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International Commercial Arbitration Guide: Major General Purpose Institutions

Major General Purpose Institutions

Major international commercial arbitration organizations with years of experience include the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), and the American Arbitration Association (AAA). The Vienna International Arbitral Centre (VIAC) has gained a reputation for arbitrating disputes involving parties from Central Europe. Other organizations include the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), also known as the Arbitration Court of the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC), the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, and the Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA). Comprehensive listings of arbitration centers are available from Juris International and WWW Virtual Library Arbitration.

Countries may agree to enforce foreign arbitration awards in many ways. Some examples are bilateral agreements, multilateral agreements, and bilateral investment treaties (BITs). 

The widespread adoption of the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958), which limits the grounds upon which arbitral awards may be attacked [FN1], has greatly facilitated the growth of arbitration. Most arbitration attorneys limit their clients' venues to states that are a party to the New York Convention. For more information about finding treaties, see the American Society of International Law (ASIL) Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law: Treaties Chapter.

Another important development in the spread of international arbitration was the adoption in 1976 of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL)  arbitration rules, which were intended for parties wishing to arbitrate without the use of an international arbitral institution. The UNCITRAL model law, adopted in 2006, serves as the basis for many countries' arbitration legislation [FN2]. For more information on UNCITRAL, see the ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law: Private International Law. For more information about researching UN materials, including those of UNCITRAL, see the ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law: United Nations Chapter.

In another recent trend, many countries have adopted new arbitration laws or amended existing laws to remove impediments to the arbitration process in hopes of attracting more global business. For example, Belgium has a statute shielding international arbitrations decided in Belgium from all judicial interference. Most statutes since 1980 have also included "trade usage" as a permissible source of arbitration law, again in an effort to attract more global business.  


FN1 - Under Specialiiized vs. General Purpose Institutions, a court must recognize or enforce the award except in these situations: incapacity of the party; invalidity of the agreement; a party's lack of notice or other inability to present his or her case; an award outside the submission; an improperly constituted tribunal or a procedure which is illegal or outside the parties' agreement; a subject which cannot be arbitrated under national law; and a case in which recognition or enforcement would violate public policy.

FN2 - Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bermuda, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Jordan, Kenya, Lithuania, Macao Special Administrative Region of China, Madagascar, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Peru, Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Scotland, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Ukraine, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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