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International Commercial & Investment Arbitration Research: Getting Started


International commercial arbitration is a private dispute resolution mechanism for resolving cross-border commercial disputes generally based on a contract between the parties. Investment arbitration is a dispute resolution method generally based on a bilateral investment treaty (BIT), a national investment law, or investment agreement.

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of primary and secondary sources that may be utilized to research the general topics of international commercial arbitration and international investment arbitration as well as more specific subtopics.  Included are introductory materials, bibliographies, treatises, commercial databases, and free websites.  Suggested resources for locating arbitral awards and decisions are also listed.

Law360: International Arbitration

Law360 is a popular legal news and current awareness resource covering over 40 different practice areas, including international arbitration. The UIC law library's Law360 subscription allows users to receive daily newsletter alerts on legal topics of their choosing. Law360 is available from any on-campus computer or from off campus with proxy authentication (current UIC Law ID and password).  Ask a reference librarian for help setting up an account. 

Introductory Materials (Electronic)

Introductions to International Commercial Arbitration (Print)

Howard M. Holtzmann Research Center for the Study of International Arbitration and Conciliation

The American Society of International Law (ASIL), headquartered in Washington, DC, launched the Center in 2013 to honor Judge Howard M. Holtzmann.  The Center houses a collection of research materials on international arbitration, including Judge Holtzmann’s personal library and papers. The Center also offers a regular program of events, including a speaker series featuring leading figures in the field of international arbitration. 

Practical Law: Arbitration

Practical Law is a Thomson Reuters current awareness service that is available to UIC law students and faculty with their Westlaw subscriptions.  Practical Law:  Arbitration is a comprehensive suite of resources that includes practice notes, drafting notes and examples, and overviews of topics such as investment treaty arbitration.  There is an  "Arbitration Global Guide" and a "Browse by Country" tab.  UIC law students and faculty may sign up for e-mail updates. 

UCIA, Universal Citation in International Arbitration

Online Translators

English translations of legal materials, including foreign statutes, are often difficult to locate and can be unreliable.  Only in rare instances are authoritative English translations available.  If authoritative versions are not available, look for "official" translations that are created by, or for, a government organization.  Further, look for synoptic translations, which allow for side-by-side comparisons of the vernacular with the English translation. 

Many online translators are available on the WWW, but these should be used with caution since web translators do not generally include specialized legal or commercial vocabulary.  Online translators, however, may be of some help in getting the general sense of a document or passage.  Examples of WWW translators are: