Collective Redress in International Arbitration: An American Idea, A European Concept?* – Vol. 22 No. 2

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Author: Jan-Krzysztof Dunin-Wasowicz**

Published: December 2011


La loi, en général, est la raison humaine, en tant qu’elle gouverne tous les peuples de la terre; et les lois politiques et civiles de chaque nation ne doivent être que les cas particuliers où s’applique cette raison humaine. Elles doivent être tellement propres au peuple pour lequel elles sont faites, que c’est un très grand hasard si celles d’une nation peuvent convenir à une autre.
Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, De l’esprit des lois


It is a near platitude in a business environment defined by global transactions and cross-border ventures, that arbitration is the preferred means for disposing of international disputes. Though uniformly praised, international arbitration is grounded in disparate predicates; its roots are eclectic and its evolution gleans from traditions of sundry legal orders, resulting in an intensely “crosspollinat[ed]” practice. While the “constitutional charter” of the international arbitral process, the New York Convention, was drafted at a time when arbitration was generically a bilateral process, today arbitration clauses are commonplace in transactions involving hundreds, if not thousands of parties. Consider the globalization of capital markets, for instance. Mass claims, however, are a relatively new phenomenon9 in both international public and private dispute resolution.

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*Notes and Comments
**J.D., Columbia Law School, expected 2012; Maîtrise en droit & advanced degree in International Commercial Law, Sorbonne Law School (University of Paris 1), expected 2012; Master’s degree, Public Administration, Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), 2007; European Studies undergraduate program, Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), 2005. This work could not have been completed without the advice of Professor Hans Smit, Stanley H. Fudd Professor of Law at Columbia University School of Law to whom I am indebted. I am thankful for the warm encouragement and editorial assistance of Elizabeth H. Cooper, Managing Editor of The Review. The views expressed and mistakes made are the author’s alone.