Ian Gaunt Explains the Benefits of London Arbitration

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London is the world’s leading seat of maritime arbitration, and it has unique benefits, explains Ian Gaunt, President at The London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA).

The LMAA is the world’s leading body specialized in commercial maritime dispute resolution. With over 700 full and supporting members practicing in London, LMAA is admired for the promotion of practical procedures conducted under the English Arbitration Act 1996. 

Gaunt was elected President of the LMAA in 2017, and has broad knowledge on commercial, technical and legal aspects of ship sale and purchase, shipbuilding and related financing agreements. Arbitration experience includes disputes concerning shipbuilding, ship repair and conversion contracts, charterparties, sale and purchase agreements and contracts of affreightment.

Why is London considered to be a main arbitration point?

London is the most popular venue for commercial arbitration generally and maritime arbitration in particular. In the recently published White & Case survey carried out by Queen Mary University 64 percent of those interviewed gave London as a preferred choice of arbitration venue or “seat”. In the field of maritime arbitration (based on another report published recently by international law firm HFW) it is apparent that some 80 percent of international maritime arbitrations have their seat in London. Almost all are conducted as ad hoc rather than institutional arbitrations under the Terms or Procedures of the LMAA with a small number conducted under the institutional rules of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).

The principal reasons cited are:

• Availability of experienced specialist counsel, solicitors and experts.
• Availability of experienced specialist arbitrators (particularly in the maritime field).
• The experience of the English Commercial Court in exercising its supervisory jurisdiction and in ordering “interim measures” such as injunctions and document or property preservation orders. 
• Relative cost and speed.
• The wealth of English commercial and maritime cas

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