David W. Rivkin’s HKIAC Keynote Address Calls for New Contract Between Arbitrators and Parties

27 October 2015

David W. Rivkin, Co-Chair of the International Dispute Resolution Group at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and President of the International Bar Association (IBA), delivered the keynote speech at the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre’s ADR in Asia Conference. In his address, Mr. Rivkin underscored the challenges that currently face the arbitration community and proposed as a solution a new contract between arbitrators and parties.

According to Mr. Rivkin, the new contract would be “based on mutual trust, professional integrity and the objective to resolve the dispute as effectively and efficiently as possible; [it] would focus both sides on how to achieve their goals and to serve the system of international arbitration.”

Mr. Rivkin described the core expectations that parties have of arbitrators: that they (i) be fully versed in the factual record of the case and the relevant legal provisions and decisions; (ii) bring their experience to bear by proposing and then applying procedures that are appropriate for the case that are cost-effective and that will resolve the case as efficiently as possible; (iii) ensure that the evidence presented and the issues argued will assist them as effectively as possible in coming to their decision; and (iv) deliver timely awards that meet the parties’ expectations and resolve the issues that have been put to them.

Mr. Rivkin proposed specific procedures that could be included in the contract to ensure that arbitrators met those expectations. It would also be reasonable for arbitrators to include in such a contract their own expectation of the parties’ conduct to allow them to achieve their goals.

To read the speech in its entirety, please click here.

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