Notion, nature and extent of consent in international arbitration
Arbitration is a consensual and private mechanism of dispute resolution which leads to an enforceable arbitral award. In the traditional field of commercial arbitration the agreement to arbitrate is considered to be the cornerstone of arbitration. On the other hand, in the international context, arbitration has become increasingly used in other areas, like investment arbitration and sport arbitration, where the consensual nature of arbitration appears to be different. At the beginning of the study it will be underlined that, when speaking about the consensual nature of arbitration, one needs to differentiate between consensual as one of the essential criteria for arbitration’s qualification and consent as a condition for the validity of the arbitration agreement. This differentiation is especially important in sport arbitration where, between the athletes and sport organisations, there is often induced consent rather than bargained consent. By sustaining that the consensual character of arbitration needs to be differentiated, but not abandoned, the thesis clearly takes a contractual, or better, a consensual approach. It is preferable to speak of a consensual approach, because the agreement to arbitrate does not always take the form of an arbitration agreement in the traditional sense. This is particularly the case in investment arbitration. This thesis is a comparative study. However, not only a comparison of national laws and different arbitration rules will be undertaken, but the thesis will also consider the evolution of arbitration by discussing the implications that evolution has had on the perception of the consensual character of arbitration. Moreover, and above all, the main body of the thesis will be dedicated to a comparison focused on the consent issues of the three main areas where arbitration is nowadays used in an international context: commercial arbitration, investment arbitration and sport arbitration. It will be stressed that, although already in the classical area of commercial arbitration, the structures of arbitrations may be of different types, ranging from bi-party situations to multiparty scenarios, and might play a role when considering the consensual nature of arbitration, this becomes even clearer when one analyses the other fields of arbitration. The thesis then also takes into account that, in the various phases of the arbitral process, the expectations with regard to the consensual character of arbitration may be different. In the thesis it will be argued that the reason the consensual nature of arbitration evolved over time, and the reason that it is different among the various fields of arbitration, might be seen in the fact that there is an inherent tension between the contractual and the jurisdictional side of arbitration. In this situation of “inherent tension” consent may be perceived as being more or less present. Nevertheless, the “intensity” of consent does not affect the basically consensual character of arbitration. While the four traditional theories (jurisdictional, contractual, mixed/hybrid and autonomous) used to explain the juridical nature of arbitration focus rather on the relationship between State and arbitration, the thesis attempts to indicate other solutions which seem to be more able to explain the use of arbitration in the different areas/fields where arbitration is expected to resolve disputes.
AuthorsSteingruber, Andrea Marco
- Theses