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ADR: International Cotton Arbitration

An article by Anthony Connerty on the arbitration of cotton disputes, concentrating in particular on the Liverpool – based International Cotton Association, will be published in the next edition of Arbitration International,

...the Journal of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).

A history of cotton trading – and its place in the history of Liverpool – is sketched in by way of background. In the 21st Century it is perhaps strange to think that in the late 1800s Liverpool played a part in the American Civil War - and that CSS Alabama and other ships built on Liverpool’s River Mersey led to the setting up of the Alabama Claims Commission.

The outcome of the Commission was that Britain was ordered to pay the United States some $15 million in compens ation (current value estimated at $150 billion). The cause of arbitration as a means of settling disputes between states on a peaceful basis was advanced by the Commission. And the Alabama arbitration was a likely model for the dispute resolution processes later created at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
Aspects of the ICA’s Rulebook are summarised as a background to a consideration of the Arbitration provisions relating to Technical Arbitration and the internal Technical Appeal process.

Finally, two court cases involving ICA arbitral awards are mentioned. One in the Commercial Court in London, where Mr Justice Burton analysed the sometimes curious effects of the closure/invoicing back provisions.

The other an action in a Chinese court: particularly interesting because the case shows a PRC court upholding the decision of an ICA arbitral tribunal for the purposes of the New York Convention. And because we see a PRC court considering and applying the ICA rules, the provisions of the English Arbitration Act and provisions of the New York Convention.

The influence of the International Cotton Association – successor to the Liverpool Cotton Association - is now more widespread than it was in the early days of cotton trading in Liverpool.

/ 1st May 2013


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