2018 Annual Review

International arbitration tops methods of cross-border dispute resolution

With a view toward the future, the survey highlights the prominence and evolution of international arbitration

The international arbitration landscape continues to evolve, shaped by factors including legislation, jurisprudence and practice. For the fourth time, White & Case partnered with the School of International Arbitration – Queen Mary University of London to explore the arbitration community's preferences, perceptions and predictions. The 2018 survey, "The Evolution of International Arbitration," is the most comprehensive yet. It reflects views gathered from private practitioners, arbitrators, in-house counsel, academics and other stakeholders in a range of industries around the world.

Survey respondents considered topics including the pros and cons of international arbitration, preferred seats of arbitration, diversity among arbitrators and what will shape the field going forward. Key findings:

  • Ninety-seven percent of respondents prefer international arbitration to resolve cross-border commercial disputes. Ninety-nine percent would choose or recommend international arbitration in the future
  • As in the past, "enforceability of awards" was seen as arbitration's best feature, while cost was considered its worst
  • London and Paris remain the most preferred seats for international arbitration, followed by Singapore, Hong Kong, Geneva, New York and Stockholm
  • Fifty-five percent of respondents predict that Brexit won't have an impact on London's appeal
  • While 60 percent of respondents feel progress has been made regarding gender diversity on arbitral tribunals over the past five years, a third or fewer believe this is true for geographic, age, cultural and ethnic diversity
  • Technology is widely used in international arbitration, and respondents would like to see even greater use of hearing room technologies, cloud-based storage, videoconferencing, AI and virtual hearing rooms

Perhaps most important, 61 percent of respondents think increased efficiency, including through technology use, will have the greatest impact on international arbitration going forward. Interested parties should keep one eye fixed firmly on these trends, and the other on emerging technology that could alter the international arbitration landscape.


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