International Commercial Arbitration


Stream Leader: Associate Professor Kun Fan

Arbitration has achieved a central place in cross-border dispute resolution and is now the preferred mechanism for resolving international commercial disputes. However, arbitration remains little understood due to its confidential nature. Despite the major forces pushing towards the unification of arbitration laws and institutional rules, which made procedures more standardised and less country-specific, expectations of the process still differ significantly based on local practice.

The stream of International Commercial Arbitration intends to unfold the “black box” of international commercial arbitration practice through empirical research. It also analyses the role of local cultures and norms in shaping arbitration practices. It is particularly interested in moving beyond the conventional common law-civil law, East-West dichotomy, and to study arbitration beyond Western Europe and North America. More broadly, the stream also examines how arbitration fits within the general field of international law and how it contributes to the administration of justice. 

The stream leader Professor Fan collaborates with a number of researchers worldwide on the research project 'the Social and Psychological Underpinnings of Commercial Arbitration in Europe,’ led by Tony Cole, funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC) and the University of Leicester. This project will clarify how social norms and social connections impact standards of practice and career development in arbitration, thereby on the functioning of arbitration as a mechanism for the delivery of civil justice. 

Professor Fan also collaborates with the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg on the Comparative Procedural Law and Justice Project led by Professor Hess Burkhard, funded by Luxembourg National Research Fund. The segment of arbitration examines the role of arbitration in international in the civil dispute resolution system.