The 2019 ICC Dispute Resolution Statistics

In the aftermath of World War I and whilst Spanish flu was creating unprecedented havoc and turmoil around the world, a group of entrepreneurs met in Atlantic City in 1919 forging themselves with a mission to create an organisation which would represent business in global trade. Calling themselves the “merchants of peace”, those entrepreneurs founded the International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”).

The following year, the ICC held its first conference in Paris to discuss what initiatives could be undertaken to foster global trade.  By 1922, the ICC created its first set of arbitration rules and by 1923, the ICC established the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC situated in Paris which attempted to establish a system for the resolution of disputes involving international trade.  Since its inception, the ICC has administered over 25,000 cases involving parties from over 150 jurisdictions.

On 15 July 2020, the ICC released its dispute resolution statistics for its centenary year in 2019.  We summarise below the key findings from that report regarding the arbitrations the ICC administered in 2019 in what was another milestone year for the ICC.

Highlights of interest from the statistics are:

  • 2019 was a record year for the ICC, a total of 869 new cases were registered, of which 851 cases were pursuant to the ICC Arbitration Rules.
  • The 851 new cases under the ICC Arbitration Rules involved parties originating from 147 countries and independent territories and, arbitrators from 89 jurisdictions.
  • The proportion of female arbitrators increased to 21% in 2019.
  • 2019 saw the launch of the Emergency Arbitrator Proceedings Report. 


  • In 2019, the parties in arbitrations commenced under ICC Arbitration Rules came for 147 different countries. 
  • The USA maintained its first position with the most parties totalling 196 (8% of all parties worldwide).
  • The Latin America and Caribbean region saw a 14% increase in the number of parties rising from 339 to 386. 
  • The number of parties from South and East Asia and the Pacific increased by 57% and now represent 20% of the overall number of parties worldwide.
  • In 2019, 20% of new cases involved a state or state entity.

Industry sectors by dispute

  • The cases filed in 2019 covered a wide range of sectors including agribusiness, construction and engineering, defence financing and health/pharmaceuticals.
  • Disputes within the sectors of construction/engineering and energy generated the largest number of ICC Arbitration cases accounting for approximately 40% of the ICC Arbitration caseload.

Diversity of Arbitrators 

  • Arbitrators confirmed or appointed in 2019 came from 89 jurisdictions – the highest number of jurisdictions to date.
  • The top three nationalities of arbitrators acting in ICC Arbitrations, were British with 258 arbitrators (17.5%), Swiss with 147 arbitrators (10%), and French with 116 arbitrators (7.9%).
  • The number of women arbitrators increased from 273 in 2018 to 312, representing 21% of all appointments/confirmations (an increase from 10% in 2015 and 18% in 2018 demonstrating the positive impact which the Equal Representation in Arbitration (ERA) Pledge is having on ensuring greater gender diversification of appointments).
  • The number of women acting as president has increased to 30% over the last three years.

Amounts in dispute and length of proceedings

  • The average amount in dispute in cases filed during 2019 was US$ 52 million, with the median being close to US$ 4 million.
  • The aggregate value of all pending disputes before the ICC Court at the end of 2019 was US$ 230 billion.
  • 36% of cases registered in 2019 involved an amount in dispute not exceeding US$ 2 million.
  • The average duration of proceedings in which a final award was issued dropped from 28 months in 2018 to 26 months in 2019.

Emergency Arbitrator proceedings

  • In 2019, 23 Emergency Arbitrator applications were filed, the applications involved parties of 29 nationalities, and five cases involved states or state entities as respondents in commercial disputes.
  • Since 2012, the ICC Emergency Arbitrator Rules have enabled parties to apply 120 times for ‘Emergency Measures’ and receive a decision within a 15-day time limit.

For more information about international arbitration and how it may benefit you, please see here.

For more information, please contact the authors of this article.

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