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WA Arbitration Initiative

The main objectives of the WA Arbitration Initiative are to:

  • Promote the involvement of Western Australian based entities and individuals in arbitration proceedings

  • Promote arbitration as a method of dispute resolution

  • Educate users of arbitration as to best practice

  • Facilitate engagement between stakeholders

  • Facilitate a coherent national approach to the promotion of arbitration and Australian based arbitration practitioners both within Australia and internationally

Inaugural Perth Arbitration Survey

In 2018/19 we conducted the inaugural Perth Arbitration Survey and produced the WA Arbitration Report with the assistance of FTI Consulting, Francis Burt Chambers and the ICC.

Much arbitration work in WA flies ‘under the radar’. The survey obtained data from WA based users of arbitration as to the involvement of WA entities and individuals in arbitration proceedings.

We wanted to collect that data so it could be used to promote WA arbitration practitioners and the practice of arbitration in WA.

The WA Arbitration Report revealed that during the 2017/2018 financial year:

  • There were 105 unique arbitration proceedings with a substantial WA connection

  • Of those 105 arbitrations, 53 were domestic arbitrations and 52 were international

  • The amounts in issue in the arbitrations totalled more than AUD$22.5 billion

The survey results demonstrate that there is a substantial arbitration community in WA with significant expertise and experience in international and domestic arbitration proceedings, particularly those involving disputes arising from major energy and resources projects. WA practitioners are also using that experience to act in arbitrations heard overseas that do not involve Western Australian or Australian parties.

The promotion and development of WA arbitration offers economic advantages to the state and fosters the development of WA as an energy and resources hub.

There are opportunities for WA based practitioners to increase their involvement in the international market and to increase the use of arbitration in domestic disputes.

Perth’s amenity, arbitration friendly courts, convenient time zone, the comparative price advantage of its lawyers and the experience of its practitioners make it an attractive venue for arbitrations.

Australian Arbitration Survey

Since the launch of the WA Arbitration Report, we have engaged with ACICA to facilitate a similar survey to the Perth Arbitration Survey being carried out Australia wide.

That survey has been successfully carried out by ACICA with the assistance of FTI Consulting, ourselves and numerous other stakeholders across the country.

The Australian Arbitration Report 2020 has recently been launched by ACICA and reveals that during the period 2017-2019:

  • There were 223 unique arbitration proceedings

  • The amounts in issue in the arbitrations totalled an estimated AUD$35 billion

These surveys provide compelling data to facilitate the promotion of WA and Australian arbitration services to existing and potential users.

Perth as a venue (and seat) for arbitrations

A comparison of the data obtained from the Perth and Australia wide surveys indicates that:

  • Close to half of the reported arbitrations have a substantial WA connection (e.g. involve a project located in WA, Perth based legal representatives, companies, hearing venues etc.)

  • In respect of the amounts in dispute, in the order of two-thirds of the total relates to arbitrations with such a WA connection

The data collected is very supportive of further developing Perth as a seat for international arbitrations, particularly in relation to disputes involving resources and infrastructure projects.

It further highlights the significance of WA/Perth to the Australian (and global) arbitration market.

We hope this reality will be taken on board by stakeholders seeking to advance the standing of Australia and Australian entities in the competitive market for global arbitration services.

WA Arbitration Initiative – Details

WA Arbitration Initiative – Leadership

Brian Millar
Scott Ellis
Wayne Martin
Wayne Martin AC KC