Poland - European arbitration centre?

Streszczenie:The steady increase of the popularity of arbitration as an effective method for dispute resolution is one of the most vivid global trends in international economic and legal transactions.

Along with the development of arbitration practice, new opportunities emerge – both for those entities interested in the use of arbitration, as well as for entities, institutions or even entire jurisdictions willing to offer relevant services and conditions for settlement of disputes through arbitration.

A legal services market is developing around arbitration worldwide, on which compete not only institutions offering assistance in respect of arbitration proceedings administration but also those countries willing to encourage entities, both domestic and foreign, to conduct arbitration disputes on their territories. Despite the operation of renowned arbitration centres, such as the International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris or the London Court of International Arbitration, both in Europe and worldwide new players are appearing hoping for a piece of the arbitration cake.

Consequently, it is natural to question Poland’s place on the arbitration map of the world. Undoubtedly, also in our country arbitration is becoming increasingly popular which is highly influenced by the activity of the Polish state courts. However, it is difficult to now declare that arbitration as a method of settlement of commercial disputes has become known by the public and that Poland is an important arbitration centre in Europe. Nevertheless, one may question whether Poland is able to become a European arbitration centre .

More benefits?

As with almost every project, the creation of a new arbitration centre requires an investment of both the time and money of interested persons, entities and institutions. Obviously, the basic question regarding the planned investment is the issue of its profitability – what can be obtained in return for the incurred costs?

Therefore, deliberations regarding the possibility of promoting Poland as a European Arbitration Centre should commence from analyzing potential benefits which would be obtained if the goal was reached.

The first and obvious consequence of the establishment of an important arbitration centre in Poland would undoubtedly be to ensure a constant inflow of arbitration work or, broadly speaking, for litigation lawyers. It must be noted that even in international disputes in which none of the parties comes from a country that is a place of arbitration, the parties to the proceedings often choose assistance from local lawyers ensuring the best knowledge of laws of the country being the place where arbitration proceedings are conducted, of the regulations of arbitration institutions selected by the parties, or other circumstances important for the proceedings. We have a historically justified tendency to appreciate those sectors of the economy that produce durable goods, whilst it must be noted that in Great Britain the sector called Professional and Business Services comprising lawyers, accountants, auditors, architects and surveyors is the largest sector of the economy and corresponds to GBP 166 billion of domestic product. We are not that ambitious, but any additional zloty for hundreds of young advocates and legal counsels should matter.

Consequently, a direct recipient of the financial benefits flowing from the development of an arbitral centre in Poland would undoubtedly be the legal services sector. However, it is obvious that also other entities performing services, such as conference centres, hotels, restaurants, translation agencies etc. would indirectly benefit from it.

What is also important and perhaps even more crucial, is that the creation of Poland’s image as an arbitration centre would significantly contribute to the increase of international prestige and to the promotion of both Poland and the cities chosen by the parties as the place of arbitration proceedings. In this regard one could be tempted to argue that promoting a country as the place of effective and professional settlement of commercial disputes will have an advantageous impact on the overall evaluation of the country by foreign companies, which may be reflected in the number of foreign investments in Poland, general growth of prestige and the country’s attractiveness. In this respect, it must be noted that insufficient funds, although counted in millions, are designated for Poland’s promotion. Promotion of arbitration in Poland is probably a more effective way of spending money than placing a few short adverts on CNN.

Competition among arbitration centres in Europe.

Stronger and stronger competition on the arbitration services market supports the creation and development of arbitration centres. Experts unanimously agree that the arbitration industry has become a considerable market in Europe, on which the competition between the countries and institutions has reached a new level recently.

Whilst assessing the European arbitration market, it is easy to note that players of different positions and experience are active on it. The International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris is the unquestionable leader, which, according to research conducted in 2010 by the Queen Mary School of International Arbitration was regarded as the most popular arbitration institution worldwide by more than 50% of the respondents. The group of popular and renowned arbitration centre s includes London (seat of, among others, LCIA), Switzerland (in particular Geneva and Zurich – Swiss Chambers), Stockholm (seat of the Arbitration Institute at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce SCC), and Vienna (seat of VIAC). Next in line are the developing arbitration centre s in Madrid (Corte de Arbitraje de Madrid), in Milan (Camera Arbitrale di Milano), in Moscow Moskiwe (ICAC), and the German Deutsche Institution für Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit (DIS) with offices in Cologne, Berlin and Munich.

The above list must be supplemented with the “youngest” arbitration centres in Dublin (1998) and in Edinburgh (2011), as examples where new arbitration centre s in Europe have been establishment.

What is important from the point of view of a response to the question posed in the title of this article is that statistics published in 2007 prove that whilst in the leading arbitration centres (ICC and LCIA) the number of cases addressed to these centre s is more or less the same every year, in the remaining, developing institutions a considerable increase of the number of new cases was noted (e.g.: in DIS by 30%, in SCC – by 25%, in VIAC by 20%). One can draw the conclusion here that on the European market there is more and more demand for the services associated with amicable solution of disputes by way of arbitration, not necessarily addressed to the renowned arbitration centres. Therefore, there is much to compete for.

Poland – regional arbitration centre

That which was our curse throughout the years, could be transformed into a positive. Our location in the east of the European Union, between Scandinavia and southern Europe, can be a convenient location for arbitration. The power of the Polish economy, its image as a lively player from Eastern Europe, can create advantageous conditions for the development of arbitration. The culture-creating leadership in Eastern Europe, and even in Central Asia, can strengthen our attractiveness. Although it is an extremely sensitive topic for political reasons, it cannot be disregarded. It is also difficult not to notice what a long distance certain countries from our region have to cover in order to cause that their judicial system would evoke trust in foreign investors. In a geographically and culturally close Poland, arbitration can be an alternative. It must also be clearly stated that it is not about the cases and transactions whose volume and importance justifies arbitration in Paris or London, but about matters of with a value below millions of dollars. In the authors’ opinion, potentially many such matters exist. If, for instance, Zakopane is attractive to a big group of Russians and Ukrainians, perhaps arbitration in Poland could also be attractive; not everybody can and wants to shine in Chamonix.

Autor: Maciej Jamka, Tomasz Sychowicz Data publikacji: 2011-10-12 Ilość stron: 1 Cena: 0