Maritime Arbitration in Australia

Journal article | December 2014 | Available for purchase & free for members


As an island nation Australia’s economy is highly dependent on sea trade. Approximately 12% of world trade by volume either comes into or goes out of Australia by sea. Matters maritime are an integral part of the Australian economy and maritime disputes can have acute effects on it. Therefore there is logic in the resolution of those disputes in appropriate cases being conducted in Australia, and to do so by arbitration.

In Australia, which has been characterised as a nation of shippers or cargo interests and not of shipowners or operators, those Australian interests negotiating contracts for the carriage of their goods with foreign ship interests historically agreed to the inclusion into those contracts of arbitration clauses nominating foreign seats of arbitration.

Now, given the economic growth in, and the movement of capital and commercial activity to, the Asia Pacific region, commercial parties working in this region wish to resolve their disputes where they have arisen, and to do so in a timely and cost effective manner. Therefore arbitration clauses in such contracts now include Australian seats of arbitration, in addition to those of other cities in the region.

There is both a wealth of knowledge and experience in maritime law and in the conduct of maritime arbitration in Australia and in the region to service this wish.

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We thank the author of this article Peter McQueen (FCIArb) and the journal editor Russell Thirgood for their contribution to this journal.

Tags: Arbitration, Legal practice, Dispute handling administration