key differences
By Davy Karkason
Founding Attorney

When it comes to resolving disputes, businesses often prefer arbitration over the courtroom. It’s faster, more efficient, and more flexible than traditional litigation, allowing parties to have more control over the outcome. Two of the best-known arbitral institutions in the world are the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the American Arbitration Association (AAA). Both have a long history of managing complex disputes, but they differ in many important ways. In this blog post, we’ll examine how the ICC and AAA arbitration processes differ and the expertise each institution brings to the table.

Types of disputes handled

One of the main differences between the ICC and AAA is the range of disputes each institution handles. The ICC primarily handles international business disputes, which means that they involve parties from different countries. The ICC also handles disputes that deal with complex technical or commercial matters. In contrast, the AAA is a domestic institution that handles a wide range of disputes, from labor and employment disputes to consumer and construction cases. Therefore, the ICC might be a better choice if your dispute involves parties from different countries, while the AAA might be a better choice if your dispute is strictly domestic.

Rules and procedures

Another major difference between the ICC and AAA is the rules and procedures they follow. The ICC follows its own set of rules, called the ICC Rules of Arbitration, which apply to all arbitrations conducted under its auspices. The ICC Rules are comprehensive and cover everything from the appointment of arbitrators to the enforcement of final awards. The AAA, on the other hand, follows its own set of rules, called the AAA Commercial Arbitration Rules. These rules outline procedures and requirements for initiating and conducting arbitrations. The AAA also has separate rules for specific industries, such as construction disputes.

For more information about the AAA, please visit: American Arbitration Association |

For more information about the ICC, please visit: ICC | International Chamber of Commerce (


Arbitration can be expensive, and one important consideration when choosing an institution is the cost. The ICC is generally considered to be more expensive than the AAA because it handles larger, more complex cases. According to the ICC, the total fees for conducting an ICC arbitration can range from $50,000 to $5 million, depending on the complexity of the case. In contrast, the AAA has a more straightforward fee schedule, which varies depending on the amount of the claim and the number of arbitrators.


Both the ICC and AAA have a wealth of experience in handling complex disputes. However, each institution has its own unique expertise. The ICC, for example, is known for its expertise in handling disputes involving construction, engineering, and energy. It also has a reputation for efficient case management and the ability to handle cases in multiple languages. The AAA, on the other hand, has expertise in labor and employment disputes, securities, and consumer disputes. It also has a strong reputation for impartiality and transparency.


Finally, the enforcement of arbitral awards is a crucial consideration for businesses. The ICC and AAA both have a strong track record of enforcing awards in numerous jurisdictions around the world. However, the enforcement process can differ depending on the rules and regulations of each country. The ICC also has a reputation for being more flexible in terms of award enforcement, allowing parties to choose the best method for compliance.

Please visit our article on the New York Convention to enforce arbitral awards: The Power of the New York Convention – Transnational Matters


Choosing the right arbitral institution is a critical decision for businesses facing disputes. The choice between the ICC and AAA arbitration processes depends on many factors, such as the type of dispute, the cost, and the expertise needed. Ultimately, businesses should carefully consider the specific features and benefits of each institution to ensure an efficient, fair, and effective resolution of their dispute.

About the Author
As a lawyer and the founder of Transnational Matters, Davy Aaron Karkason represents numerous international companies and a wide variety of industries in Florida, the U.S., and abroad. He is dedicated to fighting against unjust expropriation and unfair treatment of any individual or entity involved in an international matter. Mr. Karason received his B.A. in Political Science & International Relations with a Minor in Criminal Justice from Nova Southeastern University. If you have any questions about this article you can contact Davy Karkason through our contact page.