It is almost a truism, that arbitration is the creature of consent. Given the large discretion recognized by virtually all international conventions, national statutes and arbitration rules to the parties in forging the arbitral process as they deem fit, party autonomy may be considered not only as a source of arbitration law, but also as its guiding principle. Arbitral practice and national courts also recognize the principle in broad terms.
It is commonly observed that party autonomy has a larger role in international arbitration than in domestic proceedings. Jurisdictions which adopt a separate legal regime for international arbitration tend to give parties to international disputes a greater deal of leeway in regulating the process.
The area in which party autonomy plays the largest role is the procedure. One of the main advantages of international arbitration is that parties may dispense with the formalism and technicalities of national court proceedings, and instead may freely shape the procedure in accordance with their specific needs.