Debevoise Updates Two Key Resources for International Arbitration

31 January 2018

Debevoise & Plimpton’s International Dispute Resolution Group today released updated editions of two innovative resources for the efficient resolution of international disputes: the Debevoise International Arbitration Clause Handbook and the Debevoise Efficiency Protocol (2018). Together, these documents provide a comprehensive framework for an effective arbitration process that can be customized to any agreement, at both the contract drafting stage and after a dispute has arisen.

“The Debevoise Efficiency Protocol (2018) and the expanded, updated Debevoise International Arbitration Clause Handbook reflect our experience in thinking creatively about our clients’ strategic objectives and how we can make the arbitration process better for all parties,” said partner Ina C. Popova.

Including a well-crafted arbitration clause in international contracts reduces the possibility of disagreements regarding jurisdiction, provides greater clarity in enforcement, promotes greater efficiency and helps to preserve the business relationship between parties if a conflict arises. The Debevoise International Arbitration Clause Handbook provides ready-to-use language for a range of situations, as well as the strategic considerations behind that language. It includes essential wording recommended for every international contract, designed to ensure a clear path to arbitration and to minimize disputes over enforcement. It also suggests language for a range of special circumstances—including multi-party and multi-contract transactions, confidentiality, and state-owned counterparties—to allow the parties to tailor their arbitration clause to their specific commercial goals. Comparisons of frequently-used arbitral rules and seats provide a ready reference to help in drafting the arbitration clause.

If a dispute does arise, the Debevoise Efficiency Protocol (2018) offers more than 25 specific practices that can help streamline and focus the proceedings at each step, from the formation of the tribunal to the hearing and potential settlement. First published in 2010 and recognized as a benchmark in the field, the updated Debevoise Efficiency Protocol (2018) reflects the firm’s experience and evolving insights into how parties can take advantage of arbitration’s inherent flexibility, and thus control costs and duration, to achieve their strategic goals without compromising the fairness of the process.

Updates in the 2018 edition include best practices from group’s experience in crafting efficient procedures, such as additional conferences with the tribunal at key points in the case, thumbs up/thumbs down decisions with reasons to follow in bifurcated cases, page limits and alternative formats for written pleadings, and including in the initial procedural schedule dates on which the tribunal will confer before and after the hearing and by which the award will be issued.

The Debevoise International Arbitration Clause Handbook also includes the Debevoise Protocol to Promote Cybersecurity in International Arbitration, published last year and recognized by the Financial Times as a leading example of legal innovation. It provides for establishing secure protocols for the transfer of sensitive information at the outset of proceedings, limiting disclosure and use of sensitive information, and developing procedures for disclosing data breaches.

“Both the Debevoise International Arbitration Clause Handbook and the Debevoise Efficiency Protocol (2018) are designed with a range of audiences in mind,” said partner Patrick Taylor. “They provide a thorough introduction for corporate counsel who may be less familiar with this growing area of law, while also serving as valuable reference guides for experienced international arbitration practitioners and for law firms without a dedicated international disputes practice. We are pleased to contribute these resources to the legal community.”

Debevoise’s International Dispute Resolution Group is recognized as being “on a consistent basis, the best in the world for international arbitration,” with a “deep intellectual infrastructure” and a team that is “filled with extraordinarily capable lawyers” that provide “service and thinking that are world-class” (Chambers USA, 2017). The group handles complex international disputes throughout the world for leading multinationals, international organizations and sovereign and nongovernmental organizations arising in commercial, investment treaty and public international law. In 2017, the Group handled more than 120 international matters, in over 30 countries, worth in excess of $64 billion.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a premier law firm with market-leading practices, a global perspective and strong New York roots. We deliver effective solutions to our clients’ most important legal challenges, applying clear commercial judgment and a distinctively collaborative approach.