American Arbitration Idiosyncrasies - Chapter 41 - Reflections on International Arbitration
The United States plays an important role in the international arbitration world, both because of the number of American parties involved in international arbitrations and the role of American lawyers in the process. At the same time, the centerpiece of American arbitration law, the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), is approaching 100 years old and is very much a “barebones” arbitration law. Yes, the FAA was updated when the U.S. became a party to the New York Convention, and then again when it became a party to the Panama Convention. And, yes, court decisions have filled a number of the gaps in the FAA, albeit slowly and sometimes inconsistently. But as the Restatement of the U.S. Law of International Commercial and Investor-State Arbitration shows, much variation and uncertainty remains.
An important purpose of the Restatement, which I had the very good fortune to work on with George Bermann (as well as Jack Coe and Catherine Rogers), was to help speed up this internal harmonization process. Greater clarity of U.S. arbitration law not only would benefit American judges, parties, and lawyers, but also non-American parties and lawyers who might be involved in an arbitration seated in the U.S. or have to enforce an arbitration agreement or award in U.S. courts. As such, the Restatement provided an opportunity to help translate American arbitration law for an international arbitration audience.