International arbitration—key differences between international and domestic arbitration
International arbitration—key differences between international and domestic arbitration

The following Arbitration guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • International arbitration—key differences between international and domestic arbitration
  • What makes an arbitration domestic or international?
  • Why distinguish between domestic and international arbitration?
  • Local or domestic arbitration laws
  • The New York Convention

In many jurisdictions, there are relatively few substantive differences between pursuing international arbitration or domestic arbitration proceedings. This Practice Note identifies when differences may arise and considers the impact of such differences on the conduct of the arbitration.

You may also be interested in Practice Notes: Arbitration—an introduction to the key features of arbitration, Institutional arbitration—an introduction to the key features of institutional arbitration, Ad hoc arbitration—an introduction to the key features of ad hoc arbitration and International arbitration—an introduction to the key features of international arbitration

What makes an arbitration domestic or international?

A domestic arbitration is one concerned with purely national or domestic issues. This means, in general terms, that all aspects of the arbitration proceedings are related to a single jurisdiction. For example, the nationality of the parties, the governing law of the contract, the place of performance of the contract and the facts giving rise to the dispute will all relate to the same jurisdiction.

An international arbitration, on the other hand, will reach beyond the borders of a single jurisdiction. Broadly speaking, the domestic laws of different jurisdictions adopt one of three different approaches to determining whether an arbitration is truly international:

  1. the nature of the dispute approach—the arbitration is considered international if the dispute concerns cross-border commercial activity

  2. the party nationality approach—the arbitration is considered international