London, a city steeped in history, has always been a highly desirable destination for international dispute resolutions. The city’s legal landscape, with its impartial common law system, has attracted parties from around the world seeking a fair and efficient resolution of their conflicts. As the home of the International Dispute Resolution Centre (IDRC), London continues to strengthen its position as a top choice for global dispute resolution.
London’s history as the centre of a vast global empire and trading hub played an integral role in forming the earliest guidelines for governing disputes. The trading activities between various parts of the empire required a robust set of rules and certainties, leading to the spread of English common law and its adoption by many trading parties worldwide.
The wide-ranging use of English law clauses in contracts continues to demonstrate a clear preference for the English legal system in resolving disputes. This offers certainty, while its adaptability enables it to keep pace with emerging issues and challenges, making it an attractive choice for international parties.
One of the clear advantages of choosing arbitration over litigation is the ability for parties to have more control over the dispute resolution process. They can choose arbitrators with specific expertise and tailor procedures to suit their needs, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of the process. Arbitration also tends to be faster than litigation because the process is more streamlined, with parties being able to agree on specific timelines, which often leads to quicker resolution of disputes compared to court proceedings.
The reputation of the English Common Law system for impartiality and expertise has made London a trusted venue for resolving complex disputes. The high concentration of skilled lawyers, experienced arbitrators, and knowledgeable judges further enhances London’s appeal as a dispute resolution centre. The city’s legal community has a well-established reputation for fairness, impartiality, and high-quality decision-making, which all enhance the credibility of arbitration awards. Legal professionals working on arbitration cases in London also have the advantage of more informal exchanges of information, whereby successful arguments in judgements can be shared without disclosure of any sensitive details of the arbitration.
Confidentiality is a key factor in international disputes, and London’s arbitration facilities offer a secure and private environment for parties to resolve their issues without public scrutiny. This ensures that sensitive information remains protected, providing a sense of security to all.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed significant challenges to the legal community worldwide. However, London’s legal landscape quickly adapted to the new reality, seamlessly transitioning to virtual hearings and ensuring that dispute resolution services remained accessible and efficient. This meant that parties from locations such as the Far East and Australia choose London to host their disputes. With the technology to hold virtual* and hybrid hearings now firmly in place, this flexibility and convenience looks set to become a permanent fixture in dispute resolution.
Brexit has also presented unique challenges, but it has arguably brought potential benefits to arbitration in London. Going forward, it may prove to be more straightforward to enforce arbitration awards involving European parties since the UK’s departure from the European Union. The perception of a greater degree of neutrality may also increase London’s appeal as a global dispute resolution hub.
London’s status as an attractive place for international dispute resolution stems from its rich historical background, a well-established common law system, impartiality, confidentiality in arbitration, and a concentration of legal expertise. As the world continues to evolve, London’s adaptability and commitment to providing open, accessible, and reliable dispute resolution services in the global legal landscape goes from strength to strength. With the International Dispute Resolution Centre (IDRC) at its heart, London continues to be a leading destination for parties seeking fair, efficient, and effective resolution of their international disputes.
If you’re looking for a location to host an international dispute resolution process, London is very much open for business!
This topic was discussed in our webinar ‘Why London is an Attractive Place to resolve international disputes” in June 2022. Click here to view the webinar and presentation.
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The International Dispute Resolution Centre was established in 2000 and overlooks St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. IDRC is one of the world’s leading global facilities for arbitrations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution, and also provides rooms and support services for Public Inquiries, meetings, training courses and seminars. Click here for more information.
*In early May 2020, Barton Legal successfully led the first entirely remote virtual trial in the Business and Property Courts (formerly Technology and Construction Court), via Zoom.