Author: Hans Smit*
Published: March 1991
Description: On March 1, 1991, the new International Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association (the “new Rules” or the “Rules”), supplanting the AAA’s 1986 Supplementary Procedures for International Commercial Arbitration, entered into effect. The new Rules will govern all arbitrations in which the parties have provided for their application. As will appear from the discussion that follows, the Rules, modeled in significant measure upon the UNCITRAL Rules, provide a most desirable and flexible regime under which to conduct international arbitrations. They also introduce some remarkable innovations. In some respects, the Rules fall short of what experienced international arbitrators might have hoped for, but most of their shortcomings can be remedied by proper drafting of arbitration clauses, by subsequent agreement of the parties, or by rulings of the arbitral tribunal. All in all, it may fairly be said that the new Rules offer one of the best, if not the best, regime of institutional arbitration available anywhere in the world. They therefore deserve to be considered seriously by any party wanting to provide for arbitration, even when neither the party, nor the dispute that is likely to arise, has any relation to the United States.
*Fuld Professor of Law and Director, Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law, Columbia University. The author bears sole responsibility for the views expressed in this Article.