Queen Mary, University of London

School of International Arbitration (SIA)

The School of International Arbitration (SIA) is part of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS) at Queen Mary, University of London.

We are located at the heart of legal London, in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, but our ambition, aspirations and presence are truly international. We deliver courses all over the world and offer distance learning diplomas in international dispute resolution, in addition to our London-based LLM and postgraduate diploma programmes.

The School of Arbitration has something to offer you, whether you are:

  • a student wishing pursue a graduate programme in international arbitration or dispute resolution at a world-renowned institution
  • a scholar wishing to study for a PhD at Queen Mary or wishing to be a visiting scholar for a limited period of time
  • a practitioner looking for high quality accredited courses and events
  • a member of a dispute resolution provider or arbitration institution interested in tailor-made professional training programmes.

On behalf of the founder and Head of SIA, Professor Julian D M Lew QC, I welcome you to the SIA website, Professor Loukas Mistelis, Director, SIA.

About the School of International Arbitration

Aims and objectives

Arbitration is a constantly evolving and dynamic dispute resolution mechanism. This is true for both domestic and international arbitration. It is influenced by commercial and business interests rather than by national, legal and political factors. International arbitration has a distinct character; interacting with national laws where necessary and yet operating on a different plane where the will of the parties, rules of non-national institutions, and international practice have control of the process. The essential ingredients in international arbitration are based on comparative and private international law. This necessitates a breadth of vision and comprehension beyond the normal confines of national law and the attitudes and procedures in national courts.

The aim of the School of International Arbitration is two-fold:

  • First, to actively participate in the academic discussion on arbitration. The School is a research-lead institution that focuses on the study of the particular problems arising in arbitration, and contributes to the development of arbitration theory.
  • Second, and equally important, to teach and train the future generation of lawyers that want to be involved in international arbitration. Frequently, lawyers that practice international arbitration, whether as counsel or as arbitrators, have a limited knowledge of the complex theoretical problems of this specialist subject. The School takes a comparative and practice-oriented approach to the teaching of arbitration so that the students obtain a deep understanding of the special characteristics and needs of international arbitration.

The School exists within the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. Although in large part it runs autonomously, the School operates within the objectives set by the Queen Mary and the University of London in relation to the courses taught, the research undertaken and the academic standards for admission of students to its courses and in all its activities.

Today the School is widely acknowledged as the leading teaching and research centre on international arbitration in the world. Almost all its courses are at the postgraduate level. They can lead to:

  • Either the general LLM degree or the specialist LLM in Comparative and International Dispute Resolution
  • Postgraduate Diplomas (Taught / Study in London) - Offered Jointly by the School of International Arbitration and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators)
  • A postgraduate diploma in international commercial (by distance learning)
  • A postgraduate diploma in international mediation - ADR (by distance learning)
  • An MPhil/PhD from the University of London.

In its 25 year existence the School has had over 3,000 students from over 80 countries all over the world. Many of our graduates are now successfully practicing in the private or public sector, as arbitrators, lawyers, in-house counsel, academics, or work for international ogranisations, such as the UNCITRAL or the World Bank.

The courses offered by the SIA include:

  • Commercial Law: Written and Oral Advocacy;
  • International and Comparative Commercial Arbitration;
  • International Construction Contracts and Arbitration;
  • International Trade and Investment Dispute Settlement;
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution;
  • International Commercial Litigation and Conflict of Laws; and
  • International Commercial Law.

In addition to its regular full-time and part-time academic staff, the School of International Arbitration involves high-profile practitioners in its teaching programmes. This adds crucial practical experience to academic knowledge and analysis.

We offer the following postgraduate programmes:

Research projects focus on a wide area of topical issues in international arbitration, including enforcement of arbitral awards and settlement of disputes, the use of transnational rules and lex mercatoria for the settlement of disputes, investment arbitration, oil and energy disputes, the increasing harmonisation and internationalisation of international arbitration procedure, arbitration and third parties, arbitrability of disputes, the interface between arbitration and litigation, conflict of jurisdictions, business mediation and ADR, and regional systems of international arbitration.


Empirical Research

The School also conducts unique empirical studies with the financial support of PriceWaterhouseCoopers and in 2010, White & Case.

The first empirical study was completed in 2006, the second was completed in 2008 and the most recent, 2010, is in progress:


Impact of the School of International Arbitration

The impact of the School, both in terms of research and teaching, has been constantly increasing over the years, and it is now generally considered a leading contributor to the science of international arbitration and litigation.

Further, the School has close links with major arbitration institutions and international organisations working in the area of arbitration. It also offers consulting services and advice to governments and non-governmental agencies that wish to develop a non-judicial settlement of dispute mechanism as well as training for lawyers in private practice, in-house lawyers, judges, arbitrators and mediators.



In June 2007 the School moved into its new premises in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The new location places the School in the heart of ‘legal London’ and provides easy access to all the major City law firms, chambers and arbitration institutions. The new specially designed building offers modern seminar rooms with state-of-the art technology.