London’s international arbitration hub has experienced a bumper year, reporting a record number of cases and an increasingly diverse range of parties. The announcement follows news that the Commercial Court saw a dip in activity in 2019.
According to the London Court of International Arbitration’s annual report, 406 cases were referred in 2019, up from 317 the year before. There has also been a significant increase in the percentage of western European parties in LCIA arbitrations, rising from 15% in 2018 to 24% in 2019.
In contrast, the Commercial Court’s caseload dropped by 9% in 2019 and litigants from countries in the European Union made up just 13.6% of all litigants, down from 16.5% two years ago.
The LCIA said it saw a spike in its workload in the first quarter of 2020 and ‘in the medium-term the Covid-19 crisis will undoubtedly lead to additional cases’.
‘Then again, while firms and businesses are now effectively working remotely, preparing for and filing new cases that were not yet in the pipeline before the crisis may be challenging in the short-term,’ it said.
London maritime and offshore arbitration is also buoyant. The London Maritime Arbitrators Association received a total of 2,952 appointments last year, up from 2,599 in 2018, overshadowing the caseload of its competitor Singapore.