The History of the LMAA
The London Maritime Arbitrators Association (the LMAA) was founded on 12th February 1960 at a “meeting of the Arbitrators on the Baltic Exchange Approved List” but its roots and traditions stretch back more than 300 years over the history of the Baltic Exchange. Arbitrations were then (and indeed still are) conducted, often informally, before members of the shipbroking fraternity. Over the years, however, Full Membership of the Association has been expanded so that the list of practising arbitrators now embraces a variety of disciplines, and a corresponding breadth of expertise.
The LMAA is an association of practising maritime arbitrators comprising the Full Members. In 1972 the category of Supporting Membership was introduced. The Aspiring Full Membership category was established in 2010. The lists of such members today – drawn as they are from specialists involved in the many services connected with shipping and maritime arbitration – speaks for itself as to the scope and the interests of the Association.
The abolition of the special case by the Arbitration Act 1979 and its replacement by what proved to be a restricted right of appeal to the Courts against arbitral decisions (on questions of law only, there being no appeal on findings of fact), underlined the importance of the professional skill and experience of arbitrators. This has been further emphasised in the Arbitration Act 1996 with the stress placed upon the responsibility of the tribunal to adopt suitable procedures, avoiding unnecessary delay and expense. Under the Act the tribunal has the power to decide all procedural and evidential matters. This affords a challenge, to which London arbitration has responded, and to which it will continue to respond. The LMAA is very conscious that its reputation as the centre of excellence in maritime dispute resolution must depend upon the ability of its members to provide a service that merits the confidence of those who bring their disputes to London.