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Part I Fundamental Principles and the Legal Framework within which the Arbitral Tribunal Operates, Introduction

From: The UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules: A Commentary (1st Edition)

David D. Caron, Matti Pellonpää, Lee M. Caplan

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From: Oxford Legal Research Library (http://olrl.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved. Subscriber: null; date: 06 June 2023

(p. 15) Introduction

It has been rightly said that “[t]he practice of resolving disputes by international commercial arbitration only works because it is held in place by a complex system of national laws and international treaties.”1 While the importance of arbitral autonomy is recognized, so is the principle that certain fundamental guarantees of fairness must apply to the exercise of that autonomy. For the enforcement and supervision of these guarantees, some outside control is needed. Normally this can only be provided by domestic courts. As the basic legal framework for these courts is national law, the relationship between arbitral procedure and domestic law–especially the law regarding arbitration–in the country where the arbitration takes place is of utmost importance. In addition to the limitations imposed by domestic arbitration law, the arbitrators may be bound to apply a certain law to the substance of the dispute. Often they also have to take into account legal considerations likely to govern the enforcement of the award. This may bring into play the law of the likely place of enforcement, since an award rendered in defiance of mandatory norms of that place may stand in the way of successful recognition and enforcement.

Thus, arbitration is in many ways circumscribed by laws pertaining to the proceedings. Articles 1 and 15 of the UNCITRAL Rules contain certain fundamental principles relevant in this regard. Their application is largely dependent on the jurisdiction chosen as the place of arbitration in accordance with Article 16. Hence Articles 1, 15 and 16 have been grouped together in the following Chapter 2. Article 33 (on applicable substantive law) is dealt with in Chapter 3.(p. 16)


A Redfern and M Hunter with N Blackaby and C Partasides, Law and Practice of International Commercial Arbitration (4th edn, 2004) 1–2.