ADR Lessons from the European Energy Industry

Article excerpt

ADR Lessons from the European Energy Industry Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Energy Sector Edited by the Association for International Arbitration. Antwerpen, Belgium: Maklu Publishers, 2009. Softcover. $50. 156 pages. In the U.S., the book is distributed by International Specialized Book Services, www.isbs.com.

Disputes in the energy sector are usually complex and lengthy, and sometimes political in nature. For this reason, the industry-which includes mining, gas, electricity and oil-is increasingly turning to alternative dispute resolution (ADR), especially arbitration, when disputes arise. "The benefits of confidentiality, arbitrator panel neutrality and energy sector related experience seem to be key factors in choosing alternative dispute resolution methods over litigation," according to the book, which lists the Association for International Arbitration as its editor. The book is a compilation of writings by 10 contributors, mostly international arbitrators, lawyers and academics.

It takes a comprehensive look at the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), which was signed in 1994 and entered into legal force in 1998. The ECT is considered the world's largest multilateral investment treaty in terms of the number of countries (51 in all) that have signed or acceded to it and their combined populations. Because of the potential for disputes between participating states or between investors and a host state (i.e., a state where the investor's energy-related investment is located), the ECT contains a dispute settlement provision. For investor-State disputes, it provides three international arbitration options: arbitration administered by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID, an international institution associated with the World Bank); ad hoc arbitration under the rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL); or arbitration administered by the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. …