Like clockwork


Why are so few awards rendered by the Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution subject to challenge proceedings in the country’s courts? Rainer Füeg, the institution’s Executive Director, speaks to Lenz & Staehelin partner Martin Burkhardt

Martin Burkhardt, Lenz & Staehelin: With a growing number of arbitral institutions, why should a party use your institution?

Rainer Füeg, Swiss Chambers’ Arbitration Institution: Arbitration proceedings under the Swiss rules of international arbitration are efficient, reliable and cost-effective. They are administered in four languages: English, German, French and Italian. In arbitration proceedings where the amount in dispute does not exceed CHF1m, expedited procedures will apply; in such cases, the award shall be made within six months from the date on which the secretariat of the Institution submitted the file to the arbitral tribunal. More generally, the members of the institution and its arbitral tribunal are experienced international arbitration practitioners.

Continue reading “Like clockwork”

Hong Kong Horizons


Armed with a new set of institutional rules, the HKIAC’s secretary general, Chiann Bao, discusses the importance of providing a flexible, cost-efficient approach to international arbitration with Quinn Emanuel’s John Rhie

‘Users have always appreciated the transparency and neutrality of our administration,’ says Chiann Bao, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC)’s secretary general, of the institution she has served for the past four-and-a-half years. Such assurances are timely, given the release in June by China’s State Council of a white paper demanding that judges in Hong Kong ‘love the country’. This is seen by some commentators as a threat to the judicial independence guaranteed by the ‘one country, two systems’ formula in place since the 1997 handover.

Continue reading “Hong Kong Horizons”

The Movie Business


Freshfields’ head of international arbitration, Lucy Reed, talks to Singapore International Arbitration Centre chief executive, Lim Seok Hui, about the institution’s recent rise to prominence

Lucy Reed, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer: Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC)’s reputation in the market has skyrocketed in the last five years. What are some of the factors which have led to that growth?

Lim Seok Hui, SIAC: It was certainly no coincidence that the spike in new case numbers we have seen since 2008 corresponded with the entry onto the world stage of the Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese and Korean economies. That is of course a key factor in the growth of the institution. Underpinning and assisting that development is the fact that the government of Singapore was very quick to lay the infrastructure needed for the advancement of international commercial arbitration in our jurisdiction, and to adopt the necessary legislation to allow us to keep up to speed with global best practices. We also have a very supportive judiciary which built upon Singapore’s reputation for neutrality, integrity and quality more generally as regards our legal sector.

Continue reading “The Movie Business”

Chinese walls?


Following a high-profile internal squabble, the CIETAC is going global. Yu Jianlong, the institution’s secretary general, tells Clyde & Co partner Patrick Zheng why Hong Kong was its first port of call

Patrick Zheng, Clyde & Co: With a growing number of arbitral institutions around the world, why should a party use the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC)?

Yu Jianlong, CIETAC: Founded in 1956, CIETAC is the oldest international arbitration institution in China. With more than half a century’s development, it is also among the busiest arbitral centres in the world. We recommend that a party uses CIETAC arbitration due to the fact that it offers a number of advantages. Firstly, the CIETAC rules are similar to those of all the major arbitration institutions, thereby offering parties the most autonomy possible. In addition, we have over 300 foreign arbitrators from more than 40 jurisdictions; in international or foreign-related cases, parties may agree on the nationality of the arbitrators. Secondly, CIETAC is independent of any government agencies in China, and CIETAC arbitrators do not represent any parties. Thirdly, most CIETAC cases are concluded within six months after the tribunal is constituted, meaning that our arbitration fees are relatively low compared to other major international arbitration institutions. Finally, CIETAC offers the unique combination of arbitration with mediation – a combination which not only resolves disputes, but also renews positive business and personal relations between parties.

Continue reading “Chinese walls?”

An attractive proposition


Manfred Heider, secretary general of VIAC, talks to Zeiler. Partners’ Gerold Zeiler about how recent changes to the institution’s rules will maintain its position as a key location for European disputes

Gerold Zeiler, With a growing number of arbitral institutions, why should a party use your institution?

Manfred Heider, Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC): The VIAC is one of Europe’s leading arbitral institutions and serves as a focal point for the settlement of commercial disputes in the regional and international community. VIAC was founded in 1975 as a permanent arbitral institution of the Austrian federal economic chamber and has since then enjoyed a steadily increasing caseload from a diverse range of parties spanning Europe, the Americas and Asia. Situated in a neutral country in the heart of Europe, VIAC offers its services for the settlement of international disputes. The arbitral proceedings are individually designed according to the parties’ requirements and meet the highest quality criteria.

Continue reading “An attractive proposition”

Stockholm syndromes


James Hope of Vinge talks to Annette Magnusson, secretary general at the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, about arbitrator diversity, emergency relief and sharing best institutional practices

That Sweden boasts both one of the earliest modern arbitration statutes – predating by two years the English Act of 1889 – and an enviable reputation for resolving East-West disputes as a legacy of its being the venue of choice for Cold War-era parties counts for little in the hyper-competitive world of international arbitration. Indeed, a few essentially superficial differences aside, Annette Magnusson admits that the alphabet soup of institutional rules can be largely indistinguishable. For parties, the question is always a simple one: what do I get in practice? The difference is not what an institution offers, but the way it puts its rules into practice. It is, says Magnusson, who joined the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) in April 2010 from Swedish disputes firm Mannheimer Swartling, the ‘how’ that matters. Continue reading “Stockholm syndromes”

Checks and balances


What’s so great about scrutiny? ICC International Court of Arbitration secretary general Andrea Carlevaris discusses his institution’s calling card with White & Case partner Michael Polkinghorne

There are no bad arbitrators, only inappropriate arbitrators for specific cases. So says ICC International Court of Arbitration secretary general, Andrea Carlevaris, the man charged with registering more than 750 disputes a year at the Paris-headquartered body. Indeed, such is the demand for its services that the court now works through August – ‘a very serious consideration’ in France, John Beechey, the institution’s president, told the audience at an arbitration event in Prague last summer.

  Continue reading “Checks and balances”

The Innovator


What’s next for the institution that pioneered the now-ubiquitous emergency arbitrator provision? WilmerHale partner John Pierce talks to American Arbitration Association senior vice president Richard Naimark to find out

In the context of dispute resolution, ‘US-style’ rarely denotes a positive quality. Be it for the brand of aggressive cross-examination practised in courts from New York to Nevada, or a class action system whose excesses are slammed by European legislators when introducing their own forms of collective redress, American lawyers are seen by many as having much to answer for. Such criticisms are to some extent offset by the influence such practitioners continue to exert on the global stage, with international arbitration being no exception. Indeed, London-headquartered Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer aside, the industry’s busiest players are, to a firm, American. Given this predominance, it is to be expected that US-style practices would bleed into international arbitration – the most unloved and increasingly prevalent of which remains its approach to document production.

Continue reading “The Innovator”

Bit between the teeth


ICSID secretary general Meg Kinnear talks annulment, case administration and the globalisation of treaty arbitration with Baker & McKenzie partners Grant Hanessian and Teddy Baldwin

That more cases were filed at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in 2013 than during the first 24 years of its existence reflects the extent to which treaty arbitration is now arguably the fastest-growing area of international dispute resolution. Notwithstanding criticism from some NGOs that treaty arbitration is biased in favour of investors, the fact is that governments prevail in more than half of all treaty cases, and it is clear that a host state’s ability to attract foreign direct investment is diminished substantially unless it offers a system under which to enforce investors’ rights. Arbitration under the ICSID rules remains by far the most popular for investment treaty disputes because its awards may be enforced without recourse to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention) and because of the strength of the ICSID secretariat and the quality of the arbitrators it appoints. Some users do criticise the length of time it takes ICSID tribunals to render awards – at least 20 of which have been issued five or more years after the filing request. Continue reading “Bit between the teeth”

Running the rule


Shortly before the LCIA’s rule revisions came into effect on 1 October, the institution’s director general Jacomijn van Haersolte-van Hof met with WilmerHale partner Steven Finizio to discuss how its provisions fit into her vision for the future

Steven Finizio, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr: The growth of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)’s case numbers has been a notable development in recent years. Why are more and more parties now choosing the institution?

Jacomijn van Haersolte-van Hof, LCIA: Our overriding – and unique – selling point is the balance we strike between a light-touch approach wherever possible and being more directional only when necessary. If parties are able to take care of themselves, as many are, we look to be in their way as little as we can. It’s not a one-size-fits-all style of administration, which is something I experienced as counsel and arbitrator, so it’s interesting now to see the philosophy from the other side. We are also increasingly emphasising the truly international character of the LCIA. This is demonstrated not only by hires such as mine, but by the fact that we are now seeing parties choose non-London seats, which people should not forget is possible. We don’t want the institution to be perceived as being overly pro-London.

Continue reading “Running the rule”