As a past Co-chair of the IBA Arbitration Committee and past President of the ICC Court, Alexis Mourre has been at the forefront of the movement to develop rules and standards to address various aspects of international commercial arbitration with the aim of increasing the system's effectiveness and credibility and the public trust in it. Several of his writings convincingly underscore the benefits of these efforts. Current efforts in this direction focus particularly on the ethical obligations of the different participants in the process and on the rules governing their conduct. Since the probably best-known initiative in this field, the IBA Guidelines on Party Representation (the ‘IBA Guidelines'), were adopted under Alexis' co-chairmanship of the IBA Arbitration Committee, the regulation of ethics in international arbitration is a particularly fitting subject to honour him.
This essay will first recall the now somewhat stale debate on the pros and cons of regulating international arbitration, wholeheartedly espousing the need for such regulation. It will then describe the efforts at regulating ethics in arbitration and the criticism levelled against them, and on that basis will highlight the drawbacks of the present state of affairs and explain why there is no less justification for normative efforts with regard to ethics than with regard to all other aspects of international arbitration. Finally, it will offer some thoughts on the way forward.
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