Choosing the seat of arbitration
Published by a LexisNexis Arbitration expert
Last updated on 20/11/2019

The following Arbitration practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Choosing the seat of arbitration

Choosing the seat of arbitration

The choice of the seat or legal place of the arbitration is one of the most important matters to be considered when drafting an international arbitration agreement as the seat is the juridical (legal) domicile of the arbitration. For more information on the importance of the arbitral seat and how it is determined, see Practice Note: The seat of the arbitration.

Relevant criteria to be considered by parties and practitioners when choosing a seat of arbitration, and questions to be asked relating to them, are set out in the table below, although the appropriate seat for a particular arbitration agreement within a particular contract will, of course, be informed by the circumstances of the case.

By way of example, Debevoise & Plimpton set out their top five seats generally recommended in their 2018 publication, Debevoise International Arbitration Clause Handbook, which are (in alphabetical order): Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris and Singapore. The Queen Mary University of London international arbitration surveys also indicate which seats are considered popular or preferred among respondents. In the 2021 survey, produced in partnership with White & Case LLP, London and Singapore were voted jointly the most preferred seats of arbitration, followed by Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. Nevertheless, it is important to bear in mind the limitations of such surveys when assessing and selecting seats of arbitration.

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Key definition:
Seat of arbitration definition
What does Seat of arbitration mean?

The jurisdiction in which an arbitration is deemed legally to take place and the award issued, regardless of the geographical location of the tribunal and/or any hearings. The seat also determines the legal system that, generally, provides the arbitration’s procedure and which courts have supervisory jurisdiction over the arbitration.

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