International commercial arbitration and poverty, not obvious but (maybe) possible

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The chapter begins with a basic introduction to international commercial arbitration. An important point revealed by this introduction is that international commercial arbitration is almost exclusively structured to protect the interests of the parties involved, and only their interests. There is not obviously someone with an interest in championing the poverty cause. Consequently, the chapter then turns to consider the circumstances in which poverty issues may nevertheless be raised. Two circumstances are identified. The first is in the context of applicable law, and the second in the context of enforcement. As already noted, these ideas are speculative.

One final introductory observation is to clearly delineate the various species of arbitration. First, international commercial arbitration should not be confused with investment arbitration, which is dealt with in other chapters. Second, it is important to draw a distinction between international and domestic arbitration. It is very conceivable that domestic arbitration could be an important and useful tool in the alleviation of poverty. In the domestic context, particularly in those countries which do not have judicial systems accessible to people of all levels of means, arbitration can present itself as a viable form of dispute resolution.

A relationship between international commercial arbitration and poverty is not obvious, but it could be possible. This chapter considers where some of those possibilities lie. It is, however, a speculative discussion and one that cannot come to any firm conclusion. Perhaps a good description would be to term this a musing-out-loud exercise. Like any exercise of this kind it makes several presumptions. It is not possible within the confines of this chapter to thoroughly consider the validity of these presumptions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPoverty and the International Economic Legal System
Subtitle of host publicationDuties to the World's Poor
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781139507097
ISBN (Print)9781107032743
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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