International Commercial Arbitrators' Approaches to Contractual Interpretation

2012 International Business Law Journal / Revue de Droit des Affaires Internationales, Forthcoming

16 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2012

See all articles by Joshua Karton

Joshua Karton

Queen's University Faculty of Law; National Taiwan University - College of Law

Date Written: March 29, 2012

Abstract

This article considers the available international arbitral awards that involve interpretation of a contract. It divides the awards according to the applicable substantive law, and concludes that international commercial arbitrators generally follow the interpretive rules prescribed by the laws of civil law jurisdictions, but sometimes depart from common law interpretive methods. When international arbitrators depart from the applicable law, or when they apply general principles of international law or act as amiables compositeurs, they tend to follow a civil law approach. They see discerning the true (subjective) common intention of the parties as the goal of contractual interpretation, and while they emphasize the plain meaning of contractual texts, they are willing to consider a wide range extrinsic evidence that would be inadmissible in common law courts.

Keywords: international arbitration, international commercial law, contractual interpretation

Suggested Citation

Karton, Joshua, International Commercial Arbitrators' Approaches to Contractual Interpretation (March 29, 2012). 2012 International Business Law Journal / Revue de Droit des Affaires Internationales, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2030943

Joshua Karton (Contact Author)

Queen's University Faculty of Law ( email )

Macdonald Hall
128 Union St.
Kingston, Ontario K7L3N6
Canada

National Taiwan University - College of Law ( email )

No.1, Sec.4, Roosevelt Road
Taipei, 10617, 10617
Taiwan

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