Court-Ordered Interim Measures In Aid Of International Commercial Arbitration – Vol. 17 No. 3

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Author: Martin Davies*

Published: March 2008

United States
Categories of Disputes
Commercial Disputes
Interim Measures of Protection
Interim Measures Relating to Evidence
Interim Measures Relating to Property
Orders for Security



Interim measures of protection are of great practical importance to international commercial arbitration. They may be necessary to preserve the integrity of the arbitral process or to save it from redundancy. For example, the outcome of an arbitration may be affected if one of the parties cannot be restrained from destroying relevant evidence before the arbitrators can consider it, or simulating material evidence to mislead the arbitrators. The arbitrators’ final award may be rendered ineffective if the parties can move or hide their assets before or during the proceedings, so that they will not be available to satisfy the award. As a result, most institutional arbitration rules contain provisions authorizing the tribunal to order interim measures (sometimes called conservatory or protective measures), as do the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules 1976, the rules most commonly used in ad hoc arbitrations. In mid-2006, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (“UNCITRAL”) amended the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration 1985 to include extensive new provisions about the power of arbitral tribunals to order interim measures.

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*Admiralty Law Institute Professor of Maritime Law, Tulane Law School; Director, Tulane Maritime Law Center. I thank Carolin Stumm, of the LL.M. in Admiralty Class of 2007 at Tulane Law School, for her research assistance in relation to the law of European civil code countries.