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New survey launched to explore current and best practice in arbitration process

The views of lawyers involved in international commercial and investment arbitration are being sought for a new world-wide legal survey from Queen Mary, University London.

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Conducted by the College’s School of International Arbitration (SIA), and sponsored by global law firm White & Case LLP, the 2012 survey aims to examine whether a “harmonised international arbitration procedure is emerging, by canvassing the views of experienced arbitration practitioners from all over the world,” comments SIA Director, Professor Loukas Mistelis.

Titled "Current and Best Practices in the Arbitral Process", the survey is the fourth carried out by the School since 2006, and the second sponsored by White and Case (W&C). The survey is part of a major investigation into arbitration practices and trends worldwide. Corporate attitudes towards arbitration, recognition and enforcement of foreign awards, and corporate choices in arbitration in key and emerging markets were past survey themes.

"There are two significant differences between this survey and those done before” says Paul Friedland, Head of W&C’s International Arbitration Practice Group.  “First, this survey concerns the arbitral process itself, rather than corporate user attitudes towards arbitration. 

“Second, this survey reaches out to arbitration counsel and to arbitrators, in addition to inside counsel.  By so doing, we expect to reach a much broader universe of respondents, and we hope to establish empirical evidence for what actually occurs in arbitration and what works and what does not.”

Stavros Brekoulakis, Senior lecturer in Private International Law and Dispute Resolution at SIA, who is supervising the survey, says the results will "provide valuable insight into arbitration procedure, which will inform the choices and practices of the arbitration end-users".

The following topics will be explored in the 2012 survey:

  • Arbitrator selection: The preferred methods of selecting arbitrators, experiences in interviewing potential arbitrators and expectations regarding the conduct of such interviews.
  • Organising arbitral proceedings: How procedural meetings are convened, the use of the IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration, experiences and expectations regarding the role of the tribunal secretary, methods for expediting arbitration proceedings and the use of fast-track arbitration.
  • Interim measures and court assistance: The frequency of interim measures applications to tribunals and courts (including security for costs applications), the level of compliance with tribunal-ordered interim measures and the power of arbitrators to order interim measures ex parte.
  • Document disclosure: The frequency of document disclosure requests, the standard that applies/should apply for disclosing documents in international arbitration, and how to best manage the disclosure process.
  • Fact and expert witnesses: The effectiveness of fact witness statements, experiences and views on mock cross-examination of witnesses and witness conferencing, types of expert witnesses most frequently used and the preferred method of appointing expert witnesses.
  • Pleadings and hearings: The number and order of delivery of written submissions, methods of expediting pleadings and hearings, duration and mode of hearings and the effectiveness of oral closing submissions and post-hearing briefs.
  • Arbitral awards and costs: The frequency of partial, interim and dissenting awards, expectations regarding the length of time to issue an award and experiences and preferences regarding costs allocation.

“It will be interesting to see whether practices and opinions of lawyers from different legal systems are really divergent when it comes to controversial procedural issues,” notes Jure Zrilic, W&C Research Fellow at QM. “This is a unique opportunity for everyone active in arbitration to shape the debate on arbitral processes and contribute to a study of international significance.”

The questionnaire for this year's survey can be accessed at Corporate counsel, private practitioners and arbitrators are strongly encouraged to participate.

Those who wish to contribute have time until the end of May to complete their responses. Questionnaire responses will be followed by individual interviews for those willing to participate. The final report is expected to be launched in September 2012.

The research team comprises Professor Loukas Mistelis, Dr. Stavros Brekoulakis, and Jure Zrilic at SIA, together with key players at W&C: Paul Friedland, Head of the International Arbitration Practice Group, Ank Santens, International Arbitration Partner, and John Templeman, Global Arbitration Practice Manager, Arbitration Practice Group.

Dr Stavros Brekoulakis (SIA) is available for interview. He is contactable on: or  +44(0)20 7882 8215

Paul Friedland (W&C) is available for interview. He is contactable in New York on: or + 1-212-819-8917

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