In its most recent Dispute Resolution Bulletin, the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) observed that the “number of Australian parties [involved in ICC arbitrations] rose steeply to a level previously unseen.”

The ICC reported 30 Australian parties involved in ICC arbitrations filed in 2015, 16 as claimant and 14 as respondent. Those figures put the number of Australian parties involved in ICC arbitrations on par with the number of Singaporean parties, marginally ahead of the number of parties from Hong Kong and marginally behind the number of parties from South Korea.

The ICC reported that two-thirds of Australian parties involved in ICC arbitrations filed in 2015 were involved in international arbitrations whereas one third were involved in domestic disputes. There were 5 ICC arbitrations seated in Australia filed in 2015.

The ICC also observed that “for the first time Australian arbitrators ranked among the ten most frequent nationalities” in terms of arbitrator appointments.

The latest ICC statistics are consistent with anecdotal evidence that the Australian legal and business communities are embracing arbitration as their preferred method for resolving cross-border disputes.

Other evidence that international arbitration is on the rise in Australia, include:

  • Refinements passed in September last year to Australia’s International Arbitration Act – see our briefing here;
  • The adoption of new Rules by the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA) – see our blog post here; and
  • A series of “pro-arbitration” decisions by local Courts in Australia – see our blog posts here, here and here.