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WA gleans in-house arbitration snapshot

Perth City

A new report has provided some insight into the state of arbitration in Western Australia.

The 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.

The report found that 13 out of 14 in-house respondents, involved in the survey of Western Australian law firms, companies, arbitrators and barristers, were responsible for the drafting of arbitration clauses in contracts entered into by their companies in the 2017-18 financial year.

Six in-house counsel also indicated their involvement in arbitration proceedings over the same period.

Approximately 45 instances of arbitration proceedings were reported by those counsel on a whole, with some categorical overlap.

Of those in-house counsel interviewed, the combined annual turnover of respondent companies was in excess of $9 billion, with 91 West Australian lawyers accounted for in companies located across banking and finance, construction and engineering, mining and resources, oil and gas, retail and shipbuilding industries.

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An estimate was also provided as to the billing of law firms in Western Australia on arbitration matters, with a 2017-18 figure placed conservatively at $85 million.

In a snapshot of companies more broadly, of the respondents which indicated the nature of their representation in arbitrations, more than half of the parties briefed external counsel, with two trends revealed by the report.

Firstly, the report noted that compared with lawyers undertaking arbitration, there is “a stronger tendency to use legal counsel from interstate”.

“Similarly, when disputes are international, there appears to be a propensity to use overseas external counsel,” the report continued.

Lawyers Weekly previously reported on Western Australia being considered as a ‘neutral’ and ‘world-class’ location for arbitration.  

 

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