New arbitral institutions are being regularly created on each continent, in a reflection of an increasingly globalized world requiring neutral, but effective, dispute resolution mechanisms. Only some arbitral institutions are well-established and have a well-established track record, however, such as the ICC in Paris, where modern international arbitration practice was founded by the ICC’s International Court of Arbitration. The ICC, which also prepared the first draft of the New York Convention, which permits the enforcement of arbitral awards in 154 countries, is frequently referred to as the “Rolls-Royce” of international arbitration for its prestige, quality and history. It is only one of many arbitral institutions which can be considered, however, and may not always be the best choice depending on the location of the Parties and the characteristics of a potential dispute.
Below, you will find a list of (I) the leading arbitration institutions, as well as (II) regional, specialist and lesser-known generalist arbitration centres, whether they concern a specialized subject matter (such as FINRA securities arbitration or CAS sports arbitration), or whether they have been created for infra-regional disputes, such as OHADA’s CCJA in West Africa.
I. Leading Arbitral Institutions and Centres.
American Arbitration Association / ICDR (AAA)
Founded in 1926, the AAA is the main body for the administration of arbitration cases in the U.S., and it is the leading arbitral institution in North America. The AAA also manages international arbitration cases through its International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR).
Common Court of Justice and Arbitration (CCJA)
Headquartered in Abidjan, the Ivory Coast, the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration is a leading arbitral institution for supervising regional disputes in members of the OHADA zone, which is predominantly composed of French-speaking West African States.
International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)
Founded in 1966, ICSID is an international arbitral body established under the “Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States”. Based in Washington, it is the leading international arbitration institution managing investor-State disputes.
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
Founded in 1923 and located in Paris, the Arbitration Court of the ICC is the leading and most renowned institution for administering international commercial arbitration cases in France, as well as Europe as a whole. It led the movement that resulted in the adoption of the New York Convention, which is the most important multilateral treaty on international arbitration to have ever been ratified. It is also increasingly being used as a forum for investor-State disputes.
Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)
Established in 1899 by the “Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes”, the PCA is a multinational organization based in the Hague. It administers private, intergovernmental and interstate arbitrations. When parties have not elected an institution to administer their dispute, that it is to say, when the arbitration is “ad hoc”, the PCA may, under the UNCITRAL rules and depending on the parties’ directions, appoint arbitrators or designate an appointing authority. The PCA can also host ad hoc arbitrations.
United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)
UNCITRAL itself does not administer arbitration cases, but due to its importance it has been included on this list. UNCITRAL is a United Nations body responsible for drafting international law and rules. Its body of arbitration rules, the UNCITRAL rules, are widely used in ad hoc arbitrations and were revised in 2010. The PCA may, under the UNCITRAL rules and depending on the parties’ directions, appoint arbitrators or designate an appointing authority.
II. Regional And Specialized Arbitral Institutions.
Many other arbitral institutions exist, which are often regional and/or specialize in disputes in specific industries. They may be appropriate to use in certain circumstances. They include (in alphabetical order):
Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectorial Association Arbitration Institute (AACCSA)
Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Agrarian, Environmental, Agro-industrial Arbitration Centre of the National Chamber of Agriculture and Agro-industry
Location: San José, Costa Rica
Association pour la promotion de l’arbitrage en Afrique (APAA)
Location: Yaoundé – Nlongkak – Cameroon
Australian Commercial Disputes Centre (ACDC)
Location: Sydney, Australia