On 19 May 2020, the London Court of International Arbitration (“the LCIA”) released its Annual Casework Report for 2019 (“the Report”) revealing that it received the greatest ever number of international arbitrations in 2019. Of note, the statistics reveal that the LCIA remains a leading centre for disputes in the banking and finance sector.
The Report comes in unprecedented times, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The LCIA says that it has seen a spike of new cases in the first quarter of 2020 which it expects will continue in the medium-term, highlighting the fact that “… the COVID-19 crisis will undoubtedly lead to additional cases.”
The Report further notes that the current crisis and the need to dispense, at least for the foreseeable future, with in-person meetings, has led to a host of (new) solutions, ensuring robust case management which are “…changing the arbitration landscape fundamentally.”
This article focuses on certain of the key statistics in the Report.
- The LCIA received 395 arbitration referrals, 346 (or 85%) of which were filed under the LCIA Rules. This represents an increase of nearly 24% on 2018’s figures.
- The LCIA’s caseload continues to be dominated by disputes in the banking and finance sector (32%). The LCIA has seen consistent growth in the number of banking and finance arbitrations, up significantly from 21% in 2016.
- England remained the most common seat (89% of cases) and English law the most common governing law (81% of cases).
- The most common type of agreements referred to the LCIA in 2019 concerned loan or similar agreements (30%). Indeed, in 2019, there was a significant growth of disputes concerning loan or facility agreements, showing an increase of 9% compared to 2018.
- Other disputes referred to the LCIA in 2019 concerned service agreements (19%) sale of goods agreements (18%), and shareholders, share purchase and joint venture agreements (14%).
- 62% of new cases were initiated under agreements entered into between 2015 and 2019, with most cases being initiated 3-4 years after the contract date.
- In 2019, the parties in arbitrations commenced pursuant to the LCIA Rules came from 138 different countries.
- Only 19% of parties involved in LCIA arbitrations were from the United Kingdom and only 19 arbitrations involved UK only parties.
- 2019 saw growth in the percentage of Western European parties in LCIA arbitrations, increasing from 15% in 2018 to 24% in 2019.
- In 2019, there were 64 applications for interim and conservatory measures in 39 arbitrations. Tribunals granted relief in 36 instances (56%) and rejected the application in 15 (23%).
- Security for costs remains the most popular form of interim relief sought, accounting for nearly half of all applications. This relief was granted approximately 50% of the time.
Diversity of arbitrators
- 48% of all arbitrators selected by the LCIA Court were female in 2019.
- The LCIA has also seen continued diversification in the nationality of arbitrators. In 2019, arbitrators were appointed from 40 different countries. The proportion of British arbitrators appointed dropped significantly from 65% in 2018 to 51% in 2019, reflecting the diversity of the LCIA’s caseload.