The Emergency Arbitrator – Getting Interim Relief Before a Tribunal is Constituted

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In today’s guest post, Jakob Horn summarizes his doctoral thesis on key legal issues around emergency arbitration, Der Emergency Arbitrator und die ZPO, published by Mohr Siebeck. Jakob primarily discusses the emergency arbitrator in the context of German law. Despite this focus, his findings are easily transferrable to other jurisdictions, as Germany has adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration

In commercial life, from time to time conflicts arise that require prompt action to avoid irrevocable harm. For instance, imagine a scenario where a business agreed on a non-compete clause with a former business partner. A violation of this non-compete clause would pose an immediate danger to the business, requiring prompt enforcement.

Traditionally, most state courts offer injunctions in such circumstances. However, in the commercial world today, parties often opt for an arbitration clause for reasons such as confidentiality. How does one uphold these arbitration agreements as well as seek urgent relief?

The answer is the emergency arbitrator. In the last 14 years, most large arbitral institutions around the world, such as the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC) have introduced the emergency arbitrator as a tool in their toolbox to deal with such urgent cases. Continue reading