Leading ADR-service rivals from England, Singapore, and Canada launch International Arbitration Centre Alliance

LONDON, SINGAPORE, TORONTO—Three leading international arbitration and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) hearing centres have joined forces to form the International Arbitration Centre Alliance (IACA). The alliance firms are Arbitration Place of Toronto and Ottawa, Canada; the International Dispute Resolution Centre (IDRC) of London, UK; and Maxwell Chambers of Singapore.

Their unprecedented global collaboration of physical, technical, and professional resources is aimed at reducing the distance, time-zone, and countless other challenges associated with planning and conducting international arbitration hearings and ADR proceedings during these extraordinary times— and in the “new normal” that will be with us for some time.

In a joint statement, the CEOs of the three founding centres, Damian Hickman, Katherine Yap and Kimberley Stewart, said: “The alliance breaks barriers and builds international bridges, providing the platform for our partners to connect globally, allowing a seamless and smooth dispute resolution experience. This is something the dispute resolution world desperately needs right now because of COVID- 19 travel and assembly restrictions. We also firmly believe it’s the way of the future. International arbitration practitioners are becoming comfortable with virtual hearings. Longer term, even when global travel restrictions are eased, virtual will be used regularly to reduce travel time and cost.”

The IDRC has been operating for over 20 years in the heart of Legal London and is the UK’s leading facility for arbitrations and other forms of ADR. Maxwell Chambers, centrally located in the heart of Singapore’s business district, is the world’s first integrated ADR complex, housing best-in-class hearing facilities as well as the local offices of top international ADR institutions, law firms, and ancillary services. Arbitration Place combines state-of-the-art hearing facilities and hybrid hearing facilities in Toronto and Ottawa with real-time court reporting, concierge-level administrative support, dedicated client-service teams, and a roster of renowned arbitrators.

Together as IACA, the three partners will provide “Global Hybrid Hearings” through a combination of physical and virtual attendance methods so all parties, counsel, arbitrators, arbitral secretaries, witnesses, arbitral institutions, court reporters and translators can participate fully and easily, no matter where in the world they are located. Some will attend the IACA facility closest to them and participate either in a group room with distancing protocols, or in private technology suites with videoconferencing connections. Others will connect remotely using a secure virtual platform. Also, for those investor-state arbitrations that are open to the public (in whole or in part), IACA can make hearings widely accessible around the world.

IACA’s fully integrated Global Hybrid Hearings will provide everything that international arbitration has come to expect from traditional single-site physical hearings, including real-time court reporting, simultaneous translation and breakout rooms for each party and for the arbitral tribunal. It also provides technical support before and during hearings, including technical rehearsals, monitoring, and
enhanced cyber-security measures.

This innovative approach will enable the international dispute resolution industry to be prepared for whatever form the “new normal” may take. It is also inherently “greener,” as its simplicity, ease of access, and time and cost efficiencies encourage less international travel.