Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol 1, No 6 (2011)

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Facilitating Settlement at the Arbitration Table: Comparing Views on Settlement Practice Among Arbitration Practitioners in East Asia and the West

Shahla Ali


This article presents a cross cultural examination of how international arbitrators in East Asian and Western countries view the goal of settlement in international arbitration. The result of a 115 person survey and 64 follow up interviews shed light on the underlying cultural attitudes and approaches to settlement in international arbitration as practiced in diverse regions. The findings indicate that arbitration practitioner’s perceptions of the frequency of compromise decision in international arbitration demonstrate a high degree of convergence across regions. At the same time, cultural and socio-economic distinctions are reflected in varying arbitrator perceptions regarding the arbitrators’ role in settlement, whether settlement is regarded as a goal in arbitration and the types of efforts made pre-arbitration to settle disputes. In particular, arbitrators working in the East Asian region regard the goal of facilitating voluntary settlement in the context of international arbitration with greater importance and generally make greater efforts pre-arbitration to settle disputes as compared with counterparts in the West.

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