Worldwide: International Arbitration: Key Trends And A Statistic Or Two

Choosing the most effective and economic method of resolving cross-border disputes is an issue which vexes many international companies. This issue is becoming ever more acute for such businesses, as the economies of many leading countries around the world encounter headwinds, begin to slow down, and as oil and gas and commodities prices continue to fall.

In such difficult trading times, the security of investments becomes less clear, obtaining payment becomes more difficult, and the number of international disputes grows. Against this background, it is not surprising that international companies are deciding to opt for international arbitration as their preferred means of dispute resolution in ever increasing numbers.

Some recent studies by a centre of higher education and two leading international arbitration institutions have highlighted the rise of international arbitration around the world.

Last year, Queen Mary University of London released its '2015 International Arbitration Survey: Improvements and Innovations in International Arbitration', which investigated the popularity of international arbitration amongst its users and potential users, and its perceived pros and cons.

In addition, two major international arbitral institutions, i.e. the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), have recently published statistics, which demonstrate current international arbitration trends.

The LCIA's 'Costs and Duration Data Report' examines the average durations and costs of arbitrations conducted under the auspices of the world's major international arbitral institutions, including the LCIA, ICC, SIAC and HKIAC. ICSID has also published its 2015 Annual Report and Caseload Statistics, which demonstrate the direction in which investor-state arbitration has headed in recent times.

We comment on these studies and the trends which can be drawn from them below.

Queen Mary's '2015 International Arbitration Survey: Improvements and Innovations in International Arbitration'

According to 90% of the respondents to Queen Mary's Survey, international arbitration was their preferred method of dispute resolution, either alone or in conjunction with other forms of dispute resolution, most notably negotiation and mediation. These respondents indicated that this was because international arbitration offered a winning combination of flexibility in procedure, widespread enforceability of awards, and the minimisation of local court intervention. Also, in-house counsel were particularly attracted to international arbitration by the ability to select arbitrators with industry specific knowledge and neutrality, the finality of arbitral awards, and the usual confidentiality of the process (in many common law countries, confidentiality of the arbitral process is implied because of its very nature, and institutional arbitral rules now typically make express provision for it).

In contrast, the survey suggested that the cost of international arbitration was a significant concern, with more than 68% of participants complaining about such cost. In addition, 46% of those surveyed criticised the lack of effective sanctions for breaches of the arbitrators' directions and delaying tactics, and 39% complained about the lack of insight which parties were given as to the likely efficiency of the arbitrators appointed in their cases.

The survey noted a growing concern amongst arbitration users about due process 'paranoia'; that is, a perceived reluctance by arbitral tribunals to act firmly and decisively in certain situations, for fear of their awards being challenged on the basis of a party not being afforded a proper opportunity to be heard. Other significant concerns from respondents about the arbitral process involved delays in reaching final awards, the risk of local court intervention, and the inability to join third parties.

Interestingly, the survey found a groundswell of support from in-house counsel for including an appeal process into arbitration procedures, by which another arbitral tribunal would review the awards of a previous arbitral tribunal, rather than a court. This would seem to add a tier of cost to the arbitration process, which was a separate concern. However, 77% of the total respondents, i.e. not just in-house counsel, preferred the finality of an award without any appeal process.

The survey found that London was the most popular seat of arbitration, followed closely by Paris. In our view, this is probably due to the number of years over which arbitrations have been conducted in those jurisdictions, the neutrality and impartiality of their local courts, their favourable national arbitration laws, and their perceived positive track records for upholding arbitral agreements and enforcing arbitral awards. Other seats growing in popularity included Singapore and Hong Kong, which reflects the ever increasing use of arbitration in Asia. Geneva, Stockholm, and New York were also popular seats.

92% of respondents thought that institutional rules should be simplified for claims of modest value, and that parties should in such cases work together to narrow issues, limit document production, and reduce costs as far as possible.

Statistics from the LCIA and ICSID

The LCIA's 'Costs and Duration Data Report' provided statistics from recent LCIA arbitrations. These identified that the average total duration of an LCIA arbitration, from initial request to final award, was 16 months (this average period became 15 months where a sole arbitrator was appointed, and 19 months where a panel of three arbitrators was sitting).

The average charge by the LCIA for LCIA arbitrators' fees and its own administrative costs was US$192,000 per case. The LCIA proceeded to say that this typical cost was significantly lower than the equivalent average charges of the ICC and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), and comparable to those of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC).

The LCIA also concluded that, for claims below US$1m, its charges were comparable with those of the ICC and SIAC, but were higher those of HKIAC. However, for claim values exceeding US$1m, the cost charged by the LCIA were less than those of the ICC and SIAC, but comparable with those of HKIAC.

As regards the data published by ICSID, ICSID noted that an increasing trend in the number of investor-state disputes referred to it. 2015 was ICSID's busiest year since its inception in 1965, with it registering 52 new cases.

ICSID's statistical analysis showed that 21% of its new cases were registered against Western European States, whereas claims against States in Eastern Europe and Central Asia comprised the majority of newly registered cases (33% of them in 2015). New claims against South American States actually decreased from 7% in 2014 to 5% in 2015.

ICSID noted that the majority of its cases arose from bilateral investment treaties between States, followed closely by the Energy Charter Treaty, and multilateral trade agreements, such as North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). 8% of ICSID cases emanated from specific arbitration agreements contained in investment contracts entered into between foreign investors and States.


Turbulence in the global economy is likely to increase the number of international disputes. International arbitration is increasingly popular as the means of resolving them. However, users of international arbitration are expressing concern about the costs of the process, and the lack of imposition of sanctions for procedural infringements, and the absence of transparency regarding the efficiency of arbitrators in publishing awards.

The data published by the LCIA and ICSID reflects some of these concerns. The LCIA is keen to show that its services come at a reasonable level of cost, which is comparable to, if not cheaper than, the charges of other international arbitration institutions around the world.

International Arbitration: Key Trends And A Statistic Or Two

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Rupert Coldwell
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.