International commercial arbitration is a private method of dispute resolution whereby parties agree to have their disputes determined by an independent and impartial arbitral tribunal. The parties’ agreement to resort to international arbitration is usually found within their contract. International arbitration should not be confused with non-binding procedures such as mediation. Parties generally present their cases through written submissions, evidence, and at oral hearings, following which the arbitral tribunal will render a binding "award." International arbitration is typically used by commercial parties involved in cross-border trade or commerce, as one of its principal advantages is the ability to keep disputes out of foreign national courts.
Law firms with dedicated international arbitration practices are generally able to advise clients on most types of international arbitration, regardless of the particular characteristics involved. This will include arbitration under the auspices of the major arbitral institutions, such as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) (the international branch of the American Arbitration Association [AAA]), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).
Clients can expect specialist international arbitration lawyers to advise them on every step of the dispute resolution process, including the drafting of arbitration clauses, pre-action issues, alternative dispute resolution methods (e.g., mediation), commencement and conduct of proceedings (e.g., document production, pleadings, witness statements, hearings), and the enforcement of arbitral awards. When searching for suitable arbitration lawyers, prospective clients should look for strong experience and expertise in the relevant arbitral institution, industry sector, or region.
Paul Friedland, Head of International Arbitration Practice Group