As business has globalised, international arbitration has become the world’s commercial court.
And more recently, a check on capricious government too. Russia’s government has been ordered to pay US$50 billion over the dismemberment of Yukos Oil Company by an arbitral panel in The Hague. Not long ago, arbitrators told Ecuador to pay US$2 billion to Occidental. In the world of telecoms, at least two European players owe their current state of ownership to arbitral rulings about buy-out clauses.
It is a serious business being an international arbitration counsel. Sophisticated clients now know this and they value specialism on the part of international arbitration counsel.
So the challenge has become separating the wheat from the chaff – finding the true specialist counsel.
This book seeks to help. Ten years ago, Global Arbitration Review conceived the GAR 100 as a vehicle to identify at least 100 firms one can consider “approved” in this discipline. To gain inclusion, a firm would have to open its books to our researchers and allow us to “audit” exactly what they’d been up to. Broadly, we’ve used the criteria identified in that survey: reputation, amount of work undertaken and experience.
In this edition, 163 firms are profiled, representing around 45 countries.
The GAR 100 comprises large and small practices – sometimes as small as one person (if that person is sufficiently well known).
Many of the profiles tell you about the history of the practice (where we have it) and its lineage (ie, how it ties in with some of the influential figures who pioneered this area).
Similarly, this year we have put greater weight on success. Not just undertaking work – but winning (though winning is at times a tricky and relative concept – a smaller than expected loss may in fact be a “win”, and vice versa). But we don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect an arbitration group to achieve good results as it goes about its general work.
The book also includes a report on expert witnesses. We’ve applied a similar methodology to them as to law firms – asking to be shown proof of work on cases.