What do Parties Really Want from International Commercial Arbitration? - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 57, No. 4
Richard W. Naimark is Executive Director of the Global Center for Dispute Resolution Research, a multinational and cooperative research initiative with a concentration on international commercial arbitration. He is also Senior Vice President of the American Arbitration Association and a graduate of Columbia Business School.
Stephanie E. Keer is the Research Analyst at the Global Center for Dispute Resolution Research. She received her Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University in 2000. She is also an adjunct faculty member at the New School for Social Research, where she teaches Statistics.
Originally from Dispute Resolution Journal
The Global Center for Dispute Resolution Research has provided needed empirical data about private international commercial arbitration. For this study, the authors conducted a survey to elicit what attorneys and their clients expect of this process. They ranked the results and report on their sometimes surprising findings.*
In a unique opportunity to look beyond simple satisfaction surveys,1 the authors undertook a survey of the perceptions and expectations of both attorneys and their clients in private commercial international arbitrations. The aim of the survey was to seek out an empirical understanding of the component parts of the parties’ perceptions of the arbitration process and their role in it—a level of understanding somewhat deeper than is typically obtained. This article reports on one particularly important question of the survey. Participants were asked to rank various factors for their importance in their current dispute (details of participants, procedures, and statistical analyses can be found in the Appendix at the end of this article). There were some surprises, such as the low ranking of the importance of privacy of the process. Even more noteworthy was the overwhelming relative importance of the fairness and justice of the process when compared to factors such as receipt of a monetary award, speed, cost, arbitrator expertise and finality. The present findings represent the initial stages of a more specific roadmap to the views and desires of the participants in arbitrations, at least international commercial arbitrations. That roadmap leads to an understanding that justice, in the larger sense of the word, matters to parties and implies that substance,2 as well as process,3 are important factors in the parties’ evaluation of what is important in arbitration.