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London continues to lead in maritime arbitration

Posted on: 5 February 2021

The figures tell their own story: as in past years London dominates the world of maritime arbitration. In 2020 members of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA) received 3,010 appointments – more than in any year since 2015. That means an estimated number of new arbitration cases of 1,775; and increase on 2019 which itself showed a rise over 2018.

Awards published number 523, a slight reduction on 2019 which is probably explained by the pandemic. But this figure masks an increase in the number of awards made under the faster and cheaper procedures which the LMAA offers* – up from 128 to 140.

President of the LMAA, Bruce Harris, said: “London’s (and the LMAA’s) continued dominance in maritime arbitration is not surprising given the size of London’s maritime cluster, the number and expertise of practised maritime arbitrators in the LMAA (in contrast to the “generalists” in some jurisdictions), the unequalled and extensive cohort of maritime lawyers who know the world of shipping from the inside, and the availability of numerous experts in all relevant fields. No other centre can begin to match these attractions.

“If there is a surprise in 2020’s figures it is that we might perhaps have expected a decline, having regard to the pandemic.

“The LMAA keeps its Terms and Procedures under review, and indeed expects to publish revisions this year. Meanwhile it has adapted to the need for hearings to be virtual or semi-virtual, and has published guidelines for such proceedings.

“Whatever 2021 may yet bring, London maritime arbitration and the LMAA are in excellent shape, and we look forward to continuing to lead the field in the world of maritime arbitration.”


* Apart from the standard LMAA Terms, the LMAA also publishes an Intermediate Claims Procedure (ICP) and a Small Claims Procedure (SCP). Details can be found on the website at www.lmaa.london.

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