Arbitral institutions are sometimes portrayed as fierce competitors, locked in a ‘zero sum' game in which every case administered by one institution is seen as a ‘loss' for the other institutions that might have administered that case. According to this view, each arbitral institution is focused on establishing dominance in the market they serve and is disinclined to collaborate with others in the field.
The tenor of this (over)dramatic rhetoric is attributable to at least three features of the current arbitration environment. First, there has been a marked increase in the number of arbitration institutions that have opened for business in the past 10-20 years. Most of these new institutions are regional or national arbitration centres, seeking to service the growing arbitration market in their home jurisdiction. Many of the new institutions have issued bespoke arbitral rules, often inspired by, but not identical to, universally known rules such as the ICC Rules of Arbitration, the UNCITRAL (United Nations Commission on International Trade Law) Arbitration Rules or the ICSID (International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes) Arbitration Rules. In some instances, new institutions have opened to provide alternative facilities in existing markets; for example, the International Arbitration Centre (IAC) in London. In other instances, new institutions have been established in locations that were previously served from foreign centres in traditional arbitration hubs such as London, New York, or Paris. A good example of this is Arbitration Place in Toronto, Ontario, which opened in April 2012 as a full-service venue for arbitration in Canada.
Africa provides perhaps the best example of the recent growth in arbitral institutions, with over 85 arbitral institutions in operation across the continent, many of them established in the past decade. These institutions service States with growing domestic, regional, and international comme
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