International Arbitration: The Next GROWTH INDUSTRY - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 54, No. 1
The author is a judge on the U.S. Court of International Trade. Before she took the bench, she was a member of the AAA’s International Panel, and served as arbitrator, counsel, or secretary to the tribunal in arbitrations under the rules of most of the major international arbitral institutions of the world. This article is an adaptation of her keynote speech at the recent AAA Neutrals’ Retreat in Florida.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
Alternative dispute resolution is generally believed to be a relatively new phenomenon. But ADR has in fact been around for centuries. And it is practised in many cultures which have never seen a lawyer. In some African tribes, for instance, disputes are decided by proverb battles—the winner being the party who is judged to produce the most apt proverbs.
Then there is the unique form of arbitration that flourished last century in a small county in England. The parties would agree on an impartial chairman, who would sit at the head of a long table, with the parties on either side. A line would be drawn down the middle of the table, and grains of oats would be placed along the line at intervals of every few inches. A foot or so from the head of the table, where the chairman sat, the line of oats would stop, and two grains of corn would be placed a few inches from the middle, one right in front of each party. Next, with the chairman as umpire, a hen turkey would gently be placed at the far end of the table. The turkey would proceed to delicately peck her way all the way up the table, until she reached the two grains of corn at the top. She would then make her award in favor of one party or the other, by taking the corn in front of him first!
It is unlikely that IBM will be participating in a “turkey arbitration” anytime soon or that Siemens will decide to resolve future disputes with its customers through “proverb wars.” But the explosive growth of ADR in recent years is a very exciting development indeed, in both the domestic and international arenas.