International Arbitration Is Not Obsolete

Law360, New York (December 5, 2014, 11:26 AM EST) -- Arbitration has become an unusually hot topic of conversation in recent months. Much of the back-and-forth has occurred against the backdrop of ongoing negotiations between the U.S. and the EU for a free trade agreement — the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership — with numerous critics questioning the use and usefulness of arbitration. There has been talk in this regard of "secret star chambers" and a particularly advantageous "special right of action" for foreign companies. One national paper went so far as to publish an article titled "Damned Arbitration," in which it described arbitral proceedings as exorbitantly expensive and inordinately slow. The author based this condemnation of arbitration on two arbitral proceedings that have been pending for several years between the Federal Republic of Germany and Toll Collect, a company that handles toll collections from commercial vehicles. All this pointed criticism gives rise to the question whether arbitration has fallen behind the times....

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