Author: Harold I. Abramson*
Published: March 1999
Responsibility of Arbitrators
Dispute Resolution and Litigation
Description: The best time to settle an international business dispute can be after the international arbitration proceeding has been commenced. Just like in court litigation, parties may be ready to settle only after the adjudicatory process has begun and even has progressed. In court, judges commonly open the door to settlement; they hold settlement conferences and even actively participate in settlement negotiations. But arbitrators rarely open the door to settlement; when they do, they risk losing their jobs. So, what can international arbitrators safely do? What dare they do?
International arbitrators can safely encourage parties to settle. They can suggest that parties consider settling or trying mediation with another neutral of their choice. When taking these initiatives, arbitrators stay out of direct participation in settlement negotiations.
*Professor of Law, Touro Law Center; LL.M. Harvard Law School, 1984; M.P.A., Harvard School of Government, 1983; J.D., Syracuse University, 1974; B.B.A., University of Michigan, 1971. The author teaches courses on dispute resolution and international business and serves as a mediator and arbitrator in business and public policy disputes. Drafts of this paper were presented in programs sponsored by the Dispute Resolution Committee of the International Law and Practice Section of the NYS Bar Association (October, 1998) and the Section of Dispute Resolution of the ABA (May, 1999). The author thanks his research assistant, Michael Hack, for his tenacious and timely pursuit of numerous research assignments.