International commercial arbitration has long been the hallmark of international dispute resolution. However, with the increasing establishment of specialized English-speaking courts dealing solely with commercial disputes (‘International Commercial Courts’) the popularity of arbitration is being called into question. The phenomenon of International Commercial Courts is not completely new, but their number has significantly increased in recent times. In 2018 alone, China, the Netherlands, France, and Germany have, among others, announced the opening of specialized English-speaking courts and others are preparing to shortly follow their example.
Whilst the arbitral process is often criticized for its costs, procedural delays, or lack of power against third parties, the question remains whether International Commercial Courts will be able to deal with these issues any better. This article first examines the history and the features of International Commercial Courts, with a special focus on those recently established in Europe, before evaluating whether they are – or might be in future – better suited to service the needs of international commerce.Journal of International Arbitration