In the course of the recent years, international arbitration encountered significant developments. Arbitration is now recognised as the ordinary mode of dispute resolution for commercial matters around the globe, i.e., not only in the US and Europe, which were traditionally favourable to it. Its expansion to other sectors of the economy, such as investor-state and sport disputes is undeniable. Interestingly and in line with this development trend, arbitration is now pushed forward as the appropriate forum to decide dispute linked to human rights or environmental issues. Whether these most recent attempts to broaden further the recourse to international arbitration will lead to concrete results remains to be seen.
In any event, the multiplication and variety of arbitration proceedings have triggered the attention, not only of the practitioners, but also of the public. The increasing number of matters led to a larger need for arbitrators. Sitting as an arbitrator became a job (often a full-time or close to full-time job), contrasting with earlier practice, when the (limited) pool of arbitrators was essentially composed of law professors, whose main activities remained to teach and to publish. Their awards were sometimes criticised within the small circles of arbitration practitioners; their competence and integrity were not.
The success of arbitration dramatically changed the manner in which international arbitration was perceived and brought the spotlight on those adjudicating these disputes, namely on the arbitrators, the pool of which was becoming larger and more diverse, but still not large and diverse enough in the eyes of users, and, to be very direct, in the eyes of those who wish to be arbitrators but were not appointed. Success triggers admiration and envy. Arbitration is no exception to that basic rule.
The main criticisms, which surfaced some 10-15 years ago and are still expressed today, albeit with less justification, relate to the
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