Frequently asked questions

Ireland is a common law jurisdiction and, although there are some notable differences, its legal system is similar to that which operates in the United Kingdom. The courts follow a system of precedent and lower courts are bound by the decisions of superior courts.

Ireland is a member of the European Union (EU) and bound by EU legislation and the decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

Ireland is a signatory to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958 and also the Washington Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of other States.

Ireland has a long-established and reliable judicial system. The Irish courts are very supportive of arbitration and, when invoked, have shown a marked unwillingness to intervene to the detriment of the arbitral process. They will readily grant a stay to any litigation proceedings where they are satisfied prima facie that there is an arbitration agreement and have interpreted narrowly challenges to the recognition or enforcement of awards.

Ireland is therefore a location where the arbitral process and the enforcement of arbitration awards will be respected.

Dublin is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city and boasts a selection of modern facilities to host arbitrations of all sizes. The recently re-developed Dublin International Arbitration Centre (DIAC), was purpose built to a high specification and all other necessary support services are readily available.

The city contains over 22,000 hotel rooms, with most of the world’s leading hotel brands represented, together with a wide range of restaurants to suit all tastes. Dublin Airport is only 12km from the city centre, and handles over 31.5 million passengers a year to over 180 destinations. Further information at: Visit Dublin.

The seat of the arbitration, in essence, is the legal jurisdiction to which the arbitration is tied. This tie to a certain location is significant as it will determine the procedure or rules which govern the arbitration. It will also determine which national court may intervene during the arbitration and the extent of this intervention.

By selecting a seat of arbitration, that country’s mandatory national laws are also then applicable to the arbitration. Given that there may be wide divergences between the extent of court intervention in the arbitral process and between mandatory laws that can apply, a party should consider their choice of seat carefully. Failure to do so can result in difficulties at an advanced stage in the arbitral process. For example, the degree to which an arbitral award may be challenged will be determined according to the seat of the arbitration. The court of the seat will hear the challenge to the award and the extent of judicial review permissible will also be governed by the law of the seat. Given that finality is such an important consideration for parties in international arbitration, it is advisable that your seat choice can fulfill this consideration.

The choice of seat will also have a bearing on convenience for the parties and arbitrators. Issues such as availability of appropriate venues and a supportive arbitral infrastructure are also important to allow the arbitration to run smoothly.

The following may be helpful to consider before choosing your seat:

  1. Modern arbitration law – has your proposed seat adopted the Model Law and if so, are there any significant qualifications to its adoption? If you are not choosing a Model Law jurisdiction, have you checked whether the procedural laws in your location are arbitration friendly?
  2. The national courts – what is the approach of the local courts to arbitration? Have you checked, perhaps with local counsel, as to what the local court’s attitude is to enforcing the parties’ agreement to arbitrate and supporting the arbitration process? What is the national court’s approach to intervention in the arbitral process? How likely are they to enforce any award rendered?
  3. Arbitral and legal expertise – does your proposed seat have an established high-quality and sophisticated legal system? If so, it is more likely to have a sufficient pool of resident experienced and qualified arbitrators.
  4. Logistics – your choice of seat should also be practical on a logistical level. Will those likely to be involved in the arbitration be able to travel easily to and from the arbitration venue? Is there a good transport infrastructure at your location, which will facilitate the parties and arbitrators once they are in place. Can any logistical issues be satisfactorily dealt with?