The International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators (ICMA) was established in 1972 to provide a forum for maritime arbitrators and lawyers from around the world to exchange views and news of professional interest.

The following conferences have taken place so far

  • ICMA I Moscow, 1972

  • ICMA II Athens, 1974

  • ICMA III Santa Margarita, 1976

  • ICMA IV London, 1979

  • ICMA V New York, 1981

  • ICMA VI Monte Carlo, 1983

  • ICMA VII Casablanca, 1985

  • ICMA VIII Madrid, 1987

  • ICMA IX Hamburg, 1989

  • ICMA X Vancouver, 1991

  • ICMA XI Hong Kong, 1994

  • ICMA XII Paris, 1996

  • ICMA XIII Auckland, 1999

  • ICMA XIV New York, 2001

  • ICMA XV London, 2004

  • ICMA XVI Singapore, 2007

  • ICMA XVII Hamburg, 2009

  • ICMA XVIII Vancouver, 2012

  • ICMA XIX Hong Kong, 2015
  • ICMA XX, Copenhagen, 2017
  • ICMA XXI, Rio de Janeiro, 2020

The origins of ICMA are intriguing. The first conference was conceived in Moscow in 1972. Michael van Gelder, then president of the Society of Maritime Arbitrators, Cedric Barclay and Clifford Clark, two future presidents of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association, and Roger Jambu-Merlin, then president of the Chambre Arbitrale Maritime de Paris were all attendees at an International Congress of Commercial Arbitrators which was being held in Moscow. They decided there and then to stage their own impromptu Congress, the first International Congress of Maritime Arbitrators (ICMA). Professors Sergei Lebedev and George Maslov of Moscow provided the place and a large audience.

In Memory of Cedric Barclay

Cedric Barclay, a vibrant and talented multi-linguist with a great sense of humor and a true "hands-on" arbitrator, decided that this sort of exchange of ideas should be expanded to include maritime arbitrators and lawyers from all over the world. Building on the Moscow Congress as the "original" ICMA, Cedric Barclay pursued the idea and organized the second ICMA Congress in 1974 at a beach hotel, a few miles outside of Athens. It was the first organized, exclusively maritime-focused arbitration Congress with papers prepared in advance, and was attended by maritime arbitrators and lawyers from twenty countries.

In tribute to Cedric Barclay’s vision in organizing ICMA and since his death in 1989, every Congress has held the Cedric Barclay Memorial Lecture, in his memory. His late widow, Mrs. Cora Barclay was an honoured guest. Past speakers all have been highly respected as masters in dispute resolution.

[The above is an excerpt from an article written by Lucienne Bulow, former President of the Society of Maritime Arbitrators.]