Australia may be the seat for many an arbitration in the next few years, thanks to a concerted effort by both the Australian government and the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA) to promote their country as the next up-and-coming venue in the world of international arbitration.
At a recent forum in Dubai, the Dubai International Financial Centre (which is also enjoying a growing presence in the international arbitration community) and ACICA signed an agreement whereby the Dubai International Financial Centre would foster Australia as a venue for arbitration disputes. This development follows a similar agreement with the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Pursuant to the agreement between the Dubai International Financial Centre and ACICA, companies in the Gulf would be encouraged to use Australia, a country where the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards is commonplace, as a forum for alternative dispute resolution. For its part, Australia would benefit from increased trade and broader access to a burgeoning commercial region.
Besides a legal structure that is friendly to arbitration, Australia is also an English-speaking country and boasts a government committed to the development of an international arbitration presence, attractive factors to foreign companies involved in complex, cross-border disputes. In addition, the ACICA Arbitration Rules were recently selected as the model guide for international arbitration at the Willem C Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna, which featured scholars from over 65 countries. With these developments, Australia bears watching as a rising force in the world of international arbitration.