In 2007, Professor Luke Nottage of the University of Sydney observed that “overall... arbitration education is quite well entrenched in Australian universities, although possibly not as much as in the US” (International Arbitration and Commercial Law Education for an International World, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07/84, 9). Today, his observation remains patently valid. Indeed, even a perfunctory review of the curriculum of Australian (and overseas) law schools reveal that arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) figure in their undergraduate and postgraduate offerings. Of course, arbitration and ADR education is not limited to universities. Many professional arbitration institutions also offer a variety of accredited arbitration and ADR programs that lead to the award of a certificate or diploma.

This development is not surprising because universities and professional institutions respond to structural societal developments by training people who are able to meet the challenges of modern society. One of these developments is the inexorable march to global economic liberalisation, as recently evidenced by attempts to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). This enduring focus on trade liberalisation, involving cross-border activities and trade deals, inevitably requires the resolution of commercial disputes, especially by arbitration, often following unsuccessful attempts at negotiation, conciliation and mediation.

The primary reason for the popularity of international commercial arbitration as a preferred dispute resolution mechanism relates to the development of a favourable regulatory framework for arbitration. This includes the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, 2006 Revision (which is used by many countries in the drafting of their arbitration laws) and the enforceability of foreign arbitral awards under the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. 

Jan-Mar 2015 issue

Curtin Law School