The world is getting smaller – but not the opportunities or the controversies that result. Disputes are a fact of life. They can be hard to contain. Accelerating international trade has increased the demand for an effective means to resolve cross-border disputes without the carnage of corporate warfare. To reduce legal risk, businesses are turning to international arbitration for a fair and efficient resolution of their disputes.

Arbitration maximizes party autonomy in resolving disputes. It affords parties the freedom to choose the law, the site, the language, and the rules governing the proceedings. The dispute can be resolved confidentially and within a set period of time, avoiding the conflicts and uncertainties of competing national legal systems. Arbitration rests, as well, on the neutral’s impartiality, independence, and suitability for the particular parties involved and issues in dispute. Generally, it is often better at resolving international commercial matters because of its cross-cultural and procedural flexibility, cost effectiveness, and the opportunity it may provide to preserve business relationships.

Moreover, arbitration awards are often considerably easier to enforce across borders than traditional court judgments. Under the New York Convention of 1958, foreign arbitral awards are enforceable in 144 countries. Though a choice of courts convention is now under consideration, no worldwide treaty currently exists for enforcing foreign court judgments.

CIDRA – Business Oriented Dispute Resolution

Arbitration or mediation through the Chicago International Dispute Resolution Association (CIDRA) is an important alternative to traditional litigation. CIDRA was established in 1997 as a not-for-profit organization to promote international dispute resolution and enhance the region’s international legal infrastructure. CIDRA members are widely recognized experts and practitioners in the area of international commercial arbitration and available to provide arbitral and conciliation services.

Based in the heart of Chicago’s downtown, CIDRA offers a private, multicultural setting designed explicitly to serve business interests. CIDRA’s neutrals make full use of the latest technology to set an expeditious schedule, to narrow the issues, and to conduct hearings that are fair and efficient. Its arbitrators and mediators are sophisticated practitioners committed to the highest ethical standards.

CIDRA has formed affiliations with arbitral institutions in other countries, such as the Polish Arbitration Association and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, North American Branch, and looks forward to extending its network of reciprocal relations throughout the world. The organization sponsors and participates in educational and training programs to encourage alternative dispute resolution and to improve the competence of arbitrators, mediators, fact-finders and advocates. CIDRA also works with law students, helping teams from area law schools prepare for the annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna and Hong Kong.

CIDRA and the International and Foreign Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association cooperated to draft a law that would encourage arbitration of international commercial disputes in Illinois. Together they developed a statute and default rules for parties who choose to settle their disputes by arbitration. The Illinois International Commercial Arbitration Act (ICAA) is based on the UNCITRAL Model Law and provides the legal framework for arbitrating transnational disputes in Illinois.

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