Jay-Z changed the rap game. Can he change the arbitration game? In a new lawsuit, the rap star (legal name: Shawn C. Carter) seems to be trying. Carter has recently won a temporary order staying arbitration for a dispute in New York. The memorandum of law in support of the petition for a stay (filed…

On the 60th anniversary of the New York Convention, we can generally conclude that the public policy basis for refusing to enforce an arbitration award has for the most part worked as the drafters intended. The drafters knew that by permitting courts to refuse to enforce foreign arbitral awards based on public policy, they were…

It’s been decades since arbitration has started its emancipation from conflict of laws rules (private international law). Many were of the opinion, and still are, that conflict of laws rules are an undesirable straitjacket forcing the arbitral tribunal to determine the applicable law according to rigid and complicated rules and thus hindering it from considering…

The 30th Annual ITA Workshop on Multiple Proceedings, Multiple Parties, and International Arbitration: What a Tangled Web We Weave, took place in Dallas, Texas on 20-22 June 2018.  Co-chairing were Erica Stein (Dechert), Jean-Christophe Honlet (Dentons), and Frédéric G. Sourgens (Washburn University).  The workshop, a lead event of the ITA, was dedicated to an in-depth…

The question of voluntary and mandatory ADR including arbitration has been a richly debated topic in many jurisdictions. Since the mid-twentieth century, the question of achieving procedural and substantive justice in the context of judicial dispute resolution has received significant attention beginning with the work of Owen Fiss and Lon Fuller who articulated early insights…

ISDS tribunals have an unfortunately accurate reputation for being “male, pale, and stale”. A welcome backlash to this state of affairs has arisen, but the discourse has focused almost entirely on one aspect of diversity: gender. For example, the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge has garnered over 2900 signatories, who have committed to appointing more…

The past few months have witnessed several momentous developments for international arbitration in Africa. Angola, Cabo Verde, and Sudan acceded to the New York Convention; South Africa adopted a new International Arbitration Act; the OHADA Council of Ministers adopted three new texts on arbitration and mediation; and the Nigerian Arbitration and Conciliation Act (Repeal and…

In the context of the backlash against investor-state dispute settlement (“ISDS”), one of the main criticisms is the asymmetric nature of investment treaties, which impose numerous obligations on the States, but do not seem to hold corporations accountable for the social, environmental and economic consequences of their activities. Some recent developments reflect a redirection away…

For many years, investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), supported by thousands of bilateral investment treaties (BITs), has served as the main mechanism for deciding investment disputes. This controversial system permits affected investors to sue states for damages before arbitral panels on the grounds that their investments have been treated unfairly. For many commentators, the main problem…

The 5th Annual ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration was held in Houston last month, and the focus was on the year past and the year ahead in the arbitration of international disputes in the energy industry. From the topics discussed, predictions rendered and questions raised at the conference, attendees departed considering whether the…

The first publicly available decision issued under the international arbitration process provided for under the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (‘Bangladesh Accord’) (note that Roger Alford previously summarized the Bangladesh Accord’s dispute resolution clause here) was issued through the 4 September 2017 Decision on Admissibility Objection in Industrial Global Union and Uni…

In the forty years since new visions and challenges for the administration of American justice were offered at the 1976 Pound Conference, a Quiet Revolution has altered the landscape of public and private dispute resolution around the world. (See Living the Dream of ADR) Recently, a series of day-long meetings styled as the Global Pound…

The IBA Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest focus on when an arbitrator should disclose potential conflicts, as well as when he or she should simply not accept appointment. For the most part, they do not specifically address the potential disqualification of an arbitrator. Nonetheless, the Guidelines, even though non-binding, have become quite influential in the…

On 15 September 2017, the Chairman of the Administrative Council of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) designated new members to the Panel of Arbitrators and the Panel of Conciliators. This is momentous. For the first time, the lists contain an equal number of female and male members, and a geographical diversity…

The 29th Annual Workshop of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (“ITA”), which took place on 14-15 June 2017 in Dallas, focused on a timely subject of much importance to the future of international arbitration, namely, the “Challenges to the Legitimacy of International Arbitration.” The event was co-chaired by Caline Mouawad (King & Spalding), Jeremy K….

The last 40 years or so has experienced increased growth in the number of transactions concluded internationally, departing from classical one-shot contracts such as the simple sale of goods contract. These complex contracts involve in many instances a mix of private and public issues as is seen in regulatory sectors (telecommunications, oil and gas). The…

Who Should Regulate the International Bar? The regulation of professional ethics of the international bar is among the most hotly debated issues in international arbitration (inter-state, investor-state, and commercial). It reflects the regulatory gap that has developed as proceedings before international courts and tribunals have proliferated and counsel diversified. Addressing this issue is crucial, as…

In his 2014 Assenting Opinion on a security for costs motion in RSM v. Saint-Lucia, arbitrator Dr. Gavin Griffith Q.C. described third-party funders as “mercantile adventurers” and associated their activities with “gambling” and the “gambler’s Nirvana: Heads I win and Tails I do not lose.” This was no voice in the wilderness. The increasingly prevalent…

The answer to this question might seem simple, but consider an instance of a commercial arbitration between a Chinese company and an African state arising out of a failed railway project in Africa. Assume that all three arbitrators are European and from the civil law legal tradition. Assume further that they are experienced arbitrators of…

Newspapers, cable television shows, and Twitter are abuzz with claims of “fake news.” Within the past two weeks alone, the U.S. President accused his predecessor of wiretapping his office building, apparently in reliance upon reporting in online news media. More traditional news outlets have responded with innuendo that the Director of the U.S. Federal Bureau…

The 4th Annual Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration, co-hosted by the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA), the Institute for Energy Law (IEL), and the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), took place on January 12-13, 2017, in Houston, Texas. Under the guidance of conference co-chairs Suzana Blades (ConocoPhillips, Houston),…

Investment obligations and investor-State arbitration provisions normally have been negotiated under bilateral investment treaties (BITs), or, more recently, in the larger context of free trade agreements (FTAs). For investment provisions, the movement from BITs to FTAs recently has taken an additional, significant step: the negotiation of such provisions in the even larger context of mega-regional…

Are international arbitrators biased in favor of the nominating party? The answer is: probably yes! This is in part the result of what some scholars refer to as selection and affiliation effects. Selection effect: Because the parties nominate the arbitrators, they can choose party-appointed arbitrators with the maximum predisposition towards their case. The litigant can…

The line between third-party funders and law firms is blurring. Originally, there were only two traditional types of third-party funding arrangements. In the first type, the third-party funder makes an agreement to finance the legal expenses of the claimant or respondent in a case in exchange for a portion of the claimant’s awarded amount, if…