How to arbitrate an international commercial dispute

How to arbitrate an international commercial dispute

The structure of an international arbitration

The arbitration of international commercial disputes is divisible into two phases. They are the ‘arbitration agreement’ and the ‘arbitration proceedings’.

The overall strategy in international commercial arbitration is to be prepared.

Arbitration agreement

In agreed international law, we use the term “arbitration agreement”. However, in everyday business life, an arbitration agreement is ordinarily in the form of an “arbitration clause”.

Arbitration clauses are sometimes described as ‘midnight clauses’. This is because they are often the last points that the parties negotiate. This means that they are often poorly drafted or incomplete. However, if a dispute arises, an arbitration agreement or arbitration clause will become the most important legal provision that you have made.

If you have entered into an international arbitration agreement, then you will be unable to litigate your dispute through the courts of 145 different countries. This typically means that if you entered into an international arbitration agreement, you cannot sue under your contract, or be sued under your counrtract... in the courts of 145 different countries. On the other hand, those same countries will enforce awards resulting from international arbitration.

An effective arbitration agreement or arbitration clause must contemplate and provide for the following requirements.

We can advise you on all of the following requirements... and more. 

Seat of the arbitration (or place of the arbitration)

  • Country | city | the lex arbitri 


  • Nationality | appointment | qualifications and experience | language | number and constitution of the arbitral tribunal | tribunal appointed experts | arbitrator’s fees and expenses | power of arbitrators | insurance on arbitrators | amiable compositeur | ex bono et aequo | deposits in advance | replacement of arbitrators

Arbitration Rules and arbitration institutions

  • Institutional arbitration | ad hoc arbitration | institutional arbitration rules | UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules

Reference to arbitration

  • Scope of disputes and ‘arbitrability’ | preconditions to arbitration | notifications | time bars (stopping the clock)

Arbitral proceedings

  • Substantive Law | interim or emergency measures | language | privacy and confidentiality | rights of appeal | third parties | consolidation of proceedings | discovery and inspection of documents | conduct of hearings | rules of evidence | declaratory relief | novation and assignment | waiver | use of international guidelines


  • Reasons | interest | currency | party-party costs | costs of the arbitration | enforcement

UNICITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration

  • Compliance

United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards

  • Compliance

Arbitration Proceedings

The course and conduct of international commercial arbitration proceedings will be largely determined by the arbitration agreement. This means that the parties must be prepared for disputes. 

If you have not prepared an arbitration agreement or arbitration clause, we can help you by preparing a ‘submission arbitration’ on your behalf.

Depending on your arbitration agreement, arbitration clause or submission arbitration, we can advise you on the following steps in the arbitration proceedings, with the aim of maximising your chances of successfully resolving your international commercial dispute... We will be beside you all the way.

  • Legal representation
  • Notices of dispute
  • Pre-conditions to arbitration
  • Reference to arbitration
  • Appointment of arbitrators
  • Preliminary hearings
  • Pleadings
  • Expert witnesses
  • Witnesses of fact
  • Documents and evidence
  • Hearings
  • Examination of witnesses
  • Tribunal appointed experts
  • Submissions
  • Award
  • Enforcement procedures

Free offer from Stapleton Solicitors

No matter which country you are from, domiciled in, incorporated in or have interests, Stapleton Solicitors can review your contracts, arbitration agreements or arbitration clauses - FREE OF CHARGE. Specifically, we will tell you whether you have a domestic arbitration agreement (with very little, if any, chance of enforcement in other countries). If you do have an international arbitration agreement, we will tell you whether it will be effective in the future in recovering your money, goods or assests that are in other countries.

All you need to do is to contact us (preferably by email). Please go to our Contacts page.


Have you registered a company in Cyprus?

Stapleton Solicitors have many associations with the Republic of Cyprus. Are you from outside Cyprus, but have registered an International Business Company (IBC) there? Do you know where you stand with dispute resolution? Would you like to talk more?