Arbitration is commonly considered to be the main method for the settlement of commercial disputes. While in the past it was a privilege to become an arbitrator, nowadays being part of an arbitration has become a significant business. According to some authors, the Americanization of justice is the key factor that accounts for this situation. It has been noted that, particularly under the influence of big American law firms, the number of potential arbitration “producers” increased excessively, at least in the important European arbitration centers. This phenomenon, critics have observed, has created a state of permanent competition among the various actors of the arbitration community. As stated by Pierre Lalive, this “commercialization of arbitration” can be defined as the transformation of arbitration from a “service of justice” into a “business product,” driven by the forces of globalization.
Today, the rise in the demand to arbitrate is undeniable. One of the key factors why parties resort to this form of dispute resolution is that they have the right to choose their decision-maker from a pool of highly specialized experts whom they trust. Paradoxically, this has come along with two juxtaposed trends: on the one hand, more and more individuals become arbitrators and they are not necessarily the most competent ones. On the other hand, with the increasing professionalization of this field, in most of the proceedings, the same arbitrators keep on being nominated and this creates an “arbitrators’ community” sustained by “mutual admiration.”