CIArb Features

International maritime arbitration: how to get those skills ship-shape

12 Oct 2021

With maritime arbitrations on the increase , we speak with George Lambrou for his thoughts on this trend and how arbitrators can prepare themselves to navigate this complex field. George is an international dispute resolution specialist and course director of CIArb’s Virtual Diploma in International Maritime Arbitration, which starts on 17 November 2021.

Why is international maritime arbitration the most popular choice of dispute resolution in the shipping industry?
Arbitration has been the dispute resolution forum of choice in the shipping industry since some of the earliest recorded contracts in Ancient Greece. Today, arbitration clauses are standard in most maritime contracts because parties often prefer to choose a specialist maritime arbitrator to resolve specialist disputes and an arbitration award can be enforced in many more jurisdictions than any judgement made by a national court.

We’ve seen increasing coverage in mainstream media about maritime disputes in the past year. Is this a trend you think will continue?
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that 90% of traded goods are carried by sea. The global pandemic created disruption to supplies and shifts in consumer demand. This has led to instability and therefore a higher risk of disputes.

What skills and knowledge do arbitrators need to handle maritime disputes?
Maritime arbitrators come from diverse and specialist backgrounds and are equally as likely to be a lawyer as not. It is critical that all maritime arbitrators, no matter what their background, produce awards which are drafted to meet the standard requirements for enforceability around the world. That also requires arbitrators to be aware of the necessary procedures and legal requirements when drafting an award, and conducting proceedings and, at the same time, to do so in a cost-efficient manner. 

How has the Virtual Diploma in International Maritime Arbitration developed to meet arbitrators’ needs?
The Diploma has developed to meet the needs of lawyers and non lawyers by providing practical in depth guidance on how maritime arbitration is actually practiced today and how best to improve your skills on a practical level.

Who do you think would benefit from taking the Diploma?
The Diploma is designed for individuals who are practicing, or wish to practice maritime arbitration, either as a party representative, or as member of a tribunal. It gives realistic advice, guidance and information on how maritime arbitration is actually practised today, and how to improve your skills as a representive or arbitrator. The course is very well suited to those who are currently working in the maritime sector, and who wish to develop their career in maritime claims and arbitration.

Do you have any tips for practising and potential arbitrators on how they can build a maritime arbitration practice?
The number one tip I can recommend is to obtain an internationally recognised qualification in arbitration and in my opinion that is Fellowship at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb).  Candidates can apply for this if they complete parts 1-3 of the Diploma.

What do you think the future holds for international maritime arbitration?
There is no doubt that arbitration will continue to be the number one choice for resolution of maritime disputes around the world. However, like so many aspects of life today, I believe the future of maritime arbitration will involve wide use of on-line platforms. For example the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA) was very early off the mark in introducing their “Guidelines for Conduct of Virtual and Semi-Virtual Hearings” which has been very well received in the industry.

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators’ (CIArb) Virtual Diploma in International Maritime Arbitration starts on 17 November 2021. The booking deadline is 2 November 2021. Places are strictly limited. Book early to avoid disappointment.


George Lambrou FCIArb is regularly engaged in international maritime arbitrations as counsel, co arbitrator, sole arbitrator and chairman and has wide ranging experience under the ICC, LCIA, LMAA, SCC, ISTAC and ICSID rules sitting in London, Athens, Geneva, Istanbul, Stockholm and Washington DC.  He is a Supporting Member of the LMAA,and is currently on the panel of the Emirates Maritime Arbitration Center (EMAC) and the Shanghai International Arbitration Center (SIAC).

George is a solicitor advocate of England and Wales, and was for many years a partner for in a leading London-based shipping law firm. He is a faculty member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIARB) and the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS). George works in both Russian and Greek.