London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) Statistics-2018
The LCIA recently released and published on its website statistics for cases it administered during 2018. I have always been fascinated by the LCIA because its niche as a bespoke provider of dispute resolution services has reflected a unique perspective on the historical role of the British Empire in global commerce and commercial dispute resolution. In contrast with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, with which it was affiliated for more than a century and which has massive reach among its tens of thousands of members, the LCIA has remained small. The LCIA has not attempted to compete with the American Arbitration Association/International Centre for Dispute Resolution or the International Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration on the basis of quantity. Rather, it has provided bespoke dispute resolution services for approximately 200 to 300 cases per year since 2008, the year the Great Recession began. By contrast, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, AAA’s international division, reported more than 1000 cases filed in 2017. Nonetheless, the number of LCIA cases has slowly and steadily grown over the past decade.
The departure of Adrian Winstanley in 2014 as Director General and his replacement by Dr. Jacomijn (Jackie) van Haersolte-van Hof, did not slow this steady growth in total cases from 2008 to 2018. The possibility that the U.K. may soon leave the European Union appears not to have had a significant impact on the work of LCIA case statistics. There is an interesting statistic reflecting LCIA’s attention to the potential impact of the 2016 Brexit vote. Of the 301 agreements under which disputes arose leading to the initiation of LCIA arbitration in 2018, 70% were entered into between 2014 and 2018. By comparison, 60% of agreements were entered into between 2013 and 2017 for LCIA arbitrations initiated in 2017. It would be interesting to know how many of these agreements providing for LCIA arbitration were executed after the June 2016 Brexit vote.
The observation I most want to share involves the arbitrator appointment figures. Not surprisingly, more than half of the arbitrators who were appointed to LCIA administered cases in 2018 were British. There were 449 arbitrators appointments, consisting of 239 different arbitrators indicating that nearly half of the Court appointments were repeat arbitrators. Equally interesting is the fact that 46% of all arbitrator appointments were made by parties and 37% by the Court, with 17% of the appointments being made by co-arbitrators. The LCIA noted that “The nationality of the arbitrators appointed varied significantly according to the method of their selection. The LCIA Court selected non-British arbitrators 57% of the time, compared to the parties and the co-arbitrators, who selected non-British arbitrators 20% and 27% of the time respectively.”
Drilling down even further, the report indicates that “13% of appointments made in 2018 (60 of 449) were of candidates not previously appointed. Where first-time appointments were made, the parties selected the arbitrator in 63% of cases, the LCIA Court selected the arbitrator in 25% of cases, and the co-arbitrators selected the arbitrator in 12% of cases. 9% of arbitrators selected by the LCIA and 9% of arbitrators selected by the co-arbitrators had not previously been appointed, compared with 18% of arbitrators selected by the parties being first time-appointees. The LCIA’s figures for appointing first time arbitrators are lower than that of the parties, in part reflecting the fact that the LCIA Court selects three times as many sole arbitrators and five times as many chairs as the parties select, for which roles prior experience of LCIA arbitration is typically required.”
Anyone who has enjoyed lunch at LCIA’s London offices when multiple cases are being conducted will have observed that there are nearly always several former U.K. High Court Judges serving as arbitrators. Not surprisingly, LCIA proceedings tend to feel a great deal like proceedings in the Commercial Courts of the U.K.
Last year I enjoyed attending a meeting of Arbitration Ireland held in New York City. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ireland pointed out to those present that following the U.K.’s exit from the European Union, Ireland will be the only Common Law country in the EU and it will be the only English-speaking member.
The competition is on!