The BVI is a British overseas territory. BVI law is comprised of locally enacted legislation supplemented by BVI common law precedent. Decisions of the courts of England and Wales, and other countries within the Commonwealth, are of persuasive authority.

The court system in the BVI is part of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. For civil matters, the High Court is the court of first instance. The High Court also has a Commercial Division, often referred to as the Commercial Court, which is cited in the BVI and hears many of our jurisdiction’s international and large-scale disputes. Appeals from the High Court, including the Commercial Division, go up to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal. Any appeals from the Court of Appeal go to the Privy Council in London.

The BVI has a reputation for having a reliable and efficient legal system. However, various measures have been taken in recent years to establish itself as a centre for international arbitration.

The BVI International Arbitration Centre (BVI IAC), an independent not-for-profit institution, was established to meet the demands of the international business community for a neutral, impartial, efficient, and reliable dispute resolution institution in the Caribbean, Latin America and beyond.

The Arbitration Act, through which the BVI largely adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law, and the BVI's accession to the New York Convention on 25 May 2014, have played a pivotal role in the establishment of the BVI as a viable and internationally respected arbitration centre.

Lord Goldsmith singled out the BVI International Arbitration Centre as having the potential to become the “best thought out and thus most popular” centre in the region. A well-run and well-equipped state of the art centre, together with the acknowledged quality of the BVI legal framework and the stable political environment offered by a British Overseas Territory, will enable the BVI to rapidly become a leading arbitration hub in Latin America, the Caribbean and, beyond.




The BVI has an experienced commercial bar that is well-versed in international commercial disputes.

The Territory’s profile was raised in 2009 with the opening of the Commercial Court of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. The court was opened in the BVI to manage commercial matters generated by the jurisdiction’s financial services industry. In 2015, Justice Barry Leon succeeded Justice Edward Bannister, Q.C. who has served as Commercial Court Judge since the establishment of the Commercial Court. Between them, they have dealt with hundreds of applications of complex matters ranging from arbitration to insolvency.

The Arbitration Act enables the BVI Commercial Court to support, but not interfere with, arbitrations seated anywhere in the world, including the interim relief and enforcement of tribunal orders and directions. The Court is fully operational and equipped to support arbitrations, even during a pandemic through virtual proceedings.


The BVI offers a highly attractive world-class international arbitration forum. Here are some of the advantages of arbitration in the BVI:

Model Law

The BVI Arbitration Act, an UNCITRAL Model Law statute, provides a modern non-interventionist and supportive framework for arbitration in BVI, with sufficient flexibility for virtual arbitrations.

While the Act is a Model Law statute, Article 18 of the Model Law (which includes that “each party shall be given a full opportunity of presenting his case”) has been substituted (in section 44 (3) of the Act) with the provision that “the arbitral tribunal is required to act fairly and impartially as between the parties, giving them a reasonable opportunity to present their cases and to deal with the cases of their opponents; and to use procedures that are appropriate to the particular case, avoiding unnecessary delay or expense, so as to provide a fair means for resolving the dispute to which the arbitral proceedings relate.”

Court Support

The Act enables the highly regarded BVI Commercial Court to support, but not interfere with, arbitrations seated anywhere in the world, including the interim relief and enforcement of tribunal orders and directions. The Court is fully operational and equipped to support arbitrations even during a pandemic through virtual proceedings.

Confidential Arbitrations

The Act prohibits publishing, disclosing, or communicating information relating to arbitral proceedings and awards.

Confidential Court Proceedings

Arbitration-related court proceedings are heard in camera, in closed proceedings; the court file is automatically sealed and cannot be inspected except by the parties thereby preserving confidentiality. This is an important distinguishing feature of BVI Arbitration. For contracting or disputing parties concerned about confidentiality, there is no better seat than BVI.

Modern UNICITRAL-Based Rules

Based on the UNCITRAL Rules, the BVI International Arbitration Centre Rules are modern, and provide highly flexible procedures for efficient and cost-effective arbitrations, with experienced institutional administration.

The BVI IAC Rules (Article 17(1)) give a broad discretion to the arbitral tribunal as to how to conduct the arbitration, provided the parties are treated with equality and each party is given a reasonable opportunity of presenting its case. Also, the tribunal is required to conduct the proceedings to avoid unnecessary delay and expense and to provide a fair and efficient process for resolving the parties’ dispute.

Reliable, Stable UK Overseas Territory

BVI is a reliable and stable democratic common law jurisdiction, an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom. Commercial Court with Appeal Route to Privy Council. BVI has a respected and experienced.

Commercial Court, and a route of appeal to the Privy Council in London (in which the UK's Supreme Court judges sit).

Commercial Bar

BVI has an experienced commercial bar that is well-versed in international commercial disputes.

Diverse World-Class Roster of Arbitrators

The BVI IAC maintains a diverse panel of world-class international arbitrators from a wide range of common law and civil law jurisdictions who are available to sit in BVI arbitrations.

Complete Freedom of Choice of Arbitrators

Parties in arbitrations under the BVI IAC Rules may appoint arbitrators of their choice, whether on the IAC’s panel or not.

First-class Facilities at Attractive Cost

The BVI IAC hearing facilities and its virtual support are available for any administered or ad hoc arbitration or mediation, at an attractive cost compared to hearing facilities in many major centres.

World-Class Hearing Facilities

The BVI IAC has world-class hearing facilities including:

  • State of the art hearing facilities occupying a full floor of a modern, centrally located and fully air-conditioned office building on the main harbour
  • Range of hearing room sizes with flexible configurations, including interpreter booths, break-out rooms for tribunals and parties, and tribunal deliberation facilities