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July 01, 2014

International Commercial Arbitration Coming to a Courthouse Near You

By Judge Judith Kaye and S.I. Strong

Some people view international commercial arbitration as an exotic, private dispute resolution mechanism that is entirely separate from U.S. state and federal courts. However, the truth of the matter is that judges from around the country increasingly are being asked to handle disputes that are somehow related to international commercial arbitration. Indeed, as Judge Allyson Duncan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit observed, “In an ever more interconnected marketplace, it becomes increasingly important for American judges to understand the rules and dynamics that govern the international commercial arbitration agreements we may be called upon to enforce. This is particularly true because many such agreements will arise under, and parties hail from, civil law traditions with which we have little experience.” Similar concerns arise with respect to the enforcement of arbitral awards and other types of judicial interventions.

Although many parties involved in international commercial arbitration seek the assistance of U.S. federal courts, this is not an area of law that is required to be addressed in federal court. As a result, both state and federal judges need to be prepared to face these uniquely challenging cases.

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