Understanding International Arbitration, Chapter 1

Tony Cole, FCIArb
Tony Cole, FCIArb
JAMS Arbitrator

Published October 29, 2019

The structure and drafting of this book have been directed by one of the most distinctive features of international commercial arbitration, and one that makes arbitration such a fascinating and enjoyable field to be part of: arbitration is fundamentally about ideas. That is, the one thing that everyone knows about arbitration is that it is flexible: you can arbitrate in almost any way you want. But the flipside of that freedom is a lack of structure. There are almost no rules on how arbitration operates. There are no universal “civil procedure rules” dictating how arbitral proceedings should function. There are no universal professional qualifications that dictate who can and cannot work as an arbitrator, or as counsel. Moreover, even when there are rules, those rules are consistently drafted in ways designed to protect arbitration’s flexibility, and so impose only minimal constraint.

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