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International Commercial Mediation: Only Lip Service?

From the Disputing Blog of Karl Bayer, Victoria VanBuren, and Holly Hayes.

Karl came across this interesting comment by Jose Antonio Garcia Alvaro, posted at the ADR Resources Dispute Resolution and Mediation LinkedIn Group.


I just received and read the 2009 statistical report of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, an institution that ranks among the best in the world according to several surveys.

As you will see, of 225 cases filed last year with the SCC, only 3 were resolved through mediation. That’s negligible.

At ADR Resources, we follow worldwide trends on arbitration and mediation. Over the past five years numerous reports have indicated that the international business community was ready to shift from an “arbitration-only” scenario, to a growing use of mediation, a growing use of a multi-tier approach to resolve commercial disputes.

It all appears to be a case of intentions, not deeds –lip service, if you will. When it comes to drafting international commercial contracts, arbitration reigns supreme as the preferred ADR method by far thus far. There is no “growing” use of mediation to levels that would suggest even a slight shift to mediation to resolve international business disputes.

Now, why? Not enough experienced mediators out there in this whole, big world? An entrenched sense that binding arbitration is best when it comes to resolving international commercial disputes? Not enough work on the part of ADR organizations to promote the use of mediation in “big-time” international commercial transactions? A bit of “all of the above”?

We would like to know your comments about this post!


Victoria VanBuren

Victoria VanBuren holds a B.B.A. in Finance from Southern Methodist University and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.  She focuses on intellectual property law and arbitration. Known as a "worker bee," she is an active legal blogger and is currently pursuing a degree in computer science.… MORE >

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