Applicable Laws in International Commercial Arbitration

International commercial arbitration is an increasingly popular method of resolving disputes between parties across international borders. Experts know it offers a simpler, quicker, and more cost-effective way to resolve disputes than traditional litigation. However, understanding the applicable laws can be tricky. In this article, we will look at what precisely international commercial arbitration entails and the laws governing it. 


What is International Commercial Arbitration? 

International commercial arbitration is a process through which two or more parties can resolve their differences without resorting to judicial proceedings. Through arbitration, parties can create their own rules and procedures for resolving the dispute instead of being bound by the laws of a court system. The goal is to provide a neutral third party to review the facts of the case and make a binding decision as quickly as possible. This has made international commercial arbitration an attractive option for businesses looking to avoid lengthy court proceedings in another country. 

Applicable Laws 

The applicable laws governing international commercial arbitration vary from country to country. Many conventions, treaties, and agreements have been formulated over the years to promote uniformity in legal systems across different countries with international commercial arbitration.

The most important of these conventions is the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, also known as “The New York Convention,” which sets out specific minimum standards for contracts involving foreign elements, and the 1985 Geneva Protocol on Arbitration Clauses (“Geneva Protocol”), which requires states party to it to recognize arbitral awards rendered abroad as validly enforceable judgments within their territories.

Other conventions include The Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements (“Hague Choice of Court Agreement”) and The Washington Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes Between States and Nationals of Other States (“Washington Convention”). These conventions provide essential guidance when determining which law will apply when multiple jurisdictions are involved in an international commercial dispute. 

In addition, various domestic laws regulate how disputes should be managed in each jurisdiction where parties may have assets or interests at stake. These laws generally set out detailed procedures for how arbitration proceedings should be conducted and enforced within each respective jurisdiction, including guiding on issues such as venue selection, seat selection, and other procedural matters related to conducting international arbitrations effectively.  

How To Ensure Compliance With Applicable Laws 

To ensure that all applicable laws are followed in international commercial arbitration, parties should consult with an experienced attorney knowledgeable about the relevant conventions and domestic laws. The lawyer can then advise on the best way to structure a dispute resolution agreement that will comply with all applicable laws.

It is also essential to ensure that any choice of law or arbitration clause contained in the agreement is enforceable under the applicable laws.

Finally, parties should ensure that all international arbitration proceedings comply with the applicable rules and regulations. This includes ensuring that all required documents are correctly submitted, witnesses are available for questioning and testimony, and all arbitrators’ decisions are valid and enforceable. By taking these steps, parties can ensure that the applicable laws conduct their international commercial arbitration.  ​

When To Use International Commercial Arbitration

International commercial arbitration is typically used when parties cannot resolve their disputes in court due to complexities such as multiple jurisdictions, language barriers, and the need for specialized expertise. It can also be beneficial if one or both parties do not want the dispute to become public knowledge – as all proceedings remain confidential with an arbitral tribunal.

In addition, international commercial arbitration is often faster and more cost effective than taking a dispute to court, as it eliminates the need for lengthy hearings and appeals. This makes it an attractive option for resolving disputes promptly without incurring high legal costs. 

Ultimately, parties should consider all their options when deciding whether to pursue international commercial arbitration or a more traditional court-based dispute resolution process. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help ensure that the best possible solution is chosen for their particular situation.


When enforcing an arbitral award across borders or even within a single country, understanding applicable laws is essential for achieving successful outcomes in any dispute resolution process involving multiple jurisdictions. To ensure success, businesses must familiarize themselves with domestic laws related to enforcement in each jurisdiction they may have interests at stake and any relevant treaties that serve as framework agreements between states regarding recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards across borders. By doing so, they can ensure fair and international treatment while avoiding costly delays due to a lack of knowledge about applicable legal frameworks governing cross-border disputes involving multiple jurisdictions. Ultimately, by taking the time upfront to understand relevant laws, businesses can save considerable time and money if they ever find themselves involved in a dispute requiring international commercial arbitration.

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