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Can Sydney shine on the arbitration scene?
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Can Sydney shine on the arbitration scene?

The timing is ripe for Australia to make its mark as an international arbitration hub, but views differ on whether we have what it takes do so.International disputes at an all-time high, and the…

The timing is ripe for Australia to make its mark as an international arbitration hub, but views differ on whether we have what it takes do so.

International disputes at an all-time high, and the use of international arbitration for resolving them is on the rise - meaning big business for cities that can establish themselves as arbitration "seats" - arbitration hot spots whose procedures govern arbitrations and where arbitrations are held.

London, Geneva and New York have already firmly cemented themselves as seats, while Hong Kong and Singapore are rapidly making their mark. Australia, however, has been slow out of the gate, and it remains to be seen whether we'll be able to join the club.

Clayton Utz partner Doug Jones believes we do, and as president of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA), he's investing a lot into trying to build a critical mass of arbitration specialists who will be able to support Sydney as an arbitration hub.

However not everyone is so optimistic. International arbitrator and former ACICA president Toni de Fina believes location, location, location will prove to be Sydney's downfall.

"They're not going to attract international arbitrations to Australia. Australia is too far away from anywhere - who's going to come here? It won't work, it can't work - I tried when I was the president of ACICA for 18 years to do something, but I realised the futility of it all," he says.

- Zoe Lyon

For the full story, see this week's edition of Lawyers Weekly

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