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International Commercial Arbitration Research Guide

This guide introduces researchers to primary and secondary sources for international commercial arbitration research.


International commercial arbitration is an alternative method of resolving disputes arising out of commercial transactions between private parties across national borders that allows the parties to avoid litigation in national courts. This guide identifies the best tools for locating primary sources for international commercial arbitration research: treaties, national legislation, arbitration rules, arbitral awards, and court decisions. It also covers secondary sources that are crucial to thorough research: treatises, practice guides, books, journal articles, and current awareness tools. For assistance in researching disputes between foreign investors and sovereign states, consult the Law Library's guide to International Investment Law.

The Law Library provides access to two specialized subscription databases that can serve as starting points for international commercial arbitration research:

  • Kluwer Arbitration (Georgetown Law only)
    The Kluwer Arbitration database includes treaties, arbitral rules, arbitral awards, national legislation, and court decisionsPractitioner tools allow users to create "smart charts" comparing national legislation across specified jurisdictions or arbitral rules from one institution to another. Kluwer Arbitration also provides access to treatises and other secondary sources, including ten specialized journals. The Kluwer Arbitration Blog publishes informed commentary from leading practitioners in the field.
  • Transnational Dispute Management (TDM) (Georgetown Law only)
    TDM offers an online-only journal that publishes peer-reviewed articles covering all aspects of transnational commercial dispute resolution. TDM also maintains a growing online database of legal materials pertaining to commercial arbitration, including arbitral awards, national laws, and court decisions. In addition, TDM hosts OGEMID, a moderated news/discussion forum for practitioners that focuses primarily, though not exclusively, on investment disputes involving the oil, gas, and energy sectors.

In addition, Westlaw (Georgetown Law Only) has an extensive collection of International Arbitration Materials, which includes treaties, model laws, national legislation from select jurisdictions, procedural rules, arbitral awards, case law from select jurisdictions, secondary sources, and drafting aids.