International arbitration—an introduction to the key features of international arbitration
Produced in partnership with Thirty Nine Essex Street
International arbitration—an introduction to the key features of international arbitration

The following Arbitration guidance note Produced in partnership with Thirty Nine Essex Street provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • International arbitration—an introduction to the key features of international arbitration
  • What is arbitration?
  • International arbitration
  • Commercial arbitration
  • The arbitration agreement
  • Ad hoc and institutional arbitrations
  • The arbitral tribunal
  • Independence and impartiality of arbitrators
  • Arbitral institutions
  • Harmonisation of international arbitration

This Practice Note provides an introduction to some of the key features of international arbitration. Practice Note: Arbitration—an introduction to the key features of arbitration, which is referred to below, may also be of interest to those seeking an understanding of arbitration as a form of dispute resolution.

There is no authoritative definition of 'international arbitration'. At its simplest, it is arbitration with some element of an international character. Although the meaning of 'arbitration' is well settled, there is no generally agreed definition of the necessary 'international' character.

Further, 'international arbitration' is often taken to mean 'international commercial arbitration' (contrasted with, for example, international investment arbitration) and as such it is important to understand what is 'commercial' for these purposes.

International commercial arbitration has grown substantially in the last 40 years in part as a result of the huge growth in world trade and in part because of the perceived benefits of international commercial arbitration as compared to other forms of dispute resolution.

These benefits include:

  1. enforceability of awards under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the New York Convention)

  2. independence of the tribunal

  3. privacy

  4. flexibility of procedure

What is arbitration?

Arbitration, international or domestic, is a private and consensual form of dispute resolution.

'Private' distinguishes arbitration from litigation in the courts, which, traditionally, is a public form of dispute resolution, both in