Arbitration Knowhow from James Clanchy FCIArb. London based arbitrator in independent practice

Arbitration Knowhow article

The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)

The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)

The London Court of International Arbitration dates from the nineteenth century and is one of the preeminent contemporary arbitration institutions worldwide.

Find more articles on related arbitration topics on my Arbitration Knowhow page.

The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)

The London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) has its origins in the last decade of the nineteenth century.  It was inaugurated in 1892 with these words:

"This Chamber is to have all the virtues which the law lacks. It is to be expeditious where the law is slow, cheap where the law is costly, simple where the law is technical, a peacemaker instead of a stirrer-up of strife.”

In the 21st century the modern LCIA finds itself in an elite group of international commercial arbitration institutions, alongside the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) based in Paris, the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), the American Arbitration Association (AAA), the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). Like them, it administers a wide range of arbitrations for parties from around the world. It does so both under its own rules and under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules.

For more information about the LCIA, visit

I was privileged to serve as Registrar of the LCIA in 2008-2012, a period of exceptional growth in the wake of the global financial crisis. In 2009, the LCIA Court made 502 appointments of arbitrators, a record which stood for ten years.  

The turmoil in the commodities markets at that time revealed that LCIA clauses had been written into a number of standard form contracts. The institution was administering cases which in the past would have been ad hoc arbitrations or administered by a trade association. Commodities and shipping disputes continue to be referred to the LCIA. According to the annual report on its caseload, 37% of the LCIA’s new cases in 2022 were in the transport and commodities sectors. See my LexisNexis blog post on 2022 arbitration statistics.

In 2010 the LCIA Court began a review of the LCIA’s Arbitration Rules. I assisted with that process both while I was Registrar and afterwards. The new Rules were published in 2014.  

Commentary on the LCIA Arbitration Rules 2014available from Sweet & Maxwell

I co-authored the first book on the new Rules, which was published by Sweet & Maxwell in 2015, A Commentary on the LCIA Arbitration Rules 2014 by Shai Wade, Philip Clifford and James Clanchy. A new edition of the book was published in 2022. As I was working part-time for another publisher (LexisNexis UK) at the time, I was unable to join my co-authors in revising the text but much of my original contribution remains.

The new edition contains commentary on the LCIA’s updated arbitration rules which came into force on 1 October 2020.  See my analysis of the revisions in LexisNexis Blogs: LCIA Arbitration Rules 2020 – a heavier touch?

For comments on the LCIA's case numbers and its initiative to publish costs and duration data, see my Lexis Blog post on arbitration statistics and alternative facts.

In 2008, the LCIA established a joint venture with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), an offshore jurisdiction. The DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre, whose rules were based on the LCIA’s, combined the international best practices and reputation of the LCIA with an understanding of the local and regional legal and business cultures in the MENA region.

I was pleased to have been appointed by the LCIA Court as sole arbitrator in an arbitration under the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Rules 2016. I was appointed in November 2018 and made my final award in December 2019. The parties were from the UAE and China and were represented by lawyers in New Delhi and Beijing.

In September 2021, the ruler of Dubai abolished the institute under whose auspices the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre administered its caseload and it is no longer in operation. However, a refreshed Dubai International Arbitration Centre (DIAC) is gaining the trust of international parties who previously turned to the DIFC-LCIA. When I was in Dubai for ICMA in November 2023, I was pleased to meet DIAC’s registrar who had previously been the DIFC-LCIA registrar and who supervised my case in 2018-2019. I joined DIAC’s Arbitrator List in January 2024.

I was pleased to be selected by co-arbitrators as Chair of a tribunal in a dispute under a commodities sale and purchase contract, which was referred to arbitration in London under the LCIA Rules 2020. The tribunal was appointed by the LCIA Court in December 2021 and we made our final award on the merits in September 2022.

Click the link below to download James Clanchy's CV as a PDF.