The UNCITRAL Framework for Arbitration in Contemporary Perspective.

Author:Grikscheit, Alyssa A.

By Isaak L Dore. London: Graham Trotman/Martinus Nijhoff. 1993. Pp. ix, 222. $110.

Isaak Dore(1) should have taken one step back or one step forward. In The UNCITRAL Framework for Arbitration in Contemporary Perspective, he provides a useful framework for international commercial arbitration, but one that he views from an uncertain perspective. Dore analyzes the text of both the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Arbitration Rules(2) and the UNCITRAL Model Law in detail, but his textual focus proves costly: Dore's book does not satisfy our theoretical questions, nor does it often provide answers to our most basic practical questions.

In the field of international arbitration law, a few works seek to examine the purposes of arbitration and how to achieve them.(3) Others provide practical advice on topics such as how to draft an arbitration clause in the context of a commercial negotiation.(4) The UNCITRAL Framework falls uneasily in between. Dore has previously addressed the "theory and practice" of multiparty arbitration,(5) and he proposes to take the same approach here. But while his book provides some helpful information for those using the UNCITRAL arbitration framework, as well as some answers for those wondering why the drafters constructed the framework the way they did, Dore's practical and theoretical analyses are both ultimately unsatisfying. He is at his best when he focuses on one type of analysis or the other.

The book commences with a textual comparison of the UNCITRAL rules with two other sets of rules designed to govern international commercial disputes (pp. 3-51) -- those of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)(6) and the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA).(7) Dore states his purpose for Chapter One modestly at the beginning: "to present an introductory explanation of the UNCITRAL arbitral process and to make simultaneous comparisons with the salient features of the two other arbitral regimes that are the most prominent alternatives to the UNCITRAL regime" (p. 3). At the end of the chapter, however, he suddenly shifts his purpose, gearing his argument to a definite audience: "The chief purpose of this chapter was to enable both arbitrators and lawyers to understand how arbitral practice is conducted by being able to compare how the various frameworks for arbitration would react in the same situation" (p. 46). Dore's static purpose becomes a dynamic one. Initially settling for mere "explanation," he eventually demands complete "understand[ing]." The fundamental tension between the desire to describe and the desire to transform is apparent throughout the book. Dore sets modest goals and achieves them, but he sometimes aspires even higher.

Dore's three-way comparison is quite informative, and his cross-reference table (pp. 47-51) provides a quick way to compare the various rule systems' treatment of a single issue, such as a party's right to challenge an arbitrator. This fine table partly makes up for the multitiered index (pp. 215-22), which is insufficiently cross-referenced and rather difficult to use.

The most serious problem with Chapter One is again one of approach. Dore chooses two rule systems -- albeit important ones -- that are older than the UNCITRAL rules in order to make his project easier. Without a doubt, the ICC and LCIA rules are "prominent alternatives" (p. 3); nevertheless, Dore neglects to mention other sets of rules, such as the International Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA), which are modeled after, but arguably improve upon, the UNCITRAL system.(8) Chapter Two concerns the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal's adoption and adaptation of the UNCITRAL rules. Once again Dore defines his purpose narrowly, analyzing only the text of the rules as the tribunal adopted them and stressing that he does not intend to examine tribunal caselaw or the tribunal's contribution to international arbitration law. He concedes that J.J. van Hof achieved these two goals in another work that he urges the reader to consult.(9) Unfortunately, Dore continues to rely heavily on van Hof and one other source throughout the chapter.(10) Were it not for the insights, sprinkled throughout, of Judge Richard M. Mosk of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal,(11) the reader might better consult another book to understand the tribunal's work.(12)

Dore next examines the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration,(13) which UNCITRAL adopted in 1985 as part of its effort...

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