Arbitrator Intelligence—a call to action

Arbitrator Intelligence—a call to action

On 22 September 2014, Professors Catherine Rogers, Christopher Zorn and Alexander Wiker launched Arbitrator Intelligence, an interactive online resource aimed at improving access to information on international arbitrators. When fully developed, the resource will be a non-profit informational network that increases and equalises access to critical information in the arbitrator selection process. Lexis®PSL Arbitration is pleased to support the project’s initial stage, the Pilot Project, described in greater detail below.

As Professor Zorn commented upon the initiative’s launch, ‘International arbitration is an area ripe for insights from quantitative and analytical tools. But gaining those insights requires systematic data, and the knowledge to visualize and analyze those data in useful ways. The Project marks the first effort to build a large-scale database for international arbitration, one that has the potential to fundamentally change and improve our understanding and the functioning of the arbitration process.

In an auspicious start, Professor Rogers commented that messages and memberships poured in from across the world during the first few hours after the site’s official launch, from Japan to Mexico, Norway to New Zealand, across Europe and Latin America.

The Pilot Project—the first phase

Arbitrator Intelligence is currently in a start-up phase, organised around a Pilot Project, the aim of which is to collect as many international arbitral awards as possible before 14 January 2015.

The primary aim is to collect 100 previously unpublished awards (ie those that have not been widely disseminated or not otherwise generally available to the international arbitration community), but the initiative wants to gather as many awards as possible for the purposes of its later phases.

How to get involved

There are two, very simple, ways to contribute arbitral awards.

The first is by simply uploading any award collecting dust on your office shelves, cluttering your office drawers or taking up space on your computer.

The second way is more ambitious, but key to the project’s success. The site includes an interactive, colour-coded map and for each jurisdiction that is shaded, the team behind the project has collated information about court cases in which a party has sought annulment, recognition and enforcement of an award, etc. The court records for these cases are likely to contain awards. Members can use the map to identify court cases to ‘mine’ their files and records for arbitral awards.’

Over 1200 court cases throughout the world are identified that might contain an award and the project needs volunteers to track down these awards! If you can help, become a member and contribute here.

Membership and prizes

Only registered ‘Members’ can contribute awards, but becoming a Member is free and straightforward. The project also has a number of prizes donated by its supporters, which include LexisNexis.

Every two weeks, two names will be drawn from the pool of people who became Members during that period and who contributed awards during that period, and those drawn will receive one of the allotted prizes. At the end of the Pilot Project on 14 January 2015, all of the entries throughout the Pilot will be eligible for the Sweepstakes Super Prize—a 6-month, individual subscription to Lexis®PSL Arbitration. The more awards you contribute during the duration of the Pilot Project, the greater your chances of winning the Super Prize.

There is also a Grand Prize for the ‘Best Tale About an Award’—for those Members with especially creative, informative, or expository inclinations. Members are invited to share useful tips, colourful anecdotes, or just plain interesting stories about your experiences finding an award, or other aspects about a contributed award. Members will be able to vote for the winning Best Tale (rules are on the site) and the Grand Prize for the winner is a full three-volume set of the second edition of Gary Born’s International Commercial Arbitration treatise, signed and addressed to the winner.

The ultimate aim

By promoting transparency and making sources of information about arbitrators more readily and equally available, Arbitrator Intelligence aims to increase arbitrator accountability, make the process for the selection of arbitrators more fair and predictable, and create better opportunities for new and diverse arbitrators.  In the longer term, Arbitrator Intelligence will collect quantitative feedback from parties and counsel about key features of arbitrator decision making and when fully developed, the site will allow Members to search accumulated information to aid in their arbitrator selection process.

Professor Rogers, a leading figure in the field of ethics in international arbitration, who first proposed the idea for the project, comments, ‘One of the greatest things about getting Arbitrator Intelligence going has been the amazing encouragement and tangible support that we have received from so many friends, supporters, donors, and even just curious onlookers. In this respect, the end purpose of Arbitrator Intelligence—to facilitate collaborative building of an interactive informational resource—has been very the means of creating it.

Some fine print

First, Arbitrator Intelligence is a not-for-profit initiative. Second, awards contributed during the Pilot Project will not be published at this time. Before any awards are made publicly available in later phases, Arbitrator Intelligence will work with parties to the awards to allow them an opportunity to indicate sensitive information that may need to be redacted prior to publication. Third, awards collected in the Pilot Project will be integrated into development of the larger framework of Arbitrator Intelligence.

For more information on this exciting initiative, visit the site here.

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About the author:

Barry specialises in international arbitration and commercial litigation. He trained and practised at Jones Day before joining Pinsent Masons. At LexisNexis, Barry is Head of Arbitration and Head of the Lexis®PSL Dispute Resolution Group.

In practice, Barry’s work included commercial, aviation and technology arbitrations pursuant to international arbitral rules, involving UK and international clients. He also has a background in general commercial, civil fraud and IT litigation, including experience before the High Court. While in private practice, Barry worked with a broad range of clients from the private and public sectors.

At LexisNexis, when not focused on the strategic development and operational requirements of the Dispute Resolution Group, Barry’s content work focuses on the law and practice of international commercial arbitration and investment treaty arbitration. In addition to his work for Lexis®PSL, Barry contributes to the LexisNexis Dispute Resolution Blog and New Law Journal on litigation and arbitration matters