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• The European Union (EU) is increasingly turning

its back on ad hoc arbitration as the mechanism of

investment dispute resolution in favour of an

investment court system with permanent judges

(as in recent agreements with Canada and

Vietnam). This may be the approach taken in a

future EU-UK agreement post-Brexit. Meanwhile,

the storm of Brexit will have little impact on the

status of London as an arbitral seat. Indeed, given

the uncertain international enforcement status of

English court judgments in a post-Brexit world,

arbitration appears ever more attractive as the

New York Convention on the Recognition and

Enforcement of Arbitral Awards continues to

ensure enforceability within and outside the EU.

• As China's Belt and Road initiative continues

to gather momentum in 2018, its impact for

Asia and beyond will be far-reaching. Arbitration

is the dispute resolution process of choice in many

of the related international infrastructure

projects. With thousands of projects now in

progress, we can expect an uptick in the number

of disputes, with a likely focus on Hong Kong and

Singapore as arbitral seats.

• Technology is driving change across the world

economy, bringing opportunities and risks for

corporates and states alike. The fast pace and

sheer scale of digital transformation is likely to

give rise to disputes, as seen with the recent

increase in intellectual property arbitrations,

an emerging trend that is set to accelerate.

• Diversity will remain firmly on the agenda with

an increasing number of signatories to the Equal

Representation in Arbitration Pledge. 2018 will be

a litmus test of the commitment of signatories

and the community more broadly to ensure that

women are appointed as arbitrators on an equal

opportunity basis.

• The funding of arbitration claims has entered

the mainstream with increasing numbers of

claimants offsetting the multi-year exposure

of capital through bespoke arrangements with

specialist funders. Funding is also being

increasingly employed by multinationals with

regard to portfolios of claims. It continues to

ensure access to justice for claimants whose

financial means of bringing a claim has been

destroyed by the conduct of the respondent.

These tectonic moves will require constant

adaptation to ensure that international arbitration

survives and thrives by serving its ideals of prompt,

expert and independent adjudication. We look

forward to facing these challenges in the year ahead

with our clients, who entrust us with their most

important disputes in a world of change. If you

would like to find out more about any of these

topics, please contact me or my colleagues in the

international arbitration group.

International arbitration:

the top trends in 2018

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