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Guide to Regional Arbitration (volume 8 - 2020)

Whitelist / Institutions Worth a Closer Look – Western Europe

23 January 2020

Overview

Western Europe is home to the two institutions that are about as un-regional as it’s possible to be – the ICC and the LCIA. Because of that, they’re not included here (you will find references to their relevant local operations in other chapters – the LCIA–DIFC in the Middle East and Africa section, for example).

But western Europe is home to many other providers, some of which are in the right scenario every bit a match. Some of those, such as the SCC and Swiss Chambers, are well known; others less so. But nearly all of them would like to handle more international work.

So, because they exist and want that profile, and because they might be a good fit for the right case, here is our guide to the cream of the European crop that’s not the ICC and LCIA.

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

The Chamber of Arbitration of Milan (CAM)

Why’s it on the white list?

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

How international?

Back when some European arbitral providers were shy of international work (feeling it was too expensive to build a brand away from home), CAM was the opposite. It’s aimed itself squarely at work from its region – focusing on North Africa, Turkey and parts of the Middle East. Thus, you’ll find it well known across the Mediterranean zone, and with a network of best friends organisations, 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 why its rules have long been available in Arabic, as well as various European languages. Its board is profoundly international too – with Spanish and German lawyers in among eminent Italians.

How busy is it?

In 2018, it received 130 new cases (in 2017, 131), of which 20% are “international” (around 26). So – pretty busy. Since 2009, the new cases total hasn’t dropped below 120 (the Milan Chamber is excellent at statistics).

What reviews does it get from foreigners who experienced arbitration there?

Nowadays – very good reviews, from both arbitrators and counsel. There was a time though where non-Italians were less impressed (though their complaints were more about the mores of Italian arbitrators and their ability to work with each other than aimed at CAM).

What do they like in particular?

Arbitrators like being given a member of CAM’s staff for each case as tribunal secretary – it saves them personal cost. And everyone gives CAM top marks for administration. One person described its secretariat’s work as “flawless”. It is also quick; the average time for a Milan Chamber arbitration hovers around the 14-month mark.

How are arbitrators appointed?

With great care! After realising its brand was being affected by the behaviour of its appointees, CAM started to vet candidates with extreme care – to the point where one source says it is “as demanding as the ICC”. One upside has been far more diverse tribunals (in terms of sex, age and – if the arbitrator is Italian – where in Italy they’re from).

Are there any other new developments?

The Milan Chamber is one of the institutions that now publishes the names of arbitrators it appoints on its website. It also releases gender diversity statistics as part of its commitment to the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge.

The figures for 2017 show 29 of the 195 arbitrators appointed were women. CAM reported similar figures for the previous year. There have been no figures released for 2018.

In other news, Stefano Azzali, chair of CAM, is the current president of the International Federation of Commercial Arbitration Institutions (IFCAI). He was appointed in 2017.

How recent are its rules?

New rules came into force on 1 March 2019.

Some of the bigger changes are: a general duty on all participants to act in good faith; stronger powers to sanction poor behaviour with costs; greater interim measures powers; and a requirement to disclose the identity of any third-party funder with an interest in a case. They also introduce an emergency arbitrator procedure.

Fees, etc, remain the same.

Corte de Arbitraje de Madrid

Why’s it white-listed?

Spain has plenty of 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?

The total for administered cases in 2018 was 111 (down on the 145 and 150 in 2017 and 2016 respectively).

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

How big and international are those cases?

In 2018, 20% of the arbitrations were international. As for value, in 2017, the court estimated it had around €1 billion collectively in dispute.

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 then). 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?

The current president is Urquiola de Palacio del Valle de Lersundi. She tookover from Antonio Sánchez-Pedreño, a well-known Spanish arbitration figure – midway through his second term (he was reappointed for a second four-year term in 2018.) But then there’s been a fair amount of change of late.

Why? What’s happened?

Soon after Sánchez-Pedreño was re-appointed, the court announced it was “doing away” with its list of arbitrators, and would begin publishing the names of those appointed. It also opened three new hearing rooms in a former palace. With period features and gilt decor, they are described as “spectacular”.

Are these changes a big deal?

They have a certain symbolic significance. The court hasn’t actually used a list in the traditional sense for years. Rather, it gave parties full autonomy over who they appoint, and only maintained “a” list as an aid for those who needed one.

But by making the change official, it helps to dispel any lingering idea it is a closed shop. They also remove a possible source of confusion for the parties; some saw the list and thought it was mandatory. And they get rid of an element of the court that was out of kilter with the times, consisting as it did mainly of old, white males.

So how are arbitrators appointed?

Parties can appoint whoever they like. In the absence of party appointment, the court will produce a list and parties can strike names off, and rank the rest. There’s also a third technique, whereby the parties and court each submit lists. These are combined and randomised and then passed back to the parties. They then strike off and rank – but unaware of which entity proposed whom.

As a general rule, the court does not appoint an arbitrator more than once over any given set of parties. However, as part of its recent set of reforms, it has said it may be willing to appoint an arbitrator from an earlier case between two sides to a subsequent one, if a special committee led by the president approves.

How big is the secretariat?

It has six members. In 2018, the court appointed former Arias SLP partner Dámaso Riaño as the new secretary general, to lead it. He inherited a team with a reputation for efficiency, turning most cases around in less than a year.

So what else is new?

The court has started soliciting feedback from parties. Parties can fill out a questionnaire, rating their satisfaction with the court and the arbitrators.

It has also created a database of “associates of the court”. While the database will not be used to appoint arbitrators, it will have profiles containing the personal and practice details of anyone who is interested in arbitration. The court says that associates will also receive certain benefits.

Aren’t three of Madrid’s centres creating a single “international” entity for their cases?

Yes – and this is the biggest change both at the Corte de Arbitraje de Madrid and elsewhere. As reported in our Institutional News section, the Corte de Arbitraje de Madrid and three other local entities (including the Spanish Court of Arbitration and the Civil and Commercial Court of Arbitration) are to combine forces for international work, sending all their cases from now on to “the International Arbitration Centre of Madrid”. It’s expected to open in January 2020. The member institutions will continue to exist for domestic purposes.

Does that mean the Corte will be removed from this listing in the future?

It remains to be seen. If everything goes smoothly and to timetable – then, yes, eventually (although in the short term we will probably simply add and profile the new joint venture – International Arbitration Centre of Madrid).

But the above seems unlikely – given the history of delays already with the project (which has taken far longer to negotiate and been more vexed than anticipated). So, the details need to become clearer first.

Danish Institute of Arbitration (DIA)

Why’s it on the white list?

It’s a well-run centre, with a healthy caseload and good connections in the wider international arbitration world. And it’s been doing it a while – since 1981.

What’s the caseload?

The centre reports administering 119 cases in 2018 (up from 103 in 2017) but not as good as 135 in 2016 (its highest ever year).

How international are the cases?

In 2018, 20% of the cases were international (24). This is down on 26 and 32 in 2017 and 2016 respectively – but still a creditable total.

It’s international enough that the rules are available in Danish, English, German, French, Russian and Chinese. When it comes to arbitrators, though, it appoints mostly Danes.

What are the rules like?

In 2013, the centre amended its rules to bring them into line with other international arbitral institutions.

The 2013 DIA rules 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.

What’s the staff like?

It has a 12-strong team, chaired by Jeppe Skadhauge who is a local luminary. 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’s it doing to promote itself internationally?

It’s done various things over the years to put itself more in the shop window – usually some form of event in Denmark with relevant international partners. In 2018, it co-organised the annual Nordic summit on commercial dispute resolution. In 2017, it hosted the International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators (ICMA XX).

Next year it will help to host Copenhagen Arbitration Day. It also maintains an active young arbitrators group.

Deutsche Institution für Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit EV (German Institution of Arbitration) (DIS)

Why’s it on the white list?

It is a competent and professional German organisation that’s starting, in some ways, to resemble the ICC.

How did it get to this point?

Good leadership. For many years it was led by Karl-Heinz Böckstiegel, and then by Klaus Peter Berger. Today the president is Herbert Kronke, (with Karl-Heinz Böckstiegel as honorary president).

How international is it?

It has steadily become more so. According to the most recent statistics, in 2017 DIS handled 55 foreign-related cases – up from 47 in 2016. In 14 of those, both sides were foreign. The increase appears to follow a phase during which DIS embarked to raise its profile abroad. This included getting expat German lawyers to promote it (through vehicles such as a DIS Ibero Americana project, which promoted Germany as a venue for Latin American arbitrations being conducted in Spanish and Portuguese.) It also included the appointment of a non-German as secretary general: Francesca Mazza, who is Italian. Mazza joined from the ICC and was brought in, in part, for her international experience.

Are there any complaints?

Not really. The worst anyone will say about DIS is that it has been a little behind the times (it hadn’t updated its rules for a long time, but that’s just changed) and that it charges like the ICC but doesn’t offer the same level of input from its secretariat. DIS has taken steps to correct both.

How?

It’s released new rules that give it more of a case management function, as well as bringing it up to speed on developments such as multiparty disputes and emergency relief.

A new body, the DIS Arbitration Council, will oversee administrative tasks that were previously delegated to tribunals.

Are there any peculiarities?

The drafters of the rules were at pains to keep what they saw as their unique Germanic character. So they preserve certain elements that are common in all-German cases – for example, the power for tribunals to appoint their own experts and discretion to encourage settlement actively from early on in the case. Crucially, those elements are now “opt in”.

There are also two authoritative versions of the rules in German and English. According to the (then) deputy secretary general James Menz at a recent GAR Live Frankfurt, DIS is the only arbitral institution to have drafted the original version of its rules in two languages so they are fully consistent in meaning.

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

German arbitrators are first and foremost German-trained lawyers, and some do like to use a certain approach that gets referred to as “German”. As mentioned, elements of this approach are a tendency to offer – unprompted – their provisional view of the merits before the hearing has begun; and a fondness for gatekeeper issues that should be identified and then decided before any other work is done. It’s true that this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But the better arbitrators are aware enough to know that, and to seek permission from the parties before they impose the German style.

What’s the secretariat like?

Users say DIS case managers compare favourably to counsel at the ICC, while noting that, historically, the DIS staff has had less of a role to play. So there is more pressure on it now the rules have shifted work from arbitrators to the DIS staff.

How quick is it?

Pretty fast. It appears that the average dispute duration, from filing to award, is around 14 months.

What kind of disputes does it see?

There’s a fair amount of post-M&A and corporate disputes – between shareholders. It also handles a fair amount of sport-related work.

How busy is it?

DIS registered 162 new cases in 2018 (two up on 160 in 2017 but not quite as good as 172 in 2016.)

The DIS’s best ever year remains 2011, when 174 new cases were brought. But as those figures show, the caseload is pretty consistent.

And case value?

Just over €1.1 billion in 2018. The best year for value of claims was also 2011 (nearly €4 billion).

The Arbitration Institute of the Finland Chamber of Commerce (FCC)

Why’s it on the white list?

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

How venerable?

The first arbitral rules of the FCC were adopted in 1910. The FCC as an institution started the following year.

How busy is it?

It had 62 new cases in 2018 (down from 79 in 2017). Nearly 90% of the requests in 2018 were under the centre’s rules, rather than for administrative services.

The FCC’s best year for new cases was 80, in 2013.

How much of its work is international?

In 2018, 29% of the cases had at least one foreign side (slightly down on 32% in 2017). Parties from Sweden and the UK appear often in the list of foreign users, as do Norwegians, South Koreans and Germans.

What are the rules like?

Reasonably modern. They date from 2013, with a tweak in 2017 to the institutional and arbitrator fees.

It also has a set of expedited rules, and guidelines on the use of secretaries, all from the same year.

What are its strengths?

It’s regarded as very efficient. On average, cases are concluded in eight months; or three, under the expedited procedure. These times are down from an average of 11 months in 2009.

It helps that the majority of cases (89% in 2018) are heard by sole arbitrators (a similar percentage the year before).

Are there any negatives?

Some say too many ex-judges get appointed, at the expense of commercial folk. The current rules, though, give 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 it must have international lawyers on its board, which has led to individuals from the Switzerland, France, Belgium, Sweden, and Germany joining (among them Robin Oldenstam, Jennifer Kirby and Galina Zukova) This push also seems to have coincided with more young lawyers and more non-locals being appointed as arbitrators.

It now also runs its own Helsinki arbitration day and is part of the global effort to monitor the numbers of female arbitrators. Its figures show that in 2017, 29% of its arbitrators were women (down slightly from a high of 32% in 2015).

Who’s in charge?

Petra Kiurunen, of Lindfors & Co Attorneys, as chair; and Marko Hentunen and Mikko Kemppainen as vice chairs.

Netherlands Arbitration Institute (NAI)

Why’s it worth a closer look?

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

Those inter-state bodies have fostered a respect for arbitration – including supportive state courts. In fact, arbitration is so well established in the Netherlands that the NAI isn’t even the largest institution in the country; that’s the Raad van Arbitrage voor de Bouw in Utrecht, which handles construction disputes.

How international is the NAI?

Reasonably so. It’s fair to say it hasn’t actively sought international work; at one point it definitely viewed doing so as a management distraction.

Even so, in 2017 it received nearly 30 international cases, or around one-quarter of its total.

Is it seeking to become more international?

Not obviously. Its 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 switch to full party autonomy when picking arbitrators. Previously, appointments were made using a list procedure. In theory, this switch should make it easier to appoint from the ranks of internationals, but in practice there are still some obstacles.

The new rules also forbade, for the first time, tribunals from using amiable compositeur reasoning in their decisions unless specifically permitted to by the parties. However, that provision only applies to arbitration clauses drafted after 1 January 2015 – a detail that the centre says is creating some confusion.

What are these obstacles that are still in the way of appointing internationals?

All arbitrations in the Netherlands are subject to the Dutch Arbitration Act, which contains a few Dutch quirks. One is the concept of summary arbitral proceedings. But it means literacy in nuances of Dutch arbitration law is something of a must, certainly on a difficult case. And that points usually to a local name.

How efficient is the centre at the moment?

Reasonably. Just over half (55%) of 2017’s registered cases were concluded in the same year.

The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC)

Why’s it white-listed?

It’s over 100 years old (established in 1917) and so experienced that the staff “just know what they are doing”, to quote one source. Though much of its work is domestic, it is equally at ease with foreign parties.

How did it reach that point?

Historically, Swedish business preferred to arbitrate in private rather than use the public courts. So the SCC was the commercial court system, in effect. A twist of fate brought it international experience.

What was that?

In the 1970s, the US and the Soviet Union needed somewhere to resolve trading disputes (despite the Cold War, the two sides traded as a matter of routine). The Soviets rejected the ICC and suggested Stockholm. The US side did some due diligence and found the average Swede was much more likely to speak English than Russian. They reasoned this gave them a potential upper hand, and went along with the Soviet suggestion. From then on, the SCC became the go-to place for East–West disputes.

Do East-West disputes still exist?

After a fashion. The Cold War may be over – or restarting – but the SCC still prides itself on its ability to handle any matter requiring extra diplomacy and neutrality. So it actively seeks work in regions such as China, Africa and the Middle East.

And with Russia making mischief internationally, Russia-related disputes are becoming a niche once again.

How busy is it?

In 2018, it registered 152 new cases. Although this was down on 200 in 2017, the total value was far higher – at €13.3 billion compared to €1.5 billion the year before. Its best year for new cases was 203 in 2013.

Out of this 152, 89 were under the SCC’s rules, and 52 under its expedited rules.

What kinds of cases?

The largest sources of work in statistics from 2017 were service and supply agreements, delivery agreements and business acquisition disputes.

It’s also become popular for non-ICSID administered investment treaty work. And many treaties now name it as an alternative to ICSID.

How many treaties?

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

In 2018, it hosted six investment treaty cases.

Could it attract more international work than it does?

Some think so. They’d like to see it use more non-Swedes as arbitrators, and generally appoint younger people.

What are its rules like?

The SCC’s been at the forefront of innovation when it comes to rules. Its latest set, in force since 2017, pushed the envelope on summary and expedited arbitration procedures. Before that in 2010, it the first centre to offer emergency arbitrator help (including on investment cases – something the ICC, but not ICSID, has since copied).

It’s one of the few centres where emergency arbitration and expedited arbitration have both been used a respectable amount. (See impressive figures for expedited arbitration above.)

Are there any other reasons to seek it out?

It’s cheap and quick, at least compared to either the ICC or the LCIA. In certain jurisdictions – chiefly Russia and China – its “brand” can also help to get awards enforced.

What makes it quick?

SCC case administration is noted for its light touch. The rules don’t require terms of reference, and there is 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 assists on that score by taking extra care over who gets appointed.

Who runs the show?

The current secretary general is Annette Magnusson, now something of a thought leader and global star. She runs a 12-member, all-female secretariat able to work in English, Swedish, Russian, French and German.

Is there anything else to note?

It’s not widely appreciated but Stockholm has more bespoke hearing space than nearly any other European city, since the opening of the Stockholm International Hearing Centre. See our survey on page 20.

It’s also taking a lead when it comes to the appointment of female arbitrators – releasing full statistics on the percentage of female appointees in SCC cases. In 2018, out of 225 SCC arbitrators, 61 arbitrators were women – or 27%. That is up from 18% the year before. What can matter more, though is the source of those appointments. The SCC to its credit gives out statistics on that too. These show that, in 2018, when the SCC was appointing, a woman was appointed 29% of the time; when the parties were appointing, it was 24%; and the co-arbitrators, 54%.

Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution (Swiss Rules)

Is it a set of rules or a centre?

Both: the Swiss Rules are a set of rules – but they’re used by several centres.

How did that come about?

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 resistant. They all administered international cases, so stood to lose revenue.

Instead, clever people proposed “the Swiss model”: a common set of rules, to be used by everyone. The Swiss Chambers Arbitration Institution is the umbrella body that sits over this arrangement: it maintains the rules and helps with aspects of their administration, and promotes their use internationally.

Since 2007, it has included the “Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Court”, a body of 25 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 on appeals and requests for set aside, which are centralised before one court – the Supreme Court. This one-stop shop works extremely fast, providing results usually in six months.

You don’t have to have your arbitration seated in Switzerland to use the Swiss Rules; indeed, around 3% of its cases have had a non-Swiss seat.

How international is this system?

In 2018, the SCAI logged 81 new cases – of which 70 were international. Since 2004, it has heard 1109 cases – of which 90 % have been international. On top of that the rules are now available in 13 languages, including Arabic and Chinese.

Cases were heard in 2018 in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish and Russian. English was the most common of these – occurring in 86% of cases. This is higher than the historical average (English in 70% of SCAI cases), suggesting English work is on the rise, at the expense of French and German.

What kind of cases does it handle?

The biggest category of work in 2018 was sale of goods contracts; followed by corporate – including M&A/joint venture disputes, service agreements and service contracts.

How fast is the SCAI?

Pretty speedy – cases on average take 14 months. It also has an expedited procedure (promising seven months to an award) and even an expedited-expedited procedure, known as the turbo procedure, which is a bit tricky to explain (there are four different versions depending on which options the parties pick) but that in one of its guises promises an award within six months.

How big are the disputes?

Since 2004, the average SCAI dispute has been worth US$11 million; the largest SCAI case ever, US$1.66 billion.

How up to date are the rules?

The current set were adopted in 2012. The ethos then was all about speeding up proceedings. So they introduced tighter deadlines for arbitrator challenges and deposit payments, and various other steps to ensure tribunals can get things moving speedily, sometimes on the very first day. The rules also made it possible for obstructive parties to be hit with costs.

Could they do with an update?

Debatable. In terms of substance, no. Little has been developed they don’t already contain.

But it might be helpful if the SCAI switched to charging in euros. In 2015, the euro collapsed the Swiss franc. Since then, the Swiss rules (which charge in francs), have seemed expensive by comparison (they were priced initially to undercut the ICC). A switch to euros would remove these problems. But that would require a change to the rules.

Does it have an emergency arbitrator procedure?

Yes, and its first request for emergency arbitration was in February 2014; the arbitrator managed to hand down a decision within seven days. It had three emergency filings in 2015.

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’re now required to report the time that has elapsed since the original filing when submitting your draft awards, to help calculate fees.

If you are planning to arbitrate within Switzerland, then be aware there is no bespoke arbitration hearing centre. You’ll have to use hotels.

Who’s in charge?

Caroline Ming is director general and general counsel. She replaced Rainer Füeg when he retired. The president of the court is Gabrielle Nater-Bass of Homburger. She took over from Philipp Habegger in November 2016. Her vice presidents are Chris Boog and Cesare Jermini.

The SCAI’s secretariat comprises one representative from each member chamber throughout the country. To keep up with caseload 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?

In 2018, the VIAC registered 64 new cases – up from 43 in 2017. The aggregate amount in dispute was €432.2 million, a little down on 2017 (€622 million.)

How international is the work?

Until quite recently – 100%. That’s because it wasn’t allowed, under Austrian law, to hear anything domestic. One side had to be non-Austrian. So the 1,600 cases that it has now heard in its lifetime have all been international.

The law changed in 2017, but there are no statistics on the VIAC doing any local work. It will probably take a while to arrive.

Where do the arbitrators come from?

Usually from Austria. In 2018, two-thirds of the arbitrators appointed were Austrian. The remainder were from Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Australia, UK, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Russia and Serbia.

What’s new?

VIAC gained the power to accept domestic disputes, which then required an adjustment to its rules. It has also joined the ranks of institutions publishing names of tribunals, and reporting the split of male and female arbitrators in its cases.

In 2017, VIAC started releasing statistics about the percentage of female appointees to its tribunals (17% in 2017).

In 2018, that had risen to 25% – or 15 appointees. Of those, 10 were in sole arbitrator cases (ie appointed by the VIAC); three were chairs, and only two were appointed by the parties.

The VIAC, through its secretary general Alice Fremuth-Wolf, is one of the co-chairs of GAR Live Vienna, a well-attended event aimed at the surrounding region. The conference regularly draws a 150-plus crowd.

Anything else to know?

VIAC can supply excellent hearing rooms and related services.

Who runs it?

The VIAC’s secretary general is the enormously popular Alice Fremuth-Wolf. Assisted by the (also enormously popular) Elisabeth Vanas-Metzler as deputy secretary general.

They’re supported by Günther Horvath as president of the VIAC board. The VIAC has an international advisory board, which includes such names such as James Castello and Stefano Azzali.

Worth a Closer Look

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

Belgian Centre for Arbitration and Mediation (CEPANI)

Why’s it worth a closer look?

It’s Belgium’s largest centre, and will be celebrating its 50th birthday in 2019. It has the support of a substantial cadre of local practitioners, including Guy Keutgen, a former CEPANI president, who chaired the committee that recently revised Belgian Arbitration Act.

The current president is Dirk De Meulemeester, another member of the drafting committee; he 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 – the only seat where courts had no power to vacate arbitral awards. This was by design. It was hoped such a radical light-touch approach would attract users from around the world. But by 1998, it had become clear the experiment had failed and a new law was adopted. The new law didn’t do much better though (it wasn’t Model Law and probably went too far in the opposite direction – allowing lots of court review). So in 2013 it was revised again and Belgium is now essentially Model Law.

What sorts of cases go to CEPANI?

A sizeable portion of the centre’s cases are lower value: 80% of the requests filed in 2018 were for sums of less than €625,000.

But there are larger matters. Five per cent of its cases in 2018 were for more than €12.5 million.

How busy is it?

The centre hasn’t actually issued figures for new cases recently Extrapolating from other data (such as the number of parties from different nations who appeared there) suggests CEPANI received eight disputes in 2018 (against 18 the year before).

Are there any things to beware of?

It’s said that the secretariat isn’t always great on international matters – there are stories of staff sending invoices in the wrong language, etc. And CEPANI’s panel of arbitrators is heavily dominated by Belgians. But, nevertheless, it has its fans.

Corte Española de Arbitraje (CEA)

Why’s it worth a closer look?

The CEA was founded in 1981, meaning it’s experienced. And by dint of its connections to local and regional chambers of commerce, it’s popular with Spanish businesses.

Why isn’t it on the white list?

It hasn’t realised its full potential when it comes to international work. The Corte de Arbitraje de Madrid, its great rival, is far better at attracting foreign parties.

Is the CEA keen to become international?

It appears to be. In 2017, the court appointed Manuel Conthe as its president, who is a well-known international arbitrator. It has also hosted various events featuring Spanish arbitration practitioners and judges intended to raise Spain’s profile as a seat. And its model clause is now available in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic and Japanese. Its rules, though, are only available in English or Spanish.

And, following years of talk, there is now going to be a merger.

What sort of merger?

Between the CEA and two of its Madrid rivals intended to improve their ability to attract foreign cases to Spain.

As reported in our Institutional News section, the Corte de Arbitraje de Madrid the CEA and the Civil and Commercial Court of Arbitration plan to open the International Arbitration Centre of Madrid – a tripartite joint venture in January 2020. Each institution will continue to exist for domestic purposes.

Will this “International Arbitration Centre of Madrid” turn Spain into a successful international seat?

It’ll certainly help. There’s no doubt that Spain’s message to the world has been weakened by having so many institutions. A few years ago, the local arbitration bar attempted to resolve this by copying Switzerland and presenting a united front; they founded the Spanish Arbitration Club to advocate for Spain as a seat. But they stopped short of having all the centres adopt a common set of rules.

But arguably this ignores a bigger issue, which is the real reason for Spain’s lack of importance as an international seat.

What’s that?

It’s judiciary. They annul too many arbitral awards. Until that changes Spain is always going to face an uphill struggle to establish itself as popular international seat – no matter how good everything else is.

Summarise the current CEA rules

They were adopted in 2010, revised again in 2011. They 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.

Paris, the Home of International Arbitration (The Paris Rules)

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?

Elie Kleiman of Jones Day leads the board after replacing Charles Kaplan as 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.

Scottish Arbitration Centre

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 seven 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 Mackenzie, 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% of the organisational costs.

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. The centre, which has recently announced its commitment to gender diversity, says that 30% of its ICCA bid panel was composed of women and that 50% of its ad hoc arbitrator appointments have been women.

The centre could also benefit from Brexit. More concretely, it 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 how the courts are “ensuring its approach to arbitration remains supportive,” says Mackenzie.