2020: A Record-Breaking Year for International Commercial Arbitration

Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

On 17 May 2021, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) released its 2020 Annual Casework Report, which provides an insight into the LCIA’s caseload in 2020, and the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on its administration of cases. This follows hot on the heels of preliminary statistics released by the International Court of Arbitration (ICC), the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), and the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC).

Caseload Reached an All-Time High

The LCIA had an extraordinary year in 2020, receiving 444 referrals, including 407 arbitrations pursuant to the LCIA Rules, together marking an all-time high and an 18% increase on 2019 alone. The long-term growth reveals a doubling of arbitrations pursuant to the LCIA Rules over the last decade, and the minimal number of related cases reduces any potential inflation of the number of referrals, indicating a genuinely healthy caseload.

The LCIA is not the only arbitration institution to report a record-breaking growth in cases in 2020:

So far as the ICC and the LCIA are concerned, these positive announcements follow the publication of revised rules of arbitration (the ICC Rules of Arbitration 2021 and the LCIA Arbitration Rules 2020), both of which seek to engender greater efficiency in international arbitration.

Amidst the challenging circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, these statistics show that international commercial arbitration continues to grow as a dispute resolution mechanism.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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