HKIAC conference key speaker calls for forward thinking on contract expectations


This year’s keynote speaker at the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre’s (HKIAC) ADR in Asia Conference discussed the theme “forward thinking” by proposing arbitrators and parties signing a contract to agree on their expectations.

“I believe many concerns about international arbitration can be resolved if we focus more on what parties and counsel expect from the tribunal, and what tribunal expect from the parties and their counsel,” David Rivkin, president of International Bar Association, told conference attendees. “We need to establish a new contract between the arbitrators and parties that will establish these expectations from the start. It should establish fundamental principles on which more specific behaviours can be grounded.”

Rivkin expressed hope that the arbitration community could develop such contracts, setting out terms that could be signed at the commencement of each case. This proposal, he said, reflects the fact that ultimately arbitrators owe their duties to the parties, whether directly or through arbitration institutions.

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