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Home // Why use a London Arbitration Lawyer?

If you are involved in London-based arbitration, you should choose a solicitor familiar with the rules associated with the arbitral body responsible for running your proceedings. The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) for example has its own rules of procedure relating to disclosure of documents, limitation periods, cost orders and a whole range of other matters. Lawyers involved regularly with LCIA proceedings will have the necessary degree of familiarity with these regulations to ensure your case has the best chance of success.

At Nath Solicitors we have the technical legal know-how to effectively represent clients engaged in LCIA proceedings. Our location, close to the LCIA’s headquarters also means that from a purely logistical and practical point of view many businesses, including those from overseas, choose us to resolve their commercial disputes by way of arbitration.

Understanding The Procedure And Law

In LCIA or other London-based arbitration our job is to support and guide you through each step of the process. There will usually be a paper-based phase of the arbitration followed by an oral hearing. In LCIA arbitration our role will involve:

  • Ensuring that your arbitration agreement permits LCIA proceedings
  • Filing a request for arbitration or responding to a request on your behalf
  • Providing criteria to the LCIA on the appointment of the arbitrator(s)
  • Assembling documents for discovery
  • Producing written submissions
  • Preparing for any oral hearings

In handling these procedural steps, we use our understanding of the law as to tailor your case and coherently frame our response to arguments put forward by the other side. The applicable law will usually be governed by the underlying contract.

London Arbitration v Arbitration Elsewhere

Arbitrations held in London, including those run by the LCIA are regulated by The Arbitration Act 1996 (the Act). The approach of the act differs markedly from legislation governing arbitrations held in other jurisdictions, notably in the US. By choosing London-based lawyers you will be assured that they understand:

  • The approach taken by arbitrators here; and
  • The legislative framework within which arbitrators operate.

The Act gives parties to arbitration greater flexibility and control than those engaged in arbitration in some other jurisdictions and limits the circumstances in which parties to arbitration can seek court intervention. This is underlined by:

  • LCIA’s Approach To Discovery Process

The rules about what documents are to be disclosed vary significantly between arbitral bodies. Generally, in LCIA proceedings discovery is a less intrusive than in other jurisdictions, notably in some US states. The LCIA rules state that the tribunal has the power to

‘Order any party to produce to the Arbitral Tribunal and to other parties’ documents in their possession, custody or power which the Arbitral Tribunal decides to be relevant..’

This does not mean that in some cases there will not be an extensive process of document disclosure. And the implication of this cannot be underestimated. For example, Nath Solicitors was involved recently in a case involving a party form Angola which required disclosure of 17,000 hard copy documents. From a practical point of view our presence on the ground, close to the LCIA and other parties meant the task of producing this volume of paperwork was less onerous than if we had been located elsewhere or were less familiar with LCIA rules and practice.

  • LCIA Approach To Costs

The LCIA rules state that decisions on costs will be made on the general principle that costs should ‘reflect the parties’ relative success and failure in the proceedings. The tribunal may also consider the conduct of the parties and their lawyers, including any cooperation in facilitating the proceedings as to time and cost and any non-cooperation resulting in undue delay and unnecessary expense.

In many ways this is different from the approach of arbitral institutions in other jurisdictions.  Our awareness of the approach taken by the LCIA means the issue of costs informs the way we conduct your case throughout to minimise the possibility of you having a negative cost order made against you.

Two other issues to consider about using London-based arbitration lawyers for LCIA and other arbitrations carried out here are:

  • Logistics and travel time

The expense and time incurred in travelling to and from arbitrations may be a relevant factor in choosing a lawyer located on London for your arbitration.

  • UK – based post Brexit

Complex arbitrations may take months to reach their conclusion. In the aftermath of Brexit UK arbitration lawyers and arbitration lawyers from the EU coming to act in London arbitrations must consider the revised rules on cross border provision of legal services. There are currently safeguards in place allowing professionals from EU countries to practice in the UK for extended periods because of the mutual recognition of professional qualifications. Nevertheless, lawyers and their clients should remain alert to any changes in the rules as the post Brexit legal landscape continues to develop. By using UK resident arbitration lawyers in cases that are likely to last longer than, say 90 days you will have no concerns in this regard.

Contact Us

For advice on arbitration and other forms of ADR please contact Shubha Nath at Nath Solicitors on 44 (0) 203 983 8278 or get in touch through our online contact form.


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