Youth court pilot to join LAB's block contract plan

A new arbitration service for resolving business disputes will be launched next week backed by some of the top silks at the Bar.

The service – Arbitration for Commerce & Industry, (ACI) – is aimed at banking, financial services and insurance disputes, according to ACI director Reziya Harrison who is a tenant at 11 Old Square.

Harrison said: “We are looking at the middle ground between the City Disputes Panel and the smaller consumer claims.”

Among the big names who will arbitrate under ACI's auspices are Anthony Grabiner QC, Presiley Baxendale QC and Elizabeth Gloster QC.

About 50 barristers are on the organisation's lists, split equally between the chancery Bar and the commercial Bar and drawn from senior juniors to leading silks.

Only three solicitors are on ACI's books but Harrison expects ACI to build this number up. “Whether they are solicitors or barristers doesn't matter, as long as they are good arbitrators,” she said.

ACI is offering standard arbitration, fixed-fee arbitration and other schemes such as fast-track arbitration and mediation. It aims to provide “a quick and efficient dispute resolution service consistent with justice at a reasonable cost”.

Harrison said that she and her fellow director Elizabeth Birch of 20 Essex Street were particularly proud of ACI's fixed-fee arbitration scheme, which, for £6,500, she claimed was “very good value”.

About three-quarters of ACI's lawyers are prepared to arbitrate on the fixed fee scheme as well as the standard scheme, including silks of the calibre of Charles Flint QC and Belinda Bucknall QC.