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Choice of Arbitration Rules: The Dilemma

Published: 23 Apr 2003 Average Rating: unrated Print
 

In the midst of such a formidable and intimidating array of legal wisdom and expertise in arbitration, I venture to raise a simple question: by what criteria can a legal adviser, especially an adviser in Africa, decide on which of the arbitration rules to choose for the international commercial contract he is negotiating? The sponsorship of this conference includes at least three of the world's most prestigious institutions administering international commercial arbitration. The oldest of these institutions, the LCIA, has now established a Pan African Council. But the institution with the heaviest load of work is without doubt the ICC. ICSID deals with the narrower field of international investment disputes. UNCITRAL has no administration for arbitrations carried on under its Rules, although, the LCIA and the latest arbitration institution, the WIPO Arbitration Center, offer to rectify the deficiency by providing administration services for parties proceeding under the UNCITRAL Rules. The question posed involves the subsidiary question whether or not the choice of a particular set of Rules really matters. Does it matter whether the Rules adopted for the contract are the ICC, LCIA, ICSID, UNCITRAL, AAA, WIPO, or the other national Rules, like the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, which have gained international recognition? Does it matter whether the arbitration is held in London, Paris, Geneva, New York or Cairo or some other African country? With the increasing business and trade relations between developing countries, what should happen in the case of a South-South business relationship which has turned sour? Where should the aggrieved party turn for the implementation of the intended arbitration?


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