Published: August 2014
1. Arbitration is a method of alternative dispute resolution that is based on party autonomy. In other words, arbitration is a legitimate and meaningful alternative to state court proceedings only when the parties have chosen this form as the preferred method of ADR. The principle of party autonomy entails not only the parties’ freedom to choose arbitration, it also grants the parties the sovereignty (and charges them with the responsibility) to organize the proceedings in the way they consider most suitable, given the nature of the dispute. Party autonomy, and the responsibility that comes with it, necessitate a solid arbitration law that supports the parties’ expressed will and provides for default rules to supplement the parties’ arrangements. For these reasons, a balanced and comprehensive lex arbitri is crucial to guarantee an effective and smooth-running arbitration procedure and to establish confidence in arbitration in general.
*Professor of law, Department Civil Law, University of Ghent.
**Lawyer Lexlitis, Member of the bar of Ghent and the bar of Paris. President of the Belgian Center for Arbitration and Mediation (CEPANI).