State International Arbitration Laws: Are They Needed or Desirable? – Vol. 1 No. 2

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AuthorJ. Stewart McClendon*

Published: June 1990

United States
Categories of Dispute
Commercial Disputes
Arbitral Adjudication
Ad hoc
Dispute Resolution and Litigation
Enforcement of Arbitral Awards
New York Convention

Description: The success of international commercial arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism for ever-growing international trade has produced increasing competition in the arbitration business. To make arbitration more attractive to foreign parties, several countries have, in recent years, amended their arbitration laws, narrowing the grounds for challenging awards and enhancing party autonomy by eliminating mandatory procedural rules. The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), after producing Arbitration Rules in 19762 and Conciliation Rules in 1980, turned its attention in 1982 to drafting a model law for countries wishing to modernize their arbitration legislation. Approved on June 21, 1985, the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (Model Law)4 has received favorable publicity; several countries have since updated their arbitration laws, though not necessarily following the Model Law format.

This activity has prompted bar groups in the United States to consider whether the United States Arbitration Act (FAA) should be replaced by the Model Law or at least amended to make the country more attractive for international commercial arbitration.6 Several state bar groups have also been encouraged to lobby for international arbitration laws to attract international arbitration business to cities in their states. This article will examine the wisdom and efficacy of these state efforts.

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*Arbitrator. Former Director, World Arbitration Institute. Member of the New York, Texas, and Minnesota Bars.