I read with interest the Gazette’s story on the report recently completed by Khawar Qureshi QC for the lord chief justice on the state of the London Commercial Court.
While it cites arbitration as the main competition to the court system, it should not be forgotten that the two are intrinsically linked due to the important enforcement function of the Commercial Court.
The New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, which entered into force on 7 June 1959, underpins international commercial arbitration by ensuring that subscribing states respect arbitration agreements and enforce them by their court systems. With over 150 countries signed up to the convention, disputes can be settled and enforced at locations across the world by arbitration.
London is the world centre for commercial dispute resolution because the courts in this jurisdiction have a reputation for rejecting challenges and upholding awards with robust enforcement in an independent, impartial and speedy manner. The clients can therefore be assured of certainty and relatively cost-effective justice.
As the leading international professional body for arbitration, we have consistently warned the UK government against complacency. In the face of increasing competition from emerging centres, there is a need to invest in the Commercial Court’s infrastructure and ensure that a proper study into the views of clients is undertaken and the results actioned, if this jurisdiction is to retain its position as the pre-eminent choice for international dispute resolution.
A closer relationship between public and private dispute resolution services, coupled with appropriate investment, which will result in increased demand and thus produce a substantial return, is the definitive way forward.
Anthony Abrahams, director general, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London WC1