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April 25, 2010

$10 million contract: 1 or 3 Arbitrators?


Jennifer Kirby
Herbert Smith LLP - Paris

How many arbitrators do you need to hear and decide a business-to-business cross-border dispute (moderate value and difficulty)? Assume it will be heard in Western Europe or the U.S.

One arbitrator or three? What do most parties generally prefer? Why do they lean that way? And, even while litigants widely believe that one arbitrator can both cut costs and increase speed, what is the best "default" practice in the abstract? Should "size"--the overall monetary value of the dispute--always drive the parties' decision of the number of arbitrators used?

Finally, are company executives--those who after all pay the salaries and fees of in-house counsel and outside law firms--likely to see this issue differently than the lawyers they employ?

Set aside 15 minutes and hear interview No. 88 in the CPR Institute's International Dispute Negotiation series. Three days ago, Italy-based Mike McIlwrath, an in-house lawyer with GE Oil & Gas, interviewed Jennifer Kirby, a Paris partner of London's Herbert Smith.

Between 2002 and 2005, Kirby served as Counsel and eventually Deputy Secretary General of the ICC's Court of International Arbitration in Paris, where she supervised or formally evaluated countless cross-border arbitrations, involving parties and professionals from over 100 jurisdictions. The ICC court has been receiving and managing private commercial disputes to final awards since 1923.

Posted by JD Hull at April 25, 2010 04:50 PM


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