Diversity in International Arbitration

Growing diversity in international arbitration has been an important objective in recent years. Arbitral institutions are working to boost diversity by appointing more arbitrators from underrepresented groups and sharing data on past arbitrators. Academic institutions and law firms are also studying this issue through surveys to understand perceptions and find ways to improve diversity.

Dubai has established itself as a premier arbitration destination, attracting a wide range of international arbitration specialists. This city is ideal for international arbitration since it welcomes a diverse range of people as well as has strict laws.

Diversity means having different kinds of people or things involved. In arbitration, diversity can be seen in different groups like gender, age, geography, culture, and ethnicity.

Gender Diversity

While gender diversity in arbitration is highly valued, women's representation in the field is still low. Women continue to make up a small percentage of arbitrators, despite efforts to change this. For example, in ICC arbitrations, only 16.7% of arbitrators were women in 2017. In Turkey, the Istanbul Arbitration Center has seen a higher percentage of female arbitrators. Additionally, the Equal Representation in Arbitration Pledge aims to increase the number of women arbitrators. It has nearly 3,000 signatories, including many organizations and individuals. The pledge seeks to achieve fair representation of women without setting quotas, instead focusing on equal opportunity based on qualifications.

Geographical Diversity

Ensuring diversity in arbitration means appointing arbitrators from different places with different legal backgrounds. However, it's important to consider that an arbitrator's nationality is often related to their education and legal expertise. For example, according to ICC statistics from 2017, a lot of cases involved parties from North and West Europe. This led to more British and French arbitrators being involved in ICC proceedings, followed by Swiss, US, and German arbitrators, likely because of the types of cases filed. Additionally, including Dubai's data, it's observed that cases involving parties from the Middle East region often lead to the appointment of arbitrators from diverse backgrounds, including Emirati, British, American, and other nationalities, reflecting the multicultural nature of arbitration in the region.

The Decision-Making Quality and Diversity of the Arbitrators

Users' perceptions of how diversity enhances decision quality will determine how hard it is to maintain diversity in arbitration. A recent study found different opinions on this. Some say it depends on the specific dispute, while others believe diversity brings some or significant improvement. Some think diversity is valuable regardless, while others see no real difference in quality.

The Need for Diversity
  • Impartiality and Fairness
  • Global Perspective
  • Encourages new approaches and challenges conventional thinking
  • Legitimacy

However, Dubai's focus on diversity in international arbitration makes it a top global player. By valuing cultural diversity, promoting gender equality, and supporting multiple languages, Dubai welcomes practitioners worldwide. Its strong institutional backing and commitment to global cooperation add to its success as an arbitration center. As the world gets more connected, diversity in international arbitration becomes essential, and Dubai sets a great example for other places to follow.

Alqada believes in supporting clients on each step during the arbitration process. There are following list of Arbitration's articels you can know more about Arbitration law by visiting these links.

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