THE ADVOCATE 559
VOL. 77 PART 4 JULY 2019
A VIEW FROM
By the Honourable Suzanne Anton, Q.C.*
Vancouver is one of the top cities in the world for international arbitrations,
but we need to let the world know why. With top lawyers, skilled arbitrators,
highly professional and multilingual support services, excellent facilities,
the rule of law, safe streets, superb cultural institutions, terrific hotels, beautiful
restaurants, a favourable price point, one of the world’s best airports,
skiing, golf and grizzly bear viewing, we should be a prime destination.
So how do we collectively make that happen?
The major international arbitration centres of the world—Singapore,
Hong Kong, London, Paris and New York—are all host to significant numbers
of international arbitrations. New York’s direct revenue (legal fees,
travel and hospitality) is reported to be about $1 billion per year. California
has very recently modernized its own international arbitration statute and
has put itself back in the game. Toronto has a successful arbitration centre,
providing multiple useful services to arbitrators. The Asia Pacific Regional
Arbitration Group has members from across multiple countries and entities
in Asia and Australasia and promotes itself vigorously.
It was the dream of selling Vancouver as a centre for international arbitrations
which led to the 1986 establishment of the British Columbia International
Commercial Arbitration Centre (the “Centre”). The Centre was
supported by both the federal and B.C. governments, which had the shared
ambition of making Vancouver an international financial centre. The establishment
of the Centre was followed by the creation of the International
Financial Centre of BC, now known as Advantage BC, whose mandate is to
promote B.C. as a favourable location for international business. With the
Centre’s encouragement, the Vancouver Maritime Arbitrators Association
(“VMAA”) was also formed to provide arbitration services for maritime issues.
* The Honourable Suzanne Anton, Q.C., is the former Attorney General and the Centre’s current chair.