Grand Central Forum Brings Arbitration into Focus

The New York International Arbitration Center held its 2014 Annual Update on April 16 at its headquarters on the 17th floor of a Manhattan skyscraper overlooking Grand Central Station.

Founded in July 2013, NYIAC aims to establish New York as an international center for arbitration, and its Grand Central Forum created an opportunity to bring everyone who uses the center together.

Executive Director Alexandra Dosman explained: “In my vision for the future, in the NYIAC of 2024, I would love it if this became the one event that everyone had to attend to find out just what happened, what they need to know about the year that just passed.”

This year, Dosman assembled a panel of speakers to spot trends in the types of cases administered in 2014.

Luis Martinez, Vice President, International Center for Dispute Resolution:

  • Time and cost is a continuing criticism and challenge that arbitration institutions have to deal with. I think it’s also being fueled by the greater competition we’re seeing. People are vying to have their venue be selected. This fee pressure is certainly not lost on the institutions.
  • In terms of users and cases and trends, six of the last seven years, the industry that most uses our services was international construction.
  • Another trend for sure is the use of emergency arbitration. Just for number of cases, we’ve had 49. Twenty-four were granted partially or in full. Fourteen were denied. Six cases were settled. Two were withdrawn and we have one case pending.

Rocio Digon, Counsel, ICC International Court of Arbitration, Sicana, Inc:

  • In 2014, there were 791 new cases filed across the entire ICC, which is an increase from 2013 in which there 767.
  • Twenty-eight percent over 2013 in the number of U.S. parties involved in ICC arbitration. So it went from 174 parties in 2013 to 223 parties in 2014. U.S. parties are traditionally the most frequent nationality in ICC arbitration, and in 2014, this trend really continued.
  • Overall, we saw increases across the board in the ICC offices in 2014. There were no significant changes to industries involved: Construction and engineering, energy, general trade and distribution, telecom, technologies.
  • There were 1,327 arbitrators appointed or confirmed by the court from 79 different countries in 2014.
    • In North America, 170 of these 1,300 were from U.S. or Canada.
    • The U.S. rose from the fourth-ranked country to second, trailing only the United Kingdom, which had 216 arbitrators. Canada, likewise, moved up from 11th place to 9th place.
  • We’ve seen a lot more requests for joinder in North America. This is really compelled by parallel proceedings. Almost half are compelled by domestic court.
  • For the first time ever, there was an arbitrator from Macedonia.
  • Forty new requests for arbitration since January.
  • Seventeen emergency arbitration since 2012. One was tested and successfully enforced in the domestic court.

Olivier Andre, Vice President, CPR Institute:

  • In 2014, there’s been an increase in international cases, which represented roughly 20 percent of the CPR cases.
  • There’s an increase of single arbitrator-handled cases, as opposed to a tribune. The ratio is about two-thirds to one-third.
  • The amounts in dispute in 2014 for our cases in roughly one-third of the disputes in which we assisted the parties, the amount was over $10 million.
  • The most important practices areas: Number one was intellectual property, trade secret and patent cases, (which together) represented over 30 percent of the cases filed. Then came accounting, banking and financial services with over 20 percent. And after that came any kind of disputes from construction, environmental insurance, etc.
  • We’ve seen an increase in providing traditional administrative services.
  • The average length of cases from start to finish is 11 months from docketing to award.
  • In terms of arbitrator diversity, 18 percent were women. In terms of race and ethnicity, seven percent were Hispanic, seven percent were African-American, and two percent were Asian.