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International Arbitration: A Field Of Rising Interest

Tuesday, August, 13, 2013

Assistant Professor of Law at Queen’s University in Canada, Joshua Karton, is picking up on the popular trend of arbitration used a dispute resolution method and calling for more attorneys to consider getting involved internationally.  According to Karton, international arbitration is an obscure field even though arbitration has become one of the “most important means” for resolution of international business disputes.  Some of the cases in which arbitration has been used include disputes between investors and the governments of the nations in which those individuals have invested. 


International arbitration presents some challenges, which Karton believes are simply opportunities for experienced arbitrators to hone their skill.  For example, since most arbitrations are confidential, the secret nature of business disputes internationally might lead some individuals to remain unaware about the benefits of arbitration in international disputes.  In addition, there are no international laws regarding arbitration, since national or international laws chosen by the parties involved in the dispute guide the process.  Despite these challenges, a legal culture of international arbitration is emerging.


For some attorneys, Karton notes that the challenge is in accepting culture as part of the factors and outcomes involved in international arbitration.  Attorneys who have been trained to read and understand rules and laws might reject the large role that culture might play in the determination of an arbitration dispute resolution. 


For the most part, the international arbitration lawyers currently in the field generally have attended one of several elite western universities to obtain their law degrees and their primary experiences are usually in corporate and commercial areas of the law.  Since the field is so small, many arbitrator work with one another often and this allows them to exercise a high level of expertise in several subjects.  International arbitration is just the latest opportunity for experienced attorneys to assist disputing parties with resolution.