On 11 November 2014, the Perth Centre for Energy & Resources Arbitration (PCERA) was formally launched.

PCERA is a newly established arbitration centre, located in Perth, Western Australia. Its stated aim is to ‘act as an efficient, neutral and transparent arbitral centre of the highest standard’, facilitating resolution of disputes in the energy and resources industries in Western Australia.

With approximately 35% of the Gross State Product of Western Australia being attributable to the resources industry, the potential benefits of an energy and resources arbitration centre, located in Perth, are significant.

PCERA will offer a range of arbitration-related services, acting primarily as an appointing authority for domestic and international arbitrations located in Perth. In addition to supporting arbitrations, PCERA proposes to offer ‘combined expert determination’ services, by way of a panel of retired judges and practising senior counsel, who may be appointed, as experts, to determine commercial disputes.

Herbert Smith Freehills is a foundation member of PCERA, and is keen to explore ways in which PCERA can assist clients to resolve energy and resources disputes in a timely, cost-effective manner.

Ultimately the success of PCERA will depend upon practitioners and industry choosing PCERA, at the contractual drafting stage, as an appointing authority for energy and resources arbitrations. Whether this happens will depend on PCERA making potential clients aware of the benefits of having skilled arbitrators, with local industry knowledge, decide their disputes. Those benefits should not be underestimated.