UK: Take Your 'Seat' - The Relative Merits Of European Arbitral Seats

Last Updated: 26 July 2019
Article by Silvia Farre

On the 19th June 2019, DLA Piper hosted a debate at their London office on the relative merits of conducting arbitration proceedings in different European seats of arbitration. The panel discussion moderated by James Carter brought together arbitration specialists from six of the firm's European offices. Each of the panellists provided an insight into the key advantages of their city as a seat of arbitration; the benefits of using the local arbitration institution and its rules; and one recent development in, or notable feature of, substantive commercial or contract law in the jurisdiction.

London - LCIA (London Court of International Arbitration) and English Law

Anna Mills opened the debate, speaking about the reputation of the English legal system and London's status as a global financial centre. Lawyers, courts, arbitrators and institutions are of the highest quality and with an unrivalled reputation for impartiality and diversity. London is also geographically well-placed and easily accessible to parties.

The LCIA Rules themselves provide maximum flexibility - parties can benefit from expedited and emergency appointment of arbitrators, whilst costs are calculated independently of the amounts in dispute. Moreover, the Arbitration Act 1996 provides a valuable framework and arbitrators enjoy a symbiotic relationship with the English courts. Anna made specific reference to English law principles that recognise the parties' freedom to contract and a commercial approach to contractual interpretation.

Cologne - DIS (German Arbitration Institute) and German Law

Dr Frank Roth highlighted that the DIS is well-connected to the Benelux via an international train station hub and two regional airports, whilst the institute's conferencing infrastructure ensures even greater accessibility for parties.

He alluded to the strengths of the current DIS Arbitration Rules (effected on 1 March 2018), which provide a particular focus on early dispute resolution, ensuring efficiency and catering for international clientele. The reliable German legal system has served as a template for many foreign jurisdictions and a large corpus of case law is constantly refining statutes, which creates a level of legal certainty and predictability for parties.

Stockholm - SCC (Stockholm Chamber of Commerce) and Swedish Law

Karl-Oscar Dalin spoke about how Stockholm has functioned as a neutral safe haven for arbitration from the Middle Ages to the Gazprom-Naftogaz arbitration of 2014-2018. Notwithstanding its long history of arbitration, parties conducting proceedings at the SCC can expect to benefit from modern rules in the SCC Rules (2017).

Sweden has a civil law system with common law features and its legislator use a comparative legislative method. The revised Arbitration Act (effected on 1 March 2019) includes, inter alia, provisions which specify the explicit mandate of arbitrators and raises the threshold for challenging an arbitral award. The revised act brings Swedish laws in line with international trends and will likely foster the further growth of international arbitration in Stockholm.

Vienna - VIAC (Vienna International Arbitral Centre) and Austrian Law

David Christian Bauer advocated for the Vienna seat, arguing that it is an experienced hub for arbitration in a neutral country at the heart of Europe.

The new VIAC Rules (2018) represent a modern, lean and flexible approach to arbitration, at reasonable costs. New elements introduced by the VIAC Rules include: allowing for security for costs, the provision of Vienna as a fall-back place of arbitration, and allowing for expedited proceedings if agreed to by the parties. Austrian substantive law is long-established, provides solutions for many unforeseen scenarios, and the courts tend to focus on parties' intentions rather than on the wording of contracts.

Paris - ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) and French Law

Maxime Desplats cited ICC's unparalleled experience, having arbitrated over 24,000 cases and with approximately 800 new cases per year. The ICC Secretariat is familiar with most issues faced by arbitration users, and it is available for discussion in Paris, New York, Hong Kong and Sao Paolo. Parties benefit from additional protection against the risks of set aside, as the ICC (governed by the 2017 ICC Rules) scrutinises and validates all draft awards before they are issued. Additionally, costs are predictable (particularly with the ICC cost calculator available online).

Maxime also argued that Paris is a safe seat, pointing to the modernised French arbitration law (effected in 2011) and experienced, pro-arbitration judges. There are very few legal means to stall arbitration proceedings and extension of arbitration agreements to third parties is possible. French law also generally prohibits punitive damages, which brings legal certainty regarding the maximum amount of damages a tribunal can order.

Amsterdam - NAI (Netherlands Arbitration Institution) and Dutch Law

Michiel Coenraads and Wouter de Clerck contended that Amsterdam is a practical and commercial choice of seat. The NAI is an efficient alternative to ICC and LCIA due to its concise and simple arbitration rules (the NAI Rules) (2015), which provide for institute appointed arbitrators.

Moreover, the Dutch courts have a strong track record in big-ticket set aside and enforcement proceedings and the modern Dutch Arbitration Act (2015) provides for extensive interim measures in support of arbitration. These include ex-parte pre-judgment attachments, money judgments in injunctive relief proceedings, and emergency arbitration (arbitraal kort geding).

If you would like to know more details about any of the arbitral seats or any of the institutional rules referred to in this article, please feel free to contact one of the panellists directly.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Practice Guides
by Mondaq Advice Centres
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions