Miami: crossroads of the Americas and, increasingly, Europe and Asia, host city for the 2014 International Council for Commercial Arbitration Congress, site of the Latin American headquarters for countless multinationals and the worldwide base of at least five Fortune 500 companies.
And now, home to only the second international arbitration court in the United States and one of a handful across the globe.
On Dec. 17, 2013, the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court announced the creation of an International Arbitration Court “designed exclusively to handle international commercial arbitration matters.” The court, a subdivision of Miami-Dade’s Complex Business Litigation court, will feature judges with specialized international arbitration expertise.
At first, the post will be filled by two judges, who will be trained by the University of Miami, in conjunction with the Miami International Arbitration Society.
Although Miami has in recent years seen a marked increase in the number of international arbitrations and related proceedings, few state court judges are familiar with this specialized area of the law. Designated judges will be better able to address the complex issues that arise in the international arbitration context. Overall, this will add consistency and predictability to the process.
Another key benefit of the IAC will be its efficiency. Having ready access to judges specially trained in the laws and procedure of international arbitration should substantially expedite the resolution of arbitration-related matters. This will allow the parties — and the tribunal — a greater opportunity to actually achieve the traditional goals of making dispute resolution through international arbitration quicker and less costly than litigation.
Other efficiencies (as well as strategic advantages) appear when one considers that under standard Florida practice, discovery and emergency matters are usually heard on short notice. The Peruvian mining company could have a live emergency hearing before the IAC and get a ruling on its injunction application before the gold shipment leaves the state. And the Chilean fish distributor can know whether its arbitral award is going to be recognized or not before trying to have it confirmed and enforced elsewhere.
The creation of the IAC will further increase Miami’s attractiveness as a premier international arbitration venue, complete with world-class arbitrators, able counsel, and, now, the city’s very own international arbitration court. Miami’s star indeed is rising.
Stay Tuned for Part 2, which will cover disputes in IAC—what’s eligible and what relief can be sought.