What is arbitration? This volume provides a novel theoretical examination of the concept, attempting to answer fundamental questions which have rarely been addressed systematically in English. Its methodological premise is that "even readers who are new to arbitration deserve more than superficial generalities, and are prepared to think things through."
The author demonstrates that although arbitrators are creatures of contract they are not slaves to the parties' bargain; disputes relating to a contract may include issues with respect to its compliance with public policy. The work examines the ethical challenges to arbitral authority and its moral hazards, evaluating the promises and dangers of private, (at least partially) self-contained systems of adjudication and compliance.
. Proposes an ambitious formulation intended to serve as an "over-arching presumption" with respect to the cluster of constantly recurring questions which lie at the heart of the process: when cases begin with a dispute, whatever it may be, as to arbitral authority, who should decide it, when, and with what degree of finality?
. Explores the complex interrelationship between judicial and arbitral authority to rule on claims of statutory rights and defences of public policy and illegality of contracts
. Shows how consistently international arbitration differs from domestic arbitration due to the absence of a unified system of civil courts in the international sphere
Jan Paulsson holds the Michael Klein Distinguished Scholar Chair at the University of Miami School of Law, and frequently acts as advocate or arbitrator in international disputes. For 20 years, he headed the international arbitration and public international law groups at the law firm Freshfields.