Working it out

Publication Winter 2015
Author: Maggie Burch

Over the last five to 10 years, arbitration has seen a gradual—albeit significant— increase in acceptance and use in the international community, with corporations and nation-states alike acknowledging it as the preferred method of cross border dispute resolution. More cases are being filed by more arbitrators, in more jurisdictions, for a variety of reasons. It’s a growth-trend worth noting. Not only is international arbitration (IA) becoming a more widely used practice, but it also has the legal field buzzing, prompting discussions between lawyers talking shop, articles like this being published, and the conduction of surveys on the subject. The common question raised is: What has recently changed to catalyze this increased acceptance and usage of IA, given that the practice itself is not so new?

The greater internationalization of the global economy is the most influential factor driving IA’s latest boom. Thanks to technological advances and the fact that globalization that shows no signs of waning, the result is a more interconnected world where forming a partnership across the world is no less convenient than one just across town. And inevitably, conflicts will arise out of these partnerships. IA is characterized by neutrality, enforceability of decisions, and autonomy by the participants, and it has proven a more practical option than litigation for resolving crossborder disputes in both commercial and investor-state cases.

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