As part of our efforts to develop our business and in making sure that our services and offering stay relevant to the international business community, the SCC Arbitration Institute earlier this year commissioned a market research survey, conducted by the research company IPSOS. In this survey, we asked arbitrators, legal practitioners, and company lawyers what they think is most important in the delivery of our services. We also investigated the attitude to alternative dispute resolution services among company lawyers in the Nordic region.
When all respondents were asked about what is most important for any arbitration institute, they talked about neutrality and impartiality, service level to arbitrators and parties, expertise at the secretariat and the board, and digitalised working methods as top five factors. The same factors are associated with the SCC Arbitration Institute, where respondents said that they consider the SCC being independent and neutral, efficient, offering digitalised working methods, giving high level of service, and being modern.
If we only look at the responding company lawyers, they stated that the three top drivers when choosing an arbitration institution for resolving a dispute were that:
1) the institute could resolve the dispute quickly
2) that the institution is neutral and independent
3) that the costs of the service are low.
The survey showed that the attitudes and how familiar one was with arbitration as a dispute resolution tool differed among the Nordic countries. It is more common to include a dispute resolution clause in Sweden and Finland than in Denmark and Norway. Among all company lawyers responding in Sweden and Finland, almost 7 out of 10 stated that they had taken part in negotiating an agreement in which a dispute resolution clause was included. And about as many, 75%, said they would include one in a future contract. That number is even higher for Finland, where 86% said they would.
Company lawyers based in the Nordic countries consider the choice of dispute resolution method – and the use of dispute resolution clauses – an issue of strategic and economic importance. From the survey, financial planning and economic predictability are becoming increasingly important and necessary for all businesses. Among all the respondents, 77% believe this is a strategic and business-critical issue at management level. However, the same respondents stated that only just over 60% of the management team at their company were sufficiently familiar with dispute resolution clauses.
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Arbitration must stay a flexible and cost-efficient dispute resolution method also in the future. The disputes are becoming more complex, driven by for example the globalisation and the current state in the world. The respondents are clear, they do not want to see arbitration becoming more like court proceedings but want to keep and develop arbitration a quick and cost-efficient method with highly skilled arbitrators and the advantage of enforcement in all parts of the world.
– This is very much in line with our expectations and what we hear when we meet companies, arbitrators and counsel in our daily business. Great to see that companies are considering the choice of dispute resolution method as a strategic and business critical issue to be addressed at the highest level, as should be, says Caroline Falconer, Deputy Secretary General at the SCC Arbitration Institute.