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International Arbitration - Cologne, GermanyAbout this Practice Area
International Arbitration Definition
International Arbitration is the preferred means for resolving international commercial and investment disputes. As the international commerce and foreign investments expanded, international arbitration has become more and more important. Over the past 30 years the reported cases at the leading arbitral institutions increased between three and five-fold. In addition, new arbitral institutions have been founded. Today, parties in commercial negotiations and transactions devote more attention to the issue of dispute resolution, and often opt for arbitration.
International commercial arbitration is based on party autonomy. In their desire to find a neutral forum and an efficient, economic, enforceable and confidential method to resolve their disputes, the parties agree to submit their disputes to renowned arbitrators by excluding the original competence of state courts. The procedural flexibility and party autonomy allow to adapt the proceedings to specific circumstances and e.g. to provide for remote hearings and a flexible taking of evidence.
Arbitration agreements are backed by international arbitration conventions and by national arbitration legislation (increasingly based on the UNCITRAL Model Law), which establish an arbitration friendly regime. In particular, the New York Convention, signed in June 1958, with currently 168 contracting states provides for the recognition and enforcement of arbitration agreements and international commercial arbitration awards, safeguarding the enforcement in all contracting states.
By agreeing to arbitration the parties retain a high degree of control over the process, select the applicable framework (ad-hoc or institutional arbitration), the applicable procedural and substantive law and may chose arbitrators with particular technical or legal expertise best suited to grasp the intricacies of the particular dispute or the choice of law.
Most lawyers in the field of international arbitration serve as counsel and arbitrators. Arbitration practitioners are used to work in different jurisdictions and on the basis of many different laws. They utilize their unique skill set to bridge cultural gaps and are well versed in industry specific trade customs and procedures. In international arbitrations, practitioners benefit from different language skills. The task as counsel encompass the pre-trial evaluation, the development of conflict resolution strategies and the enforcement of awards. This highly specialized practice area requires vast experience in litigation and arbitration as well as familiarity with alternative dispute resolution tools (e.g. conciliation, mediation, expert determination, dispute boards).
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