Language Translation, and Ethics for International Arbitrators

We know that the use of language and foreign language translations is often a sticking point in international arbitration. Another perennial question in international arbitrations is whether or not the nomination of arbitrators should be a fundamental right of a party. This is mainly related to the question of what is acceptable or ethical behavior for international arbitrators.

Although one may think using national attorney ethical guidelines as a benchmark would make sense, this is not always a good idea. For example, national standards conflict with each other and would raise issues of deciding which national standards to apply.

Another challenge would be managing the cultural differences that exists in how to do business. Merely stating that one rule is more ethical than another would take from the arbitration’s basis of impartiality.

This being said, some organizations have begun to move towards creating a code of conduct for international arbitration. Examples include the Court of Arbitration at the Polish Chamber of Commerce, the Permanent Court of Arbitration attached to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia or the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. While some of these codes are no more than general, moral guidelines, others go further and regulate specific situations which typically arise during an arbitration.

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