School of International Arbitration

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About Us

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The School of International Arbitration (SIA) is a centre of excellence in research and teaching of international arbitration and is part of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS) at Queen Mary University of London.


Established in 1985 to promote advanced teaching and research in the law and practice affecting international arbitration, The School of International Arbitration offers a range of international arbitration courses including: LLM, postgraduate diplomas, professional training and one of the largest specialist PhD programmes in the world. Graduates from our programmes go on to form part of the vibrant Alumni and Friends of the School of International Arbitration.

International focus

The SIA is located in Queen Mary’s postgraduate law centre in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, the centre of legal London, but our ambition, aspirations and presence are truly international. We deliver courses all over the world and offer distance learning diplomas in international dispute resolution, in addition to our London-based programmes.


Our research projects focus on a wide area of topical issues in international arbitration, including enforcement of arbitral awards and settlement of disputes, the use of transnational rules and lex mercatoria for the settlement of disputes, investment arbitration, oil and energy disputes, the increasing harmonisation and internationalisation of international arbitration procedure, arbitration and third parties, arbitrability of disputes, the interface between arbitration and litigation, conflict of jurisdictions, business mediation and ADR, and regional systems of international arbitration. The School also conducts unique empirical studies with the financial support of PriceWaterhouseCoopers and White & Case. 


Our academic members have a wide range of high-profile publications with a major impact on arbitration and litigation doctrine and practice.

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Aims and objectives

Arbitration is a constantly evolving and dynamic dispute resolution mechanism. This is true for both domestic and international arbitration. It is influenced by commercial and business interests rather than by national, legal and political factors. International arbitration has a distinct character; interacting with national laws where necessary and yet operating on a different plane where the will of the parties, rules of non-national institutions, and international practice have control of the process. The essential ingredients in international arbitration are based on comparative and private international law. This necessitates a breadth of vision and comprehension beyond the normal confines of national law and the attitudes and procedures in national courts.

The School of International Arbitration aims to:

  • Actively participate in the academic discussion on arbitration. As a research-lead institution we focus on the study of the particular problems arising in arbitration, and contribute to the development of arbitration theory.
  • Teach and educate a future generation of lawyers that want to be involved in international arbitration. We take a comparative and practice-oriented approach to the teaching of arbitration so that our students gain a deep understanding of the special characteristics and needs of international arbitration.

Impact of the School of International Arbitration

The impact of the School, both in terms of research and teaching, has been constantly increasing over the years, and it is now considered a leading contributor to the science of international arbitration and litigation. We have close links with major arbitration institutions and international organisations working in the area of arbitration. We also offer consulting services and advice to governments and non-governmental agencies that wish to develop a non-judicial settlement of dispute mechanism, as well as training for lawyers in private practice, in-house lawyers, judges, arbitrators and mediators.

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