The RAA Survey on the Impact of Sanctions on Arbitration


While various studies have been conducted on the impact of the economic sanctions, the RAA 2016 Study wished to investigate the effect of the sanctions on commercial arbitration. The objective of the 2016 Survey was to analyse the effect of the sanctions on the users’ attitudes and strategies when it comes to resolving their international commercial disputes.

Interestingly, the sanctions also impacted the attitudes of arbitrators who frequently receive nominations to the Russian cases. Therefore, we also decided to study the arbitrators’ views on the current situation and perhaps the future of arbitration practices.

As far as it can be seen, the effect of the sanctions goes beyond just the procedural rights of the parties, and impacted the preferences of the users of commercial arbitration, which may reshape the future of the Russia-related arbitration market.

In 2013 the Russian Arbitration Association conducted a study on the arbitration preferences of Russian users.  Those findings indicated that the Russia-related market was dominated by four major arbitration centers, three of which are located in the EU.

When a number of states imposed anti-Russia sanctions in 2014 it appeared that the findings of the 2013 Survey no longer reflected the actual situation. The sanctions imposed various restrictions towards the largest Russian companies. As a result, these companies were forced to reconsider their dispute resolution habits. 

Most of the leading Russian companies thoroughly studied the sanctions regulations and reviewed their internal dispute resolution policies and strategies. More importantly, companies also revisited their dispute resolution policies in order to minimize the sanction-related risks. The companies started looking for the alternatives to the traditional arbitration centres, seats and applicable laws. 

The 2016 survey’s research base comprised over 160 respondents from various jurisdictions. Responses of individuals from diverse professional groups and nationalities were collected and assessed in the hope that these results and findings will add to the global discussion on the subject.


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