The undeniable popularity of arbitration as a dispute resolution method for business life continues to grow. Especially the values of the disputes have clearly increased, and 2014 was the record year in the history of the Arbitration Institute of the Finland Chamber of Commerce in terms of the values of the disputes. In the rapidly changing business environment, businesses expect expediency and efficiency also in dispute resolution.
Secretary General Heidi Merikalla-Teir of the Arbitration Institute of the Finland Chamber of Commerce states that the benefits of commercial arbitration as a dispute resolution method between companies in particular are undeniable in comparison to procedures in general courts.
“In a changing business environment, where contracts are becoming more complex and international, it is critical in terms of business operations that the disputes are resolved in an expedient and flexible manner. There must also be the necessary expertise available for dispute resolution, and this can be found in arbitration,” Merikalla-Teir emphasises.
Disputes in court and prolonged resolution consumes the resources from companies’ business operations, and takes up a significant amount of the management’s time in particular. Merikalla-Teir says that it is not possible to outsource the dispute to attorneys completely.
“It often comes as a surprise to companies how much of the company resources the dispute resolution takes, especially in terms of the management’s time. The companies should focus on findining new business opportunities and innovations instead of using up resources for disputing over past affairs for many years. However, it is not always possible to avoid disputes, and in this case it is important to have an expedient solution to the dispute.”
Finland’s reputation as a country with efficient dispute resolution is on the rise
The positive user feedback the Arbitration Institute has received, as well as statistical data, show that Finland’s reputation as an efficient, high-quality and valued country of dispute resolution is growing internationally. Merikalla-Teir emphasises that Finland and the Arbitration Institute have all the requirements to become an internationally viable provider of dispute-resolution services.
“At the Arbitration Institute, we carefully listen to the needs and wishes of the business life, and aim to develop our services accordingly. Digitalisation, among other things, provides its own possibilities also for developing our services.”
Having international disputes resolved in Finland would greatly benefit the Finnish business life, as it would create jobs and income both for lawyers and for the hotel, restaurant and tourism industry.
”In Finland, we must make use of this opportunity and bravely bring out the special competence and professional skill that we have in Finland, in Finnish arbitration and business life,” Merikalla-Teir says encouragingly.
The Arbitration Rules guarantee an expedient process
In accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the Finland Chamber of Commerce, the final arbitration decision must be issued within 9 months. In 2014, the average length of the arbitrations managed by the Arbitration Institute of the Finland Chamber of Commerce was approximately 8 months, which is a short time on an international scale. The procedures in general courts take considerably longer, and, due to the possibility of an appeal, as much as 5-10 years at worst.
“The main aim of the revision of the rules implemented in 2013 was to increase the expediency and thereby also cost-efficiency of arbitration. In order to implement this goal, many new regulations were included in the arbitration rules that obligate both the parties to the process as well as the arbitrators to see to it that the dispute that is the object of the arbitration can be solved as efficiently as possible without unnecessary costs and delays,” states attorney at law Mika Savola, Chair of the Board of the Arbitration Institute.
The efficiency behind the growing popularity of arbitration will be discussed today at the Helsinki International Arbitration Day 2015 conference. This brought together top arbitrators in Finland and abroad to Savoy Theatre. There are more than 200 participants in the conference.