Professor Rogers to spearhead international arbitrator transparency project
November 4, 2013
According to forecasters from U.S. News & World Reports and the American Bar Association, one of the largest growth areas in the legal profession is in international arbitration. But information on arbitrators and their work can be difficult to ascertain said Professor Catherine Rogers, the Paul and Marjorie Price Faculty Scholar. “While mediators often come with references, getting data on arbitrators still depends primarily on word-of-mouth inquiries,” said Rogers. "The problem with informal information gathering based on personal relationships is that it tends to benefit so-called international arbitration ‘insiders’ over newcomers or those from developing countries. To maintain the legitimacy of international arbitration, the process for selecting arbitrators needs to have a more even baseline of information that is accessible to all parties."
As a step toward resolving this issue, Rogers will spearhead a project to create an online resource giving parties access to more information for making informed decisions in the arbitrator selection process. The International Arbitrator Information Project (IAIP) will offer various forms of information, including feedback on arbitrators and links to publicly available arbitral awards and judicial opinions referencing either the arbitrator or the award. The conceptual background for and additional details about the IAIP are developed in Rogers’ forthcoming book, The Ethics of International Arbitration, due out by Oxford University Press in April 2014.
The IAIP is one of several initiatives Rogers will help drive as part of a joint appointment to the law faculty of Queen Mary, University of London where she will co-chair the new Institute on Ethics, Regulation and the Rule of Law with Queen Mary Professor Stavros Brekoulakis.
"The creation of this new Institute by Queen Mary to consider issues that go to the legitimacy of international arbitration is very timely, as arbitration comes under increasing review — not all complimentary. There is no one better than Catherine Rogers to consider issues concerning what information should be publicly available about arbitrators, the ethics of counsel and regulation of arbitration, given her long standing interest and impressive thought leadership on these topics," said Audley Sheppard, global head of Clifford Chance's international arbitration and international law groups.
In addition to the International Arbitrator Information Project, Rogers has a couple of other projects on the docket. The first is a collaboration between Queen Mary and the International Council for Commercial Arbitration in the form of a task force that will address the rising importance of third-party funding and the related complex legal and regulatory issues that arise from it. The second is a long-term objective to develop programs that will provide lawyers, government officials and arbitrators with skills-oriented training specific for international arbitration.
“Professor Rogers is a scholar and an original thinker who is willing to undertake difficult issues with an open mind,” said Julian Lew, head of Queen Mary’s School of International Arbitration and Centre for Commercial Law Studies. “Together with Professor Brekoulakis she will provide a new impetus to the research programs we have previous undertaken.”
Rogers is a reporter for the American Law Institute’s new Restatement of the Law (Third) of International Commercial Arbitration. She has served as an expert on topics of international arbitration and global legal ethics for various international organizations, including the OECD, UNCITRAL, the International Judicial Academy, the American Society of International Law, and the International Bar Association. Before entering academia, Rogers practiced international litigation and arbitration in New York, Hong Kong, and San Francisco. She was formerly on the law faculties of Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in Milan, Italy, and Louisiana State University Law Center.