The British Virgin Islands has set up an international arbitration centre, which it hopes will become the centre for worldwide business activity. The IAC, launched on 16 November, will administer arbitrations under its own rules and will also offer ‘ad hoc’ institutional arbitration.

BVI is the home to the Eastern Caribbean Commercial Court and its legal system has full recourse into the Privy Council in London.

The IAC will have a roster that will include nearly 200 international arbitration and dispute resolution practitioners who can conduct arbitrations in English, Spanish, Russian and Chinese, as well as other languages.

Francois Lassalle, a former practice manager at magic circle firm Linklaters, is chief executive of the centre.

Lorna Smith, interim director of BVI Finance said BVI is a centre of excellence for business and dispute resolution.

‘It is based on a legal system founded upon English common law, which will enable us to be a leading jurisdiction providing financial services solutions,’ she added.

Edward Sparrow, chair of the City of London Law Society, said: ‘Many of our members are international law firms who will welcome the opening of a new regional centre for arbitration in the BVI.

‘Many international arbitration centres, including the BVI, have systems based on English law, which is one of our most successful exports. Accordingly, parties turn to legal professionals trained in English law from City of London firms for expert advice and representation in international arbitration.’