Donald Francis Donovan is a Partner of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. He regularly serves as both advocate and arbitrator. Among other positions, he serves as Vice President of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration and the American Society of International Law, and teaches at New York University School of Law.
David W. Rivkin a Partner of Debevoise & Plimpton, handles international arbitrations around the world and before many major arbitration institutions. He holds positions with various international organizations, including having the pleasure of working with Ulf Franke on the Board of the SCC Institute.
U.S. courts have contributed significantly to the development of the law of international arbitration. For one example, the U.S. Supreme Court’s adoption of the doctrine of the autonomy of the arbitration clause in Prima Paint Corp. v. Flood & Conklin1 was an important contribution to the establishment of that doctrine as a fundamental component of the international arbitration system; for another, the Supreme Court’s decision in Mitsubishi Motors Corp. v. Soler Chrysler-Plymouth Inc.,2 which expanded the bounds of arbitrability by holding that claims arising under the U.S. antitrust laws could be arbitrated, was widely hailed as an important confirmation of the capacity of international arbitration tribunals to handle public law disputes.
In some other areas, however, the U.S. law of international arbitration appears to have developed in isolation from, or in disregard of, international and comparative doctrine. One such area is the question of the law applicable to the arbitration agreement, which this article treats.