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London remains dominant centre for international maritime arbitration

London remains by far the dominant centre for international maritime arbitration despite competition from Asia and the Middle East, according to a study by law firm HFW.

According to analysis by HFW London saw some 1,734 maritime arbitrations in 2019, up 14% from the previous year.

This number accounted for around 83% of all maritime arbitrations globally with 229 in Singapore, 124 in Hong Kong, and 43 in Paris.

Craig Neame, partner at HFW, said: "This data clearly shows the extent of London’s continued dominance in the international maritime arbitration industry, and we see nothing to suggest that will change anytime soon.

"Singapore and Hong Kong remain attractive to companies in Asia, and in recent years the UAE has launched the Middle East's first dedicated maritime arbitration centre – the Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre – and the Nordic Offshore and Maritime Arbitration Association was established as an alternative to post-Brexit London for both maritime and non-maritime international disputes.

On how much impact Brexit will have on London’s status as the centre for international maritime centre remains unclear.

"As the UK continues through its post-EU transition period, and the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic aftershocks, it is difficult to predict with absolute certainty the future maritime arbitral landscape. However, as companies within the industry start to face economic challenges and ensuing disputes as a result of the post-pandemic global financial downturn, we expect the use of arbitration to increase. In these challenging times, the flexibility, faster resolution and potentially lower costs offered by arbitration may make it an increasingly popular choice for resolving maritime disputes."

 

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