On 18 December 2017, three of Spain’s most prominent arbitration centers signed a memorandum of understanding as a first step towards their unification. This is another of the efforts of the Spanish Government in an attempt to make Spain a more appealing center for international arbitration which would rival Paris, London, Singapore, Hong Kong and other major centers for international arbitration.
The memorandum was signed by José Luis Boneton on behalf of the Spanish Chamber of Commenrce (Cámara de Comercio de España), Juan López-Belmonte, representing Madrid Chamber of Commerce (Cámara de Comercio de Madrid) and Juan Serrada on behalf of the Civil and Commercial Court of Arbitration (Corte Civil y Mercantil de Arbitraje – Cima).
The memorandum of understanding is a significant step toward creating a single international institution which would boost Madrid’s position as a worldwide recognized center of international arbitration, stated Spanish Minister of Justice, Rafael Catalá. The Minister of Justice told the press that Madrid has a large potential to handle disputes not only throughout Europe but also in Latin America.
The experts see this unification as a positive development, taking into account that the lack of a single intuition was posing problems in practice.
The memorandum of understanding provides for a commission to be formed of representatives of all three institutions and the minister of justice to work on the practical solutions for fulfilling this goal. It also sets a deadline of three months (expiring on 18 March 2018) for agreement to be reached. Once the agreement has been reached a single institution will be created with its headquarters in Madrid.
The Minister of Justice also mentioned the possibility of a reform of the Spanish Arbitration law of 2003, which is largely based on UNCITRAL Model Law, which could make Madrid an even more appealing place for international arbitration.