Edinburgh is to host the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) Congress in 2020, following a successful bid by the Scottish Arbitration Centre.

The decision was announced at the weekend by a judging panel at this year's congress in Mauritius. The next event in this biennial series will take place in Sydney in 2018, and the Edinburgh congress will mark a return to Europe after a substantial gap, with recent meetings having been held in Rio, Singapore and Miami.

ICCA is a worldwide non-governmental organisation devoted to promoting the use, and improving the processes of arbitration and other forms of international commercial dispute resolution, promoting the harmonisation of arbitration and conciliation rules, laws and practices. The ICCA Congress is the world’s largest conference devoted to international arbitration: the previous two events each attracted over 1,000 arbitration professionals, and VisitScotland estimates the congress is worth around £1.7m to the Scottish economy.

Edinburgh was chosen ahead of Copenhagen, Mexico City, Stockholm, St Petersburg, Vancouver and Vienna. The Centre’s bid had the support of the Prime Minister, the First Minister, the Lord President, the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, the President of the Law Society of Scotland, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the chairman of the Scottish Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the chief executive of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Global, the chairman of VisitScotland and the chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh.

The presentation to the judging panel included a video which featured the First Minister along with the Scottish Arbitration Centre’s Honorary President, chairman of the board and chief executive – and also involved the bid team being piped into the governing board meeting by a Mauritian bagpiper and the unveiling of a new tartan commissioned for ICCA, which will be registered under the Scottish Register of Tartans Act 2008.

A number of leading law firms have financially committed to ICCA 2020 in Edinburgh, and £140,000 in sponsorship has already been raised. CMS Cameron McKenna has agreed to become a platinum sponsor, with Shepherd & Wedderburn and Herbert Smith Freehills also becoming bronze sponsors. Stephenson Harwood has also agreed to become an official sponsor, along with Marketing Edinburgh and VisitScotland.  An advisory panel drawn from the international arbitration community has also been established, to provide advice and support in the lead up to the congress. 

ICCA President, Donald Donovan commented: "We are delighted to be going to Edinburgh in 2020, and congratulate the bid committee on having prevailed in the face of stiff competition from a strong field of bidders."

He added: "We're confident that ICCA Edinburgh will provide a spectacular platform from which to pursue ICCA's mission to address the toughest issues facing international commercial and investment arbitration."

Scottish Arbitration Centre chairman Brandon Malone responded: “It is a great honour to be selected to host the 2020 ICCA Congress. We see this as an important milestone in the development of international commercial arbitration in Scotland, and we look forward to welcoming the arbitration world to Edinburgh."