Aviation disputes forum takes flight

On 26 January 2024, the Hague Court of Arbitration for Aviation (HCAA) reached a milestone with its inaugural conference, which brought together 120 stakeholders in the aviation sector to share best practices. It has been founded as a neutral forum for resolving disputes in the aviation sector via alternative dispute resolution methods, principally in arbitration but also mediation.

Member of the HCAA’s Mediation Standing Committee and Partner, Ned Beale, spoke to Robert Li of the CDR about the positives of industry specialisation in disputes: “Many industries have specialist arbitration institutions, and an obviously successful one is the London Maritime Arbitrators Association (LMAA) which handles the majority of the world’s maritime arbitrations, so much so that it has become entirely standard to include an LMAA clause in a charterparty agreement.”

“The experience from that has been that it is more efficient and more expert, and delivers justice more effectively than national courts, as it is highly specialised and accepted by the whole industry – that’s the model that the HCAA is hoping to roll out to the aviation sector.”

The HCAA’s rules embody many of the up-to-date best practices adopted by other institutions and its list of arbitrators is made up of 74 individuals with specialist knowledge of the industry. There are clues to the HCAA’s popularity so far with a LinkedIn post in April last year announcing that the value of contracts confirmed to include HCAA provisions had surpassed USD 1 billion. Seems that the HCAA as an efficient and cost-saving way to ensure that aviation disputes are considered quickly by mediators and arbitrators who have specialised expertise of a sophisticated and complex sector, is catching on.

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