1. How did you get Involved in International Arbitration?

I have been worked in dispute resolution for most of my career – over a decade now. Arbitration has become a more commonly used method of dispute resolution during that time, so too has it become a more common part of my caseload. I first got involved in International Arbitration as a junior solicitor, part of a team running arbitrations for clients. I qualified as a solicitor advocate, with higher rights of audience in the civil courts, in 2017. Since then, my work in both litigation and arbitration has concentrated on advocacy: drafting claims and responses, presenting oral arguments and examining witnesses.

2. How does International Arbitration help clients?

The flexibility offered by arbitration can be of great benefit to clients. Not only can they agree to resolve their dispute in a place that is convenient for them – regardless of where in the world they, the other side or the subject matter of the contract are located – but they can agree in advance what skills and qualifications the arbitrator will have. Not all disputes will be best resolved by having a lawyer as decision maker.

Once a dispute has crystalised and arbitration has started, the flexibility in procedure means disputes can be resolved quickly and efficiently. Publicly funded courts often don't have the resources to ensure that cases can be resolved as quickly and procedural rules tend to be quite rigid.

Finally, the confidential nature of arbitration is often very attractive to clients. Courts are public places and decisions are published on websites. Even in disputes that are not particularly high profile, a client might well want to avoid an adverse written decision by a judge floating around on the internet.

3. Describe your most memorable experience in International Arbitration?

The remote trial that I ran with colleagues during the pandemic was challenging and, ultimately, rewarding. Our team was scattered around our homes in Scotland, the opponents in England, the arbitrator and his clerk in Denmark and the witnesses in separate locations in Greece. We used a specialist "e-court" platform to run the trial and our IT support for the system were based in Australia! From an advocacy perspective, it is always a challenge examining witnesses and making submissions to a decision maker whose first language isn't the same as your own. Doing that remotely was even more challenging and even more thought than normal had to be put into the words being used.

4. Name your top tip for when doing International Arbitration

One of the most important parts of International Arbitration comes up often well before a dispute arises. The arbitration agreement – which is frequently a clause in the underlying contract between the parties – is key. It's often not thought about, but if the clause is not fit for purpose for the particular contract, it can cause issues when a dispute does arise. Those who regularly include arbitration clauses in their contracts should review them regularly to ensure that potential issues are warded off well before arbitration is necessary.


Jamie Reekie

Senior Associate & Solicitor Advocate