For those involved in international disputes, commercial arbitration is an effective method of resolution. London is a favoured venue for arbitration, offering many advantages to those dealing with commercial disputes.
Many commercial contracts have a clause compelling the parties to use arbitration in the event of a dispute. It can also be a faster and more cost-effective method of dealing with legal disagreements than litigation.
At Lincoln & Rowe, our commercial dispute solicitors can represent clients from across the globe in UK arbitration cases.
If you would like to talk to one of our UK arbitration experts, ring us on 020 3968 6030, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our contact form and we’ll be happy to help.
What is arbitration?
Commercial arbitration involves bringing a dispute in front of an arbitrator or arbitration panel in a hearing similar to a court hearing. The arbitrator could be a lawyer or alternatively an individual with expertise in the relevant area, such as technology or shipping.
The parties involved will enter into a contract agreeing to the arbitration process and agreeing to be legally bound by the decision made. The agreement to resolve an issue by way of arbitration is often made in the initial contract but can also be made at a later date after a dispute has arisen.
Where arbitration is a condition of the original contract, the courts will not usually have the jurisdiction to hear the case.
Why choose England arbitration for international commercial dispute resolution?
Arbitration has long been a favoured method of dispute resolution for international commercial disputes. Some of the benefits include:
- The reputation of the English legal system for being neutral and reliable
- The certainty of English law in interpreting contracts
- The expertise of arbitrators used in England and Wales
- The availability of the English courts to support the arbitration process and enforce arbitration awards where necessary
- The fact that the UK is a signatory to the New York Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, meaning enforcement is possible across over 160 jurisdictions
- The confidentiality of proceedings
- The fact that an award can only be challenged in limited circumstances
The large majority of arbitration cases in the jurisdiction of England and Wales are heard by the London Court of International Arbitration or LCIA. Since 2020, hearings can take place virtually by conference call or video conference where agreed.
The arbitration process
The arbitration agreement
The first step in the arbitration process is to put an arbitration agreement in place. This will cover details such as who the arbitrator will be, whether one or more arbitrators will be used, where the hearings will take place and what rules will apply to the process.
If three arbitrators are used, the parties will usually select one each and agree on the third.
UK arbitration centres include but are not limited to the London Court of International Arbitration and the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce. Each institution has its own set of procedural rules which tend to be similar to those used in court proceedings.
Any details in the contract in respect of the arbitration procedure will need to be followed, including the process for advising the other party that you wish to start proceedings. This is commonly a requirement that a notice to arbitrate is sent, setting out the details of the dispute.
A timetable will be agreed upon between the parties and the arbitrator as well as the issues in dispute. Both parties will go through the disclosure process, advising the other side of the documents they hold. Written submissions and statements will also be exchanged.
Each side will present their case to the arbitrator. This is done by a solicitor or barrister on behalf of the parties. The hearings are private and confidential, unlike court proceedings which are a matter of public record.
It is open to the arbitrator to order interim remedies where appropriate.
Following the presentation of each side’s case, the arbitrator will make their award.
Remedies in arbitration
The arbitrator can grant remedies in accordance with the rules governing the proceedings or, if these do not specify remedies, the following can be granted:
- Financial compensation
- Interest on the payment
- An order for a party to do or stop doing something
- An order for specific performance
- A declaration on a matter in contention
- An order amending or cancelling a document
- An order for costs
Appealing an arbitration decision
An appeal is only possible in some cases, including where there has been an error of law or the arbitrator has not conducted the process in the correct way. It is not usually possible to appeal on the basis of the facts of the case.
Enforcing an arbitration award
The courts in the country where the award was made can be asked to enforce it where necessary. It is important to choose a country that has ratified the New York Convention as this allows the courts of signatory countries to enforce arbitration awards in over 160 countries.
The award can also be converted, by permission of the court, into a court judgment. This means that the full range of options available to the court is available to deal with enforcement.
At Lincoln & Rowe we represent overseas clients involved in a range of arbitration cases in the UK. We have in-depth expertise in dealing with arbitration proceedings and if you ask us to help you, we will do all we can to ensure that your dispute is settled favourably and without delay. We are pleased to announce that we have won the Global Awards by ACQ5 award for Best Firm for Commercial Disputes London 2023. We were named as the ‘Commercial Disputes Specialists of the Year’ in the Corporate Livewire Innovation & Excellent Awards 2020 as well as ‘Boutique Litigation Law Firm of the Year’ in both the 2022 and 2023 Global Awards by ACQ5. Partner Dipesh Dosani was named Commercial Litigation Lawyer of the Year 2022 in the ACQ5 Law Awards.
If you would like to talk to one of our expert arbitration team, ring us on 020 3968 6030, email us at email@example.com or fill in our contact form and we’ll be happy to help.
The above information is for general guidance on your rights and responsibilities and is not legal advice. If you need more details on your rights or legal advice about what action to take, please contact an adviser or solicitor