The latest Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) International Arbitration Survey released in May has listed two Asian institutions in the top five worldwide.
The five most preferred arbitral institutions are, in order: the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) and the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC).
Compared to the 2015 results, the only change reflected in the current ranking is that Singapore and Hong Kong have switched places, with a margin of 10% between them. Regionally, results for Asia-Pacific put Singapore in second place and Hong Kong in third.
Two slightly different trends can also be identified for the two Asian seats, which once again scored highly amongst respondents. Singapore was ranked in the top four most preferred seats in all regions except Latin America, where it occupied the sixth position. Hong Kong came third in Asia-Pacific and ranked outside the top seven only in Latin America. Overall, then, both seats have cemented their popularity, with particular global appreciation for Singapore.
The QMUL Survey is in its eighth edition and is one of the most prestigious international arbitration surveys in the market. QMUL stated that this year’s survey is the most “comprehensive empirical study” ever conducted by the university, with findings based on the questionnaire responses of 922 participants, including in-house counsel, arbitrators, firm practitioners, the staff of arbitral institutions, expert witnesses and third-party funders. 142 interviews were also conducted.
Of all respondents, 97% indicated that international arbitration is their preferred method of dispute resolution, either on a stand-alone basis (48%) or in conjunction with ADR (49%).
Enforceability of awards continues to be perceived as arbitration’s most valuable characteristic, followed by avoiding specific legal systems/national courts; flexibility; and ability of parties to select arbitrators.
Cost continues to be seen as arbitration’s worst feature, followed by lack of effective sanctions during the arbitral process; lack of power in relation to third parties; and lack of speed.
An overwhelming 99% of respondents would recommend international arbitration to resolve cross-border disputes in the future.
The survey also found that the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules are the most popular choice for ad hoc arbitration.