viac birthday The Vienna International Arbitration Centre turns 40 today.

VIAC was created four decades ago to serve the needs of users engaged in commerce between East and West countries. Parties were facing the problem of arbitration clauses that were defective because they relied on the background of their countries, and were not enforceable for purposes of Austrian law.

The Vienna Arbitration Chamber already existed, but it was structured for domestic disputes. The decision was made not to modify the rules of the existing chamber, but instead to create a new arbitration institution.

The benefits of this forward-thinking are aptly summarized by Dr. Werner Melis in his introduction to VIAC’s “Selected Arbitral Awards, Volume 1” (published on the occasion of the 40th birthday),

VIAC had originally been established in 1975 mainly to resolve East-West commercial disputes but that at the time the Iron Curtain fell in 1989 it had already established itself to such an extent that it was able to continue its work as an internationally accepted arbitral institution on a worldwide basis. In the ICC Statistical Report 2012 Vienna was ranked number 5 in Europe and number 7 among the arbitration venues worldwide. Not bad, I would say.

Not bad at all. And despite reaching middle age, VIAC shows no signs of slowing down.

In addition to publishing the above-mentioned collection of arbitral awards, this past summer VIAC co-organized of the Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition Consensual Dispute Resolution Competition, which is based on the VIS problem, and maintains a hectic pace of conferences and activities on current topics in international dispute resolution.
viac case management
Happy Birthday, VIAC, and wishing you more years of innovations to benefit the users of international dispute resolution!


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One comment

  1. Thanks for sharing this Michael. I am particularly familiar with the VIAC centre and rules, if not for other reasons because I’ve had the priviledge of translating those rules into Portuguese. I think VIAC is the institution better placed to solve disputes East-West for its geographical and cultural positioning. The background you describe still plays its role. Yet, I heard that the case load there is droping and not necessarily to the benefit of other institutions of the region such as SCC or the recent Russian Association. I wonder why …

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