Last March, the chambers of commerce and bar associations of Ibero-America, represented by the Ibero-American Union of Bar Associations launched the Ibero-American Arbitration Center (“Center” or “IAAC”). The IAAC was created in an effort to offer an arbitration forum that prioritizes and understands the “history, idiosyncrasy, language and legal culture” of Ibero-American states. Also, the Center intends to provide a forum for civil-law arbitrations and address the needs of medium and small enterprises that have difficulty in accessing more prominent arbitration centers. The IAAC functions as a managing entity, similar in nature to the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.

The Center is private, non-profit, independent and suited for both commercial and investment arbitration. It has three administrative seats: the Secretary General’s office, located in Madrid, Spain, the Presidency in San Jose, Costa Rica and the Division for Supervision of the Arbitral Role in São Paulo, Brazil. Some of the Center’s key functions include:

  1. Management of cases.
  2. Appointment of arbitrators.
  3. Assisting the parties and arbitrators in the development of their cases.
  4. Creation and publication of a list of qualified arbitrators.
  5. Creation and application of procedural rules to manage the cases.
  6. Assistance in the coordination of arbitration-related initiatives by member states.

It’s still too soon to determine the Center’s likelihood of success. However, the founding members expect it to be the go-to arbitration forum for small and medium enterprises that generally don’t have access to more prominent forums. The Center is also expected to be a forum for training and education of young arbitrators and practitioners.