Worldwide, 2,282 parties were involved in ICC Arbitration cases from 135 countries in 2018. Newly registered cases in 2018 represented an aggregate value of US$ 36 billion, with an average amount of US$ 45 million in dispute. The aggregate value of all pending disputes before the Court at the end of the year was US$ 203 billion, with an average value of $131 million and a median value of US$ 10 million. With the exception of 2016, which included 135 related small-claim cases arising from a single collective dispute, these statistics represent a new record for ICC Arbitration cases.
New arrivals to the top 10 and a record for draft awards
The top five countries with parties represented in cases are the United States (210), France (139), Brazil (117), Spain (110), and Germany (95). New arrivals to the top 10 countries’ ranking for 2018 included Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. The United Arab Emirates represented the eighth-highest number of parties in 2018 with 69. Meanwhile, Turkey climbed into the 2018 top 10 for the first time with 62 parties.
Following a banner year in 2017, ICC has once again set a new record for approved draft awards (599) in 2018. Since 2009, the ICC Court has approved over 500 draft awards twice before in 2011 and in 2017.
ICC case management offices boost regional growth
The annual statistics also confirm the benefits of ICC’s regional case management offices in Hong Kong, New York, Sao Paulo and Singapore. Regions where ICC maintains a case management office recorded growth for newly registered cases in 2018. As a result, Brazil now ranks third place in the world behind France and United States. Singapore, where ICC opened a case management office in April 2018, experienced an increase from 23 participating parties in 2017 to 34 parties in 2018.
ICC Court of Arbitration President Alexis Mourre said: “These statistics confirm that ICC is the world’s premium arbitral institution, its unrivalled global reach and its unique experience in resolving high-value, cross-border, and complex multi-party disputes.”
Central and West Asia experience case boost
Moreover, the annual statistics for 2018 demonstrate a 14.6% increase in the number of cases involving parties from Central and West Asia. There was a noticeable increase in the number of Central and West Asian parties from 219 in 2017 to 275 in 2018. The United Arab Emirates (69 parties), Saudi Arabia (49 parties), and Qatar (37 parties) were among the top countries that filed cases from the Central and West Asia region. Overall, parties originating from countries in Central and West Asia represent 12.1% of the total number of parties. This is the fourth largest region following North and West Europe (31.6%), Latin America and the Caribbean (14.9%), and South and East Asia (12.8%).
Growth in North Africa
North Africa also saw growth in both number of cases and parties. According to the latest statistics, the number of cases in the region rose from 40 in 2017 to 47 in 2018, representing a 17.5% increase. Similarly, the number of North Africa parties increased over the same period, from 55 in 2017 to 60 in 2018.
European parties and cases remain consistent
The number of parties from North and West Europe rose to 468 (compared to 428 in 2017), with a slight decrease in the number of cases in this region. Cases originating in Central and East Europe remained consistent with 135 cases recorded in 2017 and 134 in 2018. The region accounted for 210 parties in 2018, in comparison to 197 in 2017, and saw an increase in the number of arbitrators from 88 in 2017 to 92 in 2018
A number of European countries – including France (139), Greece (27), Italy (87), Spain (110), Turkey (62) and the United Kingdom (69) – saw increases in the number of parties.
Efficiency of the proceedings
As one of the world’s leading dispute resolution institutions, the ICC Court is committed to handling cases in an efficient and prompt manner. Over the past three years, the ICC Court has implemented several new practices to enhance the punctuality of case proceedings. In particular, the ICC Expedited Procedure provides final awards for lower valued cases within six months of the case management conference, which has enhanced the ICC Court’s ability to handle cases in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Similarly, the ICC Court has introduced delay measures to ensure that cases are processed on time. The delay measures stipulate that the ICC Court may lower the arbitrators’ fees in cases where awards are submitted late, unless the delay is attributed to exceptional circumstances.
These delay measures have improved the ICC Court’s efficiency, according to the latest statistics. Already, the introduction of delay measures resulted in a decrease in the number of late awards from 54% in 2016 to 38% in 2018. At the same time, there has been an overall decrease in ‘delays,’ or awards allocated three to six months late, from 52 in 2016 to 33 in 2018. Furthermore, awards delayed by seven months or more decreased from 18 in 2016 to 6 in 2018.
An eye to the future
ICC welcomes the results of these latest statistics as testament to the ICC Court’s efforts to further improve efficiency, diversity and transparency. “We are pleased to see increased participation from arbitrators in growing economic regions, like Asia and North Africa,” said Alexander Fessas, Secretary General of the ICC Court. “While past rankings have been dominated by arbitrators from Europe and North America, the 2018 statistics confirm that arbitration is moving in the right direction toward achieving greater diversity overall”.
One of the ways that ICC has sought to encourage greater regional diversity has been through the creation of a new Commission on the Belt and Road, as well as a Commission on Africa. By interacting more directly with Asia and Africa, both of these commissions strive to increase inclusion and diversity in ICC’s panel of arbitrators.
The number of women appointed and confirmed by arbitrations also continues to improve by nearly doubling, from 136 in 2015 to 273 in 2018. The number of women acting as president or sole arbitrator has also increased. In 2018, 32% of women appointed or confirmed as arbitrators acted as president (31% in 2017) and 30% as sole arbitrators (26% in 2017). At the same time, ICC welcomes a rising proportion of younger arbitrators with 35% of arbitrators under the age of 50.
Looking to the future, ICC is committed to building upon gains in regional, cultural, gender and age diversity to further enhance ICC’s neutral and trusted arbitration for the resolution of commercial disputes worldwide.