Author: Peter J. Nickles*
Published: June 1991
Practice and Procedure
Description: At Professor Smit’s suggestion, I am pleased to discuss the recent “fast-track” international arbitration in which I acted as counsel for the party seeking relief. In this era of widespread lawyer-bashing and discontent with legal process, it is especially important to consider novel dispute resolution techniques that “are cost-efficient, expeditious, and fair.
Arbitration itself, of course, was conceived as a simpler and faster alternative to litigation. Ironically, however, an international arbitration can all too easily turn into something very much like litigation, especially in terms of the protracted nature of the proceedings. This negates the very reasons that favor arbitration over litigation — simplicity and speed.
Based on our recent experience, I agree with Professor Smit that fast-track arbitration is a viable alternative to conventional arbitration even in the most factually complex case. Our recent International Chamber of Commerce (“ICC”) arbitration resulted in the issuance of an Award Sentence only 78 days after we filed the Request for Arbitration. This article discusses how that achievement was accomplished.
*Partner, Covington & Burling. Other members of our arbitration team, including Bobby R. Burchfield, Laird Hart, Glynn D. Key, and Allan B. Moore, contributed to the preparation of this article, as did Michael X. Imbroscio.