Author: José María Martín**
Published: June 1991
Description: In 1963, the Buenos Aires Chamber of Commerce (Bolsa de Comerdo de Buenos Aires), an organization established both for promoting Argentina’s stock exchange and trade and for settling commercial disputes, decided to found a permanent arbitration court, to be called the General Arbitration Tribunal (Tribunal de Arbitraje General, hereinafter the “Tribunal”). The Tribunal was the first of its kind, and remains unmatched in Latin America in its ability to find quick, efficient, and equitable alternative solutions to potentially litigious conflicts among businesses or juridical persons. The Tribunal is particularly important because it is the only permanent, private arbitral forum available to both domestic and foreign commercial parties — whether residents, enterprises, or governmental institutions — engaged in business in Argentina and seeking to support their own interests.
In spite of the tremendous success the Tribunal has experienced, its features remain relatively unknown abroad, and even among members of Argentina’s own business and legal communities. This obscurity is attributable to the sparse publicity received by the institution and its services, as well as its awards, over the past thirty years. This short commentary will attempt to spread the news about the Tribunal, with an eye towards suggesting the potential of similar permanent arbitral courts in other countries.
*Notes & Comments
**From 1982 to 1990, the author served as an arbitrator in the General Arbitration Tribunal. He received his law degree from Buenos Aires University in 1957, and a Master in Comparative Jurisprudence from the New York University School of Law in 1961. He is a partner at Martin, Bodley and Krast, PC in Washington DC, a full professor of law at Buenos Aires University and Belgrano University, a member of the International Fiscal Association, and is the former General Director of the Internal Revenue Department and Finance Secretary of Buenos Aires. Professor Martin currently lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.