Lawyers and Non-Lawyers in International Arbitration: Discovering Diminishing Diversity
51 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2021 Last revised: 12 Sep 2023
Date Written: September 20, 2021
This paper highlights a curious lack of diversity within the proliferating discourse about the lack of diversity in international arbitration. There is hardly any awareness or at least sustained discussion about limited diversity of professional backgrounds, and more specifically the dominance nowadays of those with practising lawyer positions or primary careers, across the key groups and publication outlets for international arbitration. Yet this encroachment of lawyers was still being contested in the 1990s, as being linked to burgeoning costs and delays, and such “formalisation” has been re-emerging in recent years. Diversifying the world of international arbitration to involve more non-lawyers, including academics, could promote various other objectives too, as outlined in the introduction. This paper therefore analyses empirically the ways lawyers have come to dominate key nodes of influence within the world of international arbitration. Part I looks at key general associations or organisations promoting international arbitration, including their leadership and presenters at symposiums. Part II focuses on various arbitration centres globally, which actually administer cases. Part III examines contributions to some key arbitration journals, an influential book series, and a widely-read Blog. The conclusion reiterates that restoring more non-lawyers in the world of international arbitration should help not only to reduce formalisation and inefficiencies in international arbitration, but also have various other salutary effects, including potentially improving gender diversity.
Keywords: international arbitration, dispute resolution, legal profession, diversity, comparative law, sociology of law
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation