Former U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff is special counsel to the firm of Kaye, Scholer, Fierman. Hays & Handler in New York City and Washington, D.C. This article is based on a talk presented at the Second International Arbitration Conference in Hamilton, Bermuda, on April 20, 1983.
Overreliance on traditional litigation is under increasing attack. Responsible members of the legal community and groups such as the American Arbitration Association, as well as clients of the legal system itself, are concerned with excessive costs and unsatisfactory results. This concern has generated an awareness of the need for alternative methods of dispute settlement.
The author cautions that the search for effective alternatives to conventional adjudication is imperative and that lawyers must take the initiative in this effort at both the domestic and international level. Although international disputes are inherently complex, improvements, he maintains, can be achieved by expanded use of international arbitration, mediation, and negotiation. He argues that the use of the minitrial and other relatively novel techniques for international disputes is worth careful consideration. Also recommended are greater orientation in law schools toward nonadjudicatory skills; anticipation by attorneys and their clients, before a dispute arises, of the possible future use of dispute settlement; legislation and international agreements expressly providing for detailed dispute settlement options; and wider reliance and increased funding for nongovernmental dispute settlement institutions.