WA punching above its arbitrary weight
Western Australia has been considered a neutral and world class location for arbitration, according to a new report.
A survey into the state’s arbitration market, run by Francis Burt Chambers and FTI Consulting has led to the creation of the WA Arbitration Initiative’s 2019 WA Arbitration Report.
Key findings highlighted by the report for the 2017-18 financial year included that there were 105 unique arbitration proceedings considered ‘active’ in the period, with 53 noted as domestic disputes while 52 were classed as international disputes.
The combined value in dispute across all 105 arbitrations was reported as being valued at more than $14 billion, with an additional $8.5 billion in counterclaims also recorded.
The report went on to note that Western Australian firms billed approximately $85 million on arbitration work over the 2017-18 financial year, with a further $9 million in tribunal costs, $13 million in witness fees, and $4.5 million in other costs.
There were 11 individual disputes where the values of an arbitration claim exceeded $1 billion, with such values “heavily skewed” towards international arbitration, the report found.
Across industries, it was highlighted that the construction and engineering sector accounted for almost 50 per cent of individual disputes alone.
When oil, gas, mining and resources industries were added to the construction and engineering statistics, 75 per cent of all reported arbitrations fell under such classifications.
“The value of disputes across industries had a relatively even distribution and are more likely to reveal the general value of disputes in those industries generally, rather than the propensity to use arbitration as a dispute resolution method contingent on the dispute value”, the report continued.
According to the report’s authors, “arbitration practitioners in Western Australia are in no doubt about the extent and quality of arbitration that occurs here and the valuable contribution of WA practitioners in international and interstate arbitration”.
“The results show significant arbitration activity and an active arbitration community in Western Australia”, it was said, with “significant experience both in domestic and international arbitration, particularly in the infrastructure, resources and energy sectors”.