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The Role of an International Commercial Arbitration Lawyer

13 Oct 2023 - International Arbitration - Min Read 4 min
The Role of an International Commercial Arbitration Lawyer

An international commercial arbitration lawyer plays a crucial role in resolving international commercial disputes.

International commercial arbitration is an autonomous and international mechanism for dispute resolutions between private entities from different jurisdictions, or disputes involving the application of international laws.

Its unique formula allows parties to entrust the resolution of their dispute to a third party, the arbitrator, or an arbitral tribunal.

When a dispute arises between two different entities due to differences in culture and regulations, put the commercial agreements in place in jeopardy becomes challenging.

International arbitral institutions – private bodies that manage national and international arbitration proceedings – also differ based on their location, influenced by the legislative impact of the country where these institutions operate.

The arbitration lawyer’s expertise enables them to master the entire arbitration procedure, considering the place of origin of the parties involved. This includes a deep understanding of international law, arbitration rules, and international practices.

Arbitration is a voluntary, private, out-of-Court, and confidential process between the parties, involving an independent third party, the arbitrator or arbitral tribunal, whose award is binding. The professional handling the case must ensure effective representation tailored to specific needs.

Responsibilities and Activities of an International Commercial Arbitration Lawyer

An international commercial arbitration lawyer engages in various activities related to the resolution of cross-border disputes through arbitration. The lawyer’s involvement can be required in five key stages:

  • Pre-dispute
  • After the dispute arises, when the parties executed clear agreements
  • After the dispute arises, when the parties executed unclear agreements
  • After the dispute arises, in lack of any agreements
  • At the end of arbitration, to enforce the award


Consultation and intervention of an attorney can be sought before a dispute arises.

Based on the client’s protection needs, the professional can draft the arbitration clause to be included in the contract between the parties, setting the rules for the resolution of potential future disputes through arbitration in advance.

This clause ensures swift action in case of disputes, providing clarity on which steps to take, whom to contact, where to go, and how to arrange to overcome the controversy – promptly and without engaging in further conflicts.

After the dispute arises, when the clauses are clear

The lawyer’s guidance is essential when a dispute arises to enforce the existing agreements and proceed with the arbitration process.

Their responsibilities include developing an effective strategy, selecting the most appropriate evidence and/or witnesses to present, and preparing the necessary documentation for the arbitration.

The attorney also represents their client before the arbitral tribunal, prepares hearings, and defends their interests. Where appropriate, they can advise and assist their clients to negotiate an amicable solution with the opposing party.

The arbitration lawyer can negotiate with the involved party to seek an agreement even before the dispute is submitted to arbitration.

This process aims to reduce conflicts and find solutions which can be fair to both parties, ensuring a swift resolution.

After the dispute arises, where the clauses are unclear

An international commercial arbitration lawyer is called upon to find a solution when the arbitration clause is incomplete or unclear, and this often occurs when the clause is drafted without any legal assistance.

For instance, if the arbitral institution has not been chosen, the lawyer can identify the most suitable one based on the specific case.

They can renegotiate the arbitration agreement to overcome the previous one that cannot be executed. The other activities remain the same as when the arbitration clause is clear and comprehensive.

After the dispute arises, in lack of any agreements

If the dispute has already arisen, and there are no arbitration clauses, arbitration can still be accessed by entering into a specific agreement, the compromise, by which the parties agree to submit their dispute to arbitrators and regulate the procedure.

In lack of an arbitration clause, every detail needs to be negotiated, such as where to go, whom to approach, the rules to follow, the applicable law, the arbitrators to appoint, and the type of procedure to undertake.

Once the rules are established, the lawyer’s work focuses on setting a strategy favorable to their client.

At the end of arbitration, to enforce awards

International commercial arbitration processes end with the arbitral award, which is equivalent to a court judgment.

Once the agreement is concluded, it is the international commercial arbitration lawyer’s responsibility to analyze the compliance of the final or partial awards, enforce them in Italy or elsewhere, and ensure they are respected and recognized in the relevant national or international jurisdictions.

If one of the parties is not sarisfied with the arbitral decision, the attorney can assess the chances of challenging it through appeal procedures.

Activities of an International Commercial Arbitration Lawyer

To sum up, an international commercial arbitration lawyer assistance involves the following steps:

  • Evaluating the suitability of arbitration for the specific dispute
  • Estimating costs
  • Developing effective strategies
  • Drafting arbitration clauses in international contracts
  • Devising action plans for a satisfactory arbitration process for the client
  • Engaging in negotiation and discussions with the opposing party
  • Representing clients during international arbitration proceedings
  • Managing confidentiality and drafting settlement agreements for an effective dispute resolution
  • Supervising the arbitral tribunal
  • Gathering evidence
  • Analyzing the documentation filed by the opposing party
  • Preparing for hearings
  • Analyzing final or partial awards
  • Supervising the enforcement of arbitral awards in different jurisdictions
  • Handling appeal procedures

The advantage of arbitration translates into time savings compared to judicial disputes.

For further details or specific consultation, feel free to contact our international commercial arbitration lawyers, who are ready to answer your questions and provide additional information on international arbitration procedures.

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Calogero Boccadutri

Calogero Boccadutri is the Managing Partner of Boccadutri International Law Firm. He has trial experience in Forex, Personal Injury and Administrative litigation.

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