Guide to Regional Arbitration (volume 10 - 2022)
BVI International Arbitration Centre
The BVI International Arbitration Centre (BVI IAC), an independent not-for-profit institution, was established pursuant to the 2013 BVI Arbitration Act, which came into effect in 2014. The institution aims to meet arbitration users’ rapidly evolving dispute resolution needs worldwide. The BVI IAC provides the international business community with a neutral, impartial, efficient and reliable dispute resolution institution in the Caribbean and at the crossroads of the Americas.
World-class hearing facilities
The BVI IAC has world-class hearing facilities, including:
- state-of-the-art hearing rooms occupying a full floor of a modern, centrally located and fully air-conditioned office building on the main harbour of Road Town, Tortola;
- a range of hearing room sizes with flexible configurations (including interpreter booths) and breakout rooms for arbitral tribunals and parties;
- excellent capabilities to facilitate virtual proceedings so that the BVI IAC can support parties to transition existing or new arbitrations – appointing authority cases and expert determination cases to a virtual platform; and
- full administrative and concierge support for international arbitration, including financial administration, logistical and technical support for meetings and hearings, catering services and general secretarial and linguistic support.
The BVI IAC recently published a new version of its arbitration rules (the 2021 Rules), which came into effect on 16 November 2021. The 2021 Rules are the result of a comprehensive revision process to address the changing needs of arbitration users worldwide.
The 2021 Rules include new provisions for emergency arbitrator proceedings, expedited procedures, tribunal secretaries, joinder and consolidation. According to John Beechey CBE, chair of the board of directors of the BVI IAC: “The 2021 Rules reflect the Centre’s commitment to encourage the adoption of environment-friendly measures in arbitration, including provision for the use of remote hearing platforms and electronic filing of submissions.”
In choosing to follow the 2021 Rules, parties involved in international business transactions benefit from a neutral framework for resolving cross-border disputes. The BVI IAC is the only body authorised to administer arbitration under those Rules.
Highly diverse world-class roster of arbitrators
The BVI IAC maintains a diverse panel of international arbitrators from a wide range of common law and civil law jurisdictions who are available to sit in BVI arbitration. The BVI IAC Panel is one of the most gender-diverse panels in the world and includes more than 220 arbitrators from over 40 countries who speak more than 20 languages.
Training and education
The BVI IAC regularly organises international arbitration conferences, training and webinars. The institution works in partnership with CIArb, ArbitralWomen and CADRin, as well as other institutions and organisations that promote the adoption of arbitration as a preferred method of dispute resolution and aim to further educate arbitration practitioners. The BVI IAC will launch training for tribunal secretaries in partnership with CADRin in 2022.
The BVI IAC is hosting a video interview series with Janette Brin, the centre manager, and Hana Doumal, the registrar, interviewing a wide range of practitioners involved in the field of arbitration. For more information, visit the BVI IAC’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/c/BVIIAC.
Natural, neutral and advantageous forum
The BVI is a natural, neutral and advantageous forum for parties and arbitrators. It is:
- a neutral well-located forum in a friendly time zone for parties located in eastern and central North, Central and South America;
- a preferred jurisdiction for PRC, Hong Kong and CIS entities;
- a well-located forum for parties in Europe; and
- in a logical and convenient location for arbitration between Caribbean parties.
Model law and enforcement of arbitral awards
The BVI Arbitration Act, based on the UNCITRAL Model Law, provides a modern non-interventionist and supportive framework for arbitration in the BVI, with sufficient flexibility for virtual arbitration. The BVI is party to the New York Convention.
The Act prohibits the publication, disclosure and communication of information relating to arbitration proceedings and awards.
Confidential court proceedings
Arbitration-related court proceedings are heard in closed proceedings; the court file is automatically sealed and cannot be inspected, except by the parties, thereby preserving confidentiality. This is an important distinguishing feature of BVI arbitration. For contracting or disputing parties concerned about confidentiality, there is no better seat than the BVI.