On 15 July 2013, the Federal Judicial Center published the “International Commercial Arbitration: A Guide for U.S. Judges” (Guide).
The Guide comes as an increasing number of international commercial arbitration matters are pending before US courts. It is intended to help US judges navigate the frequently complex issues brought before them, which involve the interaction between US and international law, as well as the “jurisdictional interplay between U.S. courts, foreign courts and the arbitral tribunal.” The Guide emphasizes in particular how arbitral issues fit into the dispute resolution system as a whole.

In its introductory sections, the Guide outlines basic concepts of international commercial arbitration, before addressing specific matters frequently put to the courts on a motion-by-motion basis. These specific matters include, for example: motions to stay, compel, or assist arbitration; motions for discovery or challenges to arbitrators; and motions to enforce interim awards and final awards, or to vacate awards. Each motion is accompanied by a discussion of the appropriate statute or treaty that judges should reference in making their decision, the underlying law and other relevant considerations judges should take into account in reaching a decision. One particularly relevant consideration is the favorable treatment that the Federal Arbitration Act affords arbitration.

The Guide should provide a useful resource for both US practitioners and foreign counsel in understanding how US courts will approach arbitration issues.