It is our pleasure to submit this essay in appreciation of George, whose thought leadership on the challenges facing international arbitration law has been formative for us both. We devote this contribution to the importance of standards of civility in international arbitration. The subject is most fitting for a tribute to George, who in his work outside the academy reminds us that “[a]ll” participants in international arbitrations “are the front-line actors in ensuring the integrity of the process” and, by extension, the legal system’s legitimacy.
As a general moral principle, civility requires the treatment of others with courtesy, politeness, dignity, and respect. When discussed in the context of adjudication, civility is also often associated with principles such as fairness, diligence, cooperation, restraint, and candor.
Our community’s recent interest in standards of civility has emerged as part of a larger conversation about morality and ethics in international arbitration, which has been spurred by a perceived rise in bad faith conduct and disrespectful behavior in proceedings. In a 2011 survey of international arbitrators and counsel, 68% of respondents said they had seen what they viewed as “guerilla tactics” in proceedings.