2018 Litigation Forecast - International and domestic arbitration Summary

International arbitration has become a popular mechanism for resolving disputes. The benefits of confidentiality, flexibility of procedure, choice of arbitrators and ease of enforceability have proved attractive to commercial parties, particularly in cross-border transactions. This is relevant for New Zealand businesses as they continue to perform in the global economy.

We predict the recent rise of Singapore and Hong Kong as jurisdictions of choice for international arbitrations will continue, with both jurisdictions well positioned geographically, with modern arbitral rules, supportive judiciaries, and now allowing third party funding.  Movements in China may also signal more openness to arbitration, brought in part by the needs of the Belt and Road initiative, and we predict arbitration involving China will continue to grow during 2018.

Closer to home, the 2018 ICCA Congress in Sydney and Queenstown will see arbitration further promoted in Australasia. Both New Zealand and Australia continue to strengthen and modernise their arbitration laws. New Zealand arbitral institutions are updating their rules to reflect international best practice, and provide more options for those looking to arbitrate in New Zealand, whether domestically or with international counterparties.

Gender diversity in arbitrator appointments remains a key challenge – and is likely to remain so through 2018 and beyond. It is an issue in the hands of parties and their lawyers as well as arbitration institutions.

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