London arbitrators' cost promise is welcomed

In a move welcomed by the Master of the Rolls, Lord Woolf, and the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, London arbitrators are promising to cap arbitration costs to 20 per cent of the amount in dispute.

Lord Woolf, who has been calling for the concept of making costs proportionate to the amount of issue, said the promises made by the London branch of the Chartered Institute of Abitrators “will enhance London as a centre of arbitration.” Bingham said: “[If the 20 per cent limit could be achieved] I have absolutely no doubt that it would give arbitration a new lease of life.”

Meanwhile, the north eastern branch of the Chartered Institute has also called for the “privatisation” of much of the civil justice system, by putting it in the hands of profit-making arbitration bodies, and has launched a series of seminars to popularise arbitration.

Brian Pettifer, public relations officer for the north eastern branch, said that under the “compulsion and monopoly of state-run” civil litigation, the judge's time had priority over the “customers”, the disputants, so trial dates were changed at the last minute and judges adjourned cases mid-trial for their own reasons.

The London Scheme Arbitration also set up an independent panel to monitor arbitrations under the regime.