In The Shadow of the Unruly Horse: International Arbitration and The Public Policy Exception – Vol. 13 No. 1-4

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Author: Homayoon Arfazadeh*

Published: December 2003

Public Policy Favoring Arbitration



“Public policy” has always been a source of concern for international lawyers. According to an old English dictum, public policy is “… a very unruly horse, and once you get astride it you never know where it will carry you. It may lead you from sound law.” The common-law tradition continues to cherish the “unruly horse” metaphor, convinced that public policy can at any time carry the courts to unpredictable destinations. The civil-law tradition regards the more or less analogous notion of ordre public as an inveterate “chameleon,” and thus, no less a threat to legal certainty and predictability.

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*NYU School of Law, New York. Attorney at law, Python, Schifferli, Peter & Partners, Geneva.