International commercial arbitration is an alternative method of resolving disputes between private parties arising out of commercial transactions conducted across national boundaries that allows the parties to avoid litigation in national courts.
This guide identifies the best tools for locating primary law materials related to international commercial arbitration, including treaties, national legislation, procedural rules, and arbitral awards. It also covers secondary sources, which are essential for conducting thorough research.
A number of essential elements should be included in almost all international arbitration agreements, with model language available. These include the agreement to arbitrate, a definition of the scope of disputes subject to arbitration, the means for selecting the arbitrator(s), a choice of the arbitral seat, and the adoption of institutional or ad hoc arbitration rules. A number of other provisions can also be included in international arbitration clauses, including the language for the conduct of the arbitration, choice of applicable law, arbitrator qualifications, interim relief, costs, and procedural matters.
In order to bridge the gap when parties to an international agreement have difficulty in agreeing upon an arbitral institution, some international arbitration specialists recommend using an arbitration clause that authorizes two arbitral institutions in the same city. Those clauses generally empower the party commencing the arbitration to select the arbitral institution.
Key Resources for International Commercial Arbitration
- Global Arbitration Review (GAR)
Specialized news source for monitoring the latest developments in international commercial arbitration. Also publishes practitioner guides and annual surveys.
- ICC Dispute Resolution Library
Features extracts from arbitral awards issued in disputes administered by the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.
- Kluwer Arbitration
This searchable database includes both primary legal materials (treaties, national laws, arbitral awards, and court decisions) and secondary sources (e-books and journal articles).
- Transnational Dispute Management (TDM)
Content includes peer-reviewed articles from TDM’s online-only journal and a searchable database of primary legal materials.
- Westlaw (International Arbitration Materials)
This Westlaw database includes primary legal materials from select jurisdictions, secondary sources, and drafting aids.