and finance information.

Notably, the Centre will help parties to submit an existing dispute to WIPO, even where the parties have not previously agreed to WIPO arbitration.


International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)

ICSID was established by the Convention for Settlement of Investment Disputes between states and nationals of other states (the Washington Convention) in 1965. The treaty was formulated by the World Bank and ICSID is headquartered at the World Bank’s principal offices in Washington, DC. ICSID is designed to resolve investment-related legal disputes between a contracting state and a national of another contracting state. For more information, please see Section 5 above.



London Maritime Arbitrators’ Association (LMAA)


The LMAA was established in 1960 to bring together those who were then frequently practising as maritime arbitrators. Over the years, full membership of the LMAA has expanded along with the list of practising arbitrators connected with maritime arbitration.

The LMAA now deals with disputes which cover a wide range of disputes including charterparties, bills of lading, ship management, shipbuilding, commodities and oil contracts. The LMAA is essentially a body which brings together already-practising arbitrators. In addition to the natural advantages that arise from bringing together arbitrators in one specialised discipline, the LMAA has produced the ‘LMAA Terms’. These are the terms upon which members of the LMAA accept appointments and the rules by which LMAA arbitrations are run. For arbitrations commencing on or after 1 January 2012, the LMAA Terms (2012) apply. The LMAA also has a Small Claims Procedure for lower value claims.




For further information, please contact:


Malcolm Kemp, Partner, Stephenson Harwood
[email protected]

Phillip Rompotis, Partner, Stephenson Harwood
[email protected]


Kamal Shah, Partner, Stephenson Harwood
[email protected]

Shai Wade, Partner, Stephenson Harwood
[email protected]


Dirk Janssen, Partner, Stephenson Harwood
[email protected]

Durai Shunmugam, Partner Stephenson Harwood
[email protected]


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