London and Paris have reinforced their dominance in international arbitration, according to a new study from Queen Mary University of London, in partnership with White & Case. More than 900 arbitrators, in-house and external counsel ranked as the two most preferred seats, at 64 per cent and 53 per cent respectively. However, London has moved ahead of Paris by a margin of more than 10 per cent since the last study in 2015, with the next positions going to Singapore, Hong Kong and Geneva respectively.
For those thinking of Brexit, 55 per cent of respondents predict London’s appeal as a seat of international arbitration will remain unchanged after the split. If London is to lose out from Brexit, 70 per cent identify Paris as the main beneficiary, while 22 per cent think Singapore or Geneva will benefit, and 15 per cent named Hong Kong. Professor Stavros Brekoulakis, of Queen Mary’s School of International Arbitration, commented “Most of the arbitration community believes London’s reputation as a location of excellence for international arbitration will outweigh the challenges presented by Brexit. It is interesting to see Paris is almost 50 per cent ahead of any other city when looking at the main would-be benefactor of any negative Brexit fall out on London’s position.”
Regions and ADR
London is favoured in all global regions, while Paris is ranked in the top four in all regions and was voted as second most preferred seat in all but Asia-Pacific, where it is in fourth place. Across the world, the five most preferred arbitral institutions continue to be the ICC, LCIA, SIAC, HKIAC and SCC. The report also highlights a new trend of users seeking to combat this by increasingly combining international arbitration with Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).