How is maritime arbitration working in London-and how can it be made even better
The most important factors facing the present fortunes of maritime arbitration in London and its future development were vigorously discussed at the two webinars of the London Shipping Law Centre on 15 and 16 September marking London International Shipping Week.
The primary focus was on: “Who controls the arbitration process itself, with its inevitable effect on costs and procedural time”, which I presented with overarching questions for our debate. I was mostly concerned with how to balance the Tribunal’s powers and duties with the fundamental right of the parties in arbitration to choose how their disputes are to be resolved, a right allowed and safeguarded by the Arbitration Act 1996 and known as “Party Autonomy”. This led on to: “How the maritime arbitration system in London meets the needs of users” with careful consideration of what aspects might benefit from possible reform of the Arbitration Act, and/or the arbitration terms, – in short, a “Reality Check”.
Under the banner of an “Arbitration RoundTable Debate”, the debate was conducted by two panels* led by Mrs justice Cockerill, as the Chair. You will find their relevant topics by reading the pages that follow, or by listening to the recordings posted on the LSLC website and YouTube. I believe that all the presentations and the debate yielded a range of highly constructive views from both the panellists and the users of arbitration services.
As users know, London arbitration and the LMAA arbitrations are conducted to a very high standard by highly skilled professionals – arbitrators, solicitors, barristers and other experts – backed up by a first-class court system. The LSLC has been pleased to provide a platform for them to discuss developments in arbitration and dispute resolution, major components of the maritime services offered in London.
It was unfortunate that Covid restrictions prevented a face-to-face debate as per the Centre’s two previous successful Roundtable debates on arbitration. However, remote sessions enabled our international audience participating from 43 countries to put questions electronically, providing the panel with more avenues to explore.
The LSLC will continue to promote education and reform in shipping and commercial law for the advancement of knowledge relating to a host of disciplines and issues across the maritime services spectrum.
* In the past, the composition of our LSLC panels in the previous “Arbitration RoundTable Debates” were twelve professionals (mostly male) all experts in the arbitration field. This year, the platform was given to twelve professional women with exceptional cumulative expertise in arbitration as lawyers, expert witnesses, users and, of course, in the practice of arbitration. Having the distinguished Mrs Justice Cockerill chairing both webinars endorsed the panel’s composition.
Dr Aleka Sheppard
To view PART 1 – London Maritime Arbitration – costs and time are the thorny issues for users – Who is in control?”
To view PART 2 – Reality Testing in London Arbitration – does the system serve the needs of users?
Lecture Notes from these webinars are available from the LSLC on request.