Dank u wel, ladies and gentlemen. In the context of the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the Institute, I have been asked to give you, during the next 30 minutes, a broad overview of the evolution of international arbitration during the same period. How arbitration has developed during these 25 years; in what condition the institution looks in 2013; and what are the challenges with which it is now confronted? And indeed, during these 25 years, a lot of water has run under the bridge.
In the early 1980s, when I started to practice international arbitration, it was a relatively rare animal. There were very few cases and most of them were located in Europe. You will agree that things have changed dramatically. Just let me first start with a few figures. In 1980, the ICC received 250 requests for arbitration; they received 759 in 2012. That is three times as many as 30 years before. But the fact that the requests filed at the ICC have tripled, nearly tripled, in 25 years is only the tip of the iceberg because in 1980, there was just one major international arbitration institution. Today there are a huge number of them. The inventory of arbitral institutions done by ICCA, the International Council for Commercial Arbitration, includes 48 reputable arbitral institutions in the world. But according to the recent Global Arbitration Review survey, the number of arbitral institutions, whether active or not we do not know, is substantially higher. It could be close to 200.