At the heart of Europe
Capital of Belgium, home to several important EU institutions and international organizations, such as the WCO, NATO, Eurocontrol or the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union, host to the European or regional headquarters of numerous multinational companies: there is no doubt that Brussels can be considered as the beating heart of Europe.
Brussels' advantages include a multilingual workforce, its central geographical location and its abundance of high-speed rail and air travel connections to numerous destinations around the world.
The city enjoys the presence of a large international community, where more than one third of the population is non-Belgian and where no less than 104 different languages are spoken, with a massive presence of professional translators and interpreters, experienced in working in an international context.
Last but not least, the city boasts a wide array of conference and business meeting facilities, as well as a large selection of first-class hotels and restaurants.
Arbitration in Belgium
Belgium, located in a thriving economic region comprised of the Benelux countries, France, Germany and Great Britain, has always understood the full importance of international commerce and global cooperation.
As one of the founding members of the European Union and a signatory to the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, the country has proven itself to be a strong advocate of international trade and arbitration.
Accordingly, detailed English documentation on Belgian legislation is easily available. Belgian lawyers are often appointed as arbitrators by well-known international arbitration centres such as the ICC or the London Court of International Arbitration; many of them feature in international rankings listing the world’s best arbitrators.
Furthermore, numerous international law firms with a specialist arbitration department have an office in Brussels, while more than 10 % of the Brussels bar is composed of foreign lawyers.
Belgian Arbitration Law
The Belgian Arbitration Law of September 2013, updated as recently as 2016, is based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, and hence, it greatly favours the practice of arbitration.
It complies with the most modern standards of international commercial arbitration. Where there are differences from the UNCITRAL Model Law, it is generally because Belgian law grants more power to the arbitrators and more freedom to the parties.
The core principle of the Law is that parties are free to select their seat, language, arbitrators and rules of the arbitral proceedings (CEPANI, ICC, LCIA, UNCITRAL or other).
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