ICC Court and Miami Law International Arbitration Institute team up on major cost study

  • 31 January 2018
ICC Court and Miami Law International Arbitration Institute team up on major cost study

The ICC International Court of Arbitration and the International Arbitration Institute of the University of Miami School of Law and have announced their collaboration on an unprecedented research project aiming to bring greater transparency to international arbitration.

The state-of-the-art platform will allow those involved in international arbitration – scholars, arbitrators, counsel, and users – to organise data across different variables to test various hypotheses. They can assess if there is any correlation between, for instance, the governing law and the number of legal experts; the value of the dispute and the presence of dissent; the bifurcation of specific issues; and the length of the arbitration.

“For scholars as well as users, the thirst for hard data is real,” said Marike Paulsson, Director of the Miami International Arbitration Institute. “The Institute aims to be at the forefront of research that is quintessential for the future of dispute resolution, and it is grateful for the collaboration with ICC.”

Law professor Jan Paulsson, the Michael Klein Distinguished Scholar Chair and chair of the White & Case International Arbitration program, gave the example of “the intense interest that was generated when indications were given of the relative magnitude of costs incurred by the parties themselves as compared to the costs of arbitral tribunals and the administrative charges (leading to the famous 82/16/2 percentage breakdown). And yet that was an isolated study using limited samples over a relatively short period.”

“Like so many things said about arbitration, comments about its duration and cost tend to be both anecdotal and unverifiable – and therefore of little value, if not deleterious,” Alexis Mourre, President of the ICC Court said. “Our institutional objective is simple and unambiguous: to be of service to the international community. Objective information about our cases is essential if our hard work is to be accurately appraised; exposure to unbiased and well-informed evaluation from the outside is the best way for us to refine our processes. This aim will be furthered by the revelation of data bearing on the length and cost of arbitrations, which is being aggregated in a manner that safeguards the case-specific confidentiality to which users are entitled.”

Mr Mourre explained: “The aspiration is for quantifiable data to replace anecdotal perception with respect to the inter-relationship between the specific elements of an arbitration and its overall length and cost.”

The economic consulting firm Compass Lexecon, with senior consultant Pablo Spiller and executive vice president Santiago Dellepiane, leads the team in the initial phase with generous technical and financial assistance. Also essential is the support and leadership of Luke Sobota, a partner at Three Crowns LLP and a visiting professor at Miami Law, who will be overseeing the ongoing work of the graduate students on the project.

With the beta phase of the project recently completed, the results from the first phase of the project will publish in late 2018. A final report will be made available to the public.

“ICC will make no attempt to steer the conclusions to be drawn from the data presented,” Mr Mourre said. “If commentators find that the data reveals sub-optimal practices, the institution will benefit from the observations. A multitude of dedicated and idealistic people have contributed for nearly a hundred years in making ICC Arbitration what it is today. We are confident enough to allow its reality to be critically examined.”