99% recommend international arbitration: Insights from the 2018 Queen Mary survey

Queen Mary University of London recently released its 2018 International Arbitration Survey, uncovering that an “overwhelming 99% of respondents would recommend international arbitration to resolve cross-border disputes in the future”. The survey covered 922 stakeholders consisting of private practitioners, arbitrators, in-house counsel, experts and others. As well as highlighting the popularity of arbitration, the survey covers a range of hot-button topics and trends such as the rise of third-party funding and the focus on diversity of arbitrators.

These issues, and more, will be discussed in our upcoming lunchtime Litigation Forecast: International and Domestic Arbitration seminars. Register today for Wellington (3 July) or Auckland (5 July).

The popularity of arbitration continues to rise

Arbitration clearly continues to be highly popular: 97% of respondents indicated international arbitration was their preferred method to resolve cross-border disputes and an overwhelming 99% said they would recommend international arbitration for such disputes in the future. Just 4% indicated a preference for commercial litigation.

We consider the international enforceability of arbitration awards is likely to be a significant reason for these views. By comparison, enforcing litigation judgments internationally can be difficult, or in some cases simply not possible.

Third party funding of arbitration continues to find favour

In the three years since Queen Mary’s previous survey, respondents have become more familiar with third party funding and overall the perception of third party funding has shifted from neutral to positive. In particular, of those respondents who had actually used third party funding, 75% viewed it positively. The survey queried whether this shift in attitude may be a case of “success begetting success”.

As we predicted in our Litigation Forecast 2018, we expect this trend toward increased use of third party funding of arbitrations to be reflected in the Asia-Pacific region.

The arbitration world continues to focus on increasing diversity of arbitrators

While “few, if any, would disagree that the international arbitration community as a whole benefits from diversity across its members”, the survey demonstrated that respondents were more equivocal about the causal connection between diversity in arbitrator appointments and an improvement in quality.

The survey also highlighted differing views on whose obligation it was to foster diversity: nearly half of respondents considered this onus should be placed on arbitration institutions (e.g. the ICC, LCIA or AMINZ etc). In contrast, while most institutions confirmed improving diversity was a priority, they also underlined that most arbitrators are appointed by the parties and parties also therefore have a crucial role.

Our Litigation Forecast highlighted that diversity is a continuing challenge both internationally and at home in New Zealand, and our Seminar will cover some of the steps being taken to improve gender diversity.

If you’d like to know more about these topics, and other current issues in domestic and international arbitration, please contact one of our experts below or register to attend our upcoming lunchtime seminars on 3 July (Wellington) and 5 July (Auckland).

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