In international trade and commerce, arbitration has become near universally accepted as a means of resolving disputes.

Some commentators have suggested that a figure as high as 90% of all international contracts are governed by an arbitration clause. Arbitration has developed a discrete body of rules, procedures and substantive law and calls for a different approach from mediation or commercial litigation. Being successful in arbitration requires intimate knowledge of, and extensive experience with, arbitral rules and the arbitral process – from the filing of the request for arbitration to the registration and enforcement of the award. The differing expectations and demands of parties and arbitrators from across the globe need to be managed, and we are experienced in managing the process and providing representation that meets those differing expectations and demands for the benefit of our clients.

We help clients in arbitration disputes arising from international trade and especially those involved in logistic, commodities, construction and engineering, mining, energy, joint ventures, M&A disputes, banking and finance, telecoms, and the sale and purchase of goods and services. We work with clients from all over the world and wherever the arbitrations are located. We also help clients who need the intervention of national courts in support of arbitration, whether that is the appointment of a tribunal, injunctions in aid of arbitration or the enforcement of an award.

We bring a highly experienced team together to meet whatever needs a client may have. Headed by Peter Ashford “a notable arbitration practitioner …known as a “top-notch” lawyer who “works very hard for clients.”‘ (Chambers UK) and the author of Handbook on International Commercial Arbitration [2009 and second edition 2014]; Guide to the IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration [2013]; and Guide to the IBA Guidelines on Party Representation in International Arbitration [2016]. Peter also sits as arbitrator and brings that additional perspective to his work.

International arbitration expertise

  • Mining arbitration
  • Oil and gas arbitration
  • Telecoms arbitration
  • UNCITRAL arbitration

International arbitration experience

  • Acted for an aircraft services company subject to a claim (under New York law in NYC) by a purchaser in respect of the sale of two subsidiary companies in gathering evidence in the UK. Those companies that had been sold operated primarily in the UK and were accused of overcharging UK customers.

  • Acted for a global specialty metal and chemical producer which has the right to exclusive offtake of a minor metal mined at a specific mine in Vietnam. The mine is not producing notwithstanding the positive obligation to do so.

  • Acted for a French company supplying infrastructure for energy storage and distribution in a claim for the breach by a company in the Bahamas of an agreement for the joint operation of Nassau International Airport in failing to give a valid change of control notice.

  • Advised a party who entered into an agreement for the acquisition of 3D seismic data in the block offshore Guyana. The dispute was regarding one party’s failure to pay the agreed amounts and the other party’s failure to provide the results of the data, which could have resulted in the loss of the exploration licence.

  • Acted for a mobile phone operator in claim for breach of contract against Chinese telecoms company for non-delivery of a web browser for client’s mobile phone application.

  • Acted for the claimant as distributor of prosthetic hip replacements seeking indemnification in connection with its defence and settlement of lawsuits in the USA involving failed prosthetics.

  • Acted for an oil exploration company in a dispute related to tag-along rights in a joint venture. Respondent threatened to act in breach of the JOA and its implied terms.

  • Acting for an Austrian M&E contractor as a mechanical works subcontractor to an Italian main contractor for a plastics factory in Bratislava. Defending a claim for damages payable or paid to the employer for delay when the issue had been raised and resolved in an earlier arbitration.

  • Acted for the Respondent in an international arbitration who received US$18 million in litigation financing from Claimant in connection with a US$73.4 million judgment they won at a trial in California.

International arbitration FAQs

Litigation is the method of resolving a dispute where a judge decides a case in Court. Arbitration is similar to litigation, except an arbitrator (typically appointed by the parties) takes the place of a judge and it is not a formal court process. The outcome of arbitration is confidential and binding.

The cost of arbitration depends on a number of factors, such as how many arbitrators are required (as the parties are liable for the arbitrators’ fees), how many parties there are and how complicated the legal and factual questions are. Arbitration can be cheaper than litigation, but this is not always the case.

This depends on the circumstances, however the parties generally have more control over the timetable than they would if the matter proceeded to litigation. According to the London Court of International Arbitration, between 2013 and 2016 the median duration of an LCIA arbitration was 16 months.

Some arbitration rules allow for expedited arbitrations and we can advise further on the possibility of doing so.

"Great availability and hard-working ethic; very good client relationships; thoroughly professional."

Legal 500 2021

"Fox Williams is an impressive London law firm with significant experience in the international field."

Chambers UK 2020

"Peter Ashford is a first-class international lawyer with considerable knowledge and ability in the field of international arbitration."

Chambers UK 2020


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