Scottish Arbitration Centre submits final bid for Edinburgh to host ICCA 2020 with backing of First Minister and Prime Minister



Andrew Mackenzie

The Scottish Arbitration Centre has submitted its final written bid for Edinburgh to host the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) Congress 2020.

ICCA is a worldwide non-governmental organisation devoted to promoting the use, and improving the processes of arbitration and other forms of international commercial dispute resolution. Its activities include convening international arbitration congresses and conferences, sponsoring authoritative dispute resolution publications, and promoting the harmonisation of arbitration and conciliation rules, laws and practices.

The ICCA Congress is the world’s largest conference devoted to international arbitration.  The previous two ICCA congresses, held in Singapore and Miami, each attracted over 1,000 arbitration professionals.

In December ICCA confirmed that Edinburgh had been pre-selected to bid after the centre submitted its initial bid in November. The other cities eligible to bid to host ICCA 2020 are Copenhagen, Mexico City, Stockholm, St Petersburg, Vancouver and Vienna.

The bid has the support of the Prime Minister, the First Minister, the Lord President of the Court of Session, the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, and the President of the Law Society of Scotland among others.

In her letter of support dated 15 March the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeonsaid: “I am pleased to support the Scottish Arbitration Centre’s bid to host the ICCA Congress in 2020.

“Increasing the use of alternative dispute resolution is a priority for the Scottish Government and arbitration has a long history in Scotland, complimented by one of the most modern systems of arbitration in the world.

“In the last five years, the Centre has continued to grow and develop rapidly; relocating to premises overlooking Edinburgh Castle, unveiling a formal arbitral appointments process, taking on the provision of administrative services to a new statutory dispute scheme, and being shortlisted for a number of awards, including the “Innovation in Arbitration” Award in 2016.”

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: “I am confident that Scotland would be a fantastic place to host the Congress.  It would provide an excellent opportunity for the Scottish Arbitration Centre to showcase just how much Scotland has to offer and to build on the already glowing reputation gained by the successful hosting of the Commonwealth Games in 2014.”

The Centre has also announced a list of individuals supporting the Edinburgh bid, who will constitute an advisory panel. Panel members will provide advice as required on approaches to the bid and, if successful, on preparations for ICCA 2020.  The panel includes”

  • John Beechey, Chairman of the ICC UK Arbitration and ADR Committee and past President of ICC International Court of Arbitration

  • Professor Peter Cameron, Director of the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy at the University of Dundee and Co-Director of the International Centre for Energy Arbitration

  • Lord Hope of Craighead, Arbitrator at Brick Court Chambers, past Deputy President of the Supreme Court and former Lord President of the Court of Session

  • Colm Ó hOisín SC, Barrister, President of Arbitration Ireland and Member of ICCA Dublin Host Committee

  • Dr Christopher Kee, Dean of Chinese Affairs for the University of Aberdeen and Senior Lecturer at the University’s School of Law and Co-Director of the Willem C Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot

On announcing the advisory panel, Andrew Mackenzie, chief executive of the centre, said: “We are delighted to have the support of key domestic organisations, such as the Scottish and UK governments, as well as global support from RICS’s 27 international offices.”

Brandon Malone, chairman of the board of the centre, said: “We are very excited that Edinburgh has been pre-selected to bid to host ICCA 2020. There is stiff competition from six very worthy competitor cities, but we have confidence in Edinburgh’s offering, and look forward to presenting our bid to the ICCA Governing Council at ICCA 2016 in May.

“We are grateful for the support that we have received from government and professional bodies and in particular for the endorsement of the First Minister and Prime Minister. We have been overwhelmed by the offers of support from senior members of the international arbitration community.”