2017 Annual Meeting
The more things change, the more they remain the same. As we continue to experience “interesting times” and, most recently, a downward spiral in the nature of not-so-civil discourse, the need for improved understanding and use of effective approaches to dispute prevention and resolution only grows. What is true for our society as a whole is also true for commercial dispute resolution. Treaty-based arbitration is being challenged as a violation of state sovereignty, ethical concerns are being raised in both investor-state and broader commercial arbitration contexts. As the use of mediation grows, calls for national and international standards increase, as does the need to identify new and better ways to resolve disputes. Across the board, there is a pressing need to find preventative techniques that can nip disputes in the bud. The importance of these issues is reflected in the pending proposals for multilateral negotiations to address these issues within the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), as well as new approaches being developed at national and institutional levels. Where we will end up is not clear, but one thing is: Change is in the air.