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As arbitration specialists (arbitrators and practicing lawyers) build their credentials, their paths often cross in scholarship, conferences, and arbitral proceedings. Depending on their relationships with one another, both professional and personal, an appearance of impropriety (conflict of interest) may appear. This appearance is often more an illusion than reality because to the uninitiated the arbitral process seems to be the domain of a secretive group of insiders. In fact, there is a high level of transparency in the selection of arbitrators. Required disclosures flesh out any potential conflict of interest between the arbitrators and the parties. Most arbitrators will voluntarily remove themselves from consideration in order to ensure their professional integrity in the arbitration community. This is especially the case when there are justifiable doubts as to their independence and impartiality. Also, parties may challenge the appointment or retention of an arbitrator in cases of apparent bias.
Arbitration is prized as a cost-effective, confidential dispute resolution process, where the parties have considerable autonomy in deciding how the procedure should take place. On the international level, compared to litigation, it has the additional benefit of being easily enforceable in states that are members of the New York Convention.
This chapter acts as a capstone to Part IV’s presentation of country reports. It presents the findings of a comparative analysis of arbitration laws in the different countries reported. This analysis focuses on the different issues presented in Parts I–III, including scope and interpretation of arbitration clauses, anti-arbitration laws and policies, arbitrator bias and misconduct, the public policy exception, and other limits on arbitrability. Thus, the country reports are reviewed here to determine areas of commonality and divergences across national laws relating to judicial intervention into the arbitration process. It will also assess possible trends in international commercial arbitration.
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