I don't know very much about how this works in practice in, say, the United States.

Roughly, my understanding is that there are party-appointed arbitrators and list-appointed arbitrators. But I don't know, for example, how list-appointed arbitrators get or stay on the list.

What are the best books to read to learn about arbitration in theory and practice? What are interesting real-life arbitration cases? Is it truly always the case that the arbitrator is neutral? It seems to be that an employer chooses to put arbitration in their contracts, for example, in part because the employer has greater power to choose an arbitrator whose views match their own.

  • 1
    As the answer indicates, the best literature is mostly not in book form. Arbitrators are sometimes expressly not neutral and often are not neutral in fact due to biases created by an employer's control of the situation and economic power with the arbitrator. Indeed, this is usually the case and is well documented in the case of securities arbitration and consumer arbitration in academic journal articles.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 27 '17 at 4:21
  • So is the best literature in journals? Which journals?
    – user341502
    Nov 28 '17 at 6:37
  • Go ahead and accept my answer, @user341502.. ;) Totally gave you all the resources you could possibly need on this!
    – A.fm.
    Dec 6 '17 at 4:25


Many academic law textbooks will be relevant, so you can try to grab a recent year's syllabus online (Google arbitration syllabus [insert law school here]) and use that as a reference to start with.


Websites you should check out:

Non-international arbitration:

You should note that there may be differences in arbitration procedures depending on industry. For example, arbitration in a government employment situation may be varied to some degree from arbitration in a contract dispute.

International Arbitration:

For international arbitration, you may wish to look at:

You should note the distinction between international commercial arbitration (the prior two links) and arbitration under public international law which is conducted according to international law and/or treaties and/or contracts between private entities and States. Some information about this type of arbitration may be found here:

  • Kluwer Arbitration Blog article State-to-State Arbitration at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague (Kluwer Arbitration Blog is a good all-around source in general, too).

The disputes between private entities (usually multi-national corporations) and States are conducted as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) and have been the subject of much controversy in recent years:

This three-part BuzzFeed series on Investor-State Dispute Settlement is the best anti-ISDS piece I've read: The Court That Rules The World. Here is a defense of ISDS from the Obama Administration.

Still Want Books?

Also, if you still wish to find some book references, using the search tool at the Oxford Academic website is useful. Change your query to books.

The List:

Regarding getting on and staying on lists, it largely will depend on the organization that maintains the lists. Examples may be the aforementioned International Chamber of Commerce or the CPR International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution. Typically it's based on some criteria of being an upstanding citizen and experienced in the law or other relevant field.

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