Parties who want to opt for institutional arbitration (instead of ad-hoc arbitration) can choose amongst a long list of local and truly international arbitral institutions. In an earlier post, we have already examined if it makes a difference whether parties choose one arbitral institution or the other. In this blog post, we compile the latest statistics on the annual caseload of the institutions and we make a short analysis of the numbers.
The institutions find themselves in a competition for new “customers”. To gain a competitive edge, many institutions have published updated arbitral rules over the last three years, introducing new concepts such as the emergency arbitrator. The annual caseload of the institutions probably shows best how well an institution competed. The following table provides an overview of the number of cases that have been filed with some of the best-known arbitral institutions over the past three years:
|ICC (International Chamber of Commerce)||759||767||791|
|DIS (German Institution of Arbitration)||125||121||132|
|SCC (Stockholm Chamber of Commerce)||177||203||183|
|VIAC (Vienna International Arbitration Center)||70||56||56|
|SCAI (Swiss Chamber’s Arbitration Institution)||92||68||105|
|LCIA (London Court of International Arbitration)||277||301||~ 300|
|ICDR (International Centre for Dispute Resolution)||996||1165||1052|
|SIAC (Singapore International Arbitration Centre)||235||259||222|
|CIETAC (China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission)||1060||1256||1610|
|HKIAC (Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre)||456||463||~ 500|
|ICSID (International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes)||50||40||38|
|In total||4297||4699||~ 4989|
What the case numbers tell us
Three aspects are noticeable when looking at the figures:
First, as a general trend, there has been a constant increase in the annual caseload over the last three years. While in 2013 the increase amounted to 400 cases, the increase in 2014 amounted to roughly 300 cases. However, it should be noted that the CIETAC numbers slightly distort the picture. If one disregards the CIETAC numbers, the total caseload in 2013 and 2014 remained more or less the same.
Second, there is a clear trend for arbitrating in Asia. Almost 50% of the total arbitration cases are administered by CIETAC, HKIAC, and SIAC. And these numbers do not include the caseload of the Bejing Arbitration Commission.
Third, ICSID was the only institution which saw a constant decline in new filings in every year from 2012 to 2014. 2012 was a record year with 50 new filings; in 2014 only 38 new cases were filed, i.e. almost a quarter less. It would, however, be wrong to conclude that investment arbitration is on the downturn. In 2015, ICSID might well be on the way to a new record year. To date, there have already been 34 new filings. Out of the 34 new cases, 8 were brought against Spain.
Some further analysis of the available statistics
Without a doubt, the numbers of administered cases are useful to get a first impression of the different institutions’ work. However, there are a few further statistics which are interesting:
1. The amount in dispute
The quite astonishing number of (significantly) over 1000 new cases administered each year emphasizes the high importance of CIETAC (not only, but especially) in the Asian region. Compared to that, the roughly 200 cases administered by SIAC appear to be rather low. However, that picture changes if one considers the average amount in dispute in CIETAC and SIAC-cases: While the average amount involved in a CIETAC-case in 2012 was about 2.4 million USD, the disputes administered by the SIAC in 2013 and 2014 involved about 16-17 million USD on an average basis. It therefore seems that SIAC is the leading arbitration institution for high profile and high value arbitrations in Asia.
The institution that handles arbitration cases with the highest sums involved is presumably ICSID. Unfortunately, the Centre has not published any information in this regard in recent years, but there are statistics that in 2005 the average amount in dispute in ICSID cases was as high as 245 million USD.
2. The global reach of the institutions
The ICC is without doubt one of the – if not the – leading institution worldwide. The ICC has seen a constant increase in new filings from 2012 to 2014. What is, however, particularly noteworthy is the global reach of the ICC. In 2014, the 791 newly filed cases involved parties from no less than 140 different countries. Another truly international arbitration institution is the ICDR. All cases administered by the ICDR are international cases by definition. In 2013, the parties came from 102 countries. In comparison: the parties in the SCC-cases (in 2014) came from 36 countries. The following list shows the percentage of foreign-related cases (as opposed to domestic cases) filed with separate arbitral institutions:
- ICC: 100 % foreign-related (in 2012 and 2013)
- ICDR: 100 % foreign-related by definition
- LCIA: 96 % (in 2012 and 2013)
- HKIAC: 64 % (in 2012) and 57 % (in 2013)
- SIAC: 38 % (in 2012), 49 % (in 2013) and 81 % (in 2014)
- SCC: 51 % (in 2012) and 42 % (in 2013)
- CIETAC: 31 % (in 2012), 30 % (in 2013) and 24 % (in 2014)
- DIS: 24 % (in 2012)
3. The experience with emergency arbitrators
A recent trend in international arbitration is the introduction of emergency arbitrator schemes. The ICC has introduced the respective provisions in the new ICC Rules published in 2012. The SIAC had already established corresponding provisions in July 2010, the ICDR seems to have been the first when they established them in 2006. The statistics on emergency arbitrations of the three institutions are:
- ICC: 6 (in 2014) / 12 (in total)
- SIAC: 12 (in 2014) / 42 (in total)
- ICDR: 10 (in 2014) / 51 (in total)
 Cf. http://www.dis-arb.de/en/39/content/statistics-id54 and Wilske/Markert/Bräuninger, SchiedsVZ 2015, 49, 53.
 Cf. http://www.cietac.org/index.cms (“About us” – “Statistics”) and http://cn.cietac.org/NewsFiles/NewsDetail.asp?NewsID=1443.
 Cf. http://www.hkiac.org/en/hkiac/statistics/case-statistics and Wilske/Markert/Bräuninger, SchiedsVZ 2015, 49, 53.
 Cf. ICDR defines “international” pursuant to Article 1 UNCITRAL Model Law; i.e. under which an arbitration is international if the parties’ places of business are in different states; the place of arbitration or place of performance is outside the state where they have their places of business; or if the parties have expressly agreed that the subject matter of the arbitration agreement relates to more than one country.
 The percentages are based on the numbers published at: http://globalarbitrationreview.com/reviews/67/sections/232/chapters/2683/trends-international-arbitration-new-world-order/.
 E-Mail from C. Alberti (Director of the ICDR) to the authors dated 28 July 2015.