We’ve blogged about professional document translation and language interpreting services and successful international arbitration. Acting as an attorney in an international arbitration case often involves many of the same ethical issues common to any form of legal representation. For example, issues of conflicts of interest, incompetence, dishonesty, improper communication with opposing parties and privileges are all just as present in international arbitration as they are in any other legal setting.
However, different jurisdictions will have different rules as to what is and is not considered ethical. Thus, the question arises, to what extent do choice of law principles govern professional ethics issues in the international arena? In such a situation, an attorney can easily find him or herself in a Catch-22 situation: they act one way and they violate one jurisdiction’s code of ethics, but if they don’t act, they violate another’s.
What is the answer to this dilemma? Holding one accountable to the standards of the ‘home jurisdiction’ may place the attorney at a disadvantage. But, at the same time, holding them to the standards of a foreign jurisdiction in which they are not familiar is also not fair. Clearly, the best solution would be the implementation of an international code of ethics for international arbitration proceedings. Until that time, perhaps the best short-term solution is to be sure to always obtain a foreign language translation of the local rules and familiarize yourself with them.