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Apr 27, 2015

Emmanuel Gaillard Lecture on Sociology of International Arbitration


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Partner Emmanuel Gaillard (Paris-International Arbitration) published the lecture he delivered in London in November 2014 on “Sociology of international arbitration” in Arbitration International, The Official Journal of the London Court of International Arbitration.

Since the first comprehensive work in sociology of international arbitration in 1996 by Dezalay and Garth, international arbitration has changed considerably. This article considers those changes, through the prism of sociology. Although the essential players (parties and arbitrators) remain the same, arbitration nowadays includes a host of new actors: the numerous service providers, including the "merchants of recognition" that distribute legitimacy within the field of international arbitration; and the value providers who provide guidance as to the way international arbitration should develop and how arbitral social actors should behave. This article also describes the main rituals in international arbitration that structure the manner in which social actors are expected to behave, as well as the manner in which actors interact in the field of international arbitration. In particular, it shows how international arbitration, as a social field, has evolved from a solidaristic to a polarized model in which a variety of actors share different sets of values and beliefs. After drawing a distinction between functions and roles and its impact on the assessment of conflicts of interest, the author explores how norms are generated in a polarized field.

This article was originally presented as the 2014 School of International Arbitration—Freshfields Lecture in London on November 26, 2014.

View the article, Sociology of international arbitration.