As widely announced last year by President Alexis Mourre, the ICC International Court of Arbitration will open an office of its Secretariat in São Paulo.The new office, which is expected to be fully operative within the first half of 2017, will handle cases related to Brazil and be run by a team of Counsel and Deputy Counsel yet to be designated.

The Brazilian arm of the Secretariat will also make available to users a scale of administrative fees and arbitrator’s fees in local currency, which will finally resolve certain issues raised by Brazilian parties and arbitrators that made ICC arbitration less competitive in the local market.

The opening of an office in São Paulo coincides with record levels ofBrazilian involvement in ICC arbitration. A recent ICC press release reported a 15% increase in the number of parties from Latin America in 2016, with Brazil climbing to third place in party rankings worldwidethanks to an unprecedented total of 123 Brazilian parties in cases registered during the year.Since 2014, Brazil has remained among the top five countries worldwide in terms of numbers of parties participating in ICC proceedings. Most of the cases involving Brazilian parties are considered domestic.

The ICC Court has been a key player in Brazil’s arbitration landscape for many years. As described by Arnoldo Wald (‘L’évolution de l’arbitrage au Brésil’ inGlobal Reflections on International Law, Commerce and Dispute Resolution, available in the ICC Dispute Resolution Library, www.iccdrl.com), the ICC Courtwas one of the first institutions to promote arbitration locally and played a key role in Brazil’s ratification of the New York Convention in 2002. Since then, arbitration has grown rapidly, and several domestic institutions have been established in recent years, notably during Brazil’s ‘golden age’ for foreign investment between 2005 and 2011. The decision to have a team based in and dedicated to Brazil is aimed atconsolidating ICC’s presence in this emerging arbitration market, which,despite the current political and economic crisis, occupies an increasingly important placeon the international arbitration scene.

The opening of the Brazil office also demonstrates the ICC Court’s continuing efforts to adapt its services to the needs of its users around the world.São Paulo will be the Court’s third office outside Paris, following Hong Kong and New York. The Court has also recently started holding sessions outside Paris, beginning with Hong Kong and New York in 2016. It has also broadened its membership worldwide and inaugurated new regional conferences, as well as introducing new measures and resources to foster transparency and efficiency and, more generally, enhance the appeal of ICC arbitration to its users.