International commercial arbitration is a method of resolving disputes through an arbitration proceeding heard by one or more arbitrators, instead of pursuing resolution of the dispute through an applicable court system. There are many reasons why parties may prefer arbitration to litigation. One, parties may wish to avoid the high costs of litigation, the uncertainty of proceedings in foreign (to the party) court systems and laws, and the potential difficulties in enforcing foreign judgments. Two, arbitrations are normally binding and usually do not allow for an extensive appeal process. Three, arbitral awards are normally confidential, unlike most court decisions issued in litigation. Finally, the parties to the dispute traditionally select the arbitrators to hear the dispute—this allows for the selection of arbitrators well-versed in the subject-matter of the dispute at issue.
Parties normally choose international commercial arbitration to resolve disputes when drafting contracts and other agreements—a clause selecting the institution or arbitral rules to be used in any future disputes can be added to the agreements during negotiations.
The purpose of this guide is to provide a brief overview of international commercial arbitration and the tools and resources available on the topic.