Choosing an arbitral seat in the USA
Produced in partnership with Arnold & Porter
Choosing an arbitral seat in the USA

The following Arbitration guidance note Produced in partnership with Arnold & Porter provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Choosing an arbitral seat in the USA
  • Why the seat (or venue) is important
  • The role of local courts
  • Practical considerations
  • Important considerations in selecting arbitral seats in the United States

The venue is the seat, or the legal place, of the arbitration. This Practice Note addresses the importance of selecting the seat with a particular focus on the United States of America (USA or US).

Note: US judgments referred to in this Practice Note are not reported by LexisNexis® UK.

Why the seat (or venue) is important

Venue is the seat, or the legal place, of the arbitration. Frequently overlooked by the parties at the time of contracting, the selection of the seat is one of the most important choices to make during contract negotiations.

The seat of the arbitration usually determines the applicable procedural law (lex arbitri) that will govern the arbitration. This choice has important practical and legal implications, because it will determine (among other matters):

  1. the role of local courts in relation to the arbitration

  2. the standard for determining the validity of the arbitration agreement, and

  3. the standard for recognition of the arbitral award

For further information, see Practice Notes: The seat of the arbitration and Choosing the seat of arbitration.

The role of local courts

Although arbitration is largely an extra-judicial process, the courts where the arbitration is seated can impact substantially the arbitral proceedings at every stage of the process, for example:

  1. before the arbitration has been initiated, the courts may assist parties in commencing the