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Guide to Regional Arbitration (volume 6 - 2018)

Whitelist / Institutions Worth a Closer Look – Western Europe

17 November 2017

Western Europe is home to the two A-list arbitration providers in the world, the ICC and the LCIA. Neither needs much in the way of introduction.

It is also home to many others, who if not A list, are not far behind. Some, such as the SCC and Swiss Chambers, are reasonably well known; others less so: beyond their immediate home. Most share a common trait that they’d like a bit more international work. So, because they exist, and could be a good fit for the right case, here’s GAR’s guide to the cream of the European crop that’s not the LCIA and ICC.

White List

  • Chamber of Arbitration in Milan (CAM)
  • Corte de Arbitraje de Madrid
  • Danish Institute of Arbitration (DIA)
  • Deutsche Institution Für Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit Ev (German Institute of Arbitration) (DIS)
  • Arbitration Institute of the Finland Chamber of Commerce (FCC)
  • Netherlands Arbitration Institute (NAI)
  • Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC)
  • Swiss Chambers Arbitration Institute (Swiss Rules)
  • Vienna International Arbitration Centre (VIAC)

Worth a closer look

  • Belgian Centre for Arbitration and Mediation (CEPANI)
  • Corte Española de Arbitraje (CEA)
  • Paris, the Home of International Arbitration (Paris Rules)
  • Scottish Arbitration Centre

White list


Why’s it on the white list?

It’s very well thought of – and quite international.

How international? 

While some have shied away from international work (it’s an expensive business building your brand away from home), CAM has done the opposite. It’s aimed itself squarely at work from outside Italy focusing on its environs – North Africa, Turkey and parts of the Middle East. To that end, it’s formed partnerships with a number of other providers in the region – such as the Moroccan Arbitration Court, the Centre of Arbitration of Tunis, the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration, the Algerian Centre of Arbitration and the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce. It’s also translated its rules into Arabic, as well as various European languages. Its board is pretty international too – with Spanish and German lawyers in among eminent Italians. 

How busy is it?

From 2016 to 2017, it received 130 new cases, 20 of them international. Since 2009, its new cases total hasn’t dropped below 120 (the Milan Chamber is excellent at statistics). 

What reviews does it get from those foreigners who’ve worked there?

Nowadays, the Milan Chamber gets glowing reviews from both arbitrators and counsel. This comes after a period where foreign visitors were more lukewarm (though that was more to do with the tendencies of local arbitrators than the Chamber, it’s fair to say).

What does the Milan Chamber do well?

Arbitrators who’ve sat there particularly like getting a member of staff for each case to be secretary – it saves them from having to pay for one! It also gets good marks for administration. One person told us the Milan secretariat’s work was “flawless” And the chamber does well on speed. The average time for a Milan Chamber arbitration hovers around the 14-month mark. People also like its approach to appointing arbitrators.

How does it appoint arbitrators?

Over the years, it’s become extremely rigorous, to the point where one source said it is as demanding as the ICC. As a result, the diversity of its tribunals has improved (in terms of sex, age and – when the arbitrator is Italian – which region they’re from).

Are there any other new developments?

Like the ICC, the Milan Chamber is now disclosing the names of arbitrators appointed to cases on its website and releasing gender diversity statistics as part of its commitment to the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge. 

In 2016, 34 of the 254 arbitrators were women, with the chamber reporting similar figures for the previous year.


Why’s it white-listed?

Spain has plenty arbitration centres, but the Madrid court is possibly the best of the bunch (one source called it “head and shoulders” above local rivals). As well as being one of the oldest, the Corte De Arbitraje de Madrid is described as more modern, forward-thinking and professional than the norm. More importantly, it bucks a local trend: it’s not seen as dominated by a particular clique.

How many cases does it have? 

New requests topped 150 in 2013 (the latest statistics we had access to), and the overall total of cases being administered was just over 200.

Within this, banking and corporate disputes are a big component – perhaps unsurprisingly, given Spain’s recent misfortunes.

How big and international are those cases? 

At the time it last produced statistics (2013) the court estimated the total value in dispute to be around €1.3 billion. About one-third of its arbitrations were international, US$800 million of which is tied to international arbitrations.

What are its rules like?

It adopted the current rules in 2015. They’re said to combine elements of the UNCITRAL, ICC and LCIA rules (as they were at the time). The rules now include an emergency arbitrator provision. The other main changes were to narrow the opportunity to present additional evidence later in the case and clarify the rules for hearing disputes about company by-laws.

Who’s in charge? 

In April 2014, the court appointed a new president, Antonio Sanchez-Pedrano, who is well known in Spanish arbitration. He said he would continue his predecessor Miguel Angel Fernandez-Ballesteros’ good work raising the court’s international profile, especially in Latin America.

Has he?  

The Madrid court already had agreements in place with Latin American centres such as the Câmara de Comércio Brasil–Canada (CCBC) and the Corte de Arbitraje in Mexico. It’s now also got an agreement with the Arbitration Centre of the Lima Chamber of Commerce.

How big is the secretariat?

It has seven members. It’s got a good reputation for efficiency in its administration, turning most cases around in less than a year.


Why’s it on the white list?

It’s a healthy centre with a strong caseload and good connections with the wider international arbitration community. It’s been operating now for 35 years.

What’s the caseload like?

The centre reports administering 135 cases in 2016, its biggest caseload in the past five years and the third straight year the figures have grown.

How international are the cases?

32 of the cases in 2016 were international (again, the highest number for five years). The institute’s rules are available in Danish, English, German, French, Russian and Chinese, so it has plenty of international aspiration. When it comes to arbitrators, though, it appoints mostly Danes, or has done hitherto.

What explains the increase in cases?

Hard to say, but in 2013 the centre amended its rules to bring them into line with other international arbitral institutions. That may have encouraged parties to choose it more.

What are the rules like?

The DIA’s current rules come into force in May 2013 and allow for interim and emergency arbitrator appointments, consolidation of claims and parties, provisions for sole arbitrator appointments, and some extra powers and responsibilities for tribunals and the secretariat.

There are also dispute board rules and mediation and expert determination rules. The dispute board rules were adopted in 2014 and the mediation and experts rules were revised in 2015.

Is it well staffed?

It has a 12-strong team, chaired by local big-hitter Jesper Lett. The remainder is mostly lawyers appointed by various Danish industry associations. The centre also boasts expert committees on maritime, IT, mediation and international disputes.

What else is it up to?

The DIA is starting to display itself a little more in the shop window. It has run conferences on the arbitration of energy disputes in recent years crowd, with Doak Bishop giving the keynote, in 2014, as well as other events. It has an active young arbitrators group.

In 2017, it hosted the International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators (ICMA XX).


Why’s it on the white list?

The DIS can be thought of as a competent and professional German alternative to the ICC.

How did it get to this point?

It’s had good leadership. For many years the illustrious Karl-Heinz Böckstiegel was its president. Today it’s led by Herbert Kronke, who recently replaced the respected Klaus Peter Berger.

How international is it?

It has steadily become more so. In 2009, it embarked on a campaign to  get expat German lawyers to promote it (this included the “DIS Ibero Americana project”, intended to promote Germany as a venue for Latin American arbitrations being conducted in Spanish and Portuguese. More recently, it appointed a non-German as secretary general, Francesca Mazza, who is Italian. She is   formerly of the ICC and was brought in, in part, for her international experience.

According to the most recent statistics, DIS handled 47 foreign related cases in 2016 – up from 34 in 2015. Nine of those had foreigners on both sides.

Are there any complaints? 

Not really. The worst anyone will say about the DIS is that it’s a little behind the times. The current rules date from 1998. But they’re being updated. New rules are expected to take effect in 2018. 

Why so long since the last update?

For reasons known only within the DIS, it decided to forgo an update in 2010, when several other organisations were doing upgrades.

What about German arbitrators – are they everyone’s cup of tea?

German arbitrators are German lawyers, first and foremost, and so trained in a certain way. The result has been termed the “German approach to arbitration”, which includes, among other things, an unprompted provisional view of the merits of the case delivered at the start of the hearing, plus a tendency to select gatekeeper issues to be decided at the outset of the case. It’s true that this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But the better arbitrators realise that and will ask international parties if that’s what they want at the outset of a case.

What’s the secretariat like?

Users compare the reliability and responsiveness of the DIS case managers favourably with the ICC, while at the same time noting that arbitrator fees are lower and turnaround quicker than in Paris. The secretariat is led by recent appointee Francesca Mazza, who users seem to love. Swiss practitioner James Menz also became the centre’s first deputy secretary general in 2016.

How quick is it?

The average dispute duration, from filing to award, is around 14 months, according to users.

What kind of disputes does it see?

Post-M&A and corporate cases, in particular, shareholder disputes, are a big element and users like the centre’s supplementary rules for corporate claims, which came into force in 2009. Sport is another key sector for DIS disputes.

How busy is it?

It registered 172 new cases in 2016, nearly reaching its highpoint in 2011, when 174 new cases were brought.

And case value?

Just over €1 billion – down from previous highs of €2 billion in 2015 and nearly €4 billion in 2011. A significant portion of 2015’s total, however, was accounted for by a single €845 million case.

Any other pitfalls?

The only consistent recommendation one hears is that the centre keep trying to build its international presence, perhaps by offering more services in non-European languages.


Why’s it on the white list?

It’s a venerable organisation with a strong local following for itself that’s now seeking more international work.

How old?

The first arbitral rules of the FCC were adopted in 1910. The institution was founded the following year.

How busy is it?

It had 64 new requests in 2016, up 23 per cent on 2015 and putting the caseload back where it traditionally tends to be. Four in five of the requests in 2016 were brought under the centre’s rules.

The highest number of new cases the FCC’s ever had was 80, in 2013.

How many of those are international? 

In 2016, 36 per cent. Parties from the UK replaced South Koreans as the most commonly seen foreigners, followed by Swedish, Estonian and Norwegians.

What are the rules like?

The centre’s adopted its current rules in 2013. It also has a set of expedited rules, and guidelines on the use of secretaries from the same year.

What are its strengths? 

The centre is regarded as very efficient. On average, cases get turned around in eight months, or three months under the expedited procedure rules. That’s a process of ongoing improvement – it has brought the average down from 11 months in 2009. And the majority of cases (77 per cent in 2014) are heard by sole arbitrators, not tribunals.

Are there any negatives?

Some think too many ex-judges get appointed there, at the expense of more commercial folk. The current rules, though, have given the centre greater power to reject proposals, and this may steer things in a better direction.

Is the centre seeking to become more international? 

It clearly is. There’s now a rule in place that it must have international lawyers on its board, leading to the addition of individuals from the UK, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Sweden, Estonia and Russia (among them Gabrielle Nater-Bass, Galina Zukova and Sophie Lamb). Since the internationals have arrived, it appears more young lawyers and more non-locals are receiving appointments. The centre is also running its own regular arbitration day. It’s also attempting to draw attention to gender diversity: for the first time in 2015 it published the percentage of female arbitrators appointed by the centre itself (32 per cent).

Who’s in charge?

Mika Savola of Hannes Snellman is the chair. Marko Hentunen and Petra Kiurunen are vice chairs.


Why’s it worth a closer look?

It’s a long-established (1949) and well-thought-of general provider in a country where the arbitral environment has been shaped by the presence of the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the United States–Iran Claims Tribunal.

The presence of those state-level bodies has helped to foster respect for arbitration – including supportive state courts. In fact, arbitration is so well established that the NAI isn’t even the largest institution in the country; that’s the Utrecht De Raad van Arbitrage voor de Bouw, which handles construction disputes.

How international is the NAI?

It’s fair to say that the NAI hasn’t sought international work, viewing it at one point as a management distraction.

Even so, it heard 24 international cases in 2015, which is around one-quarter of the total.

Is it seeking to become more international?

Not obviously. The 300-strong arbitrator pool is still overwhelmingly Dutch.

How up to date are the rules?

The current version came into effect in 2015, at the same time as the new Dutch Arbitration Act.

Do they contain any surprises?

Not really. The big change was a move to party autonomy when picking arbitrators. Previously, appointments were made using a list procedure. In theory, this switch should make it easier to appoint more internationals, but in practice there are still some obstacles. It also provides for the first time that tribunals cannot apply amiable compositeur reasoning in their decision-making unless specifically permitted by the parties. The provision only applies to disputes arising out of arbitration clauses dating from after the rules came into force on 1 January 2015 – a detail that the centre says some arbitrators have been losing sight of.

What are these obstacles to appointing internationals? 

Each arbitration taking place in the country, regardless of party nationality, is subject to the Dutch Arbitration Act, which is pretty liberal, but with a few quirks. The main one is the concept of summary arbitral proceedings – which is more or less uniquely Dutch. So literacy in the nuances of Dutch arbitration law is probably a must on a difficult case. It’s debatable how many international names have that skill set.

How efficient is the centre at the moment?

Just under 30 per cent of 2015’s registered cases were concluded in the same year.


Why’s it white-listed?

It’s been running for nearly 100 years (established in 1917). As a result, the SCC and its staff “just know what they are doing”, to quote one source. Although a lot of the work is domestic, they’re just as at ease on international cases.

How did it reach that point? 

Historically, Swedish business has preferred arbitrating in private to public courts. So the SCC is vastly experienced on domestic work. A twist of fate gave it an international component.

What happened?

In the 1970s, the US and the Soviet Union needed somewhere to resolve trading disputes (despite the Cold War, trade between the two nations was extensive). The Soviets rejected the ICC and suggested Stockholm. The US side did some due diligence and found Swedes were much more likely to speak English than Russian. They reasoned this gave them a potential upper hand.  From then on, the SCC became the go-to place for East–West disputes.

Do East-West disputes still exist?

Not in the Cold War style, but the SCC still trades on its ability to handle matters requiring extra diplomacy – disputes arising from China, or parts of Africa and the Middle East.

How busy is it?

In 2016, it had 199 new cases with a combined value of €1.3 billion. That’s a bit down from a high in 2013 of 203, but it hasn’t dropped below 170 in a decade. Around half (103) were international. 

What kinds of cases?

Service and supply agreement and business acquisition matters were the busiest areas in 2016.

It’s also popular as a place for non-ICSID administered investment treaty work. A fair few treaties now name it as an alternative to the ICSID route. 

How many treaties?

Sixty treaties provide for arbitration under the SCC rules; 61 treaties list it as an appointing authority and 13 list Stockholm as the seat of arbitration.

In 2016, this led to seven investment treaty cases heading there last year.

Could it attract more international work than it does?

Some think so. They’d like to see it bringing more arbitrators in from outside Sweden, and using younger arbitrators generally. 

Is it doing anything to achieve that goal?

The SCC’s been at the forefront of innovation when it comes to arbitration rules. Its latest set, which came into force in 2017, pushes the envelope when it comes to new summary and expedited arbitration procedures. In 2010, the SCC became the first centre to offer emergency arbitrator help (including on investment cases – something the ICC, but not ICSID, has copied). It is also one of the only centres to have success getting parties actually to use its expedited rules.

Are there any other reasons to seek it out?

It’s cheap and turns cases around fast compared to  either the ICC or the LCIA. Its “brand” can also help to get awards enforced in difficult jurisdictions such as Russia and China.

Why is it so quick?

SCC case administration is noted for its “light touch”. The rules don’t require any terms of reference and contain no formal procedure for scrutiny of awards. That, of course, puts a heavy burden on the arbitrators, who have to police their own quality. But the SCC board helps out here by taking an unusually active interest at the appointment phase.

Who runs the show?

The current secretary general is Annette Magnusson, who’s emerging as something of a thought leader and all-round star. She’s supported by an eight-member, full-time secretariat. They can work in English, Swedish, Russian, French and German.


Is it a set of rules or a centre?

It’s a set of rules, and several centres. In the 1990s, Swiss practitioners concluded it would be easier to promote Switzerland, internationally, if it had a single arbitration provider. But local chambers of commerce were an obstacle. They stood to lose out, since they all administered international cases.

The solution was “the Swiss model”: a common set of rules, administered by all. The Swiss arbitration institution is the marketing and management overlay that maintains the rules and promotes their use internationally. 

Since 2007, the overarching institution has included the Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Court, a body of 27 practitioners that hears challenges and resolves other mid-case problems. The current Swiss rules date from 2012.

Is Switzerland still a popular seat?

Very much so. Geneva is the ICC’s third most popular place for cases, behind Paris and London. And Swiss law remains highly favourable to arbitration. It’s particularly good for appeals and requests for set aside, which can only go to one court the – Supreme Court – which works extremely fast. You don’t have to have your arbitration seated in Switzerland to use the Swiss Rules – indeed, around 2 per cent of its cases have had a non-Swiss seat.

How many cases per year take place under the rules?

Only 2015’s statistics were available at the time of press. They show 100 new cases submitted to the institutions, of which, 89 were international.

How international is this system? 

The institution offers arbitration in English (its most-used language) German, French and Italian, and has also administered cases in Spanish. The rules are now available in 13 languages, including Arabic and Chinese. 

Most of the non-Swiss parties came from Western Europe, but the centre noted with satisfaction that the number of parties from Asia and the Middle East is increasing.

What kind of cases does it handle?

Sale of goods disputes was the biggest category in 2015, followed by M&A/join ventures, service agreements, distribution/agency, banking, and then construction disputes.

How fast is the SCAI?

It’s pretty speedy – cases take an average of 14 months. It also has an expedited procedure too, which takes an average of seven months from filing to award, and now there’s even an expedited-expedited procedure! Called the “turbo” procedure, it allows users to mix and match four different options, one of which aims to deliver an award in six months.

How big are the disputes?

The SCAI says the average amount at stake in one of their cases is around US$15.5 million, but the biggest they’ve ever done was worth US$1.62 billion.

How up to date are the rules?

The current set were adopted in 2012, so are not the most up to date, out there, although they were quite forward-thinking at the time. The 2012 update was all about speeding up proceedings. That saw deadlines for arbitrator challenges and deposit payments cut to 15 days, and various steps with the expedited procedures to ensure the tribunal can get things moving on the very first day. The rules also allow obstructive parties to be hit with costs.

Does it have an emergency arbitrator procedure? 

It does. And the centre duly got its first emergency filing in February 2014. The decision was handed down within seven days. It had another three emergency filings last year.

Does it offer any other service? 

Since 2014, the centre has been able to act as an appointing authority in ad hoc cases.

Anything else to be aware of?

If you’re an arbitrator you are now required to report the time that has elapsed since the original filing when submitting their draft awards, to help calculate fees. 

Who’s in charge?

The director general, and general counsel, is Caroline Ming general counsel. She replaced Rainer Füeg on his retirement. The president of the court is Gabrielle Nater-Bass of Homburger, who took over from Phillip Habegger in November 2016. Her vice presidents are Domitille Baizeau of Lalive and Cesare Jermini of Bär & Karrer. The secretariat comprises one representative from each member-chamber throughout the country. To keep up with case load it added three counsel in 2015–2016.

Didn’t it win a GAR Award?

Correct. It was the GAR Guide to Regional Arbitration Award for “Arbitral institution that impressed” at our awards in Milan, in 2017. The award recognised the 150 years of documented arbitration services by the member chambers and the 1,000th case under the Swiss Rules.

Vienna International Arbitration Centre (VIAC)

Why’s it on the white list?

VIAC is a great option, especially for disputes with a connection to Germany or Central Europe. It is efficient and has excellent transport connections around eastern Europe.

How busy is it?

After two slightly disappointing years, the VIAC bounced back to register 60 new cases in 2016 worth a total of €1.4 billion.

How international is the work?

Strictly speaking, it’s all international. That’s because under Austrian law the VIAC hasn’t until very recently been allowed to hear domestic disputes. That has just changed (mid-2017) but not recently enough to affect the figures. International means one side is non-Austrian. Sure enough, the majority of the 124 parties participating in cases at the centre in 2016 were non-Austrian (90 out of 124).

Where do the arbitrators come from? 

Around half the time, from Austria. In 2016, 38 of the arbitrators appointed were Austrian (out of 70 appointments in total). The rest came from Switzerland, Germany, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

What’s happened recently?

In 2016, the VIAC was honoured to have the VIAC rules selected for the Vis Moot. It also released new mediation rules. It is also among the first wave of institutions to deliver the gender breakdown of arbitrators, having signed The Pledge. These show 12 of the 70 arbitrators appointed were women. Looking at the party-appointed segment only, it shows just seven women being appointed (out of 62 arbitrators). 

Who runs it?

The most important figure is probably deputy secretary general Alice Fremuth-Wolf. She joined in 2012, and the VIAC has been on an upwards track ever since. The VIAC’s highly international board is led by Guenther Horvath.

In 2017, Fremuth-Wolf co-chaired GAR Live Vienna. 

Worth a Closer Look

Western Europe also has some newer institutions with interesting features that may make them a good fit for a particular case. Here’s our selection.


Why’s it worth a closer look?

It’s Belgium’s largest centre, and recently celebrated its 45th birthday. It has the supported of a substantial cadre of local practitioners, including Guy Keutgen, a former CEPANI president, who chaired the committee that recently revised Belgian Arbitration Act.

Another member of the drafting committee, Dirk De Meulemeester, is the current CEPANI president. De Meulemeester was given a second three-year term in 2017.

What are the rules like? 

They contain most of the expected elements, including provisions on multiple parties, multiple contracts and interim measures. There’s also a set of “light” rules for sub-€25,000 matters.

What’s Belgium like as a seat? 

It used to be a bit of an oddity. For many years Belgium stood apart as the place where courts had no power to vacate arbitral awards. It was hoped such a light-touch approach would attract users from around the world. In 1998, it was accepted that the experiment failed and a new law adopted. The reform didn’t really achieve its goal, though (it wasn’t Model Law and probably allowed a bit too much scope for court review). In 2013, Belgium fell more in line with the Model Law.

What sorts of cases go to CEPANI at present?

A sizeable portion of the centre’s cases are of lower value: nearly half of the requests filed in 2016 were for sums of less than €625,000. But the number of cases worth more than €12.5 million doubled. So, there are signs of life. 

How busy is it? 

The centre doesn’t actually give a figure for new cases in 2016. Extrapolating from other data (such as the number of parties from different nations who appeared there suggests CEPANI had around 30 requests for arbitration last year, or which about a third were ‘international’. Forty per cent of the cases were heard in Dutch, 35 per cent in French and the remainder in English.

Are there any things to beware of?

It’s said that the secretariat isn’t always great on international matters – stories circulate of invoices being sent in the wrong language, for instance. And CEPANI’s panel of arbitrators is heavily dominated by Belgians. But nothing insurmountable for the right sort of case.


Why’s it worth a closer look?

The CEA is now 30 years old. Because it is embedded in a network of local and regional chambers of commerce it’s well known to Spanish business.

Internationally, it may not have realised its full potential.

Why’s that?

It’s not been as successful in attracting work as its close rival, the Corte de Arbitraje de Madrid (see above). 

Is the CEA keen to become international?

It’s certainly taken steps in that direction. In 2013, it hosted an event promoting cooperation between Spanish arbitration practitioners and judges aimed at marketing Spain as a seat. And its model clause is now available in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic and Japanese (the rules though are only available in English or Spanish).

Would Spain benefit from having fewer centres? 

Opinion is divided. A few years ago, the local arbitration bar followed the Swiss example by creating a united body, modelled on the Swiss Arbitration Association – the Spanish Arbitration Club – to help market Spain as a seat to the world. But they didn’t go quite as far as mirroring the Swiss Rules.

If the CEA has its own rules, then, what are they like?

They date from 2010 and prioritise speed. In ordinary proceedings, the arbitrators are expected to render their award within five months, with a potential extension of one month. Summary and expedited proceedings were also introduced for lower-value matters.

That’s fast.

It’s certainly attractive to a particular type of client and dispute, but complex cases might be harder to fit in with such strict deadlines, unless counsel can go without sleep to meet them.


What is it?

A not-for-profit association of arbitration practitioners, established to promote Paris, rather than the ICC.

Why’s it in a book that focuses on centres? 

In 2013, it published its own rules, which don’t require any centre to administer them. They’re for use in ad hoc cases as an alternative to the UNCITRAL rules.

How are they different to the UNCITRAL rules?

The rules are incredibly short, and deliberately so: 12 articles spread across 23 pages. They’re intended to appeal to experienced arbitrators capable of taking a common-sense approach.

Are there any other innovations in there?

The rules allow parties to appoint an interim arbitrator ahead of the appointment of the tribunal. He or she is granted the same broad powers as the tribunal itself, including the ability to grant interim relief in response to joint or ex parte applications.

Who acts as appointing authority?

The secretary general of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague is designated as the appointing authority for emergency arbitrators, replacement arbitrators and sole arbitrators, and for cases where the parties have failed to appoint. The PCA is also responsible for deciding challenges to arbitrators and determining how to compensate the tribunal where the parties have failed to agree on this.

Does the association have a figurehead?

Charles Kaplan is the association’s president. The honorary presidents are Jean-Pierre Ancel and Yves Derains. The rules were written by Philippe Pinsolle and Michael Polkinghorne plus a small drafting group.


Why’s it worth a closer look?

The Scottish Arbitration Centre offers an alternative within the UK not governed by the English Arbitration Act. It’s now six years old and has done a fabulous job of promoting itself internationally.

What’s it done? 

Very sensibly, it’s leveraged Scotland’s links to the energy industry by releasing energy arbitration rules in collaboration with the University of Dundee (home to an energy and mineral law centre). The centre’s chairman, Brandon Malone, and chief executive Andrew McKenzie, have become well known around the globe, attending a significant number of the most important international arbitration meetings, including the occasional GAR Live.

Does it have any natural advantages, besides its links to the energy industry?

It has its own arbitration act, the Scottish Arbitration Act (Scotland is a separate legal system within the UK). It’s also a lot cheaper to locate a case in Scotland. The centre’s estimate is that it can save you 40 per cent of the organisational cost.

How do the two “Arbitration Acts” compare?

They’re as different as chalk and cheese on many points. The writers of the Scottish Arbitration Act are on record as saying theirs is far superior, and includes all sorts of details that users are crying out for, such as more rigid rules on confidentiality and anonymity.

What does the future hold?

Scotland will host the ICCA’s congress in 2020, in Edinburgh – in no small part down to the efforts of 

the centre. It could also benefit from Brexit. More concretely, the centre has created a “court user group” to enable members of the arbitration bar in Scotland and judges who hear arbitration matters to discuss topical issues. Only two similar groups exist within the Scottish court system, showing “the importance the court in Scotland takes to ensuring its approach to arbitration remains supportive” according to chief executive of the arbitration centre (and member of the users group) Andrew Mackenzie.