'Legal Traditions' and International Commercial Arbitration

American Review of International Arbitration, Spring 2007

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2007-29

35 Pages Posted: 18 May 2007

See all articles by Leon Trakman

Leon Trakman

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law


Codes, laws and guidelines governing international commercial arbitration developed by such organizations as the International Court of Arbitration, the International Bar Association and the International Chamber of Commerce have been drafted against the background of Common Law and Civil Law values. In balancing these two great legal traditions, it was assumed that together they represent a composite legal tradition governing international commercial arbitration. The result of that assumption was decades of fine work enshrining international arbitration doctrines, principles, and rules of law and procedures that blend these two important legal traditions. More recent concerns have begun to raise such questions as: How pervasive are the Common and Civil Law traditions?

Part I of this article asks: What is a legal tradition and how should it be distinguished from a legal culture in relation to international commercial arbitration? Part II reflects on the influence of legal culture on international commercial arbitration. Parts III, IV and V investigate the Common and Civil legal traditions in relation to national, regional and international commercial arbitration. Part VI evaluates the public traditions that surround international commercial arbitration. Part VII considers whether change in the traditions of international commercial arbitration represent culture change or culture shock. Part VIII emphasizes the value of building an inclusive international arbitration tradition. Part IX suggests ways in which international commercial arbitration can accommodate diffuse and changing local, regional and global influences upon it.

Keywords: Arbitration, common law, civil law, legal tradition, legal culture, international commercial arbitration

Suggested Citation

Trakman, Leon, 'Legal Traditions' and International Commercial Arbitration. American Review of International Arbitration, Spring 2007, UNSW Law Research Paper No. 2007-29, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=986507

Leon Trakman (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052

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