A special report from the Private Eye in the UK says that there is still one court process that remains closed to the outside world: arbitration. It says that it is a system that can help allegations of illegal or criminal behaviour stay hidden. The London Court of International Arbitration, based in Fleet Street, is one of the most globally favoured locations for settling big-ticket commercial disputes in private. Where arbitration rather than civil litigation is stipulated in international contracts for resolving disputes, English law and London are often the choice. Hearings are behind closed doors. Evidence is confidential. Decisions are known only to the parties involved. Last year there were a record 346 cases – up 25%. However, there is criticism that the lack of transparency provided by arbitration, especially where foreign states are involved, means serious issues of public interest – such as allegations of corruption – may never come to light.
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