Frequently Asked Questions - Arbitration

Does UNCITRAL offer legal advice in specific disputes, administer arbitrations or recommend legal practitioners?

No. UNCITRAL's mandate does not extend to participation in either public or private disputes. Consequently, UNCITRAL does not offer legal advice in specific disputes, and, in particular, does not nominate arbitrators, administer arbitrations, certify arbitral authorities, or recommend any legal practitioner for legal assistance.

What does "arbitration under the UNCITRAL rules" mean?

A reference in a dispute settlement clause to the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules or (in a frequent, but inaccurate formulation) to "UNCITRAL arbitration" or any other provision to the same effect means that the parties agree that an existing or a future dispute should be settled in arbitral proceedings conducted in accordance with the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules.

Although UNCITRAL and its Secretariat have prepared legislative and contractual provisions and rules relating to international commercial arbitration and conciliation, it is not within UNCITRAL's mandate, as set out by the General Assembly, to become involved in individual cases. UNCITRAL and its Secretariat do not act as an arbitral tribunal, administer arbitration proceedings, or otherwise perform any function related to individual arbitration proceedings, or any other system of public or private dispute settlement.

I am involved in a dispute with a company and our contract provides for arbitration pursuant to the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules. Does UNCITRAL provide assistance in the dispute?

Although UNCITRAL prepared the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules as well as other texts on the subject of arbitration, it is beyond its mandate, and is indeed inappropriate for UNCITRAL, the Secretariat, or individual legal officers to offer advice regarding the interpretation of provisions of UNCITRAL texts or to otherwise offer legal advice. In particular, UNCITRAL does not administer arbitration or conciliation proceedings, nor does it provide services to public entities or private parties in connection with dispute settlement proceedings. Furthermore, UNCITRAL does not keep any list of potential arbitrators or conciliators, nor act as appointing authority under the UNCITRAL arbitration and conciliation rules.

Who may use the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules?

Parties to a contract may agree to use the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules to guide the resolution of disputes arising between them.

Nothing in the Rules limits their use to nationals of States which are Member States of the Commission.

Can UNCITRAL provide an authoritative interpretation of domestic law?

No. Neither UNCITRAL nor its Secretariat can assist individuals or entities in the interpretation of provisions of national law, nor can it provide legal advice to individuals or entities in connection with particular cases or disputes.

What is the difference between the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (1985) and the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules?

The UNCITRAL Model Law provides a pattern that law-makers in national governments can adopt as part of their domestic legislation on arbitration. The UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules, on the other hand, are selected by parties either as part of their contract or after a dispute arises, to govern the conduct of an arbitration intended to resolve a dispute or disputes between themselves. Put simply, the Model Law is directed at States, while the Arbitration Rules are directed at potential (or actual) parties to a dispute.

International Commercial Arbitration

International Commercial Mediation