The repository of published information under the Rules on Transparency shall be the Secretary-General of the United Nations, or an institution named by UNCITRAL.
1. The efforts in the area of transparency by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Group II (Arbitration and Conciliation) (WG) fill a void that has plagued the international arbitration community for several years. Although many cases will remain confidential despite these advancements, the Rules take important steps to make more arbitral proceedings public.
2. While the Rules generally create and encourage transparency in the public interest, the most valuable tool to achieve this overall goal will be the repository – a searchable electronic database – set out in Article 8. In just twenty-four words, Article 8 breathes life into the other Articles by creating a space for access to the information that the Rules make public. In effect, the Rules will only be as successful as the repository's functionality.
3. Under Article 8, the UNCITRAL Secretariat will host a repository containing valuable information about cases to which the Rules apply. Intended to be the first instrument of its kind, the repository breaks new ground by putting an end to the otherwise haphazard collection of arbitral materials available through blogs and subscription services today, which is both unreliable and necessarily incomplete. The repository may serve as a highly significant resource not just by bringing more cases within the reach of the average citizen, but also by filling this void.
4. This brief chapter examines Article 8, its origins, and the intentions behind it, as well as its possible significance. It argues that the repository serves two functions. First, and true to the term ‘repository’, it serves the basic role of acting as a container for all the information to be made known through the other Rules. Second, the chapter argues that the establishment of an effective repository may have the consequence of re-shaping the practice or the jurisprudence of the ‘system’ of international arbitration by making a wider range of case decisions more accessible than ever before. The repository will not only allow the general public to easily locate information on cases of interest, but it will also serve as a valuable legal tool for lawyers, allowing them to develop an argument based on past decisions.