International Dispute Resolution in United Kingdom UK
World of Arbitration In a civilised society, citizens look to the courts to settle their disputes. The courts put judges at the disposal of the parties, the courts determine the substantive and procedural law which is to be applied and the courts enforce their own orders through court officers, when necessary. It is a one-stop shop.
For those engaged in alternative dispute resolution – ADR, the courts are available not merely to enforce decisions and awards but also to supervise and control the chosen ADR procedures, should matters go awry.
Where disputes arise in the international arena, the picture is a little different because national courts are rarely acceptable to both sides. Disputes between states or between an individual and a foreign state or between an individual and an international organisation may be regarded as being in a special category, where the aggrieved party may have recourse to treaty arbitration. Examples are arbitration before the PCA1 and arbitration under the auspices of ICSID2. Beyond that special category, the parties must make express provision for dispute resolution in their agreement, failing which the aggrieved party will be left to seek his remedy from the domestic courts of one country or another, depending upon which will assume jurisdiction.
The result is a contrast. Whereas national courts often represent a convenient and acceptable means of dispute resolution for parties to a dispute which has no international element, there is no international equivalent. In consequence, most international disputes fall to be resolved through a process or by a tribunal which is essentially consensual in origin.
This paper is concerned with the resolution of disputes arising under international construction contracts. The purpose is to survey the available alternatives and to identify some of the considerations to be borne in mind by those concerned. In this last context, the emphasis is on two key considerations, being enforcement and applicable law. Continue reading International Dispute Resolution in United Kingdom UK