The Nature of International Arbitration (Part 1)

It’s a topic that at some point or another many people consider, and wonder what it is. Will it effect me, or my business operations at some point?

You might be an in-house counsel, legal executive in an international firm, or a litigation lawyer. If you are working within the international sphere of either international sale of goods or services, or cross-border litigation, it is critical to understand the overarching parameters of arbitration.

Chances are, at some point you will need to know. Perhaps you have just received a Notice of Arbitration..

Is arbitration court a court?

Short answer is no.

The longer more complicated answer is some of the rules of courts maybe applied, but it is often the case that it is agreed between the parties what applies and what doesn’t .

The key difference in an arbitration tribunal is that a national court belongs to the state, or country, with its various levels of judicial authority.

Arbitration on the other hand, is typically a private matter. It is also a typically agreed ahead of time between the parties in an agreement or clause in the contract.

Public, Or Private?

One of the key advantages to arbitration over a national or state litigation is that the parties can maintain their confidentiality. This is a common theme within international commercial disputes.

Consider the alternative, with a state legal system, as a general proposition is open to the general public with an official judgement on the record for all to view.

Further Advantages of Arbitration

Parties can choose ahead of time when forming the terms of an agreement what the consensual method of dispute resolution is.

They can determine how many people sit on an arbitrary tribunal, what law or procedure is followed, where it is held, and such things as the language of the Hearing.

When compared to a state litigation system, the rules are far more flexible and designed to encourage parties to resolve disputes through a binding award

How can I ensure a future dispute goes to Arbitration, not Court?

This is a great question to consider and often asked by clients.

How do you control commercial transactions ahead of time so that you are guaranteed, although there is never 100% guarantee in law, that your dispute process resolution can be styled in such a manner to prevent litigation within the state court system?

The simple answer to this is an Arbitration Agreement or Clause which will follow in a future article

If you have any questions or concerns about the International Arbitration, please contact us at