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China overtakes India at ICC as local ‘myths’ on arbitration continue to dog institutional: ICC

Comparative graph of ICC case numbers
Comparative graph of ICC case numbers
India slipped from being one of the five countries with the highest number of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitrations in 2012, to bringing only the 10th highest number of ICC arbitrations in 2014, according to data from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), where India lost its four-year lead on China after 2012.

ICC Arbitration & ADR Asia director Sylvia Tee told Legally India that Chinese parties had recently overtaken Indian parties in terms of the total number of cases at the ICC now because the Chinese government encouraged institutionalised arbitration and there is an increase in awareness about institutional arbitration even in mainland China, in contrast to India’s continuing preference for ad-hoc arbitration.

She said:

It is difficult to speculate about the fluctuations in the number of ICC cases in these two jurisdictions over the years as it could be linked to various external factors including the overall number of disputes in these two jurisdictions, early settlement of disputes, preference for the courts, etc.

However, what is clear is that the number of Mainland Chinese parties involved in ICC cases have shot up in the past 2 years compared to India.

In 2014 Indian parties brought only 60 cases before the ICC, while Chinese parties brought 73.

In 2013 Indian parties brought 55 cases while the Chinese brought 86.

China was the sixth-ranked country at the ICC in terms of the total number of cases in 2014. The USA, France, Brazil, Germany and Italy were ahead of China in those rankings.

Tee said that a trend similar to China could develop in India by “breaking myths” that surround institutionalised arbitration and educating the local community about the economic and other benefits of institutionalised arbitration.

She explained that at the ICC only two per cent of the total arbitration cost went to the institution, 18 per cent to the arbitrator and the rest of the expenses were the fees of the lawyers the parties instruct.

The ICC’s case management teams (seven in all) assist parties, arbitrators and counsel with the ICC’s rules and brief the court on its decisions, explained ICC deputy counsel Abhinav Bhushan.

The ICC competes primarily with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).

The SIAC in 2013 had seen Indian arbitrations grow by 300 per cent to 85 cases, with Indian parties then making up the single largest nationality at SIAC.

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