UK arbitration awards in line to be published

The London Maritime Arbitration Association (LMAA) is debating publishing arbitration awards to stem worries about the highly confidential discipline being undermined by a lack of case law

Although in New York and Paris arbitration awards are published, albeit without the names of the parties involved, arbitrators in the UK have to rely on word of mouth.

If the LMAA gives publication the green light, every arbitration client in London will be told their case is likely to go into the public domain.

There are fears that such a move – even though it would follow the New York and Paris example of not naming parties – could destroy London's position as a leading arbitration centre for shipping disputes.

According to Bruce Harris, a former president of the LMAA, while London sees more than 3,000 maritime arbitration appointments a year, the markets in New York and Paris have dwindled.

“There's nothing to suggest that publication has helped New York, Paris or any other centre. There may be grounds for suspecting the contrary. The numbers of arbitrations going to other centres has declined remarkably, while London's numbers have in the main held up and its share increased,” said Harris.