1. Modern Arbitration Act
The BVI has an excellent new Arbitration Act, based on the UNCITRAL model law.
The confidence and transparency brought by having a modern Arbitration Act is a powerful differentiator for the BVI. BVI’s arbitration laws are impartial, efficient and designed with modern international arbitration in mind and afford parties a speedy dispute resolution mechanism that is enforceable.
2. Counsel Selection freedom
The new Arbitration Act gives the parties to arbitration the freedom to select a legal representative of their choice without restriction.
There are no restrictions as to where legal counsel must be qualified or their nationality. Enshrining this right in legislation confirms that the BVI is committed to party choice.
3. Civil Immunity
The Arbitration Act gives civil immunity to arbitrators. For anything done in good faith in the exercise of their powers and performance of their functions as arbitrators, arbitrators will have civil immunity. This enables the BVI IAC to attract the best international arbitrators.
4. New York Convention
BVI's accession to the New York Convention on 25 May 2014. Following a request from the BVI Government to the UK Government, the BVI became a party to the New York Convention in May 2014.
Participants in BVI arbitrations will receive awards that will be enforceable in the over 150 Contracting States, which have ratified or acceded to the New York Convention.
5. Strong governmental support
The BVI Government is adopting a ‘hands-on’ approach to work with the international arbitration community, the BVI legal services sector and the courts to ensure that the BVI’s offering is the best that it can be.
At the same time, the Government has put in place safeguards to ensure that the BVI IAC will perform its functions entirely independent of any Executive intervention or other interference.
6. Sophisticated judiciary
The BVI has a refined, learned, ethical and impartial judiciary.
Arbitration cannot flourish where there is an obstructive, hostile or interventionist judiciary that does not recognize the importance of a supportive supervisory role in the arbitral process. The BVI has highly regarded commercial court from which appeals lie in the first instance to the respected Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, with a final right of appeal to the Privy Council in England. All of these courts are well-versed in dealing with complex international disputes. Practitioners can be confident that these same courts understand the importance of being seen to support, rather than undermine, arbitration.
The BVI courts have a pro arbitration history and, even before the new Arbitration Act came into force, court proceedings were routinely stayed in favor of arbitration in cases where the parties had provided for resolution of their disputes by arbitration.
7. High quality legal community
Successful arbitration centres need sophisticated and skilled practitioners to conduct and support arbitrations taking place in their jurisdictions. The local legal community and bar association is highly experienced and sophisticated in both local, regional and international complex legal matters.
8. Financial services reputation
The BVI’s strong reputation as an international financial services centre.
The BVI is one of the most stable and prosperous economies in the Caribbean and one of the world’s leading providers of the off-shore corporate entities, which play crucial roles in joint venture arrangements and asset and wealth management pivotal to facilitating global trade and finance.
It is ideally placed to develop a sophisticated domestic and international arbitration centre able to meet the needs of these corporate entities, many of which are critical elements in truly international company structures.
9. In Jurisdiction expertise
The BVI is exceptionally well placed to develop its reputation as a centre for financial dispute resolution – it has a ready pool of experts, who can hear and argue the most complex of financial disputes.
10. Outstanding, state-of-the-art facilities
The BVI International Arbitration Centre exceeds the standards now expected in international arbitration, offering skilled administration and comfortable surroundings that are conducive to the efficient and effective conduct of arbitral proceedings.