Atlanta Vies To Become New International Arbitration Hub
It was in the heat of the civil rights movement that Atlanta became known as the “city too busy to hate.” Since then, the city has proved to overcome some major disagreements through mediation and rational solution—a fact that has prompted Andrew Young, former Atlanta mayor, Georgia congressman and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations to attempt to set the city up as host city to international arbitration.
At the annual meeting of the Atlanta International Arbitration Society (Atlas) held this past week, Young stated, "This is a city that admires reasonableness, and I think that's your trump card.” That “reasonableness” to which Young refers stems from long-held experience with wealth disparities and racial tension, but it’s the same motivation that has prompted Atlanta to focus on building its ability to connect with the world through infrastructure like Marta and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
This international access is what Young believes will make Atlanta a perfect location to host international arbitration clients. He hopes that the city will reap economic benefit and that local law firms will be used as arbitrators by individuals and companies seeking arbitration as alternative dispute resolution. With 90 nonstop international air routes to 55 countries from Hartsfield-Jackson, and a hotel industry set up for maintaining global tourism demand, Atlanta certainly is in a great position to reach its goal of being an international arbitration hub. If it succeeds in its goal, it will join the ranks of other such “crossroad city” hubs as London, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Beyond access, however, an area must be amiable to arbitration and be viewed as non-biased. Following this lead, last year, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a new arbitration law to bring Atlanta statutes in line with U.N. amendments concerning arbitration. As an added bonus, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals for the federal government, a court known to be affable toward arbitration, is Atlanta-based.