LCIA 2021 Annual Casework Report published 

June, 2022 - Shoosmiths LLP

The London Court of International Arbitration recently published its caseload statistics for 2021, which can be found here.

The LCIA is one of the world’s leading international institutions for commercial dispute resolution and administers arbitrations and other alternative dispute resolution proceedings, regardless of location and under any system of law.

On the impact of world events, the report comments:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact different countries in different ways and in waves. There were fewer referrals in 2021 compared with the record high year of 2020. After a surge in referrals in 2020, the LCIA has seen a return to levels more akin to those pre-pandemic.
  • The ongoing war in Ukraine will have lasting effects on an already declining caseload from Russia (from 6.8% of parties in 2020 to 2.1% in 2021). But while the LCIA is faced with the immediate impact of sanctions in ongoing cases, predicting the longer-term impact will not be straightforward. The wider repercussions are likely to impact transactions, agreements, and resulting disputes much more broadly and profoundly, and these effects are far more complex and unquantifiable.
  • In March 2022, following Decree No. (34) of 2021 of the Government of Dubai, the LCIA and Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) concluded an agreement by which the LCIA would administer all existing DIFC-LCIA cases from London. Approximately 130 DIFC-LCIA cases are now being administered from London. It is anticipated that going forward, the LCIA will see more referrals from the UAE.

Highlights from the report include:

  • In 2021, the LCIA received 387 referrals for its services, including 322 referrals for arbitration pursuant to the LCIA Rules.
  • Parties choosing the LCIA for arbitration services came from 90 different countries.
  • 85.2% of parties in arbitrations administered pursuant to the LCIA Rules come from countries other than the United Kingdom.
  • 23% of arbitrations administered pursuant to the LCIA Rules involve at least one party from the United Kingdom.
  • In 2021, 5.7% of parties were a state body or state-owned entity.
  • The top three industry sectors of the LCIA’s caseload are banking and finance (26%), energy and resources (25%), and transport and commodities (14%) (together representing 65% of all cases).
  • The four most common types of agreements seen in arbitrations pursuant to the LCIA Rules remained the same in 2021, namely: sale of goods agreements; service agreements; loans or other loan facilities; and shareholders/share purchase/joint venture agreements.
  • It is a long-term trend that the majority of disputes arise within five years of the date of the agreement.
  • In 2021, arbitrations were seated in 16 countries and the laws of 31 nations were chosen by parties to apply in arbitrations.
  • England remained the most popular seat with 85% of LCIA arbitrations being seated in England. Parties chose English law in 76% of arbitrations.
  • The number of challenges, seven in 2021, remains consistently low, also as a percentage of the number of new arbitrations (below 2.5%).
  • In 2021, 52% of tribunals were three-member tribunals, and 48% were sole arbitrator tribunals.
  • The overall proportion of appointments of women pursuant to the LCIA Rules remains steady at 32% (142 out of 449 appointments). 47% of all LCIA Court appointments were of women. The parties nominated women 16% of the time, compared to 22% in 2020, and co-arbitrators selected women 33% of the time, compared to 30% in 2020.
  • In 2021, non-British arbitrators were appointed in 41% of appointments. The non-British arbitrators were from 46 different countries.

The statistics underscore the international reach of the LCIA and its position as one of the world’s leading arbitral institutions. The popularity of England as the seat of arbitration and English law as the governing law reinforces the jurisdiction’s significance for the resolution of global disputes.



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