Of all mankind's adventures in search of peace and justice, arbitration is among the earliest. Long before law was established, or courts were organized, or judges had formulated principles of law, man had resorted to arbitration for resolving of discord, the adjustment of differences and the settlement of disputes. 1
The objective of this introductory chapter is to identify the characteristics of arbitration, to examine what makes an arbitration international, and to outline the reasons for the increasing use of arbitration. The chapter also analyzes the various theories that seek to explain the nature and functioning of arbitration, and concludes by examining the role that international conventions have played and continue to play in the growth and regulation of international commercial arbitration. The following discussion relates to international commercial arbitration, which is the focus of this book; some of the points made are not necessarily applicable in the area of national (domestic) arbitrations.
The question, what is arbitration? often engenders an urge to define the concept. We will shrug off this urge; instead, we will examine some definitions of arbitration proffered by learned writers and extract from these definitions the essential characteristics of the process of arbitration.
R. David defines arbitration as
a device whereby the settlement of a question, which is of interest for two or more persons, is entrusted to one or more other persons--the arbitrator or arbitrators--