We’ve blogged about notarized and certified contract translation services for international arbitration and about multilingual arbitration proceedings interpreting. Although international arbitration may have made significant advances over the past several decades, as a whole, the rules and regulations governing attorneys in the international arbitration multi-language setting have not.
According to Catherine A. Rogers, Professor of Law at Penn State University and author of the essay The Ethics of Advocacy in International Arbitration, ‘international arbitration is the wild west of ethics’. Rogers viewpoint is that due to a lack of any form of uniform rules of ethics, attorneys involved in an arbitration that spans national borders are often following very different – and sometimes conflicting – rules of ethical conduct.
As an example, Rogers points out that in the US it is common practice for opposing parties to exchange documents and attorneys have an ethical obligation to search for and disclose the necessary documents. In other jurisdictions, however, such an exchange may be considered a betrayal of their obligation to client loyalty’.
She notes that ‘lawyers engaged in international arbitration have little or no guidance about how these rules fit together, and even less guidance about how to manage such conflicts when appearing before international arbitration tribunals.’ And when rules are in foreign languages and foreign language translations are required, the issue can become even more complex.