FAQ

  • General

  • What are the benefits of arbitration in the BVI?

    The BVI is both neutral and geographically convenient for parties to a dispute in the Caribbean or the Americas, particularly if parties prefer not to arbitrate in the US or South America. The BVI is also a party to the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the "New York Convention") and has a modern Arbitration Law, based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration as amended in 2006 (the “UNCITRAL Model Law”). For more on this please see “Why BVI?”

  • Why arbitrate versus litigation?

    Arbitration is a less formal and more flexible procedure than court litigation. Parties are free to appoint their own arbitrators and can choose more practical procedures and rules for the conduct of an arbitration. Generally, arbitration is confidential and can also be more cost-efficient and speedier than court litigation.

    Furthermore, due to the fact that the BVI has adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law, one can expect maximum judicial support and minimal judicial interference from BVI courts. Arbitral awards which are final and binding, are generally enforceable in more than 150 countries under the New York Convention (subject to any local legislation and/or requirements).

  • Arbitration Agreements

  • Does BVI IAC have a model arbitration clause?

    In drawing up international contracts, we recommend that parties include the following arbitration clause:

    Arbitration Administered by the BVI International Arbitration Centre Model clause

    “The number of arbitrators shall be… [one or three];

    The place of arbitration shall be… [Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, unless the Parties agree otherwise];

    The language to be used in the arbitral proceedings shall be… [language].”

    Note: Arbitrations under the BVI IAC Arbitration Rules may be conducted anywhere in the world and not just at the BVI IAC’s premises in Tortola.

  • We do not have an arbitration clause in our contract. Can we commence arbitration at BVI IAC?

    BVI IAC’s jurisdiction to administer an arbitration is derived from the arbitration agreement. Therefore, without an arbitration clause or any other post-contractual agreement to refer the dispute to BVI IAC, BVI IAC cannot administer the arbitration.

    If both parties sign a post-contractual agreement in favor of arbitrating their dispute under BVI IAC rules, then our institution can administer the case.

  • Is it sufficient if my arbitration clause provides simply for arbitration in the BVI?

    A clause referring only to arbitration in the BVI does not provide for BVI IAC arbitration, though it does provide for an ad hoc arbitration seated in the BVI. Parties may, however, agree to adopt the BVI IAC Rules by agreement or agree to the ad hoc arbitration being administered by BVI IAC.

  • Does BVI IAC act as an appointing authority?

    The CEO of BVI IAC is competent to act as an appointing authority for arbitrations under BVI IAC rules and under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, subject to the arbitration agreement between the parties.

  • Does BVI IAC administer cases conducted under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules?

    Yes, in addition to administering arbitrations under the BVI IAC Arbitration Rules, the Centre is also available to administer, and/or to act as appointing authority in, ad hoc arbitration proceedings under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules.

  • Commencment of Arbitration at BVI IAC

  • How do we commence an BVI IAC arbitration?

    Arbitration is a consensual process; both parties will have to agree to submit the dispute to BVI IAC for arbitration. As a first step, parties have to check their agreement to find out if there is an arbitration clause referring the dispute to arbitration at BVI IAC. Even if there is none, parties can still agree to submit the dispute to arbitration at BVI IAC. This post-dispute agreement should be in writing. Once either step is fulfilled, a Notice of Arbitration pursuant to Article 3 of the BVI IAC Rules has to be filed with the Secretariat of BVI IAC along with payment of the requisite registration fee.

  • How do we file the Notice of Arbitration?

    The Notice of Arbitration may be filed with us via email, by hand and/or by courier, to the attention of the Registrar. Our details are as follows:

    Please email arbitration@bviiac.org

    (Kindly ensure that the size of the email does not exceed 5 MB; for attachments exceeding this limit, a link to a data sharing platform shall be provided)

    Address: Secretariat
    BVI International Arbitration Centre
    P.O. Box 3438, Road Town, Tortola, VG 1110, BVI

    A copy of the Notice of Arbitration should be sent to the Respondent(s), and the Claimant should notify us of the mode of service employed and the date of service.

  • Can BVI IAC provide a sample Notice of Arbitration?

    Unfortunately, we cannot provide a sample Notice of Arbitration. Although there is no prescribed format for a Notice of Arbitration, please refer to Article 3 of the BVI IAC Rules to ensure that all the requirements have been complied with.

  • Where should we file our Response to the Notice of Arbitration?

    Response to the Notice of Arbitration may be filed with us via email, by hand and/or by courier, to the attention of the Registrar. Our details are as follows:

    Please email arbitration@bviiac.org

    (Kindly ensure that the size of the email does not exceed 5 MB; for attachments exceeding this limit, a link to a data sharing platform shall be provided)
    Address: Secretariat

    BVI International Arbitration Centre
    P.O. Box 3438, Road Town, Tortola, VG 1110, BVI

    A copy of the Response to the Notice of Arbitration should likewise be sent to the Claimant, and the Respondent should notify us of the mode of service employed and the date of service.

  • Can BVI IAC provide a sample Response to the Notice of Arbitration?

    Unfortunately, we cannot provide a sample Response to the Notice of Arbitration. Although there is no prescribed format for the Response to the Notice of Arbitration, please refer to Article 4 of the BVI IAC Rules to ensure that all the requirements have been complied with.

  • How much is the case registration fee?

    Under the current Schedule of Fees, the non-refundable registration fee (payable in advance with the Notice of Arbitration) is $1,500.00.

  • Can I consolidate related cases?

    BVI IAC’s Rules are silent on consolidation. Should the parties reach an agreement to consolidate related cases, consolidation would generally take place after the constitution of the Tribunal, upon the parties’ request, and pursuant to directions issued by the Tribunal.

  • We want to file a counterclaim. Do we have to pay a registration fee for the counterclaim?

    No. However, if Respondent formulates a claim against a party to the arbitration agreement other than the claimant under Article 4(2)(e) of the BVI IAC Rules, a registration fee is payable. Under the current schedule of fees, the Case Filing Fee is $1,500.00.

  • What happens if the Claimant fails to pay the case registration fee?

    Pursuant to Article 3 of the BVI IAC Rules, as the payment of the requisite filing fee is part of the requirements for filing a Notice of Arbitration, the Notice of Arbitration will not be deemed complete and the arbitration will not be deemed to have commenced until all the requirements of Article 3 have been fulfilled.

  • How do we pay the filing fees?

    Payments may be made by a local cheque payable to “BVI International Arbitration Centre” or by bank transfer to our bank account. Our bank details can be found on our Bank Account Details page.

  • Cost

  • What do the costs of arbitration, as defined in the BVI IAC Rules, include?

    Pursuant to Article 40 of the BVI IAC Rules, the costs of arbitration include:

    • the fees of the arbitral tribunal to be stated separately as to each arbitrator;
    • the reasonable travel and other expenses incurred by the arbitrators;
    • the reasonable costs of expert advice and of other assistance required by the arbitral tribunal;
    • the reasonable travel and other expenses of witnesses to the extent such expenses are approved by the arbitral tribunal;
    • the legal and other costs incurred by the parties in relation to the arbitration to the extent that the arbitral tribunal determines that the amount of such costs is reasonable; and
    • the fees and expenses of the Secretariat, including the fees and expenses of the appointing authority.

  • How are the costs of arbitration calculated?

    BVI IAC uses an ad valorem rate for arbitrator’s fees and an hourly rate for the Secretariat’s administrative fees. The costs referred to in (a), (b), (c) and (f) above, are fixed by the Secretariat in accordance with the BVI IAC’s Schedule of fees and costs, taking into account the amount in dispute, the complexity of the subject matter, the time spent by the arbitrators and any experts or assistants appointed by the arbitral tribunal, and any other relevant circumstances of the case. To arrive at a rough estimate of the costs of arbitration, our Fee Calculator which is available here may be useful.

  • How much would arbitration proceedings with BVI IAC cost?

    To arrive at a rough estimate of the costs of arbitration, our Fee Calculator which is available here may be useful.

  • If we cannot quantify our dispute, how would BVI IAC estimate the costs of arbitration?

    If the parties cannot quantify the amount of the claim or the counterclaim at the time an advance for costs under Article 41 of the BVI IAC Rules is due, the Secretariat will make a provisional estimate of the costs of arbitration based on the information known to us at the time of making the provisional estimate of costs. Under the BVI IAC Rules the estimate may be based on the nature of the controversy and the circumstances of the case. This may be adjusted in light of such information as may subsequently become available.

  • Appointment of Arbitrators

  • Does BVI IAC maintain a Panel of Arbitrators?

    Yes, BVI IAC maintains its own Panel of Arbitrators who are drawn from approximately 40 different jurisdictions. The BVI IAC’s Panel of Arbitrators is curated by Mr. Toby Landau QC and is available here.

  • May a party nominate an arbitrator who is not on BVI IAC’s Panel of Arbitrators?

    Yes. Pursuant to Article 7(4) of the BVI IAC Rules, Parties to a dispute are free to nominate arbitrators of their choice, whether from the BVI IAC Panel of Arbitrators or not.

  • Who are on BVI IAC’s Panel of Arbitrators?

    The BVI IAC’s Panel of Arbitrators is comprised of some of the most experienced, qualified and prominent arbitrators from around the world as well as a rooster of the younger generation of arbitrators. You may find the names of the arbitrators on BVI IAC’s Panel of Arbitrators here.

  • How do I apply to be on BVI IAC’s Panel of Arbitrators?

    If you wish to make an application to be on BVI IAC’s Panel of Arbitrators, please send a completed application form highlighting your arbitration experience. Your application may also be accompanied by a covering letter and references (if any).

    The application form is downloadable here.

  • Should arbitrators be lawyers?

    Generally (and subject to any agreement to the contrary), arbitrators do not have to be lawyers or have a legal background.

  • Awards

  • Are awards rendered in BVI IAC arbitrations enforceable outside the BVI?

    Yes, awards in BVI IAC arbitrations would be enforceable outside the BVI as the BVI is part of the New York Convention (subject to any local legislation and/or requirements).

  • Does BVI IAC scrutinize awards rendered by arbitral tribunals?

    Yes, pursuant to Article 34(5), prior to making any award, tribunals are required to provide them in draft form to the Secretariat of BVI IAC. The Secretariat may suggest modifications as to the form of the award and, without affecting the tribunal’s liberty of decision, may also draw the tribunal’s attention to points of substance. No award shall be made by a tribunal until it has been approved by the Secretariat as to its form.

  • Confidentiality

  • Can I obtain information about parties to BVI IAC arbitrations?

    Confidentiality is generally a key advantage of international arbitration. Arbitration proceedings conducted at BVI IAC are generally private and confidential in nature. Our response to any queries from the public for information on confidential BVI IAC arbitrations is that we cannot comment on the existence or otherwise of such an arbitration at BVI IAC.

  • Parties at BVI IAC

  • What kinds of parties use the BVI IAC?

    The Centre is well placed to become the leading arbitral institution in the Caribbean with capacity to administer and to host arbitrations involving parties from anywhere in the world, whether or not they have an immediate BVI connection.  The opening of the Centre is a signal of the BVI’s intent to be seen as a centre of choice for the resolution of all kinds of disputes and not simply reflective of the Chancery-based and common law work for which, traditionally, the BVI has been well known.

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Dispute Resolution Matters:

ARBITRATION

For further information or general enquiries relating to arbitration in the BVI, please contact arbitration@bviiac.org.

Notices of Arbitration submitted to BVIIAC by email should be sent to arbitration@BVIIAC.org.

Form 1 and Form 2 Applications should be sent to arbitration@BVIiac.org.

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For enquiries related to mediation, please contact mediation@BVIiac.org.

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