Reconocido árbitro internacional a favor del arbitraje institucional

Jernej Sekolec es vicepresidente de la London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). Ha sido secretario de UNCITRAL y director de la División de Derecho Mercantil Internacional de la Oficina de Asuntos Jurídicos de la ONU. Actualmente forma parte del Tribunal arbitral de cinco árbitros designado en el conflicto transfronterizo entre Eslovenia y Croacia.

Transcribimos el texto de sus respuestas en inglés:

¿Qué opinión tienen en el resto de Europa de la posición de España en relación con el arbitraje internacional?

 

The Spanish legislative and judicial system offers a hospitable legal environment for international arbitrations. Spain has experienced arbitral institutions, and the legal profession offers excellent services, including for the most specialized arbitration cases. Parties in commercial transactions, in and outside of Spain, thus have a good basis to designate Spain as the seat of international arbitrations.  Spain should regard itself as a good place for international irrespective of the language of the proceedings and irrespective of whether the case is administered by a Spanish or foreign arbitral institution.

 

De su intervención durante la presentación del Comité de Arbitraje Marítimo de Aeade en diciembre de 2011 se dejó entrever su claro posicionamiento hacia el arbitraje institucional frente al arbitraje ad hoc. Un año después, con las nuevas reglas UNCITRAL ¿sigue opinando lo mismo? ¿Qué razones destacaría?

 

The basic principle is that the parties must remain free to choose among the various forms of commercial arbitration, including the so called ad hoc arbitration, that is arbitration that does not rely on the administrative and supervisory support of an arbitral institution. However, experience shows that there are very few cases where one can say that there exist rational reasons for using ad hoc arbitration; in the vast majority of cases the parties should, in their own interest, agree on arbitration administered by an institution. In ad hoc arbitrations the parties are exposed to many risks that are difficult to manage and could be avoided by using the services of an experienced and reputable arbitral institution.  It is misguided to think, as some parties or even legal practitioners do, that ad hoc arbitration has cost advantages over administered arbitration. The opposite is true: it is typically less costly and more time-efficient to use the services of a dependable arbitral institution than to try to leave the administrative aspect of the process to the arbitral tribunal and the parties. The revised UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules do not change that reality. The modernized version of the UNCITRAL Rules transcend ad hoc arbitration in that they are used not only in ad hoc arbitration, but are relied on as a model or inspiration by arbitral institutions that wish to keep their institutional rules modern and attractive to parties from different parts of the world. Many arbitral institutions are also ready to provide administrative services to cases governed by the UNCITRAL Rules.

 

Como árbitro internacional, ¿qué opina en relación con la práctica del “discovery o disclosure” en el arbitraje internacional?

 

The practice of ordering discovery or disclosure of documents is like a sharp surgeon’s knife: it should be used only where necessary, by skilled practitioners and not more than necessary. Experienced arbitrators will know how to use this delicate tool in the interest of justice without allowing it to be misused for purposes that undermine justice. At the same time it is important that parties – in particular the parties from countries where the practice of discovery of documents has been limited – to be aware, in their own interest, that that their transactional documents and communications may need to be disclosed if there is an international dispute. The need for such disclosure is an increasing reality also outside the context of arbitral proceedings, such as in regulatory matters.

 

Y, finalmente, la pregunta infiltrada: Miquel Roca, presidente del Comité de Arbitraje Marítimo de Aeade, sugiere: “Existe en el arbitraje internacional un factor que siempre hace que me muerda las uñas. Y es que, es muy difícil, por no decir imposible, que ciertos testigos comparezcan en la vista. ¿Cómo hacerlo? ¿Puede el árbitro obligarle a comparecer? Hay quien defiende que sí, que sus competencias abarcan esas cuestiones, pero lamentablemente en muchas ocasiones no hay más remedio que acudir a un Juzgado… y ello lógicamente te destroza lo fundamental: las partes no querían acudir frente a un Juez y la cosa se puede demorar muchísimo… me gustaría saber cuál es su opinión al respecto.

 

The current system is adapted to the typical arbitration case where each party is able to prove its case with the evidence at its disposal. That said, there are relatively rare situations, troublesome when they happen, in which the decision turns on facts that could be proven by a witnesses who is unwilling to testify. However, I think, that giving the arbitral tribunal the power to order such a witness to appear and testify at a hearing would create more problems than it would solve. One practical difficulty, which exists both in arbitral and judicial proceedings, is that compelling an unwilling witness to testify is not conducive to reliable testimony. For that and other reasons, the system would need to be supported by a system of sanctions for perjury, which would inject in the arbitral process many practical and legal complications. In addition, an arbitral tribunal’s order to a person to testify, for the order to be effective, would need to be backed by enforcement assistance; such assistance could only come from state courts, which would open an avenue for delay and obstruction. I therefore think that it is better to remain with the existing system according to which the party may approach the judge with a request for assistance in taking evidence of witnesses. Approaching the judge is admittedly cumbersome and may not be practical in all situations – but any remedy that one can think of seems to have such undesirable side effects that I think we should not try to improve the system.

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