We’ve blogged about the importance of professional multilingual legal translation and legal interpretation services in the context of international arbitration agreements. As international arbitration continues to grow in popularity, the need for some type of international code of ethics becomes greater – especially considering the vast sums of money that arbitrators, arbitral institutions, parties and counsel all vie for. A second Golden Rule can be wherever there is money at stake, there is potential for misbehavior. Hence the movement for an international arbitration code of ethics.
The problem with creating a code of ethics at the international level is the lack of ability to issue sanctions for noncompliance. One solution is intervention by the state, where unethical behavior by counsel or an arbitrator is subject to disciplinary action by the governing ethics body where they are licensed to practice. But this creates inequalities between attorneys coming from different national jurisdictions, potentially giving the favor to one side.
Perhaps the most practical solution is sanctions imposed by the arbitral tribunal itself. But here again there will be issues as to differences in governing law. And on the international stage, when different languages are used, the need for foreign language translation also effects the outcome and legitimacy of such a system.