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International Commercial Arbitration: Introduction

This guide covers both commercial arbitration as well as investment arbitration (Investor-State)


When researching international commercial arbitration, keep in mind that there is no centralized source for obtaining all of the legal authorities needed.

Types of legal authorities used in international commercial arbitration:**

  • Expert commentary (books and articles)
  • International treaties (both bilateral and multilateral)
    For example:
    • Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards ("New York Convention")
    • Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States ("ICSID Convention")
    • Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs)
  • National laws
    For example:
    • National arbitration statute in effect in the arbitration forum
    • UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration
    • National case law (persuasive authority)
  • Arbitral rules (international and regional arbitral institutions)
    For example:
    • UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules
    • Commercial Arbitration and Mediation Center for the Americas (CAMCA) Rules
  • Law of the dispute
    For example:
    • Arbitration agreement
    • Rules and orders of the arbitration tribunal
  • Arbitral awards (persuasive authority; useful for arbitration procedure interpretation, trends in arbitral outcomes, award comparison)

For more about international arbitration research methodology, consult S.I. Strong, Research in International Commercial Arbitration: Special Skills, Special Sources, 29 Am. Rev. Int’l Arb. 119 (2009)

Background Secondary Sources

Quick Background Source

Max Planck Encyclopedias of International Law.  This Encyclopedia is a good source for an overview of topics within international law (including private international law).  Provides information on the most important treaties and other documents.  Possible search terms include: 

  • arbitral awards
  • commercial arbitration
  • concessions
  • fair and equitable treatment
  • investment arbitration
  • investment disputes
  • investments, bilateral treaties
  • investments, international protection
  • private international law

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