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With a modern arbitration system and confidentiality at the heart of proceedings, Andrew Mackenzie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Arbitration Centre, explains why Scotland is the place to arbitrate.

Andrew Mackenzie, Chief Executive of The Scottish Arbitration Centre

Scotland can offer the best in legal and dispute resolution services for companies looking to trade or set up here.

Scotland is driving to become a serious contender on the international arbitration stage. We know work in this area has increased in Scotland, but we want to see more companies getting the benefit of Scottish arbitration. 

The Scottish Arbitration Centre has been at the forefront of this campaign. It was set up in 2011 following the introduction of the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010 as a long term investment to develop arbitration in Scotland. And we’re actively encouraging international business to Scotland by promoting Scotland as a jurisdiction of arbitration in international disputes.

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is used to resolve disputes outside the courts. It’s essentially a private court and the main method of dispute resolution in international commercial disputes.

Both parties must agree to use arbitration as the method of dispute resolution and it’s often included in the dispute clause in contracts. Where a dispute arises the parties refer it to a third party, the arbitrator, by whose decision they agree to be bound.

Why Scotland?

Scots law is a hybrid or mixed legal system, containing civil and common law elements, making it attractive to companies trading in both those jurisdictions.

Andrew Mackenzie, Chief Executive of The Scottish Arbitration Centre

Although part of the UK, Scotland is a separate legal jurisdiction from England and Wales. Scots law is a hybrid or mixed legal system, containing civil and common law elements, making it attractive to companies trading in both those jurisdictions.. It also makes Scotland a neutral alternative to London. And Scotland boasts an abundance of talented legal and arbitration professionals.

Scotland is certainly an affordable place to arbitrate with costs around half that of London and New York.  It’s an attractive venue in which to arbitrate, with good transport links and accommodation. So, arbitrating in Scotland represents good value for money.

Scotland has a modern arbitration system, modelled on the English regime, similar to others around the world. Confidentiality is at the heart of the proceedings in Scotland. It’s protected by law and parties can also get anonymity should any matter be referred to the court. This is one of the main selling points of Scottish arbitration when disputes are commercially sensitive.

The law of the contract doesn't necessarily determine the jurisdiction of any dispute arising from it. So contracts governed by English law could have Scotland as the jurisdiction and/or venue for any arbitration.

Indeed, many international contracts also set out that arbitration will be governed by institutional arbitration rules, where the dispute will be serviced by a private international arbitration court, but Scotland could be the jurisdiction and/or venue of the arbitration.

For example, a South African law contract with a dispute clause stipulating the London Court of International Arbitration’s (LCIA) arbitration rules could also name Scotland as the jurisdiction and venue of the arbitration. So, the arbitration would be managed by the LCIA but take place in Scotland and, if reference to court was required, the Scottish Courts would have jurisdiction.

International reach

The Centre has put Scotland on the international arbitration map. Professionals in London and the US hire our facilities because we're a neutral and cost effective venue. We’ve also made numerous links with the international community and now have a distribution list of 3,600 professionals from across the globe. We work with these and others to spread the message about Scotland and its offering.

The Centre’s efforts to put Scottish arbitration on the international stage were recognised as an up and coming regional arbitration institution by the Global Arbitration Review Awards 2015 in Washington DC.

About The Scottish Arbitration Centre

The Scottish Arbitration Centre’s is located on Princes Street in Edinburgh, in the heart of the capital’s central business district, making it a convenient and accessible place to conduct arbitration.

The Centre’s facilities include modern hearing rooms and breakout spaces, some overlooking Edinburgh Castle. We offer room hire services for arbitration hearings, mediations, and for other events and meetings. The Centre can also appoint arbitrators through our arbitral appointment system, which is presided over by our independent arbitral committee.

You can join our membership programme to receive advertising on our website, discounts off room hire and training events at the Centre, and our quarterly newsletter. Current members include international construction and law firms, as well as London chambers.

The Scottish Arbitration Centre website

The legal services and LPO sector in Scotland

Reasons to invest in Scotland