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Preferred Practices in International Arbitration

Over the last eight months, the School of International Arbitration at Queen Mary, University of London conducted a comprehensive and wide-ranging survey on issues germane to international arbitration - particularly on current and preferred practices in the field. The results of this study unsurprisingly point towards a great preference for autonomy and flexibility in international arbitration.

For instance, over three quarters of respondents prefer the ability to have each party to an arbitration pick their own arbitrator to sit on a three-person panel, as opposed to bilateral or, worse, administrator-led appointments. Participants also reported common usage of IBA Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration, a strong predilection for the use of witness statements as evidence in the arbitration, and a preference for the sequential - and not simultaneous - exchange of written submissions.

Interestingly, 70% of respondents believe that parties to international arbitrations should exchange all documents "relevant to the case and material to its outcome," and 62% of respondents reported that the parties exchanged document requests in more than half of their international arbitrations. These findings are of particular interest in light of the oft-cited tension between document discovery practices in the common law world as compared to civil code jurisdictions.

In order to conduct the survey, the researchers obtained responses from over 700 respondents. Half of them were private practitioners, while the other half were arbitrators, in-house counsel, and academics. In addition, half of the respondents hailed from countries that utilize the common law, while the other half come from civil code countries. The full survey results are available here.

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