Our experienced Arbitration Barristers are experts in all aspects of arbitration law as it applies in construction contracts between employers, professional consultants, contractors and sub-contractors; and also in other commercial contracts. They are regularly asked to advise in contentious construction contract and commercial contract cases, and have sound knowledge of the arbitral institutions, arbitrators, panels and specialist tribunals and courts that they appear before.

Pursuant to the Arbitration Act 1996, arbitration is the fair resolution of disputes by an impartial tribunal without unnecessary delay or expense. In an arbitration parties to a dispute mutually agree for a single arbitrator, or a panel of arbitrators, to hear submissions and make a binding decision on the dispute. Given the increasing administrative backlogs in domestic courts, arbitration is an increasingly popular method of alternative dispute resolution for those seeking to resolve high-value disputes, privately and cost-effectively. Arbitration also prevents non-parties to an arbitration agreement, from participating in the arbitration proceedings.

Mercantile Barristers’ arbitration barristers have decades of experience in resolving complex disputes in both domestic and international arbitrations concerning matters in construction and engineering; commercial transactions; and sport.

Experts in Arbitration

Arbitration is almost always entered into by consent between parties and this is found in express terms of the agreement in dispute. Difficulties can arise where the clause has boilerplate wording and these may be contrary to the intentions of the parties.

Whether the arbitration is to be conducted on a ‘document only’ basis or involves a full hearing with witnesses, our arbitration barristers based in London are skilled in advising clients on their arbitration agreements and which rules apply to them.

Our barristers have experience in advising claimants and respondents, and our arbitration barristers are qualified in a number of international jurisdictions and are familiar with ad hoc arbitration proceedings and the rules of the following arbitral institutions:

Arbitration Agreement

The arbitration agreement will specify how the arbitration will be conducted, from the composition of the arbitration panel to whether the format will be ‘ad hoc’ or administered by a recognised arbitral organisation such as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) and the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)).

Initiating Arbitration

The place to start is the contract and any terms therein that refer to the conduct of the parties leading up to arbitration. Similar to adjudication, a claimant will usually need to give a Notice to Arbitrate, or make some sort of similar request. This usually follows final attempts to resolve the dispute via alternative methods of resolving the dispute, for example by mediation.

Our barristers are able to advise you on starting an arbitration and explaining any arbitral institution’s rules in this regard.

Responding to a Notice to Arbitrate

The Defendant has an opportunity to respond to the Notice, or Request, within a time period stipulated by the arbitration agreement.

Arbitration Housekeeping

The next steps usually involve formally constituting the tribunal; agreeing on the issues to be determined; and the timetable to be set, similar to how a court would set directions in litigation.

At this stage, everything from the number of arbitrators; to whether the issues will be matters of fact or law; and to when a final decision will be made, are agreed between the parties.

Submissions and Evidence in Arbitration

Once the format and procedure have been agreed, each party will be given an opportunity to draft written submissions and produce evidence of fact; law; and where necessary, particular expertise, to put before the arbitrator(s).

Barristers at Mercantile are adept on advising clients on drafting submissions, assisting clients compile their evidence and advising on what would be appropriate to disclose to the other side once arbitration begins.

Arbitration Hearing

Although the date and duration of the final hearing may be determined at the outset, arbitrations may have more than one hearing to determine many issues.

Our barristers have experience in oral and written advocacy in courts across England and Wales as well as internationally and will put your case forward in its strongest possible terms.

Arbitral Awards and Appeals

Arbitral awards are binding and will be produced once the tribunal has considered all the facts and the law. However, there are usually provisions for parties to appeal an arbitration award and the grounds upon which a party may do so are, again, defined by the terms of the arbitration agreement.

Barristers at Mercantile have experience in advising clients on arbitration awards and on what grounds, if at all, that they may be challenged.

Enforcement of Arbitral Awards

Once the matter has been finally determined, parties will require advice on how to enforce an award if the paying party does not do so in the time period ordered. Ideally this should be anticipated at the outset and our barristers are able to give advice on when where and how to enforce against a paying party.

How can we help with Arbitration?

Our Arbitration Barristers’ at Mercantile Barristers advise across the full spectrum of domestic and international arbitrations from determining whether there is a dispute, your right to commence arbitration through to enforcing an arbitration award. Our arbitration barristers have experience in:

Mercantile Barristers have expertise in providing advice and representation to claimants and respondents in arbitration proceedings. Our aim is to represent our clients to maximum effect through strategic and tactical advice in their cases; skilled drafting of papers and effective representation with robust written and oral advocacy.

If you require arbitration advice and support, contact our Arbitration barristers today by filling in our Enquiry Form; emailing us at; or contact us by telephone on 0203 034 0077 and we would be happy to assist.

How Our Process Works

Instructing our direct access barristers is the cost effective alternative to the traditional route of engaging a solicitor first.  The process is just as straightforward. Here’s how the process works:
You can call, email, or fill out an enquiry form to tell us about your case. One of our specialist clerks will speak with  you to make the arrangements to advance your case.

You can call, email, or fill out an enquiry form to tell us about your case. One of our specialist clerks will speak with you to make the arrangements to advance your case.

Our specialist clerk will match you with the barrister with the expertise to deal with all aspects of your case. They will also obtain and organise the papers the barrister will have to consider in your case.

Our clerk will agree the fee for your consultation with the barrister beforehand. The clerk will then arrange a convenient time for you to have the consultation by video call, telephone or in person.

In the consultation the barrister will assess your legal position, devise a legal strategy, and give you appropriate advice on the necessary next steps to achieve your objective. 


Here are some of our FAQs which you may find of assistance. If not we are happt to talk, call now on 020 30340077

Arbitration is a method of Alternative Dispute Resolution intended to help parties resolve legal disputes in commercial contracts, privately and with the assistance of a qualified arbitrator. The arbitrator’s decision, upon hearing factual and legal submissions from both sides, is legally binding and enforceable in domestic courts.
Arbitration is a method of Alternative Dispute Resolution intended to help parties resolve legal disputes in commercial contracts, privately and with the assistance of a qualified arbitrator. The arbitrator’s decision, upon hearing factual and legal submissions from both sides, is legally binding and enforceable in domestic courts.
Arbitration is usually pre-agreed in the terms of a contract, so all parties know where they stand if a dispute arises. Also, it offers a neutral venue to settle disputes as opponents in an international arbitration are likely to be from different nations, with different governing laws. Further if sensitive information is at issue, arbitrations are usually private. Another notable benefit of arbitration is that a decision can arrive relatively quickly compared to local courts; and decisions are binding and enforceable in local courts. This means that costs can be significantly reduced in securing an arbitral award.
The location of an arbitration is usually dictated by the rules of the parties’ chosen arbitral institution. Most popular arbitral institutions are London based, however there are institutions based in France, Germany, Singapore and Switzerland.

Depending on the seat of arbitration, a local court’s powers include the following:

• Compelling witnesses to provide evidence
• Dismissing proceedings where one party has issued court proceedings in breach of an arbitration agreement
• Enforcing arbitration awards
• Issuing injunctions to prevent a party from commencing proceedings in an international court; or disposing of assets or documentary evidence

Parties to an arbitration will have to pay fees to the tribunal; relevant institution; and the venue for the hearing. The tribunal usually withholds the award from the parties until outstanding fees have been paid. Depending on the arbitration agreement, either or both parties may pay the fees. If only one party pays, even though it is not liable, that party may recover that cost from the other side.

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