The World Is Not Enough
13 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2018 Last revised: 3 Aug 2020
Date Written: December 29, 2017
IfIf James Bond practiced law, it would be international arbitration. It’s obvious. Arbitration centers are all based in same glamour capitols of the world where 007 movies are set, and the facts of many international arbitrations would make great plots for a James Bond film.
With this starting premise, this article uses the 007 metaphor and the titles of James Bond films to examine the SPECTRE that is hanging over international arbitration.
In Bond films, the audience knows from the start of opening credits that Bond will overcome the most extreme odds to vanquish even the most nefarious villains, that he is on the side of good, and that he is battling for nothing less than the survival of the free world. The arbitration community sees itself in similarly heroic terms. But outside the community, arbitration is no longer the hero of a story about law and justice triumphing over chaos in the world. Instead, according to some, international arbitration has more recently been cast as a dark villain, a judicial overlord that aims at subverting democracy and the common good in favour of moustache-twirling corporate conglomerates and their villainous financiers.
This article argues that arbitration practitioners — as they tend to the needs of their clients, their organizations, their institutions, and their own professional goals—should look beyond their most immediate, short-term self-interest. No one wants their case to become the poster child for some endemic problem or controversy in international arbitration. When one actor in a particular setting does not have the wherewithal to see or act beyond immediate strategic considerations, others should be inspired by longer-term self-interest to step in.
This article examines how a modicum of foresight might have altered outcomes in some of arbitration's most disruptive cases and sensational cases — HEP v. Slovenia, Yukos, Einser, and RSM v. St. Lucia.
The article concludes with a QUANTUM OF SOLACE— those professionals active in international arbitration have it within their power and have demonstrated a collective impulse to address problems through a determined self-reassessment and internal recalibration. In conclusion, it calls on international arbitration practitioners to make that collective impulse an express commitment, at TOMORROW NEVER DIES.
Keywords: 007, international arbitration, professional responsibility, investment arbitration
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation