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International Commercial Arbitration: Introduction

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


Unfortunately, researching this area of law can also be time-consuming and frustrating because there is no centralized source for obtaining all of the legal authorities needed.

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

  • 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 (no precedential value and are not binding; persuasive authority)
  • Expert commentary (books and articles)


Background Secondary Sources

Quick Background Source

Max Planck Encyclopedias of International LawThis 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

** Search "Books & Articles", Law Library homepage, for articles like the one used to compile introductory material:  S.I. Strong, Research in International Commercial Arbitration: Special Skills, Special Sources, 29 Am. Rev. Int’l Arb. 119 (2009). 

See also, International Litigation and Arbitration (2022).  This is a "concise hornbook" and provides a lot of background information. 

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