Recent trends in commercial arbitration in the UK
Commercial arbitration remains the preferred dispute resolution procedure in international transactions. Professionals are closely monitoring the full impact of Brexit on British arbitration, and it appears to have had no negative effect so far. This is not surprising as London's main attraction should remain the same, namely:
- The relative contractual certainty is provided by English law.
- The reliability, neutrality, and impartiality of the British judiciary.
- Support the arbitration procedures provided by the English courts and the Arbitration Act 1996.
- Britain’s status as a signatory to the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention).
In 2019, 89% of cases were resolved in London. Statistics from the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) reflect the arbitration activity in London. The number of arbitrations submitted to LCIA in 2019 hit a record high (406). LCIA has not yet released the 2020 annual case report, but the report stated that there has been an increase in new cases in the first quarter of 2020. It is predicted in the media-the prolonged COVID19 crisis "will undoubtedly lead to more cases." Due to restrictions on travel and face-to-face meetings, A major impact of the COVID19 pandemic is the shift towards virtual audiences. The LCIA 2020 Arbitration Rules (LCIA Rules 2020), which came into effect on October 1, 2020, reflect this development and explicitly allow remote hearings: “Formally, the hearing can be conducted in person, or virtual or via teleconference or video conference. Use other communication technologies with participants in one or more geographic locations (or in combination)" (Article 19.2 of the 2020 LCIA Rules). Once the impact of the pandemic has passed, it remains to be seen whether the default location will return to face-to-face audiences, or whether virtual audiences will become a persistent trend, thereby saving costs for all parties.
In April 2018, the British Court of Appeals considered the scope of the disclosure obligation for the first time (Halliburton Company v Chubb Bermuda Insurance Ltd  EWCA Civ 817) and found that it not only applies to fair and informed observers who will conclude that it will This leads to the possibility of prejudice, but it also leads to situations that may lead to such conclusions. In marginal cases where it is uncertain whether the facts would create such a possibility, the court ruled that the information should be disclosed. This sets the standard relatively low and places the referee's examination on a similar basis to the examination applicable to British referees. The Supreme Court decision in November 2020 (Halliburton Company v Chubb Bermuda Insurance Ltd  UKSC 48) agreed with the Court of Appeal opinion and confirmed that arbitrators have a legal obligation to disclose that they can or can lead to the conclusion that there may in fact be biases.
Under English law, there are relatively few cases of the successful challenge of arbitrators.
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