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Part III International Arbitration Agreements: Issues and Perspectives, 10 Silent Talk: Identifying the Language of an Arbitration When the Arbitration Clause Is Silent »

Michael Young
From: Defining Issues in International Arbitration: Celebrating 100 Years of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
Edited By: Julio César Betancourt
Language is a fundamental part of legal practice: without it, lawyers cannot function. But despite its importance, the applicable language is addressed rarely in a dispute resolution clause. Given its potent impact, the parties often disagree over which language (or languages) should apply where the clause is silent. This chapter considers the tools available to an arbitral tribunal to identify the language of the arbitration and to maintain the applicable language of the proceedings, while affording the parties flexibility in how they present their cases and ensuring that the matter proceeds efficiently. As with all discretions, this exercise must be carried out properly and fairly. In reaching their decisions, tribunals should not be confined by strict presumptions or priorities; they must assess all of the available indicia, weighing each element in the balance.