The International Arbitrator as Transnational Judge - WAMR 2013 Vol. 7, No. 1
DONALD FRANCIS DONOVAN is a partner in Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York, where he concentrates his practice in international disputes before U.S. courts, international arbitration tribunals, and international courts. Based on surveys of other practitioners, Chambers Global 2013 recently identified him as one of the eleven leading international arbitration practitioners and five leading public international lawyers in the world, and he is similarly ranked in other publications. He has argued before the International Court of Justice, the U.S. Supreme Court, international arbitration tribunals constituted under both treaty and contract in venues throughout the world, and other federal and state courts throughout the United States. He regularly sits as arbitrator in ICC, ICDR, ICSID, and other cases. Mr. Donovan currently serves as President of the American Society of International Law. He served from 2000-2005 as Chair of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration; he recently concluded two terms as Vice-President of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) and remains a Member of its Governing Body; and he has long served on the Board of Human Rights First and as Chair of its Litigation Committee. He teaches international arbitration and international investment law and arbitration at the New York University School of Law. Mr. Donovan joined Debevoise after serving as law clerk to Associate Justice Harry A. Blackmun of the U.S. Supreme Court and as legal assistant to Judge Howard M. Holtzmann of the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal. Mr. Donovan may be contacted at email@example.com.
Originally from World Arbitration And Mediation Review (WAMR)
Over the last several decades, arbitration has become far and away the preferred method for settling legal disputes between parties from different nations. To state the obvious, the international arbitrator is central to the international arbitration process. Today, I would like to consider what we should expect from that central figure.
To do so, I would like to begin by reviewing the role of modern international arbitration. Then I would like to talk about our basic expectations as to how the international arbitrator should perform. Finally, looking at the larger picture, I would like to offer some thoughts about the transnational legal order of which international arbitration is such an important part and the implications that follow for the mission and qualifications of the arbitrator in that system.
I do not need to tell this audience, sitting in Mexico, of the expansion of international arbitration and the importance of that expansion for trade and investment. As a matter of sheer numbers, the statistics from all the arbitral institutions reflect a dramatic increase in disputes that go to arbitration, and the increase of quality institutions that can administer international arbitrations reflects the same growth. As but one example, the ICC reports that it received 663 requests for arbitration in 2008, as compared to 446 requests in 1998 and 32 in 1956. As a matter of geographic scope, national jurisdictions throughout the world have enacted modern arbitration laws, including some 60 states that have enacted versions of the UNCITRAL Model Law.