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Procedural Cross-Fertilization in International Commercial and Investment Arbitration: A Functional Approach
Journal of International Dispute Settlement  (IF0.938),  Pub Date : 2021-10-21, DOI: 10.1093/jnlids/idab024
Meshel T.

This article examines the potential for beneficial procedural cross-fertilization between internationalcommercial and investment arbitration from a functional perspective. The article argues that botharbitration regimes share a ‘private’ dispute resolution function of resolving specific disputes, butonly investment arbitral tribunals also exercise a ‘public’ law-making function of developing the lawapplicable to the resolution of disputes. The article considers two recent procedural developmentsin international arbitration rulesjoinder of third parties and publication of arbitral awardsin thelight of these private and public functions. It argues that joinder, as an efficiency-enhancingmeasure, can lead to beneficial cross-fertilization between commercial and investment arbitrationbecause it reinforces the ‘private’ dispute resolution function shared by both regimes. In contrast,the default publication of arbitral awards, to the extent that it is intended to be systematic and createinformal precedent, is appropriate in investment but not in commercial arbitration because onlyinvestment arbitral tribunals exercise a ‘public’ law-making function that justifies and stands tobenefit from this practice. In this regard, the article rejects three rationales for default publication ofinternational commercial arbitral awards: improving consistency/predictability, enhancingtransparency and developing transnational commercial law. The article concludes that crossfertilizationbetween investment and commercial arbitration can be valuable so long as it concernstheir shared private dispute resolution function. However, attempting to develop internationalcommercial arbitral practice in the shadow of the public law-making function of investment arbitraltribunals may result in counterproductive practices and undermine the proper functioning ofinternational commercial arbitration as a whole.