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Arbitration Anguish

When a business deal turns sour, most in-house counsel in the U.S. would rather resolve the dispute in front of an arbitration panel than a jury or judge. That's because most lawyers believe it's much faster to resolve a dispute in arbitration than court, according to a 2003 ABA study on ADR. Just over half of the lawyers surveyed by the ABA also felt arbitration was less expensive. And according to a two-year-old survey by InsideCounsel (then known as Corporate Legal Times), 83 percent of in-house counsel felt that arbitration was either equally fair or fairer than traditional adjudication processes.

The love affair with arbitration, though, doesn't seem to extend across the Atlantic.

the court said, was a violation of Sharia (Islamic law).

Former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Robert Jordan reiterated that problem during a Middle East Policy Council roundtable in January. During a discussion about Saudi Arabia's accession to the WTO, Jordon said, "I think one of the things to watch, and frankly an area of concern, is the extent that Sharia Law will trump ... decisions of arbitration panels."

As for the introduction of American discovery techniques into arbitration, none of the panelists had much of a solution to that problem.

"Sometimes I include language in the arbitration clauses specifying that neither party will produce documents," Hadding says. "I don't know if it works. It's not well proved, but I do that in an attempt to limit these kinds of possibilities."

staff Writer

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