The stories of inappropriate behavior that I have identified in this book generally do not pertain to the world of binding rules, but rather to an opaque area of arbitration that deserves to be dubbed its “dark side.” Notwithstanding the players of arbitration who have turned to the dark side, the fact remains that in many arbitration proceedings the players conduct themselves impeccably, and on those occasions arbitration really lives up to its natural function of offering the parties a satisfactory means of resolving their disputes.
Arbitration remains, in other words, a very useful instrument for the development of international trade, and I do not think that the market could offer any better system for resolving international commercial disputes. In saying this I do not wish to offend those who champion solutions like mediation or conciliation, which certainly have their uses, but cannot produce a binding award having all the benefits of the New York Convention.
This said, I wish to end with a few remarks on certain very special aspects of arbitrating, which make every arbitrator proud when the parties turn to him or her. I refer to the fact that a panel of arbitrators is the only thing by which two parties, who disagree on everything else, come to an agreement. There is some magic in that. As one commentator has said this is indeed “la magie de l’arbitrage” – the magic of arbitration.