An important event in every maritime and commercial arbitrator's calendar, the International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators (ICMA) is a forum for maritime arbitrators, lawyers and for the shipping industry from around the world in which to deliberate on and exchange views and news of professional interest.

ICMA is neither a formal organisation nor a legal entity. It does not have an office. There are no members. It is just a series of conferences which are held every 2 or 3 years in the spirit of a joint effort to promote maritime arbitration all over the world.

ICMA has grown to host delegates from 26 countries on average, presenting approximately 50 papers. The international maritime conferences are generally composed of arbitrators, lawyers, ship owners, charterers, other industry professionals and their guests.

Aside from providing a forum for discussion and serious, scholarly papers, the Congress always includes a social program for accompanying persons and delegates. A black tie dinner is a tradition, as are one or two cocktail parties.

Unlike other organizations, which may have an executive directorate, ICMA is an ad-hoc event which is arranged by the host organization. The ICMA Permanent Steering Committee, whose primary duty is to select the next venue for ICMA and to appoint the chairman of the ICMA Topics Committee, is traditionally composed of four delegates: one from New York, one from London, one from the organizing committee of the previous ICMA and one from the organizing committee of the current ICMA.

Present members of the Steering Committee are

- Clive H. Aston, London (Chairman)

- Dave Martowski, New York 

- Peter Schaumburg-Müller, Copenhagen

- Camila Mendes Vianna Cardoso, Rio de Janeiro

The ICMA Topics Committee has the important task of proposing topics, collecting the delegates’ papers and organizing the working sessions of the Congress. All papers are normally published in the Proceedings of the Congress.