The Institute was granted a Royal Charter in 1979.
Charters are reserved for professional institutions and charities working in the public interest, which represent a field of activity that is unique and not covered by any other professional body. The Institute is a charity and is the only membership body that covers the entire range of dispute resolution processes on a global basis. As a learned society the Institute has demonstrated pre-eminence, stability and permanence in private dispute resolution.
Significant changes to the Institute's governing structure have resulted from the new Royal Charter and Bye-laws granted in 2013, which reflect the need to represent the Institute's worldwide membership.
The Royal Charter and Bye-Laws lay down rules for the running of CIArb, including sections on:
- the election of members
- the supervision and discipline of members
- entrance fees and subscriptions
- the composition of Boards and Committees
- full definitions of each membership grade, including conferring Chartered Arbitrator status.
The members of the Institute may at an Extraordinary General Meeting amend, add to or revoke any of the provisions of this Charter by a resolution passed by at least three-quarters of the members, present in person, or by proxy, or by post, and entitled to vote, provided that no such amendment, addition or revocation shall have effect until, in the case of this Our Charter, it has been allowed by Us or Our Heirs and Successors in Council, or, in the case of this Bye-Laws, it has been approved by the Lords of Our Privy Council.
The members of the Institute may at an Extraordinary General Meeting amend, add to or revoke any of the provisions of the Bye-Laws by a resolution passed by at least two-thirds of the members, present in person, or by proxy, or by post, and entitled to vote, provided that no resolution shall take effect without the consent of the Privy Council and, where appropriate, the Charity Commission.