The Three Paradigm Shifts of International Arbitration - Chapter 38 - Reflections on International Arbitration
Professor George Bermann started his career when international arbitration was a much smaller field, studied seriously only by a few visionaries. Today, students from all over the world vie to attend Professor Bermann’s courses and work with him as research or teaching assistants.
Only a few years ago, I was one of those students, and working with Professor Bermann has fundamentally changed the way I think about the law. Hence this humble contribution fittingly focuses on international arbitration and three paradigm shifts – that is, fundamental changes in the way one thinks. The first two of these paradigm shifts are by now familiar, at least in the international arbitration community. This contribution argues that a third paradigm shift must take place before the potential of international arbitration can be fully realized: namely, a shift towards seeing international arbitration not only as a way of resolving disputes, but also as a way of developing the rule of law and legal institutions. The key to understanding this third paradigm shift is understanding that international arbitration provides an unparalleled opportunity for lawyers to gain and share experience—both the experience itself and the extent to which it can be shared has the potential to develop the rule of law and to improve legal systems.